Golfer blinded after being hit by a golf-ball at Old Thorns Golf Club | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Golfer blinded after being hit by a golf-ball at Old Thorns Golf Club

Nilam Patel acted for Sandra, a woman who was struck in the eye by a golf ball whilst playing at Old Thorns Golf Club.

The Old Thorns Golf Estate were building apartments parallel to the length of the 9th course. As a result, hoardings had been erected along the left length of the 9th fairway and construction work was ongoing. The hoardings created a concealed zone and a player playing the 9th hole could not see a player at the left of the 9th green and vice versa.

Sandra, who was a member of the golf club at the time, had finished playing the 9th hole and had returned to the main building to use the restrooms. On her return to the golf course, she intended to cross the 9th course to reach the 10th hole. The normal tarmacked pathway that led people from the hotel, through the 9th course, to the 10th hole, had been boarded off by the construction work.

The new pathway required players to go all the way around the 9th course with hoardings between the course and the pathway, so a golfer playing the 9th hole could not see if people were walking behind the hoardings. In fact, construction workers behind the hoardings had complained of over 150 balls a week being hit over the hoardings. It was Sandra's case that there was a failure to conduct an appropriate risk assessment of the concealed zones caused by the hoardings.

On the day, Sandra waited behind the hoardings whilst her team players checked to see if anybody was playing the 9th course, before crossing the course. All of a sudden whilst Sandra was waiting, a golf ball flew over the hoarding and struck her in the left eye knocking her off her feet.

Sandra sadly suffered a retinal detachment and is now blind in the left eye.

She instructed Nilam Patel, Associate, at Fieldfisher to pursue a claim on her behalf. Liability was denied by Old Thorns Golf Club. Nilam obtained a report from a health and safety golf course design expert and issued court proceedings. Despite continuing to deny liability, Old Thorns Golf Club and Country Estate paid Sandra £55,000 to settle her claim and agreed to pay her legal fees.

We understand, following risk assessments, the 9th course was redesigned such that it is now half the length and the 9th green is no longer adjacent to the new apartment blocks.

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