Couple wins damages over stray golf balls

Fri, Nov 14, 2008, 00:00

A COUPLE whose home has been bombarded with golf balls yesterday won €10,500 damages from Castleknock Golf Club - and a slice of the 506-yard, par-five 16th hole.

Murray Johnson, counsel for pharmacist Ranjith Lalloo and his wife Emily, had outlined to the Circuit Civil Court how the couple's back garden had become an out-of-bounds area for family members.

He told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that the Lalloos estimated that about 500 golf balls had been hit into their garden by errant golfers missing the 16th fairway at the Castleknock Golf and Country Club. Mrs Lalloo also told the court her daughter had been disturbed while sunbathing by golfers entering their property in search of golf balls.

She said she had to store away a trampoline which her grandchildren loved to play on and keep them out of harm's way in the garden. They were unable to hold barbecues.

The Lalloos, of Homeleigh, Porterstown, Dublin, sued the club for nuisance and claimed ownership or adverse possession of a strip of land along the back of their garden and parallel to the 16th hole.

The couple were in turn countersued by Castleknock Golf Club plc for trespass on the basis that the Lalloos had fenced off a strip of the 16th hole as their own garden and dumped garden debris in the rough alongside the fairway.

The judge, following a two-day hearing, said she was satisfied the strip of ground in question belonged to the Lalloos and directed the golf club's boundary be rectified to show title belonging to Mr and Mrs Lalloo.

The judge said Pat Ruddy, a recognised international golf course expert, had inspected the 16th hole and had recommended seven inexpensive solutions to the problem of stray golf balls.

She said Paul Monaghan, managing director of the club, and Paddy Maguire, course manager, had failed to do anything about implementing Mr Ruddy's recommendations, despite having agreed they were necessary.

The judge directed the club to undertake remedial measures.