read an article today on Mail Online about a lady golfer, Rachel Davis, who was hit in the face by a golf ball shortly after finishing her game.  It seems that she and two playing partners were walking along a designated pathway back to the car park when a ball struck her in the face and then in her chest.  She lost a tooth and was bloodied and bruised.  " />

Stray Golf Ball Causes Injury

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The offending ball came from the driving range, situated to the left of the path.  Between the path and the driving range there was a fence and safety netting, which was partly concealed by a line of conifer trees.  However, there was damage to the fence near to where she was hit and gaps elsewhere along the fenceline.  Repairs had been undertaken using a larger mesh, large enough for golf balls to pass through.  Square peg and round hole comes to mind. 

The Club was fined £5000 with £3515 in costs, and Mrs Davies was compensated for her injury.

I read with interest the varying comments by other readers.  Strong opinions for and against.  I won't repeat what was suggested with regard to the lawyer who represented her!

I have to say that I have some sympathy for the Club; Golf Courses, like most sports venues, inherently carry a risk.  And, yes, we do all have a responsibility to take care for our own safety.  But for me the point here is simple.  Health and Safety Legislation is there for a reason.  The country has not gone totally risk averse, but surely prevention is better than cure, isn't it? 

This is a clear case where, had proper measures been put in place, this accident would never have happened.  Nor would the Club have received negative publicity.  In this day and age, no-one needs that.

All they had to do was make sure that the fence was fit for purpose, i.e. to stop golf balls.  When positioned alongside a driving range, surely this is just basic common sense? It is, of course, always possible that the odd ball may go astray, so make sure that your members and their guests are aware of the risk.  Put up a prominent sign, clearly indicating any potential danger.  Perhaps it is not obvious that a driving range is hidden the other side of some trees?  Interesting, in this case, a sign has now been erected.

I think that we all take risks in our everyday lives.  Just stepping outside our front door exposes us to a risk.  Sometimes when the risk is high, the pleasure is greater; it is simply more fun!  In such cases there is not much that can be done to limit the risk and a participant understands and consents to this. But here, I cannot see that it was that difficult.

Deborah Blackmore

Litigation Executive - Personal Injury team

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