Call for golfers to wear hard hats to cut sport’s injury toll

Safety concerns raised about golfing injuries.
Safety concerns raised about golfing injuries.
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Golfers could be forced to wear hard hats in a bid to reduce golfing-related injuries, a health & safety expert has revealed.

Chris Hall, of Protecting.co.uk, a health and safety and employment agency, said that thousands of pounds are paid out each year in claims for head injuries from misjudged golf balls.

Statistics suggest between 16 - 41 per cent of amateur golfers are injured each year with the potential for working days lost to golfing injuries high enough to prompt businesses into lobbying for improved safety measures.

A number of insurance companies and private businesses are wanting to reduce the financial burden of golfing injuries and are pushing for greater protection for players.

Research shows the demographic of golf players leans heavily toward men in their forties and fifties, who make up a large proportion of managerial and director-level employees.

Earlier this year Golf Monthly cited NHS figures showing golf is statistically more dangerous than rugby.

Golf had an injury rate of 1.8 per 1,000 while rugby’s injury rate was 1.5 per 1,000.

Mr Hall, spokesman for Protecting.co.uk, said golf needed to follow the safety measures introduced by other sports.

“If you look at a selection of other sports played in the UK, both contact and non-contact, there are measures in place to reduce injury. For example, many amateur and lower-league rugby clubs insist on protective helmets; martial arts classes provide pads for their students - and this is not just to prevent injury. It’s because financially, it makes sense for clubs (and their insurers) to prove they’ve reduced harm wherever possible.”

Mr Hall added: “Public safety campaigns are crucial to changing the status quo. Cyclists are aware that helmet use is recommended. With enough support from insurers, businesses and health & safety professionals, a similar scenario could happen with golfers.

However, Chic Brodie, former co-convener of the Scottish Government’s cross-party working group on golf was dismissive of the idea.

“I think it’s a nonsense. The main thing is to ensure golfers know their limitations - how far and how straight they can drive - and are courteous to others and abide by the rules.

“I’m a firm believer in strong training, particularly for younger golfers to improve the game.

“Hard hats would restrict the capability of some golfers, making them more dangerous. Besides, it wouldn’t stop a golfer getting hit in the body. It all gets back to training.”