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Church Staff 'Lives in Fear' Of Top Golf's Golf Balls

9:30 AM, Nov 9, 2011   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) -- For golfers, there's nothing more pleasing to the ear than the sound of clubs hitting golf balls. But for members of a church in Fairfax, that sound instills fear.

The Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church is located on the other side of the Top Golf driving range, and the church's property is being pelted daily by golf balls. It's been going on for years, but the issue came to a head last April when a youth pastor for the church was hit on the head.

"The ball came through the trees and hit him on the head. He fell to the ground, stunned but not unconscious," said Robert Mackey, Ruling Elder at the Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Mackey says he's found more than 2,600 golf balls on the church's property in the last year alone.

"Many car windows have been smashed. Even office windows have been smashed," said Mackey. "Our staff lives with the fear of being hit by a golf ball any time and that just doesn't seem right to me."

Willie Wilson, Top Golf's general manager, says they've done everything possible to keep the golf balls off the church's property. They've put up nets and posted warning signs. They've even banned golfers from using their drivers on Sundays.

"We have been good neighbors. When there's been an issue, such as a broken window, we've fixed it. And we have done so without hesitation," said Wilson.  "With all due respect, we have done what's right and we will continue to do what's right to show that we care about the community."   

"We don't want to see them move. Or close down," said Mackey. "We just need this barrage of golf balls to come to an end for the safety of the congregation."

The church is so concerned that they've taken the matter to a Fairfax court. They want Top Golf to be prosecuted as an ongoing public nuisance, and last month a special grand jury agreed. The issue could no go to a jury trial in January.

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