When Thomas Pieters snapped a club around his own neck in rage a few months ago, it served as a reminder of what the game of golf can do to a player and had echoes of Rory McIlroy throwing an iron into a lake at Doral, in 2015. But what happens when it’s not a self-inflicted injury or impact, or not a tool of the trade or a part of the course that’s the victim of a player’s ire but another course user?

Golf rage incidents could erupt at any moment and are fairly regular occurrences the other side of 'The Pond'. However, they have also resulted in ugly cases here in the UK, including an assault by one player on another which resulted in the at-guilt party being jailed for actual bodily harm. It's also likely that less violent cases go unreported. So how can you try to avoid such incidents occurring?

Course etiquette has a major part to play in this, with aggressive scenarios often relating to annoyance with other players not in your own group, but in those with whom you come into contact. This frequently relates to speed of play, playing through holes to get past slower players and behaviour at pinch-points, where two different groups come into contact - sometimes even buggy user and groundkeeper.

Best advice relates to having clear rules relating to course etiquette and ensuring that all users of the course appreciate, understand and agree to abide by these. This need not reinforce the view of clubs being stuffy institutions, if you get the tone of communication right. But how do you manage this in the context of nomad golfers and new formats of the game?

Food for thought? There are many other scenarios like this considered in 'The Changing Face of Golf', so why not download it for free here http://www.golfclubhealthandsafety.com/the-changing-face-of-golf? If you need help with such issues, you can also contact the approachable Gauntlet health and safety team on 0113 244 8686.

Return