DOUBLE BOGEY; A game of Golf could cost you more than just green fees………… matter who you are II

With the weather affected Open running into an extra day for only the second time in its history, recent studies show that 9 out of 10 golfers are not covered for claims against personal accident or injury.


Given that the Open will have wetted the juices of numerous amateur golfers and weekend hackers seeking to improve their handicaps, the common phrase ‘All the gear, no idea’ may ring true if care is not taken.

Lack of insurance can lead to large costs if you are to be held liable for causing injury to another whilst playing. Recently John Ure has just received a payout of £10,000 after being struck in the head by a wayward golf ball. This is just another more recent incident resulting in established liability on the golf course. A report last year showed that since 2009, figures claiming personal injury against golfers has tripled in the last five years.

The increase in golfing claims is as a result of a claim in 1998 where a lorry driver lost an eye due to a stray shot. The judge held that ‘golfers are liable for the shots that cause injury, no matter how slight the injury’. The cost of being found liable for personal injury in the golfing atmosphere has seen figures increase, for example in the 2001 a lady was awarded in excess of £87,000, with legal costs included, which at the time the largest sports related injury payout the UK had seen.

With these figures spiking it is no surprise that Ure has received such a large sum. He was hit in the head by a shot so poor, that the courts deemed it necessary to award damages. The Court of Session in Edinburgh heard the facts of the case that in 2013 Stewart Muir struck a poor shot, that when it made contact with the head of Mr Ure he fell to the floor. Ure suffered instant nausea from the incident, and later that day vomited and was taken to hospital. Following the event he suffered severe intermittent headaches, nausea and even claimed he had lost enthusiasm for playing the sport.

The court was presented with arguments from both sides. Muir tried to defend himself by saying that he would not have taken the shot if he, himself, considered there to be an obvious risk, he said ‘you just wouldn’t surmise your ball going that far right.’ Stewart called ‘FORE!’ after his shot went skew and two of the players in Ure’s party took cover, but as a resulted of John not taking cover he was incidentally hit.

The argument went in favour of Ure after Lord Brailsford said it was reasonably foreseeable that a poor shot could endanger someone in Ure’s position. A study showed that on this hole 92% of shots were within a 30⁰ cone of the tee off, Muir’s shot fell into the 8% out of this cone. The Judge ruled that the calling of the word ‘FORE!’ meant that his shot ‘on his own admission, was a bad one.’ The judge established liability, and ordered the payment of £10,000 based on the agreed figure between the two parties outside of the courts.

This just highlights the growing need for insurance coverage when playing sports such as golf. Most household insurance does not cover personal liability claims over sports. Many golf clubs are now starting to offer insurance as an extra added fee to memberships, but as mentioned earlier 90% of golfers are not covered, and if chances are taken it could cost them dearly.

Paul Eales

Choix Consultant



Tackling Risk Head On; Insuring the Rugby World Cup

11,000 miles from its 2011 home in New Zealand and after a long 4 year wait, it is now less than 100 days until the Rugby World Cup lands on home turf. Kicking off on the 18th September and running until the 31st October, fans will be taken on a tour of England and Wales as fixtures take place at 13 different venues between 20 of the world’s finest rugby nations.


The event is so vast that it sits behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup as the third largest global event, a competition which is definitive in the careers of many of the world’s elite rugby players.

But with excitement already building and media coverage set to exceed its predecessors by some margin, how are the organisers and other parties involved in hosting the event preparing? More importantly, how are they preparing for the fact that it might not all go to plan, especially if the good old British weather decides to play its part?

For the organisers, obtaining insurance is one of the most important aspects of the planning process as a result of the many risks involved in organising a global sporting event.

Even in the months before the event begins organisers will be training staff and volunteers ready to assist at the different venues. Therefore the organiser’s insurance cover will also begin in these early stages to account for any accidental injuries these staff may suffer whilst in training.

As the event approaches the organiser’s liability will peak, especially in the last few days before the event begins, as by this point they will have spent the vast majority of the money needed to stage the event but until the first game is played, no revenue will have been generated. Therefore obtaining an insurance policy to cover the cancellation of the event before any revenue is generated is essential.

The risks, although diminishing as the event goes on, continue for the organisers once play has commenced. Policies are required to cover delays caused by the threat of terrorism or bad weather. When the spotlight was last on England as the host of the 2012 Olympics for example, there were worries that rain would cause untold interruptions after plaguing many of the test events. It was therefore essential that the London Olympic Committee had an appropriate insurance policy in place as many of the venues including the Olympic stadium and the Riverbank Arena, which hosted the hockey, had no roof.

In light of the fact that an estimated 466,000 fans will travel to support their rugby heroes at one of the venues across England and Wales, organisers will also require insurance policies to cover injuries which may be suffered by spectators whilst in the stadium. Policies will also be required to cover any accidental damage to the fixtures and fittings in the venue or the emergency medical care of competing athletes.

