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Step 2: Sue golf course because balls land constantly on your property. Step 3: Lose lawsuit. [Ravalli, Mont., Republic]


But of course. [Ryan Young, CEI]

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“The city of Sanford [Florida] is in court — again — because the private company that manages its Mayfair Country Club golf course wants out of its 20-year contract, accusing the city of a 90-year-old lie. Maece Taylor Inc., which rescued and revived the course four years ago after the city had a falling-out with its previous operator, says its deal with the city is invalid because city officials lied about who designed the course in the 1920s.” [Orlando Sentinel]


“A golfer whose arm was torn off by an alligator during a round of golf in South Carolina has sued the course’s owner under the novel theory that the design of the course created an alligator hazard.” [OnPoint News]


A good walk spoiled — by litigation? [Peter Applebome, N.Y. Times]

“In a brief opinion released today, the New York Court of Appeals agreed with lower courts that a golfer hit by an ‘errant’ shot could not sue his co-golfer for negligence, because one who chooses to golf assumes the risk of being whacked by a golf ball.” [Lowering the Bar, AP, earlier]

Two doctors, frequent golf partners, were playing a round together when one was struck in the face at close range by the other’s ball. Lower courts dismissed the resulting case, which is now on appeal. [Lowering the Bar, WSJ Law Blog] Plus: WLF (“this is not a lawyer or doctor joke.”)


The son of the former mayor had sued over being kicked off the university’s golf team. ["Campus Notes" News & Observer blog, WSJ Law Blog; earlier coverage]

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“In an opinion peppered with golf references and a quote from “Caddyshack” star Bill Murray, a federal magistrate has recommended the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Rudolph Giuliani’s son over his booting from Duke University’s varsity golf team.” [The Smoking Gun, Althouse; earlier]

At a Dix Hills, Long Island golf course, Dr. Azad Anand was injured when his golfing buddy hit the ball flying without yelling the traditional cry of “fore”. A New York appellate court, however, “said getting hit by an errant ball is an ‘inherent risk of the game of golf.'” [AP/Staten Island Advance] More: John Hochfelder discusses the concept of the “foreseeable danger zone“.


At least that was Thomas Guhl’s theory as to why the ball struck his windshield with high velocity while he was driving near the Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club, injuring him. His $725,000 settlement is based on the theory that the golf club was negligent for not installing netting along Asbury Avenue that would have kept balls from landing on a neighboring homeowner’s lawn, and that Canfield Lawn and Landscaping was negligent because it hadn’t checked that lawn for golf balls before mowing. (“Man injured by golf ball gets $725K”, AP/Newark Star-Ledger, Jul. 31).

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Crystal Timpanaro was sitting in a golf cart near the 16th tee at Owl’s Creek Golf Course in Virginia Beach watching her boyfriend play when a golfer at the 17th hole shanked a drive that hit her, per her lawsuit, which claims inadequate warning and misdesign of the course. (Deirdre Fernandes, “Woman struck by golf ball files suit, alleging design flaw in Beach course”, Virginian-Pilot, Jan. 5).


New book on golf law

by Walter Olson on September 22, 2007

San Diego lawprof John “Jack” H. Minan’s “The Little Green Book of Golf Law”, published by the ABA and hitting bookstores about now, treats of errant balls and many other legal issues that arise in the Wodehouse-beloved outdoor game. I would note that “Iowa golfer Walter Olson”, portrayed unflatteringly in one of the stories, is guaranteed a different person from and unrelated to me. (Tod Leonard, “Law doesn’t control way ball bounces”, San Diego Union-Tribune, Sept. 11).

What red blooded Overlawyered reader could possibly resist that headline?  Certainly not you.

Details at the Legal Reader (Dec. 18, link via The Southern California Law Blog).

Reader Matt Manor sums up this Newsday article about a controversy in Hewlett Harbor, Long Island: “Golf club loses suit on errant balls, faces injunction to end them, erects large net to comply, and is promptly sued by homeowners who think the net is ugly. You can’t win.” (William Murphy, “Golf course can’t seem to hit straight”, May 24). More on errant golf balls: May 24, Oct. 6, 2004 (Australia).

Assumption of risk wins one in Hawaii: “A golfer may not be held liable for mistakenly hitting another golfer with an errant golf ball, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled.” Ryan Yoneda sued after being hit in the left eye by Andrew Tom’s wayward ball at Mililani Golf Course, but “Chief Justice Ronald Moon wrote Yoneda assumed the risk of the injury when he played golf.” However, the court did allow a lawsuit to proceed against the course owner on grounds of negligent design. (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, May 16; Ken Kobayashi, “Golf at your own risk, court rules”, Honolulu Advertiser, May 15).


Says Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Tuscaloosa won’t provide free golf carts. (Stephanie Taylor, Tuscaloosa News, Dec. 15). The National Golf Course Owners Association maintains a page on ADA issues and compliance. At Cybergolf, Jeffrey D. Brauer (“Must golf courses accommodate wheelchair golfers?”, undated) discusses the impact of wheelchair-access regulation on golf course design: “The golf industry at first feared that ADA might outlaw contoured greens and fairways, and possibly sand bunkers, to achieve disabled access. Future rules revisions may eventually eliminate features like ‘perched’ greens and steep banks, but for now, traditional golf course architecture is not compromised by the guidelines.” And federal prescriptions on the design of miniature golf courses can be found here.

“Social and club golfers should ensure they are covered by insurance before they even think about teeing off, the Victorian Golf Association has warned.” Mark Roy Shanahan was held personally liable for an A$2.6 million award after a charity game 10 years ago at a Queensland country club when his ball hit another golfer in the head. Although club members are often covered by a club’s liability policy, green-fee golfers may be exposed and would be wise to seek alternate sources of insurance, said VGA executive director Doug Fox (Daniella Miletic, “Insurance can stop a poor shot landing in court”, Melbourne Age, Sept. 12).