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When Shouting “Fore!” Doesn’t Cover It

ForeI enjoy playing golf; well, I enjoy the idea of playing golf, particularly in the spring. It’s a great game that can be played and enjoyed from younger children to seniors. But this is an insurance blog, so let’s focus on the risk of losing more than a Titleist when that slice kicks in.

So what could possibly go wrong and what is your golf liability? Generally, the argument could be made that having a house on a golf course or playing a round means that you assume some risk. There’s also the possibility that the course would bear some responsibility to ensure the course is designed properly. That’s all well and good and may factor in if you have taken a shot which breaks a window or hits someone. But what if your shot goes well out of bounds and hits a car on an adjacent street causing an accident?

So what’s the good news? For many golfers, they have personal liability insurance through their homeowners policy (condo or renters as well). If by some strange turn of events the lawyer of the injured party finds out who drove the golf ball and files a lawsuit against you, then you are not on your own.

Here’s where it could get tricky. Let’s say that the course you are playing is outside the U.S.; then an umbrella policy with worldwide coverage would be necessary. What if it’s your child who is away at college and living off campus? Liability from mom and dad’s homeowners’ policy would not extend to this situation, and the child would need to have a renter’s policy of their own.

Below is a link from a Marquette Sports Law Review in which Robert D. Lang goes into far greater detail than I could ever hope to cover. The accidents which he writes about should be much easier to prevent than hitting a perfect golf shot. He references accidents involving golf carts. As mentioned above, personal liability insurance could come into play in these cases. The simple risk management strategy here is to drive carefully. And while the cart girl may be more than happy to serve you the next round, be sure to keep your head clear.

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