Chesterton Tribune



County says Brassie willing to work on solutions for stray golf balls

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The Brassie Golf Club will use its off-season to explore ways to mitigate the threat of golf balls leaving its property, County Attorney Scott McClure reported at last week’s Board of Commissioners meeting.

The County is coordinating with the Brassie following an uptick in complaints by residents on Pearson Road in Liberty Township. The residents, whose houses are parallel to the Brassie’s driving range and across Pearson, say there is a documented history of golf ball damage to their properties dating back to the Brassie’s opening 20 years ago.

The three neighbors, David and Kim Evans and Evelyn Komenas, said they’ve brought their complaints to local officials again recently because new management at Brassie has been unwilling to work with them. They asked the County to step in at the Sept. 3 Commissioners meeting.

McClure said Brassie has expressed a willingness to make changes. “They will be shutting down the driving range Nov. 1. They’ve committed to working with the County on several matters to alleviate the issue of golf balls leaving the property,” he said.

The Brassie is open to additional screening, adding personnel to monitor the driving range, changing the angle of the driving range, being clearer about who is responsible for golf ball damage, and potentially revoking privileges for people whose errant drives go over or around the 40-foot protective net, according to McClure.

The closure of the range is not a response to the complaints, as Brassie typically closes for the season Nov. 1 and reopens each spring, but McClure said the off-season gives them plenty of time to mull solutions. “Before the range reopens, all of the possible fixes to reduce the incidence of golf balls leaving the Brassie will occur,” McClure added.

David Evans said his truck was damaged by a stray golf ball again since the September meeting. He reported he called Brassie about the damage and was told they’d contact their corporate office, but he never heard back. “These are the people that are claiming they try to work with the neighbors. This is the precedent that they keep setting, so I hope something will be done,” he said.

The Evans’ asked if an ordinance can be passed to address the problem. McClure said the short answer is no. Commissioners Jeff Good, R-Center, and Jim Biggs, R-North, repeated that their hands are tied beyond talking to Brassie’s management. “A lot of it depends on the course, and what they’re willing to do,” Biggs said. Good said the County can’t force Brassie’s hand but is “trying to be the mediator.” Good said similar problems exist near golf courses in Valparaiso, but Brassie is permitted to do business and case law on individual golfers being responsible for golf ball damage is settled.

Kim Evans asked what the Board can do if an ordinance can’t address the problem. McClure said he will give updates at a future meeting once something has been settled. “I’m trying to work within the boundaries I have. They were receptive to my phone call. They were receptive to coming out here for a meeting,” McClure said.

Laura Blaney, D-South, said the Board wants a solution: “That’s why we have Attorney McClure talking to them.”


Posted 10/16/2019




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