Would you sue if you got hit by a golf ball?

The Scoop

In the latest Niggle, the NCG team discuss getting hit by a golf ball and times they have come close to injury on the course

Alex Perry: I almost got hit by Craig’s golf ball during a recent round at Seaton Carew. I gave him my best annoyed stare, but I’m not sure if he could see me from 150-odd yards away.

Craig Middleton: I shouted. Three times. I promise.

Alex Perry: It’s OK, I wouldn’t have sued you.

Mark Townsend: I couldn’t see any reason why I would do anything if I wasn’t too badly hurt, other than call that person something rude under my breath, look disappointed in them and walk/hobble away.

The worst/funniest case of this was when I used to caddie at a very posh nearby club as a teenager around 1985. An elderly, very rude man, in plus twos, drove off at the 4th and hit it directly at the caddie who was standing at the brow of the hill, with his back to us, to spot the players’ drives.

The player didn’t utter a sound and the caddie was then flattened, with the ball rebounding a full 30 yards backwards to a glockenspiel-type sound. The elderly man, who was dreadful at golf, then played on while the caddie staggered back to his feet.

Three hours later he gave no extra tip and I dropped my new friend, whose ginger perm was matted with dry blood, at Kingston Hospital to get stitched up.

Steve Carroll: I nearly got pole-axed by an errant Bubba Watson drive at the Open at Lytham in 2012. I can’t remember hearing any shouts that day but I was almost more upset that it didn’t slightly clip me. That glove would have done well on eBay.

The funniest thing about that incident was a nearby teenager picked up Watson’s ball out of the deep rough and ran off with it – pursued by a sizeable section of spectators.

Watson won’t have been too fussed. When she finally let go of the ball he had a much better lie.

I’ve been hit on several occasions and I’ve not got too upset about it. If you are out in the open where people are propelling spherical objects at high speed you have to expect to take cover every now and again.

Tom Irwin: You have been hit on several occasions? Are you one of those people on Claimed & Shamed?

Steve Carroll: It’s one of golf’s cardinal sins not to shout ‘fore’. It’s one of the basic tenets of the game. If you hit a wayward shot, shout up. It’s just basic manners.

I watch the professionals sticking their arms out and I just think ‘what’s the point?’ No one a couple of hundred yards away is going to see that.

Tom Irwin: I have hit someone on the head, one bounce with a driver. I was playing on my own when I was about 14 and had hit my stock low neck with a brand spankers FireStick.

My victim was a woman playing with her husband. He was very angry and remains the one and only person I have ever outrun, though I did have a head start of at least 220 yards – even allowing for 25 yards of roll lost to her cheekbone.

Chances are it was Steve and his wife. Apparently golf is second only to boxing for sports that cause head injuries.

Craig Middleton: That’s a pretty worrying stat considering the height I get on my drives.

Alex Perry: Bizarrely the only time I’ve seen anyone get hit by a golf ball was at a pitch and putt. A lad who couldn’t have been older than 10 just swinging aimless, connected flush with the ball which then cannoned off some poor little girl’s cranium. The noise it made will live with me forever.

Steve Carroll: I once got hit in the calf by a junior who was very nervously eyeing an approaching thunderstorm. He looked at the clouds and stepped up and smashed it as I was walking away from the tee. That one hurt quite a lot.

I’ve had a couple of glancing blows, on the arm and on my leg, by a couple of wide slices at a previous club of which I was a member. Luckily, I’ve never been hit in the head – although my wife would say it’d be hard to tell if I had.

Dan Murphy: I wouldn’t sue. I accept the risk that goes with being a big field where people are propelling balls at great speed with little control. I’m not sure I have ever been hit but I did once fizz a 3-wood into the flank of a sheep. It bleated then resumed its grass nibbling.

Alex Perry: Royal North Devon?

Mark Townsend: I have been hit by a golf… club. A 5-iron that my best friend inserted in my forehead, the scar is still visible, when three of us were clowning about in a practice round somewhere in 1987. Six stitches for my troubles.

Dan Murphy: Any recompense?

Mark Townsend: Out of school settlement.

Alex Perry: My brother hit me with a pitching wedge during an argument when we were teenagers. That hurt. We’re OK now.

James Savage: I nearly killed a woman who had organised a press trip I was on.

I thinned a wedge over the back of the 18th at Los Naranjos which hit a path then bounced up onto the wall of the clubhouse then back onto the path. She was stood there helpless as if trapped in some sort of pinball machine.

The ball came to rest by a bush where I got up and down from for par.

I’ve never been hit by a ball and like Dan, would accept it as part of the risk of playing golf if I did. I wouldn’t sue if I got hit in the face with a football whilst playing football…

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