WINDSOR, ONT. -- A popular golf practice range is restricting the use of number one drivers after golfers intentionally cleared the property with their drives into neighbouring businesses, drawing police attention in the process.

“They don’t realize how far balls can travel these days,” says Theresa Lecours, the owner of Silver Tee Golf and Virtual Gaming Centre in Oldcastle, Ont. “And then we have the baseball players coming in and just wanna kill every ball.”

Lecours says everyone is looking for something new to do this summer and many are turning to golf — which she says is great.

But she says some newer golfers are learning they have the power, club technology and wind conditions to clear the tall netting that stands 250 yards from the tee boxes. In some cases, the golf balls are leaving her property and striking neighbouring businesses.

“We have a lot of people that are intentionally trying to hit buildings, trying to hit parked cars behind us,” Lecours says.

The practice range already uses flight limited golf balls but after a recent police situation, something more drastic needed to be done.

“These was four OPP cars that pulled in the driveway,” recalls Chance Conrad, who was giving lessons at the time. “I’m thinking what’s going on here? But it was more so where businesses were complaining and to the point where they’ve got to take some action here.”

Lecours says none of the golfers would take responsibility for their drives leaving the range — forcing her to take further action.

“To keep our neighbours happy, we’ve had to limit our drivers and keeping the ball under 250 yards so they’re not flying over our nets,” Lecours says. “Hitting parked cars is not a cool thing. That’s not what we want to do here. We’re here about having fun, keeping everybody safe, healthy and happy.”

There are exceptions to the new rule.

Beginners, junior golfers and seniors — as well as anyone taking lessons with a professional are still allowed to hit the big stick.

Golf professional Chance Conrad regularly teaches lessons at Silver Tee. He admits drivers are the most fun to hit because they send the ball the farthest, but suggests golfers pull some different clubs instead.

“It sucks for people that are spending time and money to practice,” says Conrad. “Work on your irons, hit some hybrids or wedges and your scores will go lower that way focusing on that instead of just trying to be a hero and think you’re cool by hitting it over a fence and possibly damaging something.”

Lecours adds Silver Tee also boasts an indoor virtual gaming centre where golfers can hit the ball as hard as they want with whichever club they wish, with no risk to themselves or neighbouring businesses. The indoor centre opened in mid-August when Windsor-Essex moved to Stage 3 of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CTV reached out to neighbouring businesses who either declined to comment or did not respond to our requests.