Jun 5, 2009

WARNING: Do whatever it takes to keep disc golf out of Leddy Park, or you will regret it.


Dogs, drinking at disc golf course irk neighbors

By Nathan Burgess
Thursday, June 4, 2009 12:04 PM EDT
When an unleashed dog scurried through Mike and Izzy Keiser’s cat door and into their house, and attacked the family’s cat while Mike’s mother lay in bed with cancer, the couple knew they had had enough.

“We’re fed up,” Mike Keiser told the Waterbury Select Board on Monday.

The Keisers live on Loomis Street in Waterbury, adjacent to a disc golf course at Hope Davey Field.

Disc golf is a spin on traditional golf; it replaces balls with plastic discs, like Frisbees, and holes with metal or plastic baskets.

The Waterbury course, built in 2001, has been a headache for the Keisers, who have complained about disc golfers entering their property to retrieve discs, letting unleashed dogs run rampant on their lane, and drinking alcohol on the course, in violation of posted course rules. The couple supplied photos to prove their points.

“It has become out of control,” Mike Keiser said. “We’ve been Waterbury taxpayers for 30 years and we’re tired of it. Unfortunately, when we’ve gone up to these people to ask them to leave, they get verbally abusive and aggressive.”

Animal control officers Ed Brown and Ed Severance were also at the meeting; they have been called to the Keiser residence several times to confront players, and have faced the same attitude, Brown said.

“They look at us in our civilian clothes and think, ‘Who is this guy telling us what to do?’ We’ve asked people to keep their dogs on a leash, but it just falls on deaf ears,” Brown said.

Brown said most golfers he’s dealt with are from out of town.

“These people aren’t even taxpayers,” Brown said. “They don’t contribute to Waterbury at all and we have to go up and chase them, and the town has to pay our salary. I think if they were our friends and neighbors, more of them would understand the rules and respect them.”

A number of possible solutions were floated at the meeting, such as relocating the holes, erecting a fence to keep golfers out of the Keisers’ property, and banning dogs from the course.

The select board will likely contact Jesse Wing and Matt Alberghini, co-founders of the Green Mountain Disc Golf Club, who were instrumental in working with the town to get the course built, and ask for their ideas.

“The goal is to work with those people on improving the general level of courtesy,” said Rebecca Ellis, who chairs the select board. “There are multiple uses of that course and everybody has to work together to make it work. Ideally, we can contact local folks for the next meeting, and if other folks who play or play as an organization have any input, they’re welcome to show up.”

That Waterbury disc golf course article gave me chills of deja vu. I lived next to a golf course for 20+ years on Marble Island in Colchester, and I saw it all!

  • There was a small sparse wooded area between 2nd hole and my house -- it was a public toilet. I'd look out my office window and see bare ass and -- well, you get the picture. My house was in plain sight, 40 ft away. They did not care.
  • Then there was the golfer who peed in my garage! It had a gravel floor, fortunately. I saw someone coming out of my garage. He said he was looking for his golf ball, like that was a perfectly reasonable thing to be doing in my garage. I went in to check things and saw the wet spot. Damn!
  • Golfer may have been there to steal tools, which happened, also.
  • A golfer stole our dog -- other players snitched on her and we found the dog at her house and took it back.
  • Now the damage -- cars dented in the driveway,
  • and windows broken in my house. This golf course was rinky-dink and good golfers did not play there. Fariway 2 was a dog's leg and the balls, more often than not, missed the fairway and hit my house and cars.
  • I became concerned on a different level when a neighbor walking her baby down the lane took a hit, well the stroller was hit. The town told us to post No Tresspassing signs if WE were concerned about liability! The sign might keep walking neighbors away, but not the golfers.
  • We tried to get the course owner to make some safety-related changes, but he refused. "You live next to a golf course, what do you expect?" was his response.
  • When our property flooded because the golf course was built in a swampy wetland, and a retention pond that drained off the area was not properly maintained and there was no enforcement of permit conditions or subdivision regs., spring runoff flooded our property. The city said there was nothing they could do. The owner was an LLC, of course. Advocates for the owner claimed it was a 100 year flood, even after it happened 3 years in a row. [They donated money every year to the Little League.]
  • The flooding failed our septic system, among other things, but the septic failure was the most costly to us personally. My pet ducks were in heaven so I had mixed feeling. Until the bills came.
  • Drinking and swearing. There were special days for club groups, and those days were THE WORST because the club group golfers had no regard for each other so constraints that could have damped things down a bit otherwise on a public course, were absent on club days. They tried to outdo each other with vulgarity, in word and deed. And they were lousy golfers, usually drinking more or at least openly displaying it more, so on "club days" there were more hits than usual on my property.
  • Entitlement: Golfers think they have the right to jump your fence, trample through your gardens, your yard, your garage, your deck, anywhere on your property, to retrieve their projectile property. They get abusive if confronted, and we got several lectures about how expensive golf balls are! I started collecting golf balls from my yard and surroundings at night, putting them in a bucket by the property line with a sweet note saying "Lose one? Take one." Most days a golfer would steal ALL the golf balls first thing in the morning, and that was that for the day.
The constant rude invasion -- someone else's idea of fun taking away of my quality of life -- taught me a lesson I will NEVER forget. Do whatever it takes to stop disc golf in Leddy Park.

Lea Terhune