Can A Golf Ball Kill You? How To Prevent Freak Accidents

The average speed of a golf ball on a golf course is 340 km/h. Due to the fast pace at which the golf ball travels, many want to know if it’s dangerous enough to killl you on impact. Well, I did some research and here is what I found.

Can A Golf Ball Kill You?

A golf ball can kill you if it hits either side of your head, just above your ears. This is the most dangerous place to hit your head because the skull is thinnest there as arteries can burst and cause direct bleeding in the brain. But you shouldn’t sweat it, as these fatalities are very low when compared to other accidents like golf cart collissions or drowning in the golf pond.

However, recently there have been two unfortunate incidents of golf ball killings. One such event happened in New Zealand in February of 2018 where a man was struck and killed by a golf ball while teeing off .

Another fatality happened in Australia April 2021 where a 69 year old man was struck in the head by a golf ball while playing in a tournament at the Portalington golf club in Victoria Bellarine.

Though he was treated by paramedics on the golf course and taken home, his condition got worse where he had to be taken to an hospital the following day. His condition deteriorated and unfortunately he didn’t make it.

Why Are Golf Balls So Dangerous?

According to golfmonthly, nearly 40,000 golfers are treated for head injuries caused by errant golf balls and flying clubheads. Therefore, the chances of getting injured on a golf course is far from rare.

Golf balls are considered dangerous because of it’s compression and hardness. Most of these golf balls range between 40 and 100 in compressions which is hard enough to cause injury to a human being when it travels through the air at 340 km/h.

Not to mention, there is an outershell on the golf ball typically made from surlyn
which is a hard synthetic material. This is tough enough to cause damage to the head or any delicate parts of the human body.

The fast speed at which the golf ball travel along with the hardness of the golf ball are what makes it very dangerous to players on the course.

What To Do If You Get Hit By A Golf Ball

Getting hit by a golf ball is a possibilty you may encounter on the golf course. Therefore, you need to know what to do in such event in order to recover quickly.

The general guideline is that if you took a small hit to the head by a golf ball or have any concussion symptoms, you should leave the activity right away. A paramedic or doctor should examine you immediately to rule out concussion. The doctor should provide you with the proper diagnosis and begin treatment if necessary.

The doctor should determine whether it is safe for you to return back to the golf course. Otherwise, you should receive the necessary medical treatment and be sent home as soon as you recover.

How Hard Are Golf Balls Hit

Golf balls are being hit more agressively these days as golfers are now training like athletes in order to get the best out of their game. As a result, it is becoming more important for players to stay safe and cautious while out on the golf course in order to avoid any unwanted injuries.

The average male golfer hits with a swing speed of 93.4 mph, enough to send the ball speeding through the air at a high velocity. Drivers and long irons shots are more dangerous than short ones because of the speed at which the ball travels. So you should pay more attention to these types of shots. 

When it comes to profession golfers, they can hit as far as 170 to 190 mph. That requires a minimum swing speed of 115 mph, enough to cause serious concussion to the head.

Nevertheless, there are rules on the golf course that helps lower the risk of being struck by a golf ball. When a golfer hit the golf ball and there is a person close by, they are required to shout the word ‘fore’ in order to forewarn the person that the ball is approaching them or close to them.

There are consequences of hitting a player with a golf ball especially if you didn’t attempt to forewarn them that the ball was approaching. You may be suspended from the golf course for your negligence or be hit with a lawsuit by the plaintiff.

How To Stay Safe On A Golf Course?

To stay safe on the golf course, players need to:

  1. Ensure that everyone is at a safe distance before swinging your clubs. There should be no one nearby who might get hit with the golf ball or club. Check to see if people far away could get hit with the golf ball.
  2. Don’t go close to other golfers who are about to make a shot.
  3. Remember to shout fore if the golf ball is heading in the direction of someone on the golf course. This will let the person know to get out of the way of the incoming ball.
  4. If someone yells fore but you don’t see the incoming ball, cover your head or take cover behind some tree or golf cart.
  5. Stay hydrated and rest between round so you can get back energy.

Final Verdict

Serious head injury is very uncommon in golf, so you shouldn’t be deterred away from the sport. You just need to take the necessray precautions to stay safe on the golf course.

However, the chances of getting a serious head injury from a golf ball increases with age. So it is advised that players above 60 years old remain vigilant on the course.

We should all take responsibility for everyone’s safety and not to be negligent on the golf course. Basic things like shouting fore or checking to see if someone is in the path of getting struck by a golf ball will help to reduce the risk of an accident.

Always be mindful of whose turn it is to hit and be aware of where you are standing. Make sure that you are standing behind the person swinging  and never swing a golf club when someone is in front of you.

Follow these simple safety precautions and you won’t have to worry about any freak accident.




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