When it comes down to it, it is both amazing and completely unsurprising that golf accidents are something of a rarity. On one hand, the sport involves small dense hard balls being smacked as hard as possible off into the distance which would seem like a recipe for injury and disaster, and yet on the other the courses are so big and empty that the chances of hitting anyone in such a large area should always be remote. As such, the results are predictable: golf accidents are rare, but have been known to happen - and a golf ball travelling at high velocity has been known to kill people. For this reason alone, you should at least be aware of public safety on golf courses in advance of your trip.
Before you become overly paranoid, terrified of ever returning to a golf course, there are some tips which can greatly diminish the chances of a golf accident occurring. Some of these golf health and safety tips will seem obvious, but better safe than sorry! And of course, it goes without saying that golfing holiday insurance is a must before you travel.
As the person with the club in your hands, it is your responsibility to have a good look around you, and make sure that the fairway is clear ready for your drive. Obviously make sure everyone is stood well back when you take your swing - and take extra care if you are playing with children who are less aware of golf health and safety as well as often being unpredictable in their behaviour.Look to the left and right of where you are aiming - although we all like to consider ourselves budding Tiger Woods when out on the course, the reality is a miss-hit or an unpredictable gust of wind can easily take your ball of course, so ensure that these nearby areas are clear too, to prevent golf accidents.
But what if you notice someone on the fairway ahead that bit too late? What if they were obscured by a tree or you let your concentration down and forgot to check thoroughly. There is one answer - a universal language of golf, and a cliche its own right. You shout "Fore!" with all your might. Some say this term dates back from the 1700s, but even if it does not - everyone in golf knows what it means - Watch out! It is the universal language for protecting public safety on golf courses!
If you hear someone shouting this, you should not try and see where the ball is coming from. As I mentioned earlier, the odds of someone getting hit by such a small object are tiny, but do not push your luck by making yourself into a bigger target. Crouch, hide behind a tree or your cart and cover your head with your hands. The secret here is make yourself small to reduce the chances of being hit, and protect your head, because that is where real damage can occur.
This one is easier said than done for some of the golfers out there, but relax - enjoy yourself and do not allow yourself to be riled. That frustration can lead to carelessness, and worse - aggressive behaviour. If that group in front of you is taking an age to move onto the next hole, do not even think about firing a warning golf ball at them - that is a golf accident waiting to happen! Just take a breath, and enjoy the scenery and the sunshine.
Golf cart safety could occupy a web page in its own right, but I shall try and be brief: Although the golf cart looks harmless enough, these little fellas can cause their fair share of golf accidents and should not be handled lightly. Read the instructions, first of all - yeah, you have probably ridden in hundreds of these things before but a slight change can make all the difference when it comes to golf cart safety.
Do not hang your feet out the side, do not go off road over bumpy surfaces, do not go flat out top speed around corners and over hills and do not let small children drive! A final (obvious) lesson in golf cart safety is to not drink and drive - although these are not as dangerous as full sized cars, they have been known to cause a good few golf accidents. And if you have been drink driving, your golfing holiday insurance will not be able to help!
Being out in the sun all day may sound like a great idea, but it can be doing serious damage to your skin. Wear sun cream and ideally a hat that offers protection to your face and neck.
The hot weather can also cause severe dehydration. Keep plenty of water on you and make sure you are never thirsty. It is important to note that alcoholic drinks, though a reason for playing golf for some, actually will cause you to dehydrate further, and this combined with hot weather can be a recipe for disaster - as well as increasing the chances of making a mistake warned against in the above paragraphs. Staying hydrated is actually a key part of public golf course health and safety.
On the flip side of this is playing in the worst kind of weather for golfers - a thunderstorm. It does not take a genius to work out that there are few worse places to be with lightening around than an open field holding a long piece of metal. If you see lightening nearby or overhead, take cover.
Head straight to the clubhouse at the first sign of lightening on the way. If you get caught on your way back, do not hide under trees as these are natural lightening rods! Instead, search for a designated lightening shelter (which some public golf courses have for health and safety), or alternative hide inside a stone walled or concrete toilet. Open walled structures will not offer protection.
If you are in an open space with no sign of appropriate cover, drop your gold clubs and move away from your cart, water, trees and take off metal spiked shoes if you are wearing any. You should also stay around 15 feet away from other party members.
Of course, it goes without saying that our golfing holiday insurance is worth considering as extra protection when you are out on the greens - in case you do have an accident, or find your clubs stolen. On the other hand, if you keep these tips in mind when you are playing, the chances are you will not need to claim on your golfing holiday insurance!