Golf Clubs – The Risks

Risk one
In 2011, Branston Golf and Country Club near Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire was ordered to pay £5000 in costs after admitting failure to ensure members safety. A female player was left with smashed teeth and cuts to her lips when a stray golf ball hit her in the face whilst walking along a pathway close to a driving range. The club had failed to provide adequate signage notifying members of errant balls.

Risk two
In 2014, Sevenoaks District Council prosecuted Darenth Valley Golf Course in Kent after investigating an incident in which a golf buggy overturned and crushed an employee – the golf course operator was ordered to pay costs of £12,000.

Risk three
A golf course in Scotland was found 30% negligent when a golfer (A) miss-teed his shot resulting in a second golfer (B) losing his eye. Whilst golfer A shouted ‘fore’, the court deemed golfer B too inexperienced to know what to do upon hearing ‘fore’ and also concluded that he only had seconds in which to react.

Whilst Golfer A was deemed 70% negligent as he was over confident and failed to exercise good judgment; the golf club was found 30% negligent because they had not carried out a risk assessment and had failed to provide adequate signs and guidance to players walking near tees.

Risk four
Health and safety breaches cost Wensum Valley Golf Club £27k. Basil Charles Todd, the owner of Wensum Valley Hotel Golf and Country Club in Taverham pleaded guilty to four offences at Norwich Magistrates Court after a temporary green keeper suffered a serious injury mowing a grass bank with a rotary hover mower, resulting in the amputation of two of his toes. The green keeper had not been provided with safety footwear, there was no health and safety policy or documented risk assessments for the work of the green keepers and improvement notices served on Mr Todd following the incident were not complied with.

Risk such as these are not uncommon on golf courses throughout the UK, but simple, logical steps can be taken to prevent them happening, including:

  • A golf club has duties to prepare a risk assessment for the golf course and to take reasonable actions to reduce the risks identified. For Risk Management and Health and Safety advice visit our designated page https://www.club-insure.co.uk/risk-management/ and why not try our risk assessment check list https://www.club-insure.co.uk/risk-form/
  • Provide adequate signs to advise golfers of possible dangers and risks, see an example above
  • It might be necessary to review and make physical alterations to the golf course; these could range from subtle changes to the shape of a fairway, to moving greens and tees, re-grading

Golf Clubs are complex entities with unique insurance requirements. Through our panel of British based, A’ rated insurers we offer golf specific insurance to cover every individual arrangement; from traditional property damage or theft at the clubhouse and green-keeper’s sheds to more bespoke covers such as cancellation and abandonment of club competitions, member to member liability and cover for directors and officers

Call Club Insure today on 0344 488 9204