Some North and South Park dwellers have recently come forward regarding their vehicles being struck by golf balls from the Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course; and not hearing the “fore” warnings.
“The golf ball bounced directly in front of my car, hit my bumper, then bounced again onto the hood,” Tiffany Sommers said on a July 19 interview. “It dented the car and cracked the paint.”
Sommers was heading southbound on Pershing Drive next to the 100-year-old, par-72 golf course when her Honda Accord was struck. The course can be reached from the I-5 and Pershing Drive exit or the 94 and 28th Street exit.
“I drove directly to the office and spoke to the manager on duty and the manager provided me with a city expense reimbursement form,” she said. “He said that I would need to obtain three different estimates to repair the damage then submit all three estimates with the reimbursement form to the city.
This happened to Sommers in 2016; this happened to her neighbor this July 17 on the same street — but the golf ball “shattered the windshield.”
“I was surprised to hear how often this occurs,” Sommers said.
BC commented that “Over the years, I have seen many golf balls come over that fence.” Then a mother responded that while her husband was driving on Pershing, a golf ball struck the rear passenger window of their vehicle and “the window disintegrated right where our daughter was strapped into her car seat.”
David Lee's 2002 Mercedes Benz E320 was hit by a golf ball on Golf Course Drive as he travelled between 26th and 28th streets into South Park where he now lives. “I hadn’t even gotten my license plate yet at the time,” he said.
“I immediately pulled into the parking lot and talked to the manager at the club house; the manager at the time was a surly older man who asked if I had retrieved the golf ball that hit my car. I simply told him that I wasn’t going to go down the canyon to look for a golf ball. He gave me a liability claim form, I filled it out days later and sent it back to the city’s risk management office along with a copy of an estimate to fix the dent.”
Lee said he was then sent a $400 check within six weeks. “But I don’t remember if the check was issued by the city of San Diego or the insurance company,” he added.
Inside the oldest public golf facility in San Diego are an 18-hole golf course and a beginner friendly nine-hole executive golf course, plus a driving range, practice putting greens, halfway house, and coffee shop.
On the Yelp site, the golf course is rated at a 4-out-of-5 with 91 reviews. Many say that the course has nice views of downtown San Diego, Balboa Park, Point Loma, and the Pacific Ocean; others say that it’s challenging which may be part of the reason why many errant balls are flying onto the streets. SB, an Elite ’19 Yelp reviewer gave the course a three-star rating. “This course will challenge your ability to keep the ball in the narrow fairways as well as making you hit shots on a variety of different slopes/angles,” he said in part. “Don’t forget to consider that wind; hooks or shanks can almost be considered as bon voyage [to the golf balls].”
“The fence along Golf Course Drive used to be only six feet tall and golfers would need to hit the ball a pretty far distance from the eighth hole to the ninth hole, which is located right next to Golf Course Drive,” Lee explained. “Quite often, they’d overshoot and the golf balls end up on Golf Course Drive where plenty of cars are driving by every day. The chain link fence along the ninth hole now is at least 18 feet high …. I think this helps tremendously, as I haven’t encountered another golf ball driving through this section at least twice a day.”
On April 16, NBC 7 San Diego reported about Kriista H. whose vehicle’s windshield was struck by a stray golf ball on Pershing and 26th Street in December. “The woman went to the emergency room where she was told glass from her car’s windshield had scratched her left eye,” states the news report. “Because she said the ball came from the city-owned Balboa Park Golf Course, Krista filed a claim with the city of San Diego in February.”