A resident of a River Oaks condo in Horry County, S.C. learned she’s responsible for damage caused to her property—not the golfer, nor the golf course. “The golf course is usually there first and then they build the house there, so they assume liability because they knew they were building on a golf course,” Attorney Dalton Floyd said.
For the River Oaks communities in Horry County, S.C., a game of golf is leaving some neighbors with thousands of dollars in property damage, WMBF reported. The big question is who’s liable to pay for those damages: the homeowner, the golf course or neither.
It’s called “errant golf ball liability” when a stray golf ball hits someone’s window or causes other damages unintentionally, WMBF reported.
“See how there’s pieces missing on the stairs. I mean it happens all the time,” River Oaks resident Isel Osoria said.
Osoria has called the River Oaks neighborhood her home since 2018, WMBF reported. She has grown accustomed to the sounds of golf balls hitting her building and now her window.
“Golfers should be responsible for the actions, but the golf course should be held accountable, as well,” she said.
Some of the River Oaks golf course is just steps from Osoria’s backyard with golfers teeing a few feet away, WMBF reported. She said on August 15 a ball flew through her window. She’s since put up cardboard and plastic to seal the opening. Osoria said it’s the worst damage yet.
“I saw the glass in my chair, in my dining room area and rug and then I look out my balcony and the golfers sped off,” Osario said. “You would think someone in good faith would’ve come and knocked on my door and said, ‘Hey this happened,’ but that’s not the case.”
She said Home Depot estimated the cost of damages to her window around $2,000 since it needs to be hurricane-proof, WMBF reported.
Attorney Dalton Floyd said in these incidents, the golf course isn’t responsible nor the golfer unless they intentionally aim at the property, WMBF reported. He said the homeowner ultimately assumes the risk when they buy the property.
“The golf course is usually there first and then they build the house there, so they assume liability because they knew they were building on a golf course,” Floyd said.
The property’s master deed also states owners are responsible for any damages to windows, WMBF reported, but Osoria said she was unaware of possible golf ball damage when she bought the condo.
Some neighbors have put up plexiglass for more protection, WMBF reported. Still, Osoria believes more should be done.
“If I am responsible fine,” she said. “There should be netting. There should be something happening so that the homeowners are protected, as well as the golf course so that they don’t have to deal with accidents happening.”
Osoria said her homeowner’s insurance is able to pay for a $1,000 worth of damages, WMBF reported. The rest will be out-of-pocket.
WMBF reached out to the golf course management and was told they had no comment for this story.