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Drones on the Golf Course


136 replies to this topic

#1 Canoe Paddler

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 08:31 PM

I play on a course thats in a fairly large neighborhood. On a few occasions, Iíve seen a drone on the driving range approximately 200 feet in the air. Not close enough to be too much of a nuisance, although the constant buzzing sound did interrupt an otherwise peaceful day.

This evening, I went out for a quick 9 holes on my own. On the 8th hole, a drone appeared behind me and followed me until I had putted out on the 9th hole. When I say followed, I mean 15-20 feet above me for 15 minutes. It was incredibly annoying. There are easily a hundred different houses that wouldíve been with range of this drone, so I have no way of knowing where itís coming from. I was tempted to try a few flop shots at it. Anyone had a similar experience? Curious to know what legal options there are here.


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#2 2putttom

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 08:34 PM

View PostCanoe Paddler, on 30 June 2018 - 08:31 PM, said:

I play on a course thats in a fairly large neighborhood. On a few occasions, I've seen a drone on the driving range approximately 200 feet in the air. Not close enough to be too much of a nuisance, although the constant buzzing sound did interrupt an otherwise peaceful day.

This evening, I went out for a quick 9 holes on my own. On the 8th hole, a drone appeared behind me and followed me until I had putted out on the 9th hole. When I say followed, I mean 15-20 feet above me for 15 minutes. It was incredibly annoying. There are easily a hundred different houses that would've been with range of this drone, so I have no way of knowing where it's coming from. I was tempted to try a few flop shots at it. Anyone had a similar experience? Curious to know what legal options there are here.
:WTF:   that would piss me off. Take it out with a hooded 4 iron.
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#3 ohioglfr

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 09:40 PM

If the houses line the perimeter of the course, I'd bring the matter up with the course superintendent.  Even if the houses are not actually on the course property,  there's probably legal recourse to remedy the situation, whether it's a municipal or private course.  A golf course is not a public park.

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#4 youngstructural

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 10:12 PM

You're in a public domain, you have no expectation of privacy.

Not sure there is a legal remedy.


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#5 Singapore Joe

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 12:44 AM

Don't go underneath one!
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#6 Golfsmitty

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 08:26 AM

View PostCanoe Paddler, on 30 June 2018 - 08:31 PM, said:

I play on a course thats in a fairly large neighborhood. On a few occasions, I've seen a drone on the driving range approximately 200 feet in the air. Not close enough to be too much of a nuisance, although the constant buzzing sound did interrupt an otherwise peaceful day.

This evening, I went out for a quick 9 holes on my own. On the 8th hole, a drone appeared behind me and followed me until I had putted out on the 9th hole. When I say followed, I mean 15-20 feet above me for 15 minutes. It was incredibly annoying. There are easily a hundred different houses that would've been with range of this drone, so I have no way of knowing where it's coming from. I was tempted to try a few flop shots at it. Anyone had a similar experience? Curious to know what legal options there are here.


Yeah that's unacceptable. While 200 feet probably would be a slight annoyance, 20 feet is criminal. That's close enough to huck a club at it and have a good chance of taking it out. That guy could have easily made an unrecoverable error that close and hit you with it. I've never had it happen on a golf course, but had it happen one time while I was fishing. But they weren't anywhere near 20 feet. It was probably at least 150 feet above me at all times.

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#7 tsecor

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 08:35 AM

its the government......what did you do to be followed like that? did u expose the chemtrail conspiracy?

that would bother me too, what did you end up doin?

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#8 Go_Time

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 08:45 AM

Unless you have state or local laws that address this specifically, the government owns the airspace above your golf course, even 1 inch above the grass. The course could possibly file civil suit if they found the owner, but that's unlikely to be successful. If they operator was identified and charged with public nuisance that also likely wouldn't be successful. The course could also argue that as a part of their business they utilize the airspace, say 150 feet above the ground as a part of play, which could be a more reasonable approach. One thing is certain, though, is that if you damage the drone with a flop-shot you are on the hook for property damage.

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#9 Hateto3Putt

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 09:50 AM



20 feet away? Iíd knock it out of the sky with a tossed club.

On the hook for property damage? Once I pull and destroy the SD card...prove it.

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#10 Canoe Paddler

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 10:43 AM

There are some good suggestions here. I was tempted to take the drone out, but based on what little I know, the current laws seem to favor the drone operator. I read a story about a year ago where a drone was hovering over a backyard pool with two teenage girls laying out. The father took the drone out with a shotgun and was arrested and had to pay for the drone as well. To me the father was well within his rights to do so, but the law disagrees. I love the idea of a well struck stinger right into the guts of the drone, but I would really hate to hand over a $500+ to some entitled punk.

