Fore! – Pinning Down Golf Course Safety.

golf course safety

Understanding Health and Safety On The Golf Course

In this post we look at Golf Course Safety and the risks involved in the everyday running of these facilities.

Over the last few years we have seen a spate in members, day visitors and in recent months grounds men taking legal action against golf clubs or courses.

Case Study

In 2007 we saw the case of Anthony Phee suing Niddry Castle Golf Club in West Lothian and a fellow golfer after he was struck by a golf ball and lost the sight in one eye, despite the fellow golfer shouting Fore! Anthony was awarded £397,000 and it was deemed the Golf club were responsible for 30% of the pay-out.

In 2012 we heard about Green keeper Derek Bond suing Peterhead Golf Club for £150,000 after he alleged they asked him to mow a hill at the club, Derek tied a rope to the mower and allegedly swung it side to side to cut the grass, he slipped and damaged his leg in the process.

New Hazards On Golf Courses

Now as we know these are not regular occurrences but as you see, they do happen. On a recent golf day of my own I came across an all too common sight on the course and it made me think! Unusually for me… (Ok it’s a regular event) I hit my drive in to a bunker on the fairway, as I walked up to the bunker I could see my ball sat up nicely so I stepped in to play my shot.

As I stepped in I hadn’t noticed the rake half buried by the sand or that its green head had blended in to the grass colouring, I stepped on the rake and noticed just in time before the handle swung up and hit me in a Side Show Bob style Simpsons comedy moment.

We laugh about it now but thinking back if it had hit me causing damage or injury, who would be to blame? Judging by the cases above I very much doubt the Golf Club would have any case to contest any claim.

During my round I continued to notice potential risk issue and witnessed an elder gentleman walk straight under a roped off area to play his ball. Now this area was being worked on with the odd tool lying around so you’d assume no one would be daft enough to enter and play their ball, but there you go proof it does happen.

What if there had been an open hole obstructed from view? There was only the thin red and white barrier tape to stop you entering.

Taking Responsibility For Health and Safety On Golf Courses

These claims and recent personal events along with our nature of business got me looking in to Health & Safety at Golf clubs on the whole. Golf is unique in sport, in that green-keeper’s or contractors working on a course remain in the ‘field of play’ during the game.

Obviously the green-keeper’s role is to carry out essential works, remodeling of fairways and greens, and general duties on and around the course on a daily basis, the aim is to carry these works out as early as possible as to not disrupt members play, but are these works carried out safely and to structured guidelines? Will an employee’s actions cause the club to face legal action like those seen at the start of the blog?

We decided that at Ambercroft Solutions we can help minimize these risks by making sure correct procedures and paperwork are in place before to cover all eventualities on the golf course. Not only risks presented by essential maintenance, but also risks that are caused through players own unintentional actions and those of the club.


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