Balmoral golf club agrees to alter hole

The third hole at Balmoral golf club, beside Finnis Drive, which will be altered following court action

A golf club which was once the home of former Open Championship winner Fred Daly is to erect further fencing in a bid to resolve a legal battle over balls being sliced into neighbouring houses.

Balmoral Golf Club in south Belfast is also to adjust the tee position on its third hole under the terms of an order agreed to at the High Court.

The amendments were drawn up after a judge personally inspected the course at the centre of a case taken by Fold Housing Association.

Proceedings have now been put on hold until June next year.

The Association was seeking an injunction to have the par 4 third hole changed and shortened.

It claimed balls hit from the current tee position are a source of continuing nuisance to the residents on the adjoining Finnis Drive.

Lawyers for Balmoral defended the legal action, arguing that it is an unreasonable interference with its right of use.

The case centres on concerns about balls going out of bounds and into neighbouring property where 15 social houses were built two years ago.

Amendments have already made to the third hole, including extra fencing and signs.

Although it was acknowledged in court that the number of incidents has reduced, counsel for the Housing Association claimed there was still a problem.

Keith Gibson cited 17 reported incidents between May and July this year.

They included balls being hitting fences and being discovered in gardens.

Despite acknowledging a reduction in the number of incidents, Mr Gibson contended there is still a continuing nuisance.

He stressed the risk of harm from golf balls being hit into the properties.

Founded in 1914, Balmoral Golf Club claims an association with four former Ryder Cup players: Fred Daly, David Feharty, Eddie Polland and Norman Drew.

Daly, who served as club professional, famously became the first Irishman to lift the Open Champion following his triumph at Royal Liverpool in 1947.

Proceedings were adjourned on Wednesday to allow Mr Justice Horner to go and look at the hole.

Following his inspection the parties held discussions aimed at resolving the dispute.

An order was then drawn up by consent which involves the erection of additional fencing on the third hole and a change to the tee position.

The situation is expected to be monitored until proceedings resume next year.

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