I think my best option is to talk about it with the Head Pro and possibly the HOA. I highly doubt I am the only one this has happened to at this course.


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#11 ChipNRun

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 11:48 AM

That drone in the evening was an outside nuisance.

The shotgun drone incident outcomes would vary from state to state. Down in Texas or Okla, the dad would have received a civic achievement award.

There's legitimate drone usage... During tournaments, however, be aware that contracted event photographers sometimes use a drone for aerial shots of the tournament. In charity tourneys, the drone can often be used to get a high-angle group shot of the participants which the photogs couldn't get without setting up scaffolding.
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#12 2bGood

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 11:58 AM

View PostGo_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 08:45 AM, said:

One thing is certain, though, is that if you damage the drone with a flop-shot you are on the hook for property damage.

I doubt that is even close to certain when you review the relevant courts cases.


View PostCanoe Paddler, on 01 July 2018 - 10:43 AM, said:

There are some good suggestions here. I was tempted to take the drone out, but based on what little I know, the current laws seem to favor the drone operator. I read a story about a year ago where a drone was hovering over a backyard pool with two teenage girls laying out. The father took the drone out with a shotgun and was arrested and had to pay for the drone as well. To me the father was well within his rights to do so, but the law disagrees. I love the idea of a well struck stinger right into the guts of the drone, but I would really hate to hand over a $500+ to some entitled punk.

I think my best option is to talk about it with the Head Pro and possibly the HOA. I highly doubt I am the only one this has happened to at this course.

Not true. The father was arrested (This was more about firing a shotgun off in the middle of residential area), but the courts sided with him that he had the right to destroy the drone.
https://www.cnet.com...over-his-house/

Edited by 2bGood, 01 July 2018 - 12:39 PM.


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#13 2bGood

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 11:59 AM

I have said this before, but it is only a matter of time until upscale courses have drones on their carts giving you a real time fly over view of holes etc.

I won't be playing these courses.

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#14 Go_Time

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 12:27 PM

View Post2bGood, on 01 July 2018 - 11:58 AM, said:

View PostGo_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 08:45 AM, said:

One thing is certain, though, is that if you damage the drone with a flop-shot you are on the hook for property damage.

I doubt that is even close to certain when you review the relevant courts cases

sure, why don't you enlighten us with some examples

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#15 BNGL

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 12:50 PM

You hit a “stinger” at the drone take it out, it wobbles uncontrollably in the air and smokes a cyclist nearby before it crashes. The cyclist loses control and swerves into oncoming traffic, where a tanker truck is coming down the road. Hank (the trucker) throws down his Mountain Dew and immediately moves the wheel all the way left to avoid the biker, he jack knifes and careens into an old folks before it bursts into flames. Miraculously no one is injured.


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#16 Canoe Paddler

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 12:59 PM

View Post2bGood, on 01 July 2018 - 11:58 AM, said:

View PostGo_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 08:45 AM, said:

One thing is certain, though, is that if you damage the drone with a flop-shot you are on the hook for property damage.

I doubt that is even close to certain when you review the relevant courts cases.


View PostCanoe Paddler, on 01 July 2018 - 10:43 AM, said:

There are some good suggestions here. I was tempted to take the drone out, but based on what little I know, the current laws seem to favor the drone operator. I read a story about a year ago where a drone was hovering over a backyard pool with two teenage girls laying out. The father took the drone out with a shotgun and was arrested and had to pay for the drone as well. To me the father was well within his rights to do so, but the law disagrees. I love the idea of a well struck stinger right into the guts of the drone, but I would really hate to hand over a $500+ to some entitled punk.

I think my best option is to talk about it with the Head Pro and possibly the HOA. I highly doubt I am the only one this has happened to at this course.

Not true. The father was arrested (This was more about firing a shotgun off in the middle of residential area), but the courts sided with him that he had the right to destroy the drone.
https://www.cnet.com...over-his-house/

Iím very glad the courts sided with the father on this one. Laws need to quickly catch up to the technology of drones and the invasion of privacy they pose on private property. I would still imagine there is a risk in destroying a drone on the course, although in my neck of the woods, I doubt many folks would side with the owner of the drone. Especially if I took it out with my shotgun rather than a 4 iron.

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#17 2bGood

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 01:13 PM

View PostGo_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 12:27 PM, said:

View Post2bGood, on 01 July 2018 - 11:58 AM, said:

View PostGo_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 08:45 AM, said:

One thing is certain, though, is that if you damage the drone with a flop-shot you are on the hook for property damage.

