By Judge Brian Addington, Gray
I’ve always liked golf, although I hardly ever play. When I became an attorney, I really tried to get into golf, thinking it would be a thing that an attorney would do with friends on a Friday afternoon. But I was wrong, at least for me.
My grandparents on my dad’s side of the family loved golf. My granddad was caddie and later club pro at a course in Southwest Virginia. During his caddying days, he was struck by lightning on the course and barely survived. But it did not ruin his love for the game, which he continued to foster with my grandmother. They entered tournaments and won trophies, which I used to play with as a kid. I still like to watch the Masters Tournament, just like my grandparents did.
Golf is not what most would consider a dangerous sport, but injuries do happen with spectators and golfers. A spectator was killed by a rotten falling tree limb during the 1981 Byron Nelson Tournament, and there have been spectators killed by lightning at various events. Many spectators have been injured by golf balls. Famous golfers such as Tiger Woods and Tony Finau and other have been injured playing or practicing the game they love.
When I think about golf, I just don’t think that often about these injuries or things that could happen on a golf course. I’m used to watching the tournament on TV and how the players are progressing up and down the leaderboard; I’m not thinking about the approaching weather or the danger of just being out there, where balls are getting hit by clubs at ever-more increasing speeds.
That’s a situation we can all fall into at work. We’re so focused on our jobs and the customers we serve, that safety issues can arise that we don’t even think about. I’ve approved many settlements dealing with minor issues of doors being left open and slamming shut on fingers, boxes or items left in a walkway that cause falls, and repairs to property or machines that are ignored until an accident happens. As for golf, I’ve approved at least three settlements involving golf cart injuries. The injured worker had no idea the accident was about to happen. These accidents can happen anytime, anywhere, if we aren’t paying attention.
So, when you go to work, think about these things. Do you see a repair that needs to be fixed, or notice that something is out of place that could cause a hazard? Speak up, and get the problem resolved.
I’m sure a lot of spectators or other players hit by balls on the golf course over the years would have loved it if someone had yelled, “Fore!”