Legal dangers abound for golf operators

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In years past, the worst legal issue a golf course operator might face was an irate homeowner whose window was broken by an errant shot. That’s not the case anymore.
In today’s litigious world, golf course operators have to be ever-vigilant in reducing their exposure to liability from golfers, members and other customers. The top risks facing courses today, according to Fred Champion of Chubb Group of Insurance Companies: golf and utility carts; swimming pools, spas and hot tubs; liquor legal liability; waterborne illness; and equipment wash pad environmental liability.
There is no simple way of getting around the exposure in each of these areas of operation. Owners and managers need to be aware of the potential dangers and take steps to minimize liability, but that’s not always the case. For instance, most operators know that they can face legal claims when it comes to serving liquor. But as Champion pointed out at a recent meeting of golf management company insurance brokers sponsored by Venture Insurance Programs, many might not be aware of more recent legislation that requires clubs with on-site public pools or spas to cover drains. That’s the kind of knowledge that clubs need to have in order to make sure they can avoid a costly lawsuit.
What other legal dangers do today’s golf operators face? What issues have clubs had to address? We would like to hear from you.  


There are issues all over the place: 1. Equipment technicians could expose club for by-passing safety switches on equipment. 2. Lightning and not having an evacuation plan. 3. End of the day sweeps of the golf course to make sure no one is left overnight. 4. Driving range safety and monitoring. 5. Worker safety training especially for new workers, but also for those who forget. The list can go on and on! Some of these things seem far-fetched, but some are just common sense!

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