Who ever said that golf is not a contact sport has clearly never been struck by a golf ball.
Imagine you had a busy week at work so you got distracted, or your hands were a bit shaky or your vision blurred after a few too many cold ones at the clubhouse. So you shank your tee shot (to the great amusement of your mates), and unintentionally send an errant golf ball flying through the air and into the woods, like a war missile. Heartbreakingly you watch it descend, shattering the kitchen windows of one of the nearby residential units along the Fairway. Ouch! This is going to hurt your wallet.
Golf courses increasingly find themselves surrounded by more intensive housing and busier roads, which inevitable increases the risk of damage which you as a player might be liable. Courts have universally rejected the defense that the neighbour brought the nuisance upon himself and rules that a landowner is entitled to the enjoyment of his property, including freedom from golf balls replicating surface-to-air projectiles.
The golf course owner should be just as concerned. The law on liability resulting from injuries caused by errant golf balls is not clear and the damage to the golf course owner could be financial and substantial. The owner's liability depends, however, on the circumstances of each case.
Now, imagine even worse; your soaring golf ball commits the ultimate sin and hits another player in the head. Ouch!
Most golfers are well aware of the risk of oncoming golf balls hitting you in the head when out on the course, but few would know that the injury rate is in fact 1.8 per 1,000.
According to Golf Digest, some 40,000 golfers visit emergency rooms each year after being injured on the course, usually due to wayward golf balls and dislodged club heads. Terrifying enough, even though rare, there’s even reportings of golf course accidents which have been fatal. This may also happen to a passerby, spectator, or neighbor of the golf course.
Furthermore, Golf.com recently reported that between 16-41 percent of amateur golfers are injured by golf balls annually, which has now caused for a UK based proposal by insurance companies to require golfers to wear crash helmets when playing golf in order to reduce the financial burden of injuries.
A spokesperson for the agency said thousands of pounds are paid out in golf related injuries, especially head injuries caused by errant golf balls, and that the sport now needs to take greater precautions and put safety measures in place.
The UK helmet campaign could be considered a tongue in cheek proposal that sugarcoats a serious issue with dire consequences.
Whilst wearing a helmet on course might seem ridiculous to most, increased cases of serious injury or death on (or around) Australian golf courses would suggest having steadfast insurance is vital. And golf ball incidents only scratches the surface – Swinging golf clubs, rolling golf carts and horseplay around the course can all cause considerable damage to people and property – which is why golf insurance is critical.
Golf Clubs need to be aware of risk and manage it effectively.
Golf Business Australia (GBA), Australia’s premium provider of golf industry insurance, has teamed up with Epar & Country Club International among others to deliver an end-to-end risk solution for its partnering clubs.
Our premium range of golf insurance products aim to offer a total golfing peace of mind – whether you are looking for golf insurance for your golf equipment, insurance cover for your buggy or that all important on course third party liability protection, GBA got you covered!
Call one of our dedicated professionals today on 1300 852 025 or fill out the form on our website and we’ll be in touch to start your journey soon.
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