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Golf Club Applies For Protective Screen

Check out this bizarre story involving Exeter Golf & Country Club.

The club has applied for planning permission to erect 30-metre high protective screen that will stop stray golf balls pelting a neighbouring housing development, but the council have indicated that they are likely to turn the application down.

Doing so threatens the future of the club and its 5,000 members as insurers will not indemnify the club against claims for injury or damage. The club currently employs 100 staff and has an annual turnover of £3 million.

What is truly bizarre about this is that agents acting on behalf of the developers are the ones opposing the application.

"Before even planning permission was granted, we flagged these problems up with the council," said club chairman, Will Gannon.

"We sent a letter to the council suggesting that any planning permission for the housing should take into account the safety and playability of the golf course as well as the people moving into the new houses.

"Persimmon even regarded the presence of the golf course as a major selling point. They even named some of the house of the house types after such places as St Andrews. Because they wanted these houses to enjoy the view of the course and Persimmon joined us in commissioning a golf architect to look at the issue.”

Two separate architects suggested the netting solution so to avoid an expensive re-routing of the entire course, but this has been objected to by Persimmon.

Simon Perks, managing director for Persimmon Homes South West, said: “We had agreed with Exeter City Council a landscaped boundary treatment between our properties and the golf course.

"This followed sensible discussions with Exeter and Country Golf Club to catch any golf ball that strained. The golf club proposed alterations to the golf course that we believe are unnecessary as we have offered a restriction in the title of the properties that would mean any resident would have no claim against the golf club if a ball strained.”

Does rather sound like if everyone got together in a room this could all be sorted out in five minutes. If a ‘landscaped boundary’ means a hedge, then what difference is a tall hedge with the extra protection of some netting? Is a homeowner really going to complain that netting spoils their view, but they don’t mind the 30-metre conifer? Moreover, are they going to really kick up a fuss that they aren’t being pelted by golf balls? Perhaps they’re actually paying for the adrenaline buzz of sitting in their back garden watching a golf ball slicing its way at them? Our guess is that they just want to live near a golf course, not on it.

From the look of the artist drawing of the proposed netting it is quite extensive along the boundaries of the ninth, tenth and eighteenth holes, but Mr Gannon said that it wouldn’t result in any loss of light and furthermore is angered that “the application for refusal are based on the views from houses that don't have any residents and are not even built.”