Litigation

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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 2:00 pm

My club is being sued by one of the members. She went out to play over the Christmas period, and then slipped and fell on an icy path next to a tee box. She claims the club was negligent in its duty of care to provide a safe playing environment. On the day in question, the course had been closed in the morning due to frost but then opened later as the temperature had risen a little.

Personally I think it is a real shame that someone should choose to do this, I guess she had been watching too much daytime TV. Anyone going out to play in these conditions is well aware of the risks and should exercise common sense. I can only assume that from now on the course will be closed in these conditions to reduce the risk of this happening again. This is the way our society is going.

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Post by golfermartin on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 2:13 pm

We have had a similar situation - someone slipped on some wet sleepers. He was, however, wearing well worn spikes at the time! It appears if you slip on something constructed, eg a path, you could sue the club. If you slip on a natural surface, eg grass, you cannot.

I agree that it is sad that members will sue their own club which effectively ends up costing all members in increased fees at the end of the day (increased insurance premiums have to be paid for).

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 2:17 pm

I agree. Not knowing the full story (do we ever), I would rebut this issue by saying "Didn't you watch where you were going?". "What precautions do you take when walking in cold conditions?" "Why didn't you adopt those in this case?" ...and so on.

She is a member, and therefore not a first time visitor to a golf club. She should be aware of the risks going to a golf course entails.

Motor sports events have signs and tickets printed with the words "Motor sport is dangerous. You watch at your own risk". I can see golf clubs having to put the same sort of sign up at their entrances.

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Post by lorus59 on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 2:28 pm

Maybe a compromise could be made where she is given free membership for life. She would save a lot of money in the long term and it wouldn't cost the club anything.

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Post by George1507 on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 2:29 pm

Most clubs have public liability insurance, which takes care of those kinds of incidents.

However, in recent years, there has been a big increase in clubs being sued by insurance companies on behalf of their client. The client is a golfer, he has an insurance policy (not necessarily a golf policy) which includes some sort of loss of earnings payment if you can't work because of an injury.

I'd always assumed that the insurance company takes it on the chin if you claim from them. Oh no, turns out they come after whatever or whoever caused the injury (and therefore their loss) with a huge stick, a belligerent attitude and a team of pit bull lawyers.

My club had a claim from an insurance company after one of their clients, and a club member injured himself while slipping on the course. He was self employed, and couldn't work for a couple of months because he couldn't drive. So the insurance company fired off a lawsuit claiming TWENTY SEVEN times more than they had paid the member. We had no choice but to pass the lawsuit to our public liability insurance company, and the two companies spent 2 years threatening each other. Finally it was settled for just marginally more than the member received.

The member himself was mortified, he (like me) didn't expect anything to happen after his claim was settled, especially a lawsuit against the club. He was so upset that he offered to resign, although it didn't come to that.

Needless to say, the public liability insurance premium doubled the following year.

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Post by super_realist on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 2:42 pm

They should spit in her face.

If someone slips on a course, it's their own incompetence.

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Post by McLaren on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 2:50 pm

What injuries did she have after the fall?
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Post by raycastleunited on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 4:52 pm

She hurt her wrist. Nothing too serious and has now recovered. I don't know her and don't know how much of an impact this had on her.

Due to holidays I've not been up at the club for a few weeks, I'll find out more on Saturday.

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Post by Davie on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 8:25 pm

These things are never black and white. Always a grey area. If the club really was negligent in some way then of course they should be litigated against - even if you are a member of the club. But all too often these days we've gone down the American route of litigation for feeble reasons.

And just putting up a disclaimer notice has no legal effect. No matter how many disclaimers you post, it wouldn't get you off if there was real negligence

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Post by navyblueshorts on Thu 03 Sep 2015, 10:39 pm

I would say it depends on the slope she slipped on. Is it reasonable to expect someone to use the only(?) route from a tee if it is steeper than ordinary? Also, have the club taken reasonable steps to ameliorate the slope (i.e. added grip/steps/railings/whatever) for users, some of whom are elderly?
Still dumb to sue your own club though...
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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 7:56 am

Is this only coming to light now? How can she prove what footwear she had on.
Hopefully this will be thrown out.

