Friday, November 18, 2011
How much is your eye worth?
It's a question you probably don't ask yourself very often... but for a golfer it is a serious consideration.
The answer to the question, according to Mr Anthony Phee, is £750,000 (Sterling). That's how much he was suing another golfer for (and the golf club where the incident took place), after losing his eye from a bad drive 150 yards away.
He claimed he ducked (James Gordon, the striker of the ball, denied this) but either way his eye 'exploded' (Phee's words) on impact and was later removed. It was his fourth round of golf ever!
The judgement was made in Phee's favour, but for a lesser amount of £400,000. 70% of the blame was apportioned to Gordon, and 30% to Niddry Castle golf club in West Lothian, Scotland.
Losing an eye is a terrible thing - I am blessed with good eyesight, and the thought of damaging an eye fills me with dread - but I have some sympathy for Gordon. Yes, his drive was very poor, but he shouted 'fore' - as did a playing companion - and after that it's in the lap of the gods. Mr. Phee has lost an eye and someone has to take responsibility, but when you step onto a golf course you, as a golfer, have to accept certain risks... and being struck by a ball is one of them. It doesn't happen often but it does happen, and unless you play courses like Killeen Castle, where holes are miles apart, you always have to be prepared.
Which means you should be insured against such things. At my home club there are a couple of dangerous spots - no doubt you have some of your own at your home club - and perhaps a recommendation for clubs, if only to cover themselves, would be to include a warning of dangerous holes on the scorecard, or when accepting green fees from visitors. Or ask if everyone is insured. Most clubs include insurance as part of their annual sub, but if yours doesn't, then I suggest you get some if only for peace of mind.
We can all hit bad shots... let's just hope they don't cost us £400,000.