We have all seen the sad sight of unexpecting fans hit by a foul ball, rogue puck, a mishit golf shot, or even an overserved tennis ball. Many of these sports have already adopted safety netting and are actively expanding their use in professional settings, but only after hard-learned lessons.

Some sports, like basketball, assert that netting isn’t feasible and, in fact, sell floor tickets where being tackled by a pro athlete may be part of the experience. Professional golf courses, in particular, claim that netting separating the crowds that gather from the field of play is simply impossible due to the massive field of play. While it is true that netting the entire hole can’t be done while sustaining the integrity of the game, erecting a net to protect those near the driving green is a practice that should be adopted. Spectators hundreds of yards away usually have plenty of time to identify a mishit ball and protect themselves. Still, someone watching a drive only yards away would have no chance to defend themselves from a ball traveling 168 mph.

Baseball has learned how crucial foul ball netting is, with over 1,700 fans injured by bats and balls yearly. The MLB recently changed its recommendations for ballparks to extend their foul ball netting down the foul lines to protect spectators from line drives that can hospitalize them. But a poorly constructed or maintained net can be just as useless as not having a net if an errant ball can slip through a hole or blast right through weakened strands in the net to reach fans that think themselves protected.

The injuries caused by balls or pucks entering the stands of sports arenas can be devastating or even deadly to unsuspecting fans. Netting is a simple, effective, and affordable solution to protect spectators while allowing them an unimpeded view of the action.

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