I doubt that is even close to certain when you review the relevant courts cases

sure, why don't you enlighten us with some examples

Do you mean other than the one I posted above? Not sure I have to post more than that as one court ruling showing that a drone  can be legally destroyed over private property shows it is not certain you would be on the hook for damaging a drone with a flop shot . You set yourself up in a indefensible position on this issue as certainty is very easy to disprove particularly as we don't know what jurisdiction we are talking about or have any details.

But I also would not argue that it is certain you could destroy a drone without legal repercussions. It is a grey area in most countries.

Some countries have already made it illegal to fly drones over private property under certain heights deeming this trespassing. New Zealand is great example of this - they actual require permission from the property owner and/or an individual you fly over.

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#18 2bGood

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 01:15 PM

View PostCanoe Paddler, on 01 July 2018 - 12:59 PM, said:

View Post2bGood, on 01 July 2018 - 11:58 AM, said:

View PostGo_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 08:45 AM, said:

One thing is certain, though, is that if you damage the drone with a flop-shot you are on the hook for property damage.

I doubt that is even close to certain when you review the relevant courts cases.


View PostCanoe Paddler, on 01 July 2018 - 10:43 AM, said:

There are some good suggestions here. I was tempted to take the drone out, but based on what little I know, the current laws seem to favor the drone operator. I read a story about a year ago where a drone was hovering over a backyard pool with two teenage girls laying out. The father took the drone out with a shotgun and was arrested and had to pay for the drone as well. To me the father was well within his rights to do so, but the law disagrees. I love the idea of a well struck stinger right into the guts of the drone, but I would really hate to hand over a $500+ to some entitled punk.

I think my best option is to talk about it with the Head Pro and possibly the HOA. I highly doubt I am the only one this has happened to at this course.

Not true. The father was arrested (This was more about firing a shotgun off in the middle of residential area), but the courts sided with him that he had the right to destroy the drone.
https://www.cnet.com...over-his-house/

I'm very glad the courts sided with the father on this one. Laws need to quickly catch up to the technology of drones and the invasion of privacy they pose on private property. I would still imagine there is a risk in destroying a drone on the course, although in my neck of the woods, I doubt many folks would side with the owner of the drone. Especially if I took it out with my shotgun rather than a 4 iron.

Yes I am sure there is a risk. I am not sure I would go out of my way to damage the drone, but if it was in my line of play I would feel very comfortable firing a ball towards it and taking my chances in court.

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#19 Go_Time

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 07:24 PM

View Post2bGood, on 01 July 2018 - 01:13 PM, said:

View PostGo_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 12:27 PM, said:

View Post2bGood, on 01 July 2018 - 11:58 AM, said:

View PostGo_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 08:45 AM, said:

One thing is certain, though, is that if you damage the drone with a flop-shot you are on the hook for property damage.

I doubt that is even close to certain when you review the relevant courts cases

sure, why don't you enlighten us with some examples

Do you mean other than the one I posted above? Not sure I have to post more than that as one court ruling showing that a drone  can be legally destroyed over private property shows it is not certain you would be on the hook for damaging a drone with a flop shot . You set yourself up in a indefensible position on this issue as certainty is very easy to disprove particularly as we don't know what jurisdiction we are talking about or have any details.

But I also would not argue that it is certain you could destroy a drone without legal repercussions. It is a grey area in most countries.

Some countries have already made it illegal to fly drones over private property under certain heights deeming this trespassing. New Zealand is great example of this - they actual require permission from the property owner and/or an individual you fly over.

The article you linked mentions nothing about property damage, it details criminal offenses.

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#20 Medic

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 07:48 PM

Aren't there aps available for download that are used to control a drone?

If so could the OP download an ap and take control from the owner? Serious question as I don't know the security features of the personal use type drones.

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#21 2putttom

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 09:00 PM

 BNGL, on 01 July 2018 - 12:50 PM, said:

You hit a “stinger” at the drone take it out, it wobbles uncontrollably in the air and smokes a cyclist nearby before it crashes. The cyclist loses control and swerves into oncoming traffic, where a tanker truck is coming down the road. Hank (the trucker) throws down his Mountain Dew and immediately moves the wheel all the way left to avoid the biker, he jack knifes and careens into an old folks before it bursts into flames. Miraculously no one is injured.
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#22 DrCRHop

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 11:45 AM

Maybe it was Amazon trying to deliver your order.

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#23 Waterboy

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 12:10 PM

Airspace is airspace.  Unless you are in a restricted area as shown on FAA maps, its open to fly. Common courtesy should have kept the pilot from hovering near you. Flying directly over you is an issue unless you have prior approval from the FAA.

