The issue you bring up is so prevalent that the California Assoc. of Realtors has included this subject on their 10-page SBSA (Statewide Buyer & Seller Advisory), sample attached. It would be in your best interest to perform your due diligence by interviewing neighbors adjacent to and near the subject property. Obtaining access to a C.L.U.E. Report, police reports, environmental and natural hazards disclosure reports, etc. would likely reveal a relationship between property damage and proximity to a golf course. Interestingly enough, stray golf balls seem to show up in areas miles away from public golf courses. Good luck in your due-diligence.
In any community adjacent to a Golf Course there is a chance of damage from stray golf balls. That is precisely why the Statewide Buyer and Seller Advisory (paragraph 18, page 4 of 10) has a discussion regarding "Errant Golf Balls ". Most golf courses take preventive measures, such as putting up screens or planting foliage to minimize the chance of such a mishap. However, you must realize, that with the privilege and pleasure of living on a golf course, comes the chance of the occasional errant golf ball.
The liklihood of this occurance will vary from home to home. So it is in your best interest, once you have identified the specific home you wish to purchase, to do your due diligence. Speak with the neighbors, ask the current owner of the property you are buying, take a tour of the golf course and see if there are any preventive measures taken by the golf course to limit the chance of stray golf balls hitting your house, and make sure that your homeowner's insurance has coverage that would protect you in the rare chance of golf ball mishap. Have your insurance agent or the seller provide you with a CLUE report (this will tell you about any insurance claims against the property's insurance in the past 5 years) and if you see that they made 5 claims a year for broken windows, damaged autos or broken roof tiles, then you know this home is "in the line of fire". Of course, this report is not fool proof, some homeowners will just pay for the broken window without reporting it to their insurance, but this would be part of your due diligence anyway.
Once you have satisfied yourself regarding the specific home you are buying, then proceed with the purchase. Believe me there are many people who would love to live on a golf course, even with the possiblity of the occasional stray golf ball. You should, and probably do, count yourself among the fortunate who actually can live in such a wonderful location. Dare to Dream.
Real Estate Consultant
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty