Sports Law • Risk Management


Incident on the Golf Course

While playing a round of golf today I noticed a parked, empty flatbed truck near one of the holes where I was teeing off. It seemed strange to see a semi truck parked that close to the golf course, but it apparently was there to transport heavy construction equipment. The image of the truck was logged in my mind because I had to drive my golf cart around the truck to get to the next hole.

Golf Course Extreme Weather Protection Measures

While playing eighteen holes on a golf course over approximately a four-hour period of time, the weather can change substantially, affecting the safety of those on the course. A good golf course manager can do much to protect players and workers on the course when extreme weather approaches.

One Strike and You’re Out: Lightning on the Playing Field

On September 1, 2009, the Associated Press headline, “Lightning Strike Causes Amputation”, referred to Danish soccer player Jonathan Richter’s unfortunate injury arising out of a brief thunder storm on July 20th while he was playing a reserve game. The 24 year old athlete had to undergo an induced coma for 10 days and then suffered the amputation of his lower left leg. This incident dramatically illustrates the danger that lightning strikes pose to athletes during practices and competitions held outdoors.

Golf Carts Present a Risk to Golf Courses and Tournament Organizers

Golf carts used for practice and in tournaments present a hazard for players and where injuries have been suffered, injured parties have filed lawsuits against golf clubs and other parties. The following are summaries of several appellate court decisions of cases involving the use of golf carts that are helpful to understand the risk of injuries whenever golf carts are utilized.

The Sports Exceptions Doctrine’s Applicability to Golf

Golf tournament organizers, golf course owners and managers and anyone walking on or near a golf course must be concerned about the hazards of errant golf balls striking and injuring people. In Mallin v. Paesani , 49 Conn. Supp. 457, 892 A.2d 1043 (2005), both Mallin and Paesani were competitors in a PGA tournament. Mallin alleged that Paesani drove a golf ball, striking the plaintiff in the head and causing injury. The plaintiff brought an apportionment action against Tashima knolls Golf Course and the town of Trumbull, claiming their negligence in possession and control of the golf tournament was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Golf Course Planning and Warning About Inclement Weather

Since golf is played outdoors, it is constantly subjected to weather conditions. One of the most dangerous conditions is that of lightning. In Sall v. T’s, Inc., 136 P.3d 471 (Kan. 2006), Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Defendant T’s, Inc.,dba Smiley’s Golf Course, as a result of injuries that he sustained when he was struck by lightning while golfing at Defendant’s course.