WEST BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Imagine living in a place where it’s not safe to go outside … in your own backyard.
Residents in one Long Island neighborhood told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez on Monday that they feel like they are living in a shooting gallery, constantly under siege by a hail of golf balls.
“There a little dent on the door. Here’s a little dent on the shed. There’s a little dent over there. And on and on it goes. So the house looks like a freaking war zone,” West Babylon resident Joe Romano said.
For six years, Romano said his neighborhood has been under attack by errant golf balls launched by golfers across the street at Bergen Point Golf Course.
There are countless holes in his siding and fence. You could even hear a golf ball break a window on the home video of his daughter’s birthday party.
“If a golf ball does that kind of damage, it’s going to do even worse damage if it’s a person,” Romano said.
Despite protective netting along the course’s perimeter, a ball struck Romano’s neighbor, Theresa Puglia, in the arm when she was in her backyard.
“I want to describe it like being shot, because it was that forceful and then I didn’t know what happened until I saw the golf ball in the pool,” Puglia said.
Romano said Suffolk County used to reimburse him for the damage, but in 2010 the county sent him a letter saying they were no longer responsible for damage done by errant golf balls.
“How did you go from being responsible to not being responsible?” Romano said.
Now, newly elected County Executive Steve Bellone’s office is on the case.
“The Parks Department is working to find an affordable solution to help the impacted homeowners without increasing the burden on Suffolk County taxpayers,” the office said in a statement.
Romano said there are a handful of changes that can be made at the golf course that would barely cost the county a penny and would solve the problem immediately – like implementing a no-driver rule at that hole or moving the tee-box down the fairway for a shorter par.
“It’s a quality of life thing. It’s a dangerous thing and I don’t understand how you put a price tag on that,” Romano said.
Romano is urging the county to do something fast, before a hole-in-one becomes a hole in someone.
Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …