news that golfer Anthony Phee from Manchester has won his case against Niddry Golf Club in East Lothain, Scotland  after losing an eye during a round of golf in August 2007. " />

"FORE!" Hundred Thousand Pounds

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Phee also sued the player who struck the ball, James Gordon from Livingstone, and claimed damages of £750,000 against the club and player.  Phee argued that Mr Gordon had played an unsafe shot and was at fault. The case against the club was based on an alleged breach of its duty of care towards the player.Lord Brailsford at the Court of Session in Edinburgh found that primary liability for the incident rested with Mr Gordon, saying he had been over-confident in his ability to hit a good shot that day.

He stated: "When Mr Gordon arrived at the 18th tee on the day in question, he made the error of over-estimating the likelihood of his tee shot following its desired or intended path to its intended target and, simultaneously, under-estimating the degree of risk to which his shot would place the pursuer and his three companions then proceeding on the path between the sixth green and the seventh tee. He added: "As a result of this overconfidence Mr Gordon made his tee shot at a time when the exercise of reasonable care should have informed him that there was a foreseeable risk that his shot might be bad and, further, might encroach on the area being traversed by the pursuer (Phee, the Claimant).  "I consider that these risks should have been within the contemplation of Mr Gordon because he should have appreciated that every golfer, no matter his or her degree of competence, will make bad shots."

The Court of Session in Edinburgh found Gordon was 70% liable and Niddry Castle Golf Club, 30% liable.  Lawyers for the parties agreed damages following the hearing.

This case does not create new legal precedent but many observers (mostly golf fanatics) say this decision will cause huge insurance difficulties for golf clubs up and down the UK. Will it?  All cases turn on their own facts after all.


Grant Evatt    

Senior Solicitor - Personal Injury team 

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