The headline of this week’s Boston Globe story was attention-grabbing: “Family terrified by golf balls wins nearly $5 million from neighboring country club.”
My initial reaction was John McEnroe to a chair umpire when he received a decision he disagreed with: “You can’t be serious!”
A family with three daughters aged 2 to 5 sued the Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston, Massachusetts, “for trespassing over the continued bombing—and won a permanent injunction against golf balls on their property.”
A jury awarded the Tenczars $3.5 million for damages and mental and emotional suffering. The Globe story states that court records show the award, along with interest, totaled $4.9 million.
As the Globe story detailed, the Tenczars purchased a brand new four-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot home at Indian Pond Estates on the South Coast in April 2017 for $750,000. Here’s an important detail: the golf course, which opened in 2001. and was designed by Damien Pascuzzo, who preceded the house. But the first time the family fills up the kiddie pool in the backyard, a stray golf ball from the 15th tee splashes into the water. So many windows were broken that the Tenzars stopped replacing them with glass. The story includes a picture of Tenzars holding plastic crates floating in golf balls over the years.
The house of the Tenczars sits on an elevated ledge, placing the house in line with the 15th T.
Eric Tenzar, 43, said in the article, “Should we have looked at the possibility that our house would be attacked? Maybe. I don’t know. We fell in love with the house. It was our first home.”
Attempts to contact the club were apparently met with no change. To their credit, the family received an appraisal for netting, “It can only be said that a net cannot be constructed well enough to keep the balls out.”
“He bought what he thought was his dream home and it turned out to be a nightmare for him,” said Tenzar’s attorney, Bob Galvin. “There was nothing they could do outside during golf season.”
“We never wanted a lawsuit; nobody wants a lawsuit,” Athina Tenzar told the Boston Globe. “We tried to go civilized and work with them. We got some communication but then it just took off.”
“It is not true that the golf course did nothing,” said John Fleming, the club’s attorney. “A suggestion that we were completely unresponsive, I don’t think is quite true.”
In March, attorneys for the country club filed a notice that it would try to appeal the matter.
“I have full confidence that the injunction will be revoked,” Fleming said. “In my opinion, as a matter of law, a $35 million judgment for alleged emotional distress is against the weight of the evidence.”
Meanwhile, the country club has reconfigured the tee box for the 15th hole, and the Tenczars say it’s been months since they saw a golf ball on their property. This problem must be solved, the end of the story, move on with your life, or the obvious thing to do: sell the house and buy another property to support your family that is not separate from the golf course and your harm children.
“Will you buy it?” Athena Tenzar told the Globe reporter. she shook her head. “We’re not going to pass it on to another family.”