The organisers must also consider fans watching the matches on television. With the number of people tuning into watch the games rocketing from 200 million in 1987 to 4 billion 4 years ago, ensuring that their policy covers satellite failure which may block coverage to these national and international viewers is a must for the organisers.

English broadcasters will be responsible for covering the matches and sending their feed to national broadcasters around the world who then transmit the images to their domestic audiences. As such the organisers and English broadcasters will require a policy to cover these obligations but it should be noted that their liability ceases once the images have been transmitted to international television stations.

Cancellation cover will also be required by other parties involved in hosting the event, namely catering and merchandising firms. These firms will prepare huge amounts of food and souvenirs in preparation of each game which will not be salvageable should games be postponed or cancelled. For companies hired to cater for both corporate hospitality guests and fans in the stadium, the postponement of a game due to bad weather, even if just for 48 hours, can leave them with huge amounts of food which cannot be kept until a fixture is rearranged. Taking out a policy to cover them in these eventualities therefore is essential.

In consideration of these risks, it is clear that the potential liability incurred by organisers could be huge. In order to protect themselves from any problems which may occur along the way organisers need insurance brokers that really understand the niche risks involved in hosting a global event.

So to know more about Event Insurance feel free to contact the Choix Team.



This Guest Blog has been produced with grateful thanks by: Danielle Pawson, Student at the University of Law, Leeds.


‘Image is Everything’; Ronaldo sells the Farm

Andre Agassi was quoted as saying ‘Image is Everything’; even a brand pioneer such as Agassi could not have predicted the recent business deal that football sensation Christiano Ronaldo has struck.


The Portuguese international has sold all image rights not related to his club for six years to Singaporean tycoon and Valencia owner Peter Lim, through his Mint Media company in return for a lucrative cash settlement.

This deal widens his image, particularly in Asia where the game’s popularity is growing and thriving. According to Forbes, Ronaldo sits in the top 10 of sports endorsement earners, pulling in $27m as a result of his image trademark. One of the trademarks Ronaldo has is the CR7 brand, symbolic of his initials and shirt number. This branding is one of his big earners as it appears on a clothing line and is also incorporated into a deal with a line of Nike football boots. Similarly, Robin Van Persie is well renowned for his personalised boots, comprising characteristically of a Dutch flag, the number 20 and his initials. It’s this type of branding that sees him get royalties from lines of boots from Adidas whilst promoting the brand and his own image.

Another player that succeeded in registering an approved trademark with the Intellectual Property Office was Ronaldo’s Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale. His infamous ‘Eleven of Hearts’ goal celebration which he now uses as a logo on clothing, footwear, and head gear brings in over a reported £3 million a year from the ‘love heart’ trademark.

The ‘Godfather’ of registering his name as a trademark is another former Real Madrid player, David Beckham, who has done so in almost every territory across the globe. Perhaps the greatest catalyst for his move from European giants Real Madrid to the United States’ LA Galaxy centred around the former club’s policy of dividing their ‘Galacticos’ endorsements relating to image rights 50:50 between the club and the player. Negotiations broke down between Real Madrid and Beckham as he sought to gain complete control of his commercial income.  Real Madrid’s fan base at that time was estimated to be in the region of 0.5 Billion worldwide, with Beckham ‘23’ replica shirts the must have item. Beckham instead took his brand to America where his guaranteed salary of $32.5 million over 5 years was eclipsed by the $217.5 million which was amassed through his intellectual property earnings in a total deal reported to be worth $250 million.

The major changes regarding image rights started to impact on the world of sport in 2002, when motor racing ace, Eddie Irvine, won a case against Talk Radio for manipulating a photograph of him to make it look like he endorsed the service.  This earned him only a few thousand pounds compensation but has lead to great financial gains for other sports stars as a result, with that case proving to be a landmark ruling.  This forced the UK’s legal system to confirm the rights of all well known people to control the use of their image and hence, recognise their right to payment for the endorsement of products and services.

If you need any advice on registering trademarks or protecting your image rights please do not hesitate to contact the Choix team.

Jim Pearson – Sports Consultant




FORE; A game of Golf could cost you more than just green fees………… matter who you are?

The 2013 US Open champion unleashed a tee shot on the par-five 16th hole, but his effort strayed left and connected with the spectator.

Rose told The AP after the incident that a young golf fan fainted at the sight of blood pouring from the man’s head, but has since recovered.

“It’s an elderly gentleman so it’s not nice, but he took it like a trooper,” said Rose. “He was talking to me and that’s reassuring.”

Although many people think of golf as a safe, non-contact sport, statistics in the UK have shown that around 12,000 golfers a year require hospital treatment as a direct result of injury on the golf course. In one-year alone 3,530 head injury accidents were recorded. There has even been cases involving settlement of vet bills for treatment to a dog whose leg was broken by a wayward golf ball!

