More nets are going up around Aspen Grove Golf Course along Lodge Road and Bottom Wood Lake Road.
But that is small comfort to Robert Kirkman as the driver’s side door of his vehicle bears the perfect imprint of a golf ball which struck his vehicle while he was driving by the Lake Country Coffee House on April 17.
Kirkman emailed Aspen Grove about the April 25 incident, and then followed up with a phone call when the email went unanswered.
Aspen Grove says the email was most likely hung up in a spam filter, but once they heard directly from Kirkman, the course offered to pay the deductible for Kirkman’s repairs.
Kirkman’s initial email describes the accident, saying: “The ball actually went through the netting and therefore, I certainly cannot place any blame on the golfer. The total responsibility for this occurrence is with the Aspen Grove Golf Club.”
Tom Stanbrook, owner of Aspen Grove, disagrees with every element of that assessment.
In an interview and tour of the course Stanbrook expressed frustration that Kirkman had yet to come in person to speak about the incident.
“He (Kirkman) has never come on the property to talk to me. He says the ball came through the net, it didn’t. We’ve had people come and inspect the net. It is in good shape. If, in fact, this happened, whoever hits the ball is responsible.”
Aspen Grove has multiple signs up at tee boxes requesting that golfers not use specific clubs for range and distance.
While not speaking specifically about this case, a representative of the insurance carrier for Aspen Grove said that the liability in the event of an injury would most likely go to the person who hit the ball, but the courts would have final say in the matter.
Stanbrook does not feel adding a second or double wall of netting is a reasonable solution. However, he is in the process of extending the length of the netting along both roads pending the Lodge Road traffic circle construction and the removal of some trees.
This is news that is sure to disappoint Kirkman who, in his email to Aspen Grove wrote: “There are many students, as well as the general public, that walk by the area where the ball came through the netting and hit my car and may I add, which [sic] such impact as to put a deep indention into the door of my vehicle. God forbid, that this ball had hit someone walking by at that particular moment.”
However low the likelihood of someone being hit, Stanbrook said Aspen Grove has paid the deductible on two windshields that were hit during the five years of his ownership of the course.
“I don’t want to see anybody hurt. But I do want someone to come in to talk to me. To do this by email is just silly,” Stanbrook said.
Kirkman has also contacted the District of Lake Country in the matter. Mayor James Baker said district staff will contact the course about the incident.