Can A Golf Ball Kill You – How Dangerous Is The Golf Course

Golf is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. People tend to think of golf as being one of the safer sports because it is non-contact. Although you are at less risk for a concussion or tearing your ACL, there are still lots of injuries that can occur playing the game of golf. Not only can a golf ball in motion flying towards you be a life-threatening situation, but there is also quite a bit of danger involved in golf clubs. In this guide, we will give you some information on how dangerous golf really can be and some things you can do to make sure you stay safe.

 

My Personal Experience

I’ve been hit with a golf ball a few times. Luckily these were all shots that were intended to go less than about forty yards. It hurts. The area where you got hit will swell up, and there will be a bruise and a mark for several days. Luckily each time I was hit, it was in the lower leg, and I didn’t sustain a bad injury. As a golf professional, I saw some more severe injuries occur.

The most memorable was a group of four older gentlemen going out to play. They drove out to look for their golf ball before the last man in the foursome hitting his drive. The person on the tee box didn’t even realize that his playing partners had driven in front of him. His tee shot hit the back bar of the golf cart, and the ball zoomed around the inside of the golf cart.

As the golf ball tore through the cart, it left both players with some pretty ugly injuries. There were some stitches involved and lots of ice packs, not to mention a few days away from the golf course. This was an unfortunate incident, and it happened very fast. It could happen to anyone.

 

What Are The Odds Of Getting Hit By A Golf Ball?

It is hard to say what your exact odds of getting hit with a golf ball are because the exposure will change with each person. If you are someone that plays golf every day, your chances are slightly higher; if you live on a golf course, your chances will increase as well. The bottom line is that getting hit with a golf ball completely accidentally is very rare, much lower than 1%. If, however, you are not careful and stand in front of others thinking they are skilled enough to hit the ball over or around you, you are asking for trouble.

 

What Is The Science Behind The Force of  Golf Ball

Golf balls are a bit different than some other flying projectiles, like a bullet. When a golf ball is hit, it compresses. Depending on the speed at which it is hit, the golf ball can compress incredibly small compared to its original size. When a golf ball lands, it also compresses again, but not nearly as much.

If a golf ball travels at you, when it hits you, it will yet again compress. The compression is actually what helps save some people’s lives. The fact that the ball compresses helps to make sure that your body does not absorb the full impact of a golf shot gone wrong.

 

How Fast Does A Golf Ball Travel?

The fastest golf ball ever recorded traveled at 212 miles per hour. Golf balls typically go about 1.5 times the speed of a person’s swings. If an average golfer has a swing speed of about 80 mph, their golf ball will travel approximately 120 miles per hour.

This is the initial speed that the golf ball leaves the clubface. As a golf ball gets closer to landing, it is almost like an airplane; the speed will significantly decrease.

 

What Force Does It Generate?

Since golf balls don’t weigh very much and relatively speaking, their speeds are not nearly as fas as some other things like bullets or airplanes; their force is not quite as strong. One study found that the fastest golf ball ever recorded only packed about 26 percent as much force as that of a bullet. When you look at the numbers that way, golf balls can seem to be much safer. The problem is that depending on where you get hit, the damage it does to your body will vary greatly.

 

What Should I Do If I Hit A Stray Shot?

As soon as you hit a poor shot, you should yell Fore. Many golfers are scared of where their ball is traveling, and watching your golf ball heading towards another human is a terrible feeling. As bad as it is to watch this unfold, you must yell Fore as loud as you possibly can as soon as you see that shot going the wrong way. If people have time to prepare and to protect their heads, the chances of them being seriously injured are going to be much less.

 

What Happens If You Hit Someone With A Golf Ball?

The best possible thing to do if you hit someone with a golf ball is to make sure that they are alright. Although there is some legal issue that could come up because of this, the best possible thing to do is get the person the medical attention that they need. There have been several lawsuits related to people being hit with golf balls.

The lawsuits do not all favor the person who was injured. Most of the time, a golfer does not intend to risk the life of another person when they stand up to the tee box to hit a shot. If, however, you have a group right in front of you, or you always slice the ball, and there is a person on the right side of your fairway, those situations are a bit different. The best tip of advice is to make sure that there is nobody near you that could potentially even be hit with your shot.

Look in other fairways, look ahead of you and make sure your playing partners know that you are about to hit. If you are fully confident that your golf shot under normal conditions should not injure a person, then you are safe to swing.

