It’s sometimes hard to imagine the damage a golf ball can cause. After all, how much harm can a 41.1mm ball really do? Well it might be more than you think.

Golf balls can, in fact, pose a very real and very serious threat to both property and indeed life.

And you’re not even safe with the professionals at times. Stand too close to the fairway or green, and an errant shot can lead to major pain for the unsuspecting spectator.

Take this strike from Tiger Woods at the 2008 Memorial Tournament. You’re safe with Tiger on the tee right? Wrong, as this poor spectator on the left edge of the fairway found out, to his cost.  We can imagine the hurt the golf ball caused from here!


This fan was rewarded for his pain by receiving a signed golf glove from Tiger, by way of making amends for his hook off the tee, but the spectator will have been feeling the effects of that blow for some time.

But this was not an isolated incident. The watching hoards surrounding a golf course are in very real danger should a shot from even the most accomplished of players go wrong.

This sickening blow occurred at the 2013 Presidents Cup, as Keegan Bradley manages to miss the wide open green, but finds the head of a spectator at the front of the crowd with alarming accuracy.


But a bit of bruising or a slight headache isn’t as bad as it gets, as this innocent bystander at the Australian Masters will attest.


There he is, minding his own business, enjoying a nice day out at the golf when he gets whacked in the nose by a misguided tee shot from Steven Bowditch. This blow was enough to break the poor spectator’s nose, although he was perhaps lucky to escape further damage.

It was reported that the man had to have his nose re-broken to set it back in place, but he was, unbelievably, back out on the course to watch the action just a short while later. Now that’s dedication to the sport!

These examples from the professional game serve to highlight the very real danger that a flying golf ball can cause and demonstrate the need for insurance on the course.

Gauntlet Golf’s personal accident cover will insure you against loss of life, loss of limb or an eye, plus any injuries incurred during practice or play on a golf course, when caused by an external injury, such as being struck by a golf ball.

As shown, even in the professional game balls go astray and so the threat of a wayward shot can be a very real danger on the course.

It’s a similar story for property. A stray ball can break car windows, or damage nearby buildings and houses.  Luckily, this is something that can also be insured against.

Accidental damage to Third Party property cover on our golf insurance policies insures against such mishaps by covering the damage caused by a mis-hit shot that, for instance, smashes the windscreen of a nearby car.

But, on the most famous course in golf, the Old Course at St. Andrews, it’s often not the cars that come under fire from wayward shots, but the famous old hotel itself, when golfers get on to the infamous 17th – the ‘Road Hole’.

The hole demands a tee shot that is aimed directly at the hotel in order to leave yourself in the best position for an approach to the green with the second drive, which makes it tricky.  After all, a broken window at the most famous hotel in golf is not something you want to have to be shelling out for!

"At the 17th you can hit it in to the hotel in a heartbeat," said former Open winner Mark Calcavecchia.

"I've hit it so far right there I've thought ‘that’s going to be in the back yard of the hotel’, but it's usually okay," said German Martin Kaymer.

It’s certainly a hole that separates the best from the rest. Those who have the nerve to take on the hotel and succeed, set themselves up perfectly to master the ‘Road Hole’.  But there have been occasions where even the best have got it horribly wrong at the 17th.

At the 2015 Open, Eddie Pepperell had stormed to share the lead of the tournament, before having a nightmare at the 17th.

He sliced the ball way right and out of bounds, on to the roof of the Old Course Hotel. He still made an impressive round of 66, but will be having bad memories of the ‘Road Hole’ until he takes it on again.

And even the mighty Phil Mickelson isn’t immune to the perils of the 17th. A wayward drive, which landed on the balcony of room 130, saw Mickelson succumb to a triple-bogey seven at the end of his final round, putting him firmly out of contention.


Mind the windows Phil!