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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 10:47 am

Sad as it may seem but she has every right to claim, all clubs owe a duty of care to every member whilst they are on their land, if it can be proven that there was a breach to a regulation or HASAWA 74, then they will be liable. There is little for the club to be concerned about, it seems a low claim and their insurace will cover it, but it may be taken into account on their next renewal of insurance and a raise in premium could be charged.


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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 10:54 am

The main thing we seem to missing here is that this is another reason why cart paths are a scourge to the game.

Visually they wreck the look of the course and now it seems clubs are expected to grit them whenever it is icy. If carts are limited to those with physical issues then there is no need for cart paths as the low traffic volume means they can be driven on the normal playing ground.
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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 10:57 am

Surely only if she can prove she fell over because of the path and not because she wasn't paying attention, had incorrect shoes, was walking inappropriately etc.

Bet she was a fat old knacker.

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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 10:59 am

McLaren wrote:The main thing we seem to missing here is that this is another reason why cart paths are a scourge to the game.

Visually they wreck the look of the course and now it seems clubs are expected to grit them whenever it is icy.  If carts are limited to those with physical issues then there is no need for cart paths as the low traffic volume means they can be driven on the normal playing ground.

How about the cart path which weaves all the way around your beloved Old Course?

It was reported as a path Mac, not a cart track.

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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:01 am

Afraid not super, it's down to the club to prove they had taken ever step possible "so far as reasonably practicable" to prevent any forseeable injury from walking on am icy pathway, just as any business does on private land. Had the club implemented necessary controls? I don't know, but I very much doubt they could strobgly defend this claim.

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Post by MustPuttBetter on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:04 am

There must be at least some burden of proof on the fat old knacker?! Otherwise everyone could just say they fell over on dodgy ground at the golf club today and wait for their money.....
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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:09 am

I assume she has some proof that she sustained an injury, maybe a doctor's note, a playing partner statement or similar. I'm a safety advisor and see this kind of claim all the time, the claimant doesn't need anything to make a claim, but the more they have, the stronger their case.

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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:14 am

That's disgusting then. If the law is set up in such a way as to be favourable to make scurrilous claims then it's a sad state of affairs.

I would never dream of suing a club for something like that. I'd blame myself for not looking at the conditions and taking the appropriate measures to ensure I didn't fall.

For instance, if I slip on a dog turd in the high street and break my ankle, I very much doubt I can sue the council for not keeping a "safe" environment for walking.

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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:20 am

Yep I agree, and there's you claim culture. Morally people just don't go down this route as you say, all they risk is hurting their club and alienate themselves (increased membership cost due to increased insurance costs in your renewal letter?).

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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:24 am

This example is a low cost claim, but consider this scenario........A junior hits his ball close to a water hazard, on try to hit the shot he slips into the hazard, gets into trouble and drowns. What questions would asked of the club?

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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:26 am

gw wrote:This example is a low cost claim, but consider this scenario........A junior hits his ball close to a water hazard, on try to hit the shot he slips into the hazard, gets into trouble and drowns. What questions would asked of the club?

I'd give the kid a Darwin award.

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:28 am

super_realist wrote:That's disgusting then. If the law is set up in such a way as to be favourable to make scurrilous claims then it's a sad state of affairs.

I would never dream of suing a club for something like that. I'd blame myself for not looking at the conditions and taking the appropriate measures to ensure I didn't fall.

For instance, if I slip on a dog turd in the high street and break my ankle, I very much doubt I can sue the council for not keeping a "safe" environment for walking.

I'm with you, and this is why they'd never let me be a judge...

"Oh you slipped over and fell did you? And you think it's the responsibility of the club/council/whoever to make sure you don't fall over?  Fine.  Here's 50p for your troubles. But now that we've both agreed you can't even manage the responsibility of walking for yourself, I'll have your driving licence, your kids, control of your bank account - you clearly aren't responsible enough for those."
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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:30 am

Haha yeah well probsbly not a great example, but the point us that risk of drowning in a deep water hazard is a forseeable risk. So have the club implemented control measures "so far as reasonably practicable"?

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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:34 am

Agreed Bob, they rarely get to court though unless it's a serious injury and loss resulting. A good defence lawyer will negotiate an amicable payoff, or as someone said earlier, free membership for the year or similar.


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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:35 am

Well, I think presuming they've marked out the hazard as a lateral water hazard, provided a sign exclaiming it is "deep water" or "take care near the edge" and perhaps provide a floatation device, that would be more than acceptable to absolve them of culpability of a stupid kid drowning in 3 feet of water.