 

Can A Golf Ball Break A Bone?

The short answer to this question is yes. The full story is that it is going to be very rare for a golfer to break a bone with a golf ball. A golf ball needs to be traveling very fast to break a bone. If you are hit by a golf ball that is landing, it is likely not moving nearly as fast as the speed it started at.

Now, if you were standing in front of someone that took a swing with their Driver and you got hit with in the first few yards after the ball took off, there is a very high chance you will sustain serious injury. Golf balls hurt when you get hit with them, but the possibility of it being a life-threatening injury is usually rare.

 

What Are The Most Common Injuries In Golf?

The golf ball or the clubhead does not usually cause the most common injuries in golf. Most golf injuries are to a player because of how they swing the club or repeated swinging. Some people who play a lot of golf will struggle with things like back pain, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, and even knee pain.

When you talk about injuries caused by golf equipment, there are a few things that you can do to make sure you don’t get hurt and that you don’t hurt other people.

  1. Always be aware of where you are standing
  2. Always be mindful of whose turn it is to hit
  3. Make sure that you are always standing behind the person swinging
  4. Never swing a golf club when someone is in front of you
  5. If you are not sure if you can hit the group in front of you, just wait, it’s worth the time

 

What Other Ways Do People Die On A Golf Course?

Much more common than a golf ball causing death is a heart attack causing death. The golf course seems to be an unfortunate place for people to have heart attacks. Many golf courses are not equipped with AED machines to help decrease the chances of a heart attack, causing death. Sometimes heart attacks happen with no warning and other times it is caused by an out of shape golfer tying to walk a golf course on a hot day. Always make sure that you have enough water, and you are physically capable of completing a round before heading out there. If you feel like you can’t finish call the pro shop and they will gladly come and pick you up.

 

What Happens If I Break A Window Or Damage A Car With A Stray Shot?

Remember, when you first learned the game of golf, and you were taught how vital etiquette and honesty were. Well, that has never been more true when it comes to hitting a house or a car. It is the responsibility of the player to handle the damage caused by their golf ball. If you break a window at someone’s house, you should leave a note with your contact information to help cover the damage.

Homeowners insurance and car insurance will sometimes cover issues caused by golf ball damage, but most of the time, it will not reach the deductible, and the homeowner will be stuck paying out of pocket. This is just an unfortunate thing, and it isn’t fair to leave this responsibility on somebody after your shot caused the damage. Golf is a fun game; it’s a game of character and honesty and respect if your ball broke something pay for it. (And then take a golf lesson!)

 

What Happens If A Golf Ball Hits A Spectator?

If you think you have it hard worrying about the guy on the next fairway, think about the pros and what they deal with, having thousands of people lining their fairways. You may see a news story from time to time about a golfer getting hit with a stray ball at a professional tournament. Not that long ago, Brooks Koepka hit a woman, and it ended up causing her to lose sight in her eye.

Not only was this terrible for the woman to live through, but it’s challenging for the golf professional as well. It is their worst nightmare to hit a loyal fan.

The best thing you can do when attending a professional golf tournament is to pay close attention to where the players are and if they are hitting. Sometimes it can be hard to see the golf balls, but if you pay attention, you will at least know if there is one heading your way. With the Koepka situation, there are still potential lawsuits pending, but spectators are at their own risk while attending an event.

 

Conclusion – How Dangerous Is Golf And How To Mitigate The Risk?

As far as sports are concerned, golf is one of the least dangerous sports you can participate in. You need to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, but you should be able to escape most visits to the golf course with little to no injury. The most common ways to get injured in golf are golf cart accidents, golf club, and golf ball accidents, and then there are physical injuries from overswing or repeated golfing.

Always make sure that you are physically capable of completing eighteen holes before teeing off. Keep food and water in your golf bag should you start to feel faint or weak. Most golfers keep a small first aid kit in their bag too should a minor injury develop during their round.

Most golfers will play their entire career and, at the most, pull a muscle. Don’t let the dangers associated with the game of golf keep you away from the enjoyment it provides.

 

Sources

https://www.penningtonslaw.com/news-publications/latest-news/2018/who-is-liable-if-i-am-hit-by-a-golf-ball

https://www.hagginoaks.com/blog/can-a-golf-ball-kill-you/