The £397k Mis-hit Shot

The true cost of a wayward golf shot

When you mis-hit a golf shot, you don’t expect to be at the centre of a £397k legal battle because another golfer loses an eye.

This is exactly what happened to James Gordon when his wayward shot struck Anthony Phee at Niddry Castle golf course in West Lothian, Scotland – highlighting why Public Liability insurance is a necessity for every golfer.

While accidents of this severity don’t occur every day, they emphasise how hazardous and unpredictable the golf course can be.

Let’s look at the infamous £397k mis-hit in more detail…

The event

Mr Phee was a visiting golfer playing at Niddry Castle Golf Club, Winchburgh, West Lothian. He was walking between holes with a group of golfers when he was struck in the eye by Mr Gordon’s wayward tee shot.

Mr Phee said that he ducked and put his hand up when he heard the cry of “fore”, but unfortunately this didn’t stop the ball striking him in the eye, which “exploded” on impact.

The aftermath

Mr Phee sued both Mr Gordon and Niddry Castle Golf Club for his injuries.

The judge ruled that both Mr Gordon and the golf club be liable for the accident, attributing 70% liability to Mr Gordon and 30% liability to the golf club.

He said that Mr Gordon, as an experienced golfer, should have realised there was a foreseeable risk of the ball encroaching on the area where Mr Phee was standing.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh awarded damages of nearly £400,000 to Mr Phee. Although Mr Gordon’s proportion of liability was later reduced on appeal, he still had to pay around £80,000 in damages – which is a life-changing amount to any amateur golfer.

The learnings

If you play golf in any capacity, you need specialist golf insurance.

Whether your next mis-hit strikes another golfer, a car or a building, you could be liable for substantial damages.

That’s why, at Golf Care, we provide up to £5 million of Public Liability insurance to protect your legal liability if you accidentally injure another golfer on the course.

After all, we’ve seen the huge financial implications that a mis-hit golf shot can have. Without the right cover, you’re only one mis-hit away from a potential £397k payout.

Don’t leave yourself in such a precarious position – take out our specialist golf insurance today and leave nothing to chance when you set foot on the greens.

No-one expects to lose an eye when they go to play golf and adjusting to partially losing my sight has been a harrowing experience. I now just want to move on with my life.

Anthony Phee, who was awarded £397,000 in damages.