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FULLERTON : Range Golf Balls Pepper Youth Hostel

Golfers are enthusiastic about a new driving range in the hills near the Brea Dam. Perhaps a little too enthusiastic.

Vigorous players have hit balls off the range and onto the grounds of a nearby youth hostel, once breaking a kitchen window and another time hitting a visiting traveler on the leg, according to Hosteling International director John Estrada.

Estrada said he met earlier this week with one of the owners of the Fullerton Golf Training Center and a city official to discuss the problem.

Brooks Corbin, part-owner of the driving range, said his company will install netting behind a stand of pine trees next to the hostel to keep the golf balls out.

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“The trees drop most of them,” Corbin said. “The consultants thought (the trees) would be sufficient. That’s proved not to be true, so we’ll put in the netting.”

The driving range at 1600 North Harbor Boulevard opened in May.

Because the city leased out the two properties, it has been involved in discussions on how to stop the errant golf shots.

“We’re certainly concerned about a liability issue,” said Kay Miller, superintendent of community services.

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Miller said the city recommends netting in front of the hostel and in front of the Velvet Turtle, a restaurant near the range, which has also complained about errant golf shots.

Andy Chavez, manager for the Velvet Turtle, said a few balls have come onto restaurant property but have not hit any cars or people.

“Someone would have to slice pretty bad,” said Chavez, since golfers hit balls eastward on the range and the restaurant is due south.

The netting should be in place within two weeks, Corbin said. “We’re trying to get this up as fast as possible,” he said.

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Meanwhile, visitors to the hostel were amused by the number of wayward drives.

Australian Donna Travers said seven or eight balls hit pine trees between the range and a spot on the hostel’s lawn, where she was sunning.

“I didn’t think my life was in danger or anything,” said Travers. Scores of balls were strewn on the slope under the pines.

“It’s been a nuisance, but I feel the situation is under control now,” Estrada said.

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