Where does it stop? If I get a tick borne disease at the club, can I sue the club for not keeping pests under control?

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Post by raycastleunited on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:38 am

It wasn't a cart path, it's a flat shale path that runs about 40 yards alongside the tees, just like pretty much every course has on most holes, to ease wear and tear.

I have a suspicion of what the outcome will be. Because it is a path, the club has a duty of care to maintain safe conditions ie not icy, so will be liable. If she had fallen on the fairway, rough etc then it is not reasonable to expect the club to maintain these areas so it's her own fault.

I think it is ridiculous because she wasn't forced to use the path, she could have just walked around the icy patch, and more pertinently if you play golf at Christmas on a frozen course you should know and accept the risk of slipping.

I can see where this is going... in future all us golfers will probably have to sign release forms every time we step on to a course.

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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:38 am

super_realist wrote:Well, I think presuming they've marked out the hazard as a lateral water hazard, provided a sign exclaiming it is "deep water" or "take care near the edge" and perhaps provide a floatation device, that would be more than acceptable to absolve them of culpability of a stupid kid drowning in 3 feet of water.

Exactly right, with the required administrative requirements in place; risk assessment, that would be the clubs defence.




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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:40 am

gw wrote:
super_realist wrote:Well, I think presuming they've marked out the hazard as a lateral water hazard, provided a sign exclaiming it is "deep water" or "take care near the edge" and perhaps provide a floatation device, that would be more than acceptable to absolve them of culpability of a stupid kid drowning in 3 feet of water.

Exactly right, with the required administrative requirements in place; risk assessment, that would be the clubs defence.




So all the club really needs to do is put a sign on the entry of the club which states something like.

"Would all the unobservant, malcoordinated, poorly shod fat knackers please be aware that you may slip on the course"


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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:46 am

Was the woman actually fat?
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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 11:46 am

super_realist wrote:
gw wrote:
super_realist wrote:Well, I think presuming they've marked out the hazard as a lateral water hazard, provided a sign exclaiming it is "deep water" or "take care near the edge" and perhaps provide a floatation device, that would be more than acceptable to absolve them of culpability of a stupid kid drowning in 3 feet of water.

Exactly right, with the required administrative requirements in place; risk assessment, that would be the clubs defence.




So all the club really needs to do is put a sign on the entry of the club which states something like.

"Would all the unobservant, malcoordinated, poorly shod fat knackers please be aware that you may slip on the course"

No, because that's not the only control they can implement "so far as reasonably practicable".

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Post by LadyPutt on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 12:18 pm

McLaren wrote:Was the woman actually fat?
S-R making "sizeist" assumptions again furious
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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 12:21 pm

LadyPutt wrote:
McLaren wrote:Was the woman actually fat?
S-R making "sizeist" assumptions again furious

Why not? They aren't immune, and a weighty person is far less likely to be able to control a slide than someone who is in better shape.

I remember a fat girl I used to work in a pub with back in my student days broke her ankle falling off a kerb. I laughed like a drain.

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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 12:24 pm

The smart thing to have done would have been to offer comfort and support in the hope that her or someone witnessing the scene would think you were a decent human and someone worth sleeping with.

On a more serious not your thunderf00t attitude towards woman is probably the main reason fro your barren spell.
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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 12:26 pm

I laughed in response to hearing the story, not from being at the scene.

She was gargantuan anyway, drought or not. One must have standards, besides, I would have laughed it was a man too, the fact she was a female, is not indicative of my behaviour or attitude towards women.  It's simply amusing to think of someone so fat that their ankle can break from a height of 6 inches.

What's "thunderfoot"?


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Post by LadyPutt on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 12:28 pm

Slightly different, but LordPutt was painfully struck on the elbow (which shattered it requiring extensive surgery including a metal cage and pins which are still there) when he was working as a greenkeeper. He was struck by a snap-hooked drive when he was cutting a fairway. The machine was governed and so, although the player in question did shout "fore" he was unable to drive out of the way quick enough. He had been requesting a safety cage of some sort to protect the staff when using fairway machines for some time but the Course Manager refused. He took his employers to court and won fairly substantial damages.

