While board members at the Gladstone Golf Club had the foresight to take out an insurance policy, they probably didn’t expect one particularly tricky par five to be the reason their premiums started spiralling out of control.
After a catalogue of smashed windows at neighbouring properties to the Queensland club, and one near miss which could have left a man with a significant head injury, board members had to take action.
The source of the problem, according to the club’s general manager Will Shroeder, was the number of off-course zingers by wayward hacks miscuing their shots on the second hole. Being a par five, players often tried to belt the ball but would often lose their balance, sending it flying over the 6m fence towards the Gladstone GP Superclinic.
Now, the course has been altered with the length of the second hole reduced by 326m. Shroeder said the club had decided to act before something more serious occurred.
“It’s a wonder nobody has been hurt up until now,” he told the Gladstone Observer
. “We’re lucky it has only been property damage.”
Superclinic practice director Dr John Bird was the one who nearly needed treating in his own medical practice when one ball flew close to his head.
“I have walked out of our ambulance exit and nearly got hit in the head,” he said. “It was within a foot. I heard it go through the air.”
However, despite not being a golfer, Dr Bird didn’t want the club to suffer.
“It’s a not for profit organisation and a great community facility. We don’t want in any way to impair the usefulness of the golf course,” he said.
Len Keen has lived next door to the superclinic since 2005 and has had problems with smashed windows for some time, but he, too, was quick to profess his support of the golfers.
“They’re only trying to imitate Tiger Woods,” he said, adding how they’ve always looked after him: “The golf club has always paid to repair the windows,” he said.
Keen said no one forced him to buy a house near a golf course.
A sub-committee was now being created to come up with the best solutions for how to get the par five back, which will be decided by the club’s members.