‘Golf Balls, Marine Wildlife, and Poor Design’ | Citizen Raises Concerns Over Canopy

Resident raises concerns about a canopy protecting those using the new Arroyo Seco Bicycle & Pedestrian Trail where golf balls from a nearby driving range bounce off into the Arroyo waterway in which he claims wildlife could mistaken them for eggs and therefore be swallowed

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com News | South Pasadena resident Ed Simpson has expressed concern about golf balls from the Arroyo Seco Golf Course driving range bouncing off a protective net over a walking and cycling path and bouncing into the Arroyo wash

Wayward golf balls coming off the driving range at the Arroyo Seco Golf Course likely will no longer fall on users of a new walking and bicycling path as once feared.

With the construction of a protective canopy over a portion of the Arroyo Seco Bicycle & Pedestrian Trail before it officially opened last October, it appeared all concerns about the facility were laid to rest.

That is until a resident raised an issued during a recent South Pasadena City Council meeting about the netting and engineering of the netting over the walking area adjacent the driving range as part of the sixth of a mile pathway running from the Arroyo Seco Racquet Club to the Los Angeles border.

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Ed Simpson, speaking during public comment, called his report: “Golf Balls, Marine Wildlife, and Poor Design.” He presented the council with pictures of the covering while illustrating in red ink what happens when a golf ball soars on top from the nearby range.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com News | A grand opening was held for last fall for the Arroyo Seco Bicycle & Pedestrian Trail, which includes a safety protective covering over a portion running along a nearby golf course driving range. A resident claims the netting was poorly designed

Simpson claims it will end up where it shouldn’t–bouncing off into an area he doesn’t want it to go.

“The design is perfectly suited to protect walkers/bikers from golf balls coming over the high fence, but is poorly designed,” he explained. “This netting directs those golf balls to bounce off into the Arroyo waterway and eventually have them washed into the ocean, where it not only adds to the pollution of our oceans, but also, I believe, they are mistaken by ocean wildlife to be eggs and therefore swallowed.”

Several weeks ago, Simpson joined Councilmember Michael Cacciotti and Community Services Director Sheila Pautsch in picking up golf balls in the Arroyo, “but this problem needs a permanent solution,” he told council members.

During the meeting, Simpson talked about different options to address the issue, including one to lower the netting to form an angle back to the driving range. Other engineering designs to eliminate balls from going astray, far over the side fence, were also illustrated.

In addition to the engineering issue, he strongly suggests management at the golf course eliminate the driving stations closest to the fence and only use those further from the Arroyo.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com News | Resident Ed Simpson expressed his concerns about the design of a canopy to protect users of a pathway in the Arroyo, saying stray golf balls are going into the nearby waterway, where they could be confused as eggs and swallowed by wildlife

Because Simpson’s concerns were not on the council agenda, the 5-member panel could not publicly comment, South Pasadena Mayor Marina Khubesrian offering: “We will definitely look at this, it’s very helpful.”

Following the mid-January council meeting, City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe indicated that city staff would look into Simpson’s concerns.

Last fall, the trail opened with a ribbon cutting along the path in the1000 block of Lohman Lane near the Arroyo Seco Golf Course.

The $1.8 million project, spearheaded by Cacciotti, was funded by grants from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Committee, Los Angeles Regional Parks & Open Space District, Proposition C local return funds, and the City of South Pasadena.