Public golf course tweaked to cut down on wayward balls

Errant golf balls sliced off the 18th hole are technically no longer a problem for people living next door to the Cedar Hill golf course. That’s because what had been the final hole is now the ninth.

Errant golf balls sliced off the 18th hole are technically no longer a problem for people living next door to the Cedar Hill golf course. That’s because what had been the final hole is now the ninth.

“What that does to things is it takes the late-night golfers, teeing off in the dark, off the 18th tee. … And it takes away that last effort to hit that towering 400-yard drive into the stratosphere,” said resident Bill Morrison, who worked with the municipality to come up with a solution in hopes of minimizing damage to his and his neighbours’ homes.

Saanich made a number of changes to the publicly-owned course to appease residents upset about golf balls damaging private property near the fairway.

When parks and rec staff presented neighbours with a handful of options, including improved tree coverage, a 60-foot-high net and reconfiguring the course, neighbourhood consensus favoured the latter option.

However, enough people were not on board with the plan for the neighbourhood to decide against going ahead with it.

Instead, Saanich changed the hole numbers, with the front nine now the back nine and vice versa.

Tree coverage will also be improved.

New trees and hedges will be planted, starting in September, to help screen any balls veering off toward the houses, said Doug Henderson, Saanich’s manager of parks and rec.

“There’s economic and playability and esthetic issues that were contemplated here, so balancing all of those, this is the process that we’ve come up with,” he said.

The neighbourhood never had the mindset that “we don’t care how much it costs – just fix the problem,” said Morrison, whose Ocean View Road home has been damaged by stray balls in the past.

Instead, residents tried to find a solution that provided the greatest amount of good for the most people.

“I told them, ‘We’ve only got one shot at this. We can’t come back in three years and say we’re not happy.’ This, we support, and we hope it will solve the problems,” he said.

The hole renumbering is temporary. Saanich will review that decision in September to see if it’s supported and successful. If so, the new numbering will be made permanent.

kslavin@saanichnews.com