Who ever said that golf is not a contact sport has never been struck by a golf ball. If you have ever had the misfortune of being injured on a golf course, you know it’s a good idea to be aware of your surroundings at all times. But if you are the owner of a golf course, what do you do when someone is injured on your course? Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent golf ball injuries, take proper care of an injured golfer, and protect yourself and your course in the meantime.
Injuries on the Golf Course
According to Golf Digest, some 40,000 golfers visit emergency rooms each year after being injured on the course. This usually occurs due to wayward golf balls and dislodged club heads (a terrifying feeling if you’ve ever experienced it). Though rare, golf course accidents have unfortunately even been fatal. This may also happen to a passerby, spectator, or neighbor of the golf course.
Ways to Prevent Golf Ball Injuries (and others)
Prevention is always the best way to handle a potential liability claim. Here are some tips on preventing injuries on your course.
- Safe Course Designed: Ensure that your course is designed safely so that golfers are not positioned to be golfing toward others.
- Maintain Your Course: Make sure brick path ways and other manmade structures are not neglected.
- Proper Signage: Post signage reinforcing proper golf course etiquette.
- Escort Trespassers to Exit: If you find someone trespassing, accompany them to the exit (there are cases where injuries to trespassers have brought damages to the course).
As you can see, negligence is the biggest issue. Make sure to maintain your course and train your crew on policing any golfers who seem to be negligent or are acting abnormally.
What to Do when Someone is Injured
If in fact someone is injured while on your course, what are the proper steps to take? First ensure that you get immediate medical attention to the injured party. Then contact legal counsel and your insurance agent for further direction. Once that is done, it would be wise to gather as much information about the incident as possible. Conduct your own interviews of anyone directly involved, any witnesses, and document the conditions of the grounds or course at the time. Having kept records of maintenance and the standard of upkeep you enforce on your course will be invaluable if the damages are claimed.
Liability Insurance Protects You
Who is liable for golf ball injuries or similar incidents? The golfer who actually struck the golf ball is generally not liable for injuries resulting in an errant shot. Over the years, courts have generally concluded that being struck by a golf ball is an inherent risk of the game agreed upon by any who enter the course. The owner of the course may or may not be held liable, depending on the whether or not negligence is proven. No matter what is determined, having a robust liability policy is imperative for any golf course owner. This will help cover costs such as damages and legal fees.
At H&K Insurance, we understand the nature of golf courses and country clubs and the potential risks to owners. If you’d like to learn more about our Golf & Country Club Program, you can read more here. Please contact us to get a free quote, or if you have any other questions about your coverage.
Brian began working at H&K Insurance Agency in 1992. He is a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and an exceptionally qualified insurance professional helping clients protect their assets, and create future financial security in all areas of insurance. Brian specializes in helping golf clubs manage risk by creating insurance plans to protect clubs and their members. Brian oversees H&K’s regular donations to charitable organizations at both local and national levels and runs seminars for local communities on how to protect their assets with insurance contracts.