A golf ball is an extremely hard object, and when it’s travelling at high speeds can result in serious injuries if it hits another golfer, spectator or someone else’s property. Most UK household insurances do not include cover for personal accident injuries sustained while playing sports such as golf. Most people are not aware of this, and independent research has found that nine out of ten UK golfers are not properly insured on the golf course against personal injury or accident.

Over recent years personal liability claims against golfers have been on the increase, with claims tripling in the last five years after the courts ruled in favour of a claim launched by a lorry driver who lost an eye after being hit by a badly sliced drive.

The case that has led to this increase in claims was in 1998, when the high court ruled in the case of Anthony Lighting (whose faulty shot blinded a lorry driver in one eye) that ‘golfers are liable for shots that cause injury, no matter how slight the risk’. The case was upheld on appeal with the Court of Appeal ruling that golfers who mis-hit shots causing injury to other persons will be liable to pay damages even if they do shout ‘FORE!’. In 2001 the UK’s largest Public Liability claim for a golf sport injury was settled. The £87,000+ settlement (including legal costs) was made following an incident at the London Golf Club in September 1996 where a golf ball hit a fellow golfer on the right temple as she walked forwards to the ladies tee. She suffered serious head injury.

As Golf Courses are often being built close to residential areas nowadays and getting busier, the probability of injuring a fellow golfer or a passer-by is much more common (by ball or club) and the risk of doing so is greater every time you play. Add to this the compensation culture of today, where people are much more likely to prosecute, stepping out onto the golf course is an increasingly risky business, where hitting a fore could result in a costly lawsuit.

Golf members are starting to see the importance of taking out personal liability insurance, but the law does make provision for injured parties suing the club itself. As the compensation culture shows no signs of abating, clubs also need to ensure that they don’t get caught out.

People are often under the misapprehension that their household insurance policy extends cover to golf equipment and public liability needs. However, many policies exclude public liability cover for sport injury and offer only restricted cover for equipment used for golf. Some golf clubs offer ‘golf insurance’ for an extra fee on membership or green fees, some even make it mandatory. This cover is often limited to public liability on that course on that day only.

Personal liability claims can run into thousands of pounds, so the best advice to any golfer is to make sure they have adequate personal liability insurance. This won’t prevent the incident from happening, but it does mean that if the worst happens, they are protected and reduce the risk of paying out thousands in compensation.

Case Study


Player “A” had teed off and hooked his tee shot which had come to rest in a rough and condensed tree area . Player “B” approached the green making his playing partners aware that there was a golfer situated in the rough and trees behind the green which they were playing up to.

Player “B” stood to the right hand side off the hole so that we were out of the way of any danger. Player “A” was visible having practice swings, and  identify his swing was hampered by the thick wet rough and tree stumps. Player “A” decided to hit a wood even though it was thick, wet rough, and the trees were in the way of his golf swing. He decided that rather than play an iron for safety to get the ball back in play on his own hole, he attempted to hit a wood and decided to hit the ball over the green of the hole, Player “B” was playing, and play down that fairway rather than his own hole.

As he made contact with the ball, Player “A” mishit his shot. The trees that had hampered his swing, and the thick wet rough caused his club head to turn over resulting in a violent hook, sending the ball severely to his left. The ball came flying straight in my direction. Player “B” tried to move out of the way but such efforts were unsuccessful and the ball struck Player ”B” on the chin to the right of my face and  I was knocked unconscious immediately.

After regaining consciousness Player “B” was put in the recovery position and an Air Ambulance arrived to  deal with the incident and take Player “B” to hospital where X rays, and CT scans were taken because of the injury and Player “B” having other illness. Due to the laceration to the face of Player “B” where the golf ball had hit him,  plastic surgery was  needed to the cut to the players face.


The issue in question is that Player “A” should never have attempted a wood shot given the lie and there was a good chance of it not coming off/not being able to control the direction of the ball.

General consensus from the Golf Playing/Coaching Community is that stroke/club selection would be very difficult to consider as being negligent. To make an accurate decision there are many variables, lie of the ball, the type of rough, depth of the rough, wind conditions, distance the pin etc.. etc.. etc..

The general concept of using a wood in the rough is not uncommon and one coach has commented that he would frequently do so. The driver has more weight and will “get through the rough” much easier in some cases than using an iron. An iron can sometimes “snag” in the rough causing the head of the club to twist and make the stroke more difficult to control that it might have been using a wood.

So it would appear that the decision to use a wood wasn’t necessarily a poor decision and could be argued that it was actually a good decision.

In any claim for it to be successful, an insurer, as well as the plaintiff and defendants solicitors will look at all aspects to assess the intent, danger and negligence of the matter.

Paul Eales

Choix Consultant