As spring weather improves, golf courses in the area begin to fill up. Although golfers seldom have more on their mind than their game, it is important to keep a few general rules for golf course safety in mind.
Each year in the United States, there are approximately 15,000 golf cart accidents resulting in injuries requiring emergency medical attention. In addition, golf carts may tip over and cause serious injuries to passengers. Although the likelihood of being struck with a golf ball is low, a small percentage of ball strikes may cause serious and life-threatening injuries. Further, slip or trip and fall injuries are prevalent on course walkways, slopes and paths.
The good news is most golf course injuries may be avoided by simple safety tips on behalf of both golfers and course owners. For golfers, following golf cart operating instructions is important. Golfers should not overload carts, drive while intoxicated or drive the carts off the designated paths. Although the course may be running slow, golfers should never hit into a group ahead of you and should always make sure there is a safe distance between you and others when preparing to swing. In addition, golfers should immediately stop playing once lightning is spotted or thunder heard. Each year there are several reports of golfers being struck by lightning and injured.
Golf course owners are required by law to provide a safe environment for employees as well as guests. All course budgets must include funds for safety equipment, facility upgrades, compliance with laws and staff training. Golf courses should have written safety policies and procedures addressing all types of emergency situations. These policies and procedures should be updated frequently and employees must be trained to follow and enforce the procedures. Course owners are also encouraged to perform frequent site inspections to look for dangerous conditions on the course such as tripping hazards.