I believe some communities have adopted regulations that restrict flight in certain areas but more for privacy laws. Think voyeur laws.  I am a licensed with the FAA for drones for work and have to abide by the rules or else I have some issues to deal with.

I've flown multiple golf courses with my own aircraft but only share the info with consent with the golf course. Most of the time its supers wanting to check out mowing lines, turf conditions and overall course quality.
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#24 VNutz

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 12:16 PM

Just talk to the course and see what they can do about it. Much less of a headache then if you take it out and then have to deal with any consequences like those mentioned above.

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#25 MtlJeff

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 03:08 PM

Shooting guns into the air to take down drones sounds like a fantastic idea.

Bullets fired into the air at an angle are dangerous, and will come back down to earth with less velocity but enough to injure or kill bystanders.

Not sure what the laws on shooting down a drone are, but I think the laws on a stray bullet hitting someone in the neck and killing them are a bit more straightforward

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#26 From_Parts_Unknown

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 03:19 PM

 MtlJeff, on 02 July 2018 - 03:08 PM, said:

Shooting guns into the air to take down drones sounds like a fantastic idea.

Bullets fired into the air at an angle are dangerous, and will come back down to earth with less velocity but enough to injure or kill bystanders.

Not sure what the laws on shooting down a drone are, but I think the laws on a stray bullet hitting someone in the neck and killing them are a bit more straightforward

What a coincidence, I just had a friend of mine tell me how her step mom in Oklahoma was hit in the back by a stray bullet from neighbors shooting into the air.  Thankfully it had lost pretty much all of it's velocity but it still somehow broke the skin and lodged itself underneath.  She was fine and didn't even need stitches.  Doctors said based on where it hit her in the spine, if it had velocity, it most likely would have severed her spinal cord.  Very dangerous stuff.

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#27 MtlJeff

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 03:26 PM

 From_Parts_Unknown, on 02 July 2018 - 03:19 PM, said:

 MtlJeff, on 02 July 2018 - 03:08 PM, said:

Shooting guns into the air to take down drones sounds like a fantastic idea.

Bullets fired into the air at an angle are dangerous, and will come back down to earth with less velocity but enough to injure or kill bystanders.

Not sure what the laws on shooting down a drone are, but I think the laws on a stray bullet hitting someone in the neck and killing them are a bit more straightforward

What a coincidence, I just had a friend of mine tell me how her step mom in Oklahoma was hit in the back by a stray bullet from neighbors shooting into the air.  Thankfully it had lost pretty much all of it's velocity but it still somehow broke the skin and lodged itself underneath.  She was fine and didn't even need stitches.  Doctors said based on where it hit her in the spine, if it had velocity, it most likely would have severed her spinal cord.  Very dangerous stuff.

I researched it a bit after I saw a CSI episode where the victim died like that, was a few years ago.

But it happens. Apparently in Puerto Rico people get injured every year during their new years celebration. I think there was 1-2 deaths a year too just in that day

Edited by MtlJeff, 02 July 2018 - 03:26 PM.

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#28 aliikane

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 03:35 PM

 2bGood, on 01 July 2018 - 11:58 AM, said:

 Go_Time, on 01 July 2018 - 08:45 AM, said:

One thing is certain, though, is that if you damage the drone with a flop-shot you are on the hook for property damage.

I doubt that is even close to certain when you review the relevant courts cases.


 Canoe Paddler, on 01 July 2018 - 10:43 AM, said:

There are some good suggestions here. I was tempted to take the drone out, but based on what little I know, the current laws seem to favor the drone operator. I read a story about a year ago where a drone was hovering over a backyard pool with two teenage girls laying out. The father took the drone out with a shotgun and was arrested and had to pay for the drone as well. To me the father was well within his rights to do so, but the law disagrees. I love the idea of a well struck stinger right into the guts of the drone, but I would really hate to hand over a $500+ to some entitled punk.

I think my best option is to talk about it with the Head Pro and possibly the HOA. I highly doubt I am the only one this has happened to at this course.

Not true. The father was arrested (This was more about firing a shotgun off in the middle of residential area), but the courts sided with him that he had the right to destroy the drone.
https://www.cnet.com...over-his-house/

I bet they kept flying it over his house because somehow they had information that he didn't it like flying it over his house.

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#29 aliikane

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 03:37 PM

I don't think drones should be on the course unless authorized by the course.

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#30 platgof

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 04:33 PM

Get with the times man, you don't have an anti-drone in your bag, really!

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