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March 2018 Industry Report

In 2016, plaintiffs filed 274,552 civil cases in U.S. district courts (down 2.5% from the previous year).


Golf media covers big cases in the news (Titleist versus Costco, TaylorMade versus PXG, Vijay Singh versus the PGA Tour), but hundreds of cases, big and small, are filed against golf clubs annually.


Courtesy of Rob Harris, founder of Golf Dispute Resolution (, here are a couple of recent golf lawsuits – both whimsical and frustrating:


Struck By Friend’s Club At Driving Range:

Case: One friend instructing another friend on range. Backswing hits face of friend resulting in permanent loss of vision in one eye.

Important point: Practice range signage clearly stated only one golfer per stall.

Conclusion: Court agreed a jury should decide the case as regarding liability of practice facility and friend for “reckless disregard of risk.”


Teacher Loses Job For Phoning In Sick While Coaching Boys Golf Team:

Case: Teacher skips work to coach a local boys golf team not affiliated with the school.

Important point: School rules permit “sick leave” for “personal illness or injury…illness, injury, or death in immediate family…pregnancy…or exposure to a contagious disease.”

Conclusion: School district fired the teacher for improper use of sick leave. Teacher filed a grievance with his union and has filed a $4 million lawsuit against the school board.


Hole-In-One Insurance:

Case: Payment of prize for two aces made during the Greenbrier Classic.

Important point: Insurance policy stated hole must play from a minimum of 170 yards. It was set at 137 yards.

Conclusion: Game, set, match – insurance company wins.


Attempt To Hold Golf Course Liable For Flooding:

Case: Severe rain storm floods basement of home fronting golf course.

Important point: Homeowner states catch basis/drainage installed from a course redesign 100 years ago and improper maintenance of catch basin caused the flooding.

Conclusion: Court ruled in favor of the club stating no evidence was presented documenting improper maintenance or that the storm drain was deficiently small.


Claim Golf Course Is A Noise Nuisance:

Case: Kansas City Country Club (Tom Watson’s home course) is being sued by a homeowner for installing a greenside ventilation fan.

Important point: An acoustics expert compares the noise to what is heard by standing fifty feet away from a highway during morning rush hour.

Conclusion: Going to court this summer.


Enforce Home Purchase Agreement:

Case: Buyer of home at Kiawah Island aborts sale four months after signing purchase agreement.

Important point: Legal documents state a transfer of an existing membership or new membership in the club – with necessary membership deposit – is required five days after executing the contract. If not acted upon favorably by the club, the contract shall immediately be terminated.

Conclusion: The buyer, who already owned another home at Kiawah and was a member, used the “loophole” to terminate the contract. The court agreed, stating the plain language of the contract applied.


Golfer’s Fall Off Greenside Cliff:

Case: Member at Cordillera Ranch in Texas fell off side of green into a ravine resulting in injuries.

Important point: The member sued both the club and golf course designer (Nicklaus Design, LLC) for gross negligence.

Conclusion: The member lost. Court referenced membership documents, signed by the member, that he assumes risks associated with club facilities.


Mauna Kea Resort’s 45th Annual Pro-Am

Last year, 26 teams competed during Mauna Kea Resort’s Pro-Am, a Big Island of Hawaii tradition since 1972. Golf professionals able to field a team with three paid members this December receive room, golf, most meals, and airfare up to $900 – a value of $4,500. For an invitation, please email me at


Mecca for Jack Nicklaus Golf

The Villas of Grand Cypress, with 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature golf, is located off the main exit in Lake Buena Vista and centrally located to all of Orlando’s best attractions. The resort actually shares a common property line with Walt Disney World and is less than 30 minutes from the Orange County Convention Center and Orlando Airport.


On any given night, you have a choice of 128,000 hotel rooms to choose from in greater Orlando. Those in the know select one of the prized 146 luxurious Club Suites at the Villas of Grand Cypress. Sized with twice the space as a traditional hotel room and décor that includes calming natural elements of rich Zebrano wood and stacked stone, the Club Suites provide an ideal alternative to a run-of-the-mill hotel chain guest room or gambling with an Airbnb unknown residence.


TripAdvisor, with over 535 million reviews on its website, has rated the Villas of Grand Cypress the #1 hotel in Orlando for three consecutive years. More:

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