Woman sues golfer after being hit by ball and suffering a stroke
A member of an Irish golf club has sued a fellow member after a golf ball he hit struck her on the head, causing her to suffer a stroke.
The High Court in Ireland has said it will rule later on the action for damages brought by Mary Brennan, 56, who was standing on the balcony of the clubhouse of Old Conna Golf Club, in 2009, waving to her husband, when the ‘wayward’ ball hit her on the right top part of her head. She had only joined the club three weeks earlier.
She told the court she thought her head had been “split in two” when the incident happened.
“That is what it felt like. Nobody shouted fore. I did not hear a warning,” she said.
Fellow member, Patrick Trundle, who had a handicap of eight, and was playing out of the rough on the 18th hole, hit the ball,
“If I had heard a warning I would have put my hands over my head and ducked to the ground,” she told the court.
“I opened my eyes to look at my husband, Philip, and I could not see him. I thought I was blind.”
She was taken to hospital where a scan came back normal, but she remained in severe discomfort and eight days later started vomiting and had double vision and headaches, she said. She was admitted to hospital again and was then told that she had had a stroke.
Since then she has been told she cannot drive again as she has to wear special glasses due to flickering in her eyes and double vision. Doctors have also told her she will be in pain for the rest of her life.
“I am never totally without a headache,” she said.
Prior to the incident, she said life was wonderful and she was looking forward to holidays abroad playing golf with her husband as their daughter had grown up. However, they had to cancel a planned Caribbean trip.
She added that she had tried playing golf a few times since the incident but has been unable to due to fear.
“When somebody shouted ‘fore’ I threw another lady in front of me,” she said.
“I could not understand why this had happened to me. I thought I was going to enjoy the rest of my life playing golf around the world. I had a To Do List.”
She was asked in court why there were pictures of her on Facebook without her glasses on, and she said she takes the glasses off for photographs.
Mr Trundle said his shot was “wayward beyond belief”.
“I was playing away from the clubhouse. If I had seen the flight of the ball heading towards the clubhouse I would have had an automatic reaction of shouting ‘fore’,” he said.
He said if a player does not see the ball he has hit, he does not shout fore, but turns to his other players and asks them where the ball has gone.
One analyst said this could rival the Niddry Castle Golf Club case, when a golfer sued both the club and a fellow golfer after he lost an eye when a ball hit him.
“Clubs need to carry out risk assessments on their courses and golfers need to purchase insurance policies,” he said.
UPDATE: The High Court has awarded Mary Brennan nearly £220,000 in damages. It has also emerged that Mr Trundle’s insurers employed a detective agency to covertly film her in the hope that evidence could be obtained that she had been exaggerating her injuries.