On unlucky No. 13, golfers under constant surveillance

RUDY MILLER, Lehighvalleylive.com (TNS)
  • A judge has ruled that a Pa. golf course must monitor every shot on No. 13.
  • A couple living next to the course has filed a lawsuit about errant shots pelting their property.
  • The golf course must produce the videos any time the judge requests them.

A Northampton County judge has ordered an Easton-area golf course to monitor golfers on the 13th hole to keep them from putting neighbors’ safety at risk.

Jerzy and Halina Wisniewski say dozens of balls keep flying off the Morgan Hill Golf Course into their property.


Jerzy Wisniewski said he’s been hit in the head and his wife’s been hit in the back by balls during the years they’ve lived at 625 Cedarville Road in Williams Township.

While their 2-year-old lawsuit against the golf course plays out, Judge Michael Koury ordered the golf course on Wednesday to maintain a surveillance camera at the troublesome hole to record every golfer’s swing.

The golf course must produce the videos any time the judge requests them. Golfers are prohibited from swinging from the three permanent tees, according to the court order. They must swing from the practice tees in order to minimize the danger for the Wisniewskis.

The Polish couple brought a bag full of 50 golf balls to court in October, saying all of them were deposited in their yard despite a court order from July 5, 2016, ordering Morgan Hill to keep the balls out.

“My safety comes to an end the same day golf season starts,” Halina Wisniewski testified through a Polish language interpreter.

Jerzy Wisniewski said the couple has been dealing with the errant balls for 14 years. They can’t enjoy walking through their wooded property because they’re afraid they’ll get hit. One ball recently broke a roof tile. They say they collect at least a 5-gallon bucket’s worth of balls a year.

“This is like slavery. This is impossible, “ Jerzy Wisniewski said through the interpreter in October.

“My clients are happy with the immediate decision,” said attorney R.J. Brasko, who represents the Wisniewskis. “We’re hoping justice continues to be served.”

Golf course attorney Erv McLain said the cameras will prove once and for all that no golf balls are coming into the Wisniewskis’ yard. He believes the balls that the Wisniewskis continue to find were deposited there before the July 5 court order.

Regarding the camera order, McLain said, “ I’m a little disappointed I didn’t think of it myself.”

He said the cameras will be permanent. They’ll be similar to ones that hunters post to monitor game for long stretches of time.

Morgan Hill Director of Golf Operations Patrick Mallory said as long as golfers keep to the practice tees, a ball would have to shoot directly sideways to make it to the Wisniewskis’ property.

He said he closed two of the three tee boxes at the 13th hole after the court order. He and a ranger watched every tee shot at that hole for three weeks and none of them went into the Wisniewskis’ property, he said.

“I believe the cameras are going to show that golf balls are not being hit into these peoples’ houses. It’s not happening,” McLain said.