The Ryder Cup – the greatest tournament in match play golf returns to Scotland this year and the imminent shouts of “get in the hole” from jaded Americans will once again shatter the silence on the Gleneagles Course.
Whilst the nation rekindles their love for the age old sport, it is worth noting that golf clubs face more complex challenges than most commercial leisure premises.
Whilst consideration is always given to slips, trips, falls and similar incidents inside the clubhouse/changing rooms, far more claims are occurring on the course, for example:
Concern: A golf ball can travel in excess of 120 miles per hour; in any direction; despite the best intention of the golfer!
A well publicised injury claim at Niddry Castle Golf Club, where an errant ball caused one golfer to suffer permanent loss of sight in one eye, was settled for £400,000 – the largest of its type in the UK. Similar, less publicised events occur daily to players, spectators or innocent members of the public walking in close proximity to the course.
Solution: It is imperative that golf clubs consider all aspects of risk management on the course and ensure golfers and walkers alike are aware of potential danger when in or around a golf course. Notices warning of potential danger are becoming common place on golf courses – perimeter signage and warning/guidance notices on tee boxes where a footpath or bridle path crosses a hole, are examples of this.
Concern: A little known and often overlooked area is the practice nets. In 2013 alone, several related incidents were reported, including one in which a junior golfer suffered severe eye damage.
Solution: Ensure all netting is maintained, repaired or replaced when necessary and give clear guidance as to the use of the practice nets (i.e. only use mid to long Irons and do not use lofted clubs).
Concern: As summer wains and the potential for bad weather approaches, golf clubs have further challenges to consider in the guise of worn and slippery footpaths and sleeper steps.
Solution: Golf Clubs should instigate risk management procedures to check and repair such paths and steps. Prolonged usage and increased rainfall can lead to slippery, uneven surfaces resulting in broken legs, ankles or worse. Non-slip strips are a good line of defence against this potential hazard in conjunction with a proactive winter maintenance programme.
The golf account team at Club Insure are highly experienced in this specialist market. For further information, to arrange a confidential face to face review or to speak to one of our experts – simply complete the contact form or call 0344 488 9204.