Golf Club ordered to pay £397,000 to golfer blinded by wayward shot
Despite a shout of ‘Fore!’, and trying to duck out of the way, a golfer was struck in the eye and has been awarded £397,000 in damages.
Anthony Phee who was a visiting golfer playing Niddry Castle Golf Club, Winchburgh, West Lothian was struck by a ball whilst walking between holes with his golfing companions. The ball was hit by James Gordon who was on the 18th tee. The ball was intended to be driven down the right side of the fairway but a ‘duck hook’ ensued causing the ball to veer sharply left.
Mr Phee said that he had ducked and put his hand up when he heard the cry of “Fore”, but he did not know where the ball was coming from. Unfortunately this defensive action did not stop the ball striking him in the eye which “exploded” on impact. Mr Phee sued both the player who struck the shot, Mr Gordon, and also the golf club. Anthony Phee told the court he was unfamiliar with the layout of Niddry Castle golf course.
The judge in session, Lord Brailsford, said ‘that every golfer, no matter his or her degree of competence, will make bad shots’, highlighting that all golfers should be aware of the potential consequences of hitting a wayward shot.
Mr Phee commented “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”.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh awarded damages of £397,000 with Lord Brailsford deciding that Niddry Castle Golf Club was 80% liable or £318,000 and Mr Gordon from Livingston 20% liable or £79,400!
Paul Wilson, Director of The Golfers Club, the UK’s leading premium golf insurer commented: ‘This reminds me of the Court of Appeal ruling in another case that stated ‘‘Golfers are liable for shots that cause injury no matter how slight the risk’’. Golf Clubs and golfers are too often unaware that they can be sued for damages as a result of a wayward shot. The consequences of being sued can easily be avoided by simply ensuring all golfers are insured for Public Liability whilst playing the course’.