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Golf course liability: Don't get teed off when you tee off

With 40 golf courses, Oahu offers many opportunities for residents of Honolulu to get out and shoot a round of golf. And while there can be few more enjoyable ways to spend your day than on a public or private golf course on the island. However, you should keep in mind a few safety tips to avoid the need to consult with an attorney instead of your caddy.

When you hit a golf ball, you can be liable for damages if you hit and injury another golfer. For instance, if a group of players is dawdling as they leave a green, may be filling out their scorecard as they wander back to their cart or bag, if you hit a tee shot and strike one of them, you could be liable for their personal injuries.

Golf courses could be sued on premises liability grounds if they have a course designed with a green too close to a tee, allowing golfer teeing off to frequently hit other golfers on the nearby green. In situation like that, the golf course would need to address the danger by placing a net or a screen of trees to protect the green.

The most common injury on a course is the traditional premises liability matter involving a slip-and-fall. If a cart path, walking path, stairs or a bridge becomes hazardous, the course could be liable for injuries arising from that hazard.

Another risk comes from golf carts. While it may be fun driving wildly down a fairway, they lack seat belts and they can tip easily, and leaving golfers with severe injuries after ejecting riders and trapping them beneath the rolled-over cart.

If you have been injured on a course because of the negligence of another player or the golf course, contact an attorney to protect your right to compensation. 

Source: The New York Times, “The Intersection of Golf and the Law,” Bill Pennington, June 23, 2013

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