Can I make a claim for an injury on the golf course?

With 1,888 golf courses and an estimated 763,000 adults who play golf, there’s no doubt that golf is a popular sport in the UK. As with many sports, inevitably an accident will occur from time to time, which could leave a player, spectator or passer-by seriously injured.

If you’re the victim of a golfing injury that has impacted your quality of life, where another person was to blame and owed you a duty of care, then you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim for damages.

A compensation claim for a personal injury will typically consist of two parts:

  • General Damages: Financial compensation for any pain and suffering that you’ve experienced as a result of the injury; and
  • Special Damages: An award to cover financial losses and expenses incurred as a result of your golfing accident. This could include loss of earnings, medical costs, dental work, or travel costs for medical appointments, and vary according to the unique circumstances of your case.

Navigating the world of personal injury claims can be confusing, particularly at an already difficult time, which is where an expert personal injury solicitor can help. Here we’ll walk through some of the common causes of golf course injuries and your rights when it comes to making a personal injury claim.

What can cause injuries on the golf course?

Although golf is a non-contact sport, there are still numerous ways to sustain an injury whilst on the golf course. From rogue golf balls to faulty golf buggies, here are a few of the most common causes of golfing injuries.

Buggy injuries

Although golf buggies help you to make short work of getting around the golf course, they’re also the cause of many accidents. Careless driving leading to collisions or overturned golf buggies, poorly maintained surfaces or pathways, and brake failures are just some of the ways that golf buggies can lead to an injury such as whiplash or concussion.

Faulty rental equipment

Many golfers rent equipment from the golf course itself. In this circumstance, the golf course is responsible for ensuring that its equipment is provided in good working order. Damaged golf clubs, broken bags or faulty golf buggies could cause accidents through no fault of the people utilising them.

Club injuries

Golf clubs are often made from a metal alloy or carbon fibre. Needless to say, if a golfer loses grip of their club during a swing, it could cause a lot of damage. Even swinging a club without properly checking your surroundings could inadvertently injure someone, leading to bruising, concussions, or broken bones. In more serious cases, head injuries or cerebral haemorrhaging can occur.

Ball injuries

Don’t be deceived by the small stature of a golf ball. When these small spheres are struck by a club, they travel at a tremendous velocity with the potential to do substantial damage to people or property. Various factors can determine the severity of injuries that you may sustain from a golf ball, including proximity to the golfer and how fast it was moving. Head injuries and dental damage are common injuries that can be inflicted by a golf ball.


While all these injuries can occur on a golf course, whether you are eligible to make a personal injury claim hinges on whether someone who owed you a duty of care has been negligent.

Often, the person who struck the golf ball is liable for the accident. However, it’s not always as clear-cut as this. In some cases, it may be the golf course that’s been negligent in its duty of care to you, such as if there were inadequate warning signs placed in high-risk areas.

On occasion, you may even be partly responsible, in which case any compensation awarded to you may be subject to deductions for contributory negligence.

Common injuries on the golf course

Depending on where a golf ball strikes the victim, the speed with which it was travelling and how hard it strikes, common injuries can range from minor bruising to serious head injuries, cerebral hemorrhages, or partial loss of sight. An injury to the face could lead to a broken jaw or damage to teeth.

Injuries caused by golf buggy accidents may include concussion, whiplash, or broken bones. In the most extreme cases, a golf injury can lead to death.

Who is liable for golf course accidents?

Often, the golfer who struck the ball or lost control of the club is liable for the accident, but only if they failed to follow the standards expected of them. Golfers should check that the area is clear of people before they play a stroke. Failure to check that the area is clear may deem them to have been negligent.

If the injured party failed to stick to pathways or take into consideration warning signs, they may be found to have been partially responsible for the accident. In this situation, the court may reduce the amount of compensation awarded due to contributory negligence.

There may also be circumstances where the golf course is liable for the accident, in addition to or instead of the golfer.

What is the responsibility of the golf course?

Like any employer, a golf course has a duty of care towards its employees, under the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. This responsibility also extends to club members, players, spectators, and the general public.

As part of its responsibilities, a golf course is required to conduct a risk assessment and install fences around high-risk areas where a golf ball may be mis-hit and cause injury. If it’s not possible to install a fence, then the golf course must display adequate warning signs to alert people of the risk of injury.

Additionally, the golf course needs to ensure that its equipment and premises are well-maintained. This includes any rental equipment as well as the grounds itself, such as ensuring pathways are even, spillages are cleaned up promptly and adequate warning signs are in place if there are danger points.

Where a golf course is found to have failed in any of its duties under the Health & Safety at Work Act and these contributed to the accident, the golf course may be found to have been negligent and (at least partially) liable for your injury.

How long do I have to make a claim?

Like all personal injury claims, there is a time limitation within which you must start your golf injury claim. For adults, you have a three-year window to make a claim, from the date of your injury.

If a child suffers a golfing injury, a claim can be pursued by their parent, guardian, or litigation friend on their behalf up until the child turns 18. The injured child has until they turn 21 years old to make a personal injury claim for themselves.

As the circumstances of each claim can be different, it’s worth seeking advice as early as you can to allow time to collect any necessary evidence.

Contact Us

If you’ve suffered an injury, whether it’s from golf or any other kind of sport, our personal injury team can provide you with all the information you need about the compensation claim process. Our expert team at Waldrons has years of experience and can talk to you about your unique circumstances. Get in touch today to find out more.

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