Golfers beware…

My mother owned a cute townhome right on the golf course in Duarte, California, the beautiful green, rolling hills serving up a misty, park-like view from her back porch in the wee hours of the morning. She loved to sit with her hot coffee and a chocolate muffin, reading the newspaper. Until the inevitable occurred. Crashing through a fallen portion of the protective netting one morning came a hailstorm of golf balls, one right after the other. A party apparently of new golfers in the distance. She was horrified, terrified, and never really enjoyed the “park” again even though the owners of the course fixed the netting.

She believed, however, in the general theory of “assumption of risk.” She knew there was a chance of such a thing happening and bought the townhome anyway, therefore, never felt she had a right to seek damages.

So agrees (somewhat) the California Supreme Court. In Shin v. Ahn, the Court applied the “assumption of risk” doctrine to a pair of golfers, expanding the doctrine from contact sports (such as boxing) to a non-contact sport. That means…if my mother had been playing on the golf course, sitting upon a hill, and one of those crazy golfers lobbed a ball at her head accidentally (as new golfers might be prone to do), she could not sue for damages unless the golfer,

“engage[] in conduct that is so reckless as to be totally outside the range of the ordinary activity involved in the sport.”

I suppose then, helmets might be a requirement for the uber-cautious golfer. First those silly pants, then the shoes, and now…

Posted by C. Bekhor


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