Alert — and safety conscious golfer — Philip Corbo writes:

I am an avid golfer. My handicap is around 4. I hit the ball in excess of 100 mph.

At Longshore, the entrance road runs between the 6th and 7th holes. Although I generally keep the ball in play, that was not the case on my 7th hole tee shot the other day.

My shot headed directly for a car. Our group heard a loud bang. We thought the worst.

Fortunately, it hit a speed limit sign. There was no damage to the car, or anyone.

Not 30 seconds after my errant shot though, a person came into view pushing a stroller — at the exact spot where the sign was.

The sign on the Longshore entrance road is clear. (Photo/Philip Corbo)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve warned people of the dangers, but it seems to fall on deaf ears.

Ten or so years ago, someone was pushing a stroller down the same road. The toddler was not so lucky. The ball took one bounce off the road, and struck the baby in the head. The infant spent the next several months in the hospital — and was lucky to live.

Longshore is a beautiful place for a stroll — but it is not the place for babies in strollers.

I hope this message garners attention. It is an accident waiting to happen — again.

25 responses to “Fore!

  1. Caryl Beatus

    WELL SAID . .

  2. Joyce Barnhart

    I appreciate Mr. Corbo’s concern. What are the hours for the golf course? There must be some times at the beginning and the end of the day when there are no golfers on the course and there is less risk of errant shots.

    • Philip Corbo

      Hi Joyce, generally when it is dark there are not any golfers, or in the middle of winter when it is 10 degrees outside.

      • Joyce Barnhart

        Boy! They’re a dedicated bunch. Aren’t there any set hours when people either aren’t allowed yet, or have to be leave the course?

  3. Pat Saviano

    Well said. Someone lost their eye at Oak Hills two years ago. The course is beautiful but it’s a dangerous place to walk.

  4. Addison A. Armstrong

    This is an important public reminder. Thank you for posting it, Phil!

  5. Philip Perlah

    Does the summer road racing series still go through Longshore?

  6. John L Krause

    Teeny, tiny distinction, but, should DANGER really be in Quotes?
    Makes me think, Danger,

    We have moved into a world of entitlement where if you get hit by a train standing on the tracks it’s the Train’s fault for not looking out for you being there.
    “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!”

  7. Joshua Stein

    There must be a way to put netting on a stroller?

    Also makes you think about some recent events, i.e. at baseball stadiums, and how stadiums have taken steps to protect fans.

    Perhaps some netting is needed along the road? Even if one eye is saved it could be worth it.

    There are multiple reasons one may be on the road through the course: Longshore Sailing School, the pools/swimming, boating/marina, people live in the apartments/homes on the course, etc. So, one may not just be there to golf and may be forced to assume the risks…could be some liability there for the town…

  8. John Cravenho

    Maybe it’s time for temporary netting to be raised in more risky spots when the course is open. It will when somebody gets hit and dies – why wait for that to prompt responsible action?

  9. Jackie Kaplan

    I completely agree that this is a dangerous place to walk. I play tennis at Long Shore very often during the summer and always roll my windows and close my sunroof on my way in and out of LS for that very same reason. The gorgeous beach is right around the corner for a beautiful walk. Please be careful!!!

  10. Christopher Saxe

    I am not a golfer, so it has never occurred to me walking, biking or driving into Longshore that I am in danger. A small hard object hurtling through the air at 100 mph is no joke!

    I believe there really should be a larger sign, just after the entrance pillars, with appropriate warnings. Motorists should be more appropriately warned too, especially in convertibles, or with the windows down.

    Not that Westport drivers ignore signage and the rules of the road, however, perhaps a sign on the left side of the driveway might attract a driver’s attention better? Both sides?

    Thank you, Philip, for the warning.

  11. Jane Dally

    As a member of the Longshore Women’s Golf Association and the Golf Advisory Committee, I also agree that the roads around Longshore Golf Course are no place for baby strollers. Young mothers often seem oblivious to players on the course and errant golf shots. The same goes with dog walkers and bikers. Golfers tee off before 7am and often finish up around 8pm with the extended daylight hours. Vigilance is important on everyone’s part.

  12. Matt Murray

    Maybe we need better golfers? (just kidding, it’s a joke. Sorta.)

  13. Janine Scotti

    I just got back from getting my beach stickers and I happened to be able to speak to three people who were biking and walking on the long shore roads around the golf course. I shared with them the information that happened to be in Dan’s blog today and asked them if they really thought about how this was such a risk to walk or bike there? The biker was very grateful for my concern and the two other men were older gentleman, and even though they knew about the beach and Winslow they seem to be shrugging their shoulders like, I know what chances I’m taking.

    The previous comment about the other things that are in the Longshore facility really made me pause and think that we are inviting children who might be old enough to ride their bikes to go swim or work at those facilities but we really are not giving them a safe-way in to the facility. Maybe some of those comments are right, maybe we need to think about how to make sure people are safe it might not just be a casual walk it might be a necessity to come in that way on a bicycle or walking, for example, it might be your summer job and your parents are working to drive you.

