Golfer who ‘som­er­saulted’ off tee box loses dam­ages claim

The Irish Times - - Home News - RAY MANAGH

A golfer who broke his right an­kle after “slip­ping and som­er­sault­ing” off a tee box dur­ing a round of golf at For­rest Lit­tle, has lost a ¤60,000 dam­ages claim against the golf club, in Swords, Co Dublin.

Wil­liam “Billy” Rus­sell told the Cir­cuit Civil Court yes­ter­day that he slipped on an al­legedly de­fec­tive astro turf cov­er­ing on a rail­way sleeper used in a set of steps on the 16th tee.

Mr Rus­sell (62) of Bel­clare Park, Pop­pin­tree, Dublin, told the court he had hit his drive and was walk­ing off the tee box when his right foot went side­ways and he som­er­saulted off the steps, land­ing on his back.

A for­mer pres­i­dent and past cap­tain of Beau­mont Hos­pi­tal Golf So­ci­ety, Mr Rus­sell, a 20-hand­i­cap golfer, told Cir­cuit Court Pres­i­dent, Mr Jus­tice Ray­mond Groarke, the in­ci­dent hap­pened on a wet day in May, 2014.

He said he was taken to Beau­mont Hos­pi­tal, where X-rays re­vealed he had frac­tured his right an­kle. An open plas­ter slab was fit­ted to his leg and for 10 weeks he was un­able to work as a plumber at the hos­pi­tal.

He agreed with bar­ris­ter Shane English, with Ciaran McIn­tyre of Hayes McGrath solic­i­tors for Trav­el­ers In­sur­ance Com­pany, the steps to the 16th tee was the sev­enth set of as­tro­turf-cov­ered wooden steps he had used that day.

Jeff Scott, course su­per­vi­sor at the Swords, Co Dublin club, said the 16th tee box had since been moved but due only to a re­design of the course for safety rea­sons as it used to be too close to the 15th green.

No ev­i­dence of neg­li­gence

Mr Jus­tice Groarke said he could not find in favour of Mr Rus­sell as the court had not been pre­sented with any ev­i­dence of neg­li­gence on the part of the club. Dis­miss­ing Mr Rus­sell’s claim and or­der­ing costs against him, Judge Groarke said any­one par­tic­i­pat­ing in out­side ac­tiv­i­ties could not ex­pect astro turf to be like a car­pet.

Wil­liam Rus­sell: som­er­saulted down the steps and landed on his back

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