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Golf course not liable for errant ball that damaged truck, tribunal says
VANCOUVER – A golfer’s slice might have damaged Mary Ann Baekhave’s truck, but she’s still on the hook for the repairs.
Baekhave was driving past the Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen last year when an errant golf ball apparently soared so far out of bounds it put a dent in her vehicle.
She tried to make the club pony up for her $982 repair bill using B.C.’s civil resolution tribunal, but her claim was unfortunately a swing and a miss.
While the circumstances could leave any driver understandably teed-off, tribunal member Sarah Orr found there was no evidence it was Beach Grove Golf Club’s fault.
“I find it is more likely than not that a golf ball from the respondent’s golf course damaged the applicant’s truck,” Orr wrote in her decision. “However, this does not automatically mean the respondent is responsible for the damage.”
Baekhave said a staff member at the club told her these kinds of incidents happen “all the time.” She also submitted dash cam video from her son’s vehicle that showed a golf ball bouncing onto the road just a week after her truck was damaged.
But the driver’s recollection of one conversation paired with video of one additional incident just wasn’t enough to build a solid case, Orr said.
Golf courses have previously been found at fault in similar situations. Orr pointed to a case from 1922 involving a taxi driver who lost an eye after a golf ball hit his windshield. The court determined the layout of the tee and hole constituted a “public nuisance.”
Baekhave did not meet that threshold, however.
“There is no other evidence to suggest the frequency with which golf balls from the respondent’s golf course reach the road,” Orr wrote. “There is also no evidence about the design of the course or any specific hole or tee in relation to the road.”
On top of the $982 Baekhave had to pay in repairs, she also wanted to be reimbursed for the $225 she spent renting a car for three days.
The tribunal determine she wasn’t entitled to any of the money, but it appears Baekhave did receive some compensation anyway. Beach Grove said it paid the driver $500 to resolve the dispute before it went to the tribunal.