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PERSONAL INJURY: Hit in the Head by a Golf Ball

What happens when a golfer hits the golf ball, it hits a marker placed by the golf course, then the ball bounces back and hits the golfer in the head? The New Hampshire Supreme Court faced this question in the case of the golfer against the golf course. The plaintiff in the case had driven the ball to a position some 17-20 yards in front of a course marker. The yardage marker was four feet high, four inches square, and made of heavy duty plastic composite. The golfer noted the marker's position, intended to hit to the right of it, but the ball ricocheted of the marker and struck him in the eye. "Errant balls" the golf course attorneys argued, are inherent in the game of golf. Agreeing, the court added that clearly visible markers are a known hazard in golf. Finding that there was nothing inherently dangerous in the location of the markers on this court, the court held that the risk of the golfer's shot ricocheting of the marker was one that he assumed, and one against which the golf course had no duty to protect against. The golfer likely should have taken his own advice. In a glaring admission now actually included in the law books for posterity, he admitted "it was his practice shared by other social golfers, to occasionally bend the rules to either take a second shot or kick his ball out from behind an obstacle." This tidbit appears in Sanchez v. Candia Woods Golf Links, decided November 24, 2010.

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This is a summary of one actual case. It is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.

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