But in this case, I think the woman is being litigious in the extreme.
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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:12 pm

LadyPutt wrote:Slightly different, but LordPutt was painfully struck on the elbow (which shattered it requiring extensive surgery including a metal cage and pins which are still there) when he was working as a greenkeeper. He was struck by a snap-hooked drive when he was cutting a fairway. The machine was governed and so, although the player in question did shout "fore" he was unable to drive out of the way quick enough. He had been requesting a safety cage of some sort to protect the staff when using fairway machines for some time but the Course Manager refused. He took his employers to court and won fairly substantial damages.

But in this case, I think the woman is being litigious in the extreme.
Hey LP, how are you?

I can see why LordPutt won that claim, greenkeepers being hit by a stray ball is entirely foreseeable, and installing a cage as control measure, for a relatively small cost, is a reasonably practicable expectation. I bet they installed one afterwards?

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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:24 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:I agree. Not knowing the full story (do we ever), I would rebut this issue by saying "Didn't you watch where you were going?".  "What precautions do you take when walking in cold conditions?" "Why didn't you adopt those in this case?" ...and so on.

She is a member, and therefore not a first time visitor to a golf club. She should be aware of the risks going to a golf course entails.

Motor sports events have signs and tickets printed with the words "Motor sport is dangerous. You watch at your own risk". I can see golf clubs having to put the same sort of sign up at their entrances.
They may say "you watch at your own risk" that doesn't exempt them from their duty of care.

The drivers know the risks, but it doesn't mean the race team don't have to give him a helmet, seat belt, a well maintained car etc and do all that is "reasonably practicable"  Without them there'd be a lot more motorsport related injuries.


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Post by LadyPutt on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:39 pm

gw wrote:
LadyPutt wrote:Slightly different, but LordPutt was painfully struck on the elbow (which shattered it requiring extensive surgery including a metal cage and pins which are still there) when he was working as a greenkeeper. He was struck by a snap-hooked drive when he was cutting a fairway. The machine was governed and so, although the player in question did shout "fore" he was unable to drive out of the way quick enough. He had been requesting a safety cage of some sort to protect the staff when using fairway machines for some time but the Course Manager refused. He took his employers to court and won fairly substantial damages.

But in this case, I think the woman is being litigious in the extreme.
Hey LP, how are you?

I can see why LordPutt won that claim, greenkeepers being hit by a stray ball is entirely foreseeable, and installing a cage as control measure, for a relatively small cost, is a reasonably practicable expectation. I bet they installed one afterwards?
No idea, GW (and I'm good thanks - counting down the days to May 20th next year when I retire and can start playing golf properly again). He took early retirement pretty well straight afterwards because they treated him so badly when he returned to work (after 9 weeks off in plaster and having physio). Naturally he refused to cut fairways any more (because the machines were still unprotected). I wonder how many on here ever think of the safety of greenkeepers when they see them on the course? It's a dangerous job for very little reward or recognition!
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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:41 pm

Trouble with golf clubs LP is that there are always a full membership who think they know better how to do the greenkeepers job.

I doubt they'd take the same criticism in how to do their jobs.


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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:43 pm

Roll on 20th May then!

Yep, always baffled me why the driving range ball collector is fully cage protected on some courses, yet the poor old greenkeeper is a moving target. I asked this at my course "it's the same at every course". Sheesh!

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Post by LadyPutt on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:46 pm

gw wrote:Roll on 20th May then!

Yep, always baffled me why the driving range ball collector is fully cage protected on some courses, yet the poor old greenkeeper is a moving target. I asked this at my course "it's the same at every course". Sheesh!
You might like to quote that it cost this particular club 10 grand (plus costs) - they might change their minds. Whistle
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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:46 pm

Motorsport has been brought up so it might be worth mentioning that I believe the families of maria de villota and Jules Bianchi are both perusing some sort of legal route.


LP, I would hope lord P did get damages, it is ridiculous to think the club would not provide a protective cage especially when it is often the case that players refuse to take precautions around greenkeeper staff.

I have played in groups where players have basically said WTF is the greenkeeper doing in the way! I dunno, maybe preparing the course for you to play on it.
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Post by LadyPutt on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:47 pm

super_realist wrote:Trouble with golf clubs LP is that there are always a full membership who think they know better how to do the greenkeepers job.

I doubt they'd take the same criticism in how to do their jobs.

