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Man forced to payout £10,000 after hitting fellow golfer

Golf Care, 29th May 2015

As recently reported by The Telegraph, 45 year old Stewart Muir’s game of golf took a turn for the worst when his wayward tee shot struck another golfer, resulting in a serious head injury for the victim and a severely damaged bank account for Mr Muir.

When Muir realised his shot was in danger of striking someone, he did what any golfer would do and tried to warn those in the way by calling that phrase no player wants to hear -“Fore”. Two golfers on the next hole took cover but the third did not and the ball struck him in the head.

Muir was told by a judge that he would have to pay out £10,000 in damages to the Victim, John Ure of Uddingston, Lanarkshire .

Even though Mr Muir was an experienced golfer and a member of Bellshill club since 2005 his shot flew out of control and hurt another player. As any golfer knows, even on a good day, bad swings can happen.

Here at Golf care, we understand the importance of having golf insurance as accidents such as this one can leave people seriously out of pocket if it is found that they are at fault. Accidents can, and do, happen on the golf course, which is why golf insurance is so important. Mr Muir’s story is reminiscent of a case our insurers previously advised on where an experienced golfer’s errant shot caused another man to lose his eye.

James Gordon, an 18-handicapper, accidentally struck a visitor in the eye at Niddry Castle in West Lothian. The accident cost the victim Mr Anthony Phee his eye. Mr Phee then sued Mr Gordon and the club for damages totalling nearly £400,000.

Mr Gordon had been playing a round of golf with friends at the course, when an errant shot on the 18th hole proved tragic. “I hit a drive badly, off the heel,” Mr Gordon said “causing the ball to fly low and hard to the left. The ball struck one of a group of four people [Anthony Phee] approaching the seventh tee.”

The ball struck Mr Phee directly in the eye, to which he said he felt his eye instantly “explode”. He was later fitted with a prosthetic eye and took the matter to the Court of Session Edinburgh where damages were agreed of £397,000.

Liability was eventually adjusted after appeal, with the club being held accountable to 80% and Mr Gordon at 20% after a lengthy court battle and a huge amount of legal fees.

Unfortunately Mr Gordon was not insured at the time and was “under the illusion that our golf fees covered insurance.” Regrettably this lack of understanding cost him nearly £20,000 in legal fees.

Although accidents like these can sometimes happen, had he taken out adequate golf insurance with Golf Care, he could have prevented having to pay out for damages out of his own pocket. Although insurance would not have done anything to prevent the accident or reduce the emotional and physical ramifications, it would have helped cover the cost of the damages.

Personal liability insurance from Golf Care covers you for up to £5m in the event of injuring a third party and also covers the costs of repairing any damage caused to property by an accidental mishit.

Mr Gordon never considered taking out golfers insurance until after the event but recommends it now: “I would definitely recommend golf insurance for peace of mind and I am amazed by the number of people that I play with that still don’t have it,” he added.

Both stories highlight just how important golfers insurance is. Accidents can, and often do, happen on the golf course as errant shots are not uncommon. Unfortunately the ramifications of an errant shot can be severe both physically and financially. Although no one expects to injure somebody else whilst on the course, specialist golf insurance can help cover the costs of any damages should you become involved in an incident, protecting you financially and giving you that peace of mind you need to enjoy your round of golf.

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