  14. Michael Nayor

    Until about ten-fifteen years ago there were very few walkers around the Longshore golf course. But then a controversy seemed to arise with respect to who was ‘entitled” to use Longshore. Since it was public facility some people felt strongly that the public grounds should be open to all. And thus the ensuing dilemma. Unfortunately being right about a position and being sensible can be mutually exclusive. I’ve seen walkers on a few occasions stride right in front of golfers teeing off because they have as much “right” to enjoy the grounds as golfers.

    This same attitude also creates danger on our roads when walkers stride three abreast out onto a street, or walk in the same direction as traffic instead of against traffic, thereby signaling drivers that its not their job to look out for vehicles but the other way around. The worst of course are the pedestrians who wear dark clothing at night on the wrong side of the road.

    No one is arguing against an enjoyable walk, but please be careful. It’s not always the other person’s obligation. Safety is everyone’s obligation.

  15. This issue was my personal crusade a number of years ago. I stopped a mom on her phone with her baby in a stroller walking towards the first tee and told her it was dangerous. She told me to mind my own f’ing business! I then went in the clubhouse and was told by the staff that they stopped warning people because of that type of response. Infuriating! I obviously was/is concerned for innocent babies but also for golfers who are doing nothing wrong but playing the game and an incident could ruin their lives as well. Something has to be done.

  16. Kate Pfeffer

    As a runner in Westport, there are actually very few safe places to run. I run in Longshore (occasionally with my child in a stroller) because there is less risk of being hit by a car. I always keep the canopy down, and stop and wait if I see golfers teeing off close to the road. I’ve learned living in this town that you always have to be on the defensive as a runner. I run daily throughout Westport (usually not with a stroller) – always opposite traffic in areas with no sidewalk, and on the sidewalk when available. I have a near collision with a distracted or oblivious driver at least once a week. Very few stop at crosswalks, or look both ways when turning on a road that has a sidewalk. Longshore is a golf course, but it is also a town park, with a pool, playground, and other attractions for families with young kids. Perhaps golfers can also try to be aware of the pedestrians and bikers on the road, especially those concerned that they may not be able to keep their ball on the course. I’m curious where all those chiming in suggest one safely run in Westport, especially with a stroller, as many sidewalks are narrow or in disrepair. I have yet to find a place. A reader suggests Compo Beach. While pushing two of my children in a jogging stroller there, I was nearly mowed down in a crosswalk. I suggest that we all slow down – whether in our cars, on the golf course, our bikes, or our two feet – and share the roads and parks with one another.

    • Thanks, Kate — points very well taken.

      The other side of the coin are, unfortunately, runners themselves. I’m up and about before dawn, sometimes — certainly in winter. The number of runners at that time who run 1) with, rather than against traffic, while 2) wearing very dark clothing from head to toe, and 3) are out in all kinds of weather, including snow when they could slip or a driver could hit ice, and even 4) running in the middle of the road if there’s too much snow on the ground, is mind-boggling.

      We need better drivers. And better runners.

      And don’t get me started on the 3-abreast bicycle riders!

    • Kate Pfeffer

      Dan, I absolutely agree that runners (and cyclists) need to take proper safety precautions to make themselves visible to drivers. I always wear reflective gear in the morning and evening hours. I also make eye contact with drivers before crossing an intersection. That’s what has saved me from many near accidents on my runs. I came within inches of being hit just a couple of weeks ago crossing the intersection of Keyser and Imperial when a driver rolled into a right turn without checking to see if anyone was crossing the street. I wish we had a running/bike path in town, but we don’t. Longshore is one of the few places I can run without worrying as much about cars, but then I risk being hit by an errant golf ball. It’s a frustrating place to live as a runner…and as a mom of young kids who would love a safe place to ride bikes or go for a stroll.

      • Hmm…that’s a tough one. How are the tracks (Staples and PJ Romano, behind Saugatuck El)? Wakeman athletic fields? Sherwood Island?

  17. Irene Mastriacovo

    The responsibility is with the person/persons entering a golf course to be aware of their surroundings. Common sense. Thanks for the reminder, Phil. I will remember this as I bike, walk and drive through the roads at Longshore.

  18. Let me tell you only that a friend hit one at the road on the 6th hole, a par five. Broke a woman’s nose who went to the hospital covered in blood and sued and won an undisclosed amount. Fortunately, didn’t kill her.
    Ironically, I believe this is negligence of the golf course to allow anyone to walk, run or bicycle through a golf course like this.
    Warning signs obviously deter no one.
    Golfers, especially at a municipal golf course are only so good.
    I view this as gross stupidity and a reflection of the management.
    Wake up and enforce a NO WALKING, NO RUNNING, NO BICYCLES POLICY!!!