When Joe McLaughlin visited his local golf course on a sunny Sunday afternoon, he couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.
He was accompanied by an old school friend who had come across from Spain and a regular golfing partner and had just tee’d off at the first hole. The stage was set for a great game of golf.
However, what should have been a memorable day for all the right reasons quickly turned into a day to forget for Joe, when the unthinkable happened.
Joe’s drive landed on the right side of the fairway, but his follow-up shot got lodged under a bridge next to a stream.
He went down to the stream to retrieve the ball so that he could throw it back onto the green, in line with where the ball had landed, before jumping back across the water.
Joe himself admits “it was a silly thing to do”, but he had done this several times before without suffering any injuries. This time, however, he wasn’t so lucky.
When he jumped across the water and landed on the green, Joe’s golf shoe got trapped in the bank of the stream and he felt a tear in his right leg.
He knew straight away what had happened – he’d ruptured his Achilles tendon only two shots into the round.
It was not only a painful injury, but a costly one at that. Transported off the course in an electric buggy and unable to drive home, Joe faced a long time out of action.
Joe’s foot was in plaster for ten weeks and, during this time, he was unable to drive or walk unaided. As Joe explains, this period was nothing short of a ‘nightmare’.
He said: “When your friends are driving you down to the golf course and you’re watching them play golf during one of the best summers we’ve had in 30 years, it’s very hard to take.
“The recovery process felt so long and I was totally incapacitated during that time. It was frustrating and I felt very stupid about what happened, but if you know golfers you know you’re not going to get a great deal of sympathy.
“I got my fair share of stick – people were asking me if I thought I was still 16 trying to jump across the water!”
A few golfers can no doubt relate to Joe on that score. However, insult could well have been added to injury – had Joe not had specialist golf insurance, he would have found himself in at the deep end financially.
Because Joe had Golf Care’s Personal Accident cover to protect himself for up to £50,000 against costs incurred, he was reimbursed for hundred of pounds worth of fees which he would have otherwise had to pay himself.
He said: “When I first got golf insurance, I never thought it would cover me for something like this. I thought I would maybe strike a shot which hit someone on the golf course or damaged a car, but I never thought I’d suffer such a bad injury and be unable to play for a long period of time.
“You don’t expect an accident like mine to happen on a golf course, but thankfully Golf Care’s insurance is geared towards such accidents.”
It wasn’t just the Personal Accident cover itself which put Joe’s mind at ease. Amidst all the treatment and missed rounds of golf, Joe could at least take comfort from the smoothness with which his claim was dealt with by our claims handling team.
“I was seriously impressed with the urgency with which Golf Care treated my case. They were very understanding of my situation and my case was handled very quickly and efficiently.”
If another golfer were to suffer a similar fate to Joe and either incurred hefty medical bills or had a full-time job (or both, as in most cases), Personal Accident cover would be essential.
Without this cover, you would have to pay for treatment costs yourself, and these costs could be extensive depending on the nature of your injuries.
Such a fate is unthinkable – and Joe’s advice for any golfer who is unsure why they need specialist insurance is very clear.
He said: “Anything can happen on the golf course and it pays to be protected. You can get insurance for as little as 50 pence a week, which is a small price to pay to ensure that you don’t leave yourself out of pocket in the long run.
“Add to this that you get free rounds of golf when you take out a policy, so the golf insurance more than pays for itself.”
Nine months after his accident, Joe is now back fit and playing golf, but his accident serves as a reminder of the risks of the golf course.
Accidents like Joe’s are, unfortunately, all too common, and reiterate why all golfers should have specialist insurance.
If you don’t already have specialist golf insurance, don’t leave anything to chance the next time you set foot on the golf course.