The mis-hit that cost £400k

Everyone can mis-hit a shot, but sometimes it can end up being very costly

Errors on the course can cost thousands

An AWOL drive from the tee can happen to the best of golfers. Unfortunately for one man back in 2007 his wayward shot left him in the middle of a £400,000 legal claim.

Anthony McPhee was walking along the path between the 6th and 7th holes at Niddry Castle Golf Club in West Lothian one day in August 2007 when he was struck in the face by another golfer’s ball.

An 18th hole drive from James Gordon caught Mr McPhee with such force that it caused his eye to “explode”.

Despite shouts of fore from Mr Gordon, and an attempt to duck and cover from Mr McPhee the blow left the latter requiring surgery to fit a prosthetic eye.

The initial court case that followed when the victim sued both the golf club and Mr Gordon, lasted four years and resulted in McPhee being awarded nearly £400,000 in damages.

The liability was adjudged to be 70% at the expense of James Gordon, while 30% was attributed to the club, who, according to the court, failed to warn golfers on the path of the potential danger of wayward balls.

Although the proportion of liability that was attributed to Mr Gordon was later reduced on appeal, the amateur golfer was still required to pay around £80,000 in damages, with the club being responsible for the remainder.

With around £400,000 worth of damages to be paid to Mr McPhee between Gordon and the club, the importance of suitable golf insurance is highlighted considerably.

The judge that oversaw the case ruled that James Gordon had been “over-confident in his ability to hit a good shot”, something that all golfers can be guilty of at times.

Andy Brownsell, keen golfer and SportsCover Direct’s Commercial Director reiterates why everyone on course should be adequately covered:

“We’ve all had shots head off in directions we hadn’t intended them to, but take a moment to consider what would happen if they were to strike another golfer.

“Legal costs can be substantial should you be sued for injuring another person on the course, so protecting yourself from the worry and financial penalties should be a top priority.

“With comprehensive cover available for less than £20 a year, risking a lawsuit the size of the one faced by James Gordon back in 2007 really isn’t worth it.”

The mis-hit that cost £400k