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Court date Golf spectator sues club after being hit on head and knocked unconscious by ball


A spectator at a golf tournament who was hit on the head by a ball and knocked unconscious has sued in the High Court.

Colm Campbell claims he is in constant pain and his life has totally changed after he was hit on the left side of his forehead with a golf ball during the West of Ireland Championship for amateur golfers.

It was held at the County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point, Sligo four years ago.

He has sued the golfer Kevin Le Blanc, at the time a top amateur golfer who later turned professional for a number of years, as well as the golf club and the organisers of the competition, the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI).

Opening the case Mr Campbell’s counsel, Liam Reidy SC instructed by Damien Tansey solicitor. said it was their case that Mr Le Blanc who was in the rough at the 11th green and 12th tee box hit the ball and it overshot the green and hit Mr Campbell on the head.

Counsel said they contend it was “an errant shot” and if a shot is errant