Last week I posted about Hollow Brook Golf Club in Cortlandt, where homeowners' property is being enfilladed by golf balls veering off-track from the recently built golf course.
I've been known to a knock a few balls over fences myself. Earlier in my golfing life, I sliced almost every drive. Nowadays, I mostly hit my drives straight or a with a little draw, but when problems off the tee crop up they crop up in the form of wicked hooks.
In my younger days, my home course was Oso Beach Municipal in Corpus Christi, whose 17th is a straightaway par-4 with about a 170-yard carry over water off the tee. Situated about halfway down the hole, on the right, was an old home with plastic siding. It was in dangerous territory for any golfers who sliced.
And many golfers sliced, from the looks of the home: that siding was pockmarked with holes, and there were almost always balls sitting in its backyard. The city had a large net guarding the corner of a fenceline, but it obviously wasn't enough.
And the homeowner, not without justification, was no friend of golfers. If your ball found its way over or through his chain-link fence, he'd wait until you had approached to peer into his backyard before he'd slowly appear, slowly walk over to your ball, slowly pick it up and put it in his pocket, and slowly walk back inside. If my house was pockmarked from ball strikes, I might act that way, too. As far as I know, the situation hasn't improved in all the years since.
Several times I watched my errant tee shots plopped down in swimming pools behind the swanky homes linking Kings Crossing Country Club in Corpus, where the head pro let me play on Mondays when the course was closed for maintenance.
But my worst home-attack off the tee occured in Bandera at Flying L Ranch. There was a double-dogleg par-5, and sitting right at the corner of the first dogleg was a nice home with a short wooden fence. I remarked to my playing partner that it was much too close to the fairway and in a terrible spot - I bet it got hit pretty frequently.
It sure got hit this day. I stepped up and let 'er rip, and hooked a ball that ducked just over the fence, took a hard bounce, slammeded into a wheelbarrow - making a terrible racket - before pinballing to a stop on the back porch.
I reloaded. After impact, I looked up and the first thing I noticed was the homeowner had emerged out her back door to see what the noise was. The second thing I noticed was that my second drive was heading to exactly the same spot as the first! The ball ducked just over the fence, bounced hard (missed the wheelbarrow this time) and ricocheted around the patio - and around the homeowner.
Needless to say, that's one ball I made no attempt to retrieve.
But no matter how many times you've sliced or hooked a ball into somebody's backyard, at least you've never done what my buddy Manny did at Alice Municipal one day about 15 years ago. He didn't hit a house with a golf ball, but with his golf club.
After a terrible tee shot, he wound up like a discus thrower and heaved his driver down the fairway. I can still see - and hear - it whirlybirding its way forward ... then hooking ... then disappearing over a fence and crashing into the back of a house.
The most amazing thing, however, was that Manny climbed the fence and got it back.