You're so right there (for once Wink )
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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:48 pm

Especially considering greenkeepers often wear ear protectors for the noise, they won't hear a shout of fore.

Never hit anyone with a ball, but I've seen a few, some hilarious, others pretty grim.

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Post by LadyPutt on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:54 pm

super_realist wrote:Especially considering greenkeepers often wear ear protectors for the noise, they won't hear a shout of fore.

Never hit anyone with a ball, but I've seen a few, some hilarious, others pretty grim.
I'd post some X-ray photos of his arm but they are rather stomach-churning to say the least. He was on the furthest point away from the sheds compound, in a dip so he was out of radio range and so had to drive the machine all the way back with a shattered elbow as well. The machine was governed to 5mph so he stood no chance of getting out of the way of a ball coming at him at about 100mph. He was wearing ear defenders, too, but saw the golfer put out his arm when he shouted - too late Shocked He put his arm up to deflect the ball and if it had hit him 6 inches higher, he might not have been here today.
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Post by McLaren on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 1:58 pm

Is there more damaging individual in golf than greens conveners?
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Post by super_realist on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 2:00 pm

LadyPutt wrote:
super_realist wrote:Especially considering greenkeepers often wear ear protectors for the noise, they won't hear a shout of fore.

Never hit anyone with a ball, but I've seen a few, some hilarious, others pretty grim.
I'd post some X-ray photos of his arm but they are rather stomach-churning to say the least. He was on the furthest point away from the sheds compound, in a dip so he was out of radio range and so had to drive the machine all the way back with a shattered elbow as well. The machine was governed to 5mph so he stood no chance of getting out of the way of a ball coming at him at about 100mph. He was wearing ear defenders, too, but saw the golfer put out his arm when he shouted - too late Shocked He put his arm up to deflect the ball and if it had hit him 6 inches higher, he might not have been here today.

I despise it when people put out their arm. 1. It isn't audible and 2. How arrogant are they to think people are watching them?


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Post by gw on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 2:21 pm

super_realist wrote:Where does it stop? If I get a tick borne disease at the club, can I sue the club for not keeping pests under control?
Apologies super, I missed this question. My answer wouldbe to apply the rule as in all risks, is it reasonably forseeable for golf to to expect it's members to suffer ill health from tick borne deseases, and therefore implement reasonable controls? No it isn't, or at least it would be difficult to prove a duty of care is owed on this instance. Sorry to bore, but this is my bread and butter! Lol

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Post by Davie on Fri 04 Sep 2015, 4:29 pm

super_realist wrote:
LadyPutt wrote:
super_realist wrote:Especially considering greenkeepers often wear ear protectors for the noise, they won't hear a shout of fore.

Never hit anyone with a ball, but I've seen a few, some hilarious, others pretty grim.
I'd post some X-ray photos of his arm but they are rather stomach-churning to say the least. He was on the furthest point away from the sheds compound, in a dip so he was out of radio range and so had to drive the machine all the way back with a shattered elbow as well. The machine was governed to 5mph so he stood no chance of getting out of the way of a ball coming at him at about 100mph. He was wearing ear defenders, too, but saw the golfer put out his arm when he shouted - too late Shocked He put his arm up to deflect the ball and if it had hit him 6 inches higher, he might not have been here today.

I despise it when people put out their arm. 1. It isn't audible and 2. How arrogant are they to think people are watching them?


You're excelling yourself today super - that's about the third stupid thing you've said on this thread alone.

As a stand alone comment it probably makes some sense, but in response to LP's post which you quoted (and which I've kept for context) .. well it's just really stupid. It was already stated that he was wearing ear defenders, so he wouldn't hear a shout - so an arm indication is the best way - as long as they are looking - and it really bugs me when people stand out of the way of a shot (a call up to a green or a green keeper waiting for someone to play) - and then stand maybe 10 yards off the green and don't watch the approaches!

Mind you the greenkeepers at my club are a pretty cavalier lot - my playing partner almost his one once .. he was laying on the ground, in a dip where he couldn't be seen, fixing a sprinkler heard and we didn't know he was there. When we walked up and found the ball close to him, we both apologized profusely (I was "spotting" for my partner) - and he just laughed it off! Said it was an occupational hazard and he actually didn't mind being hit as he would get sent home early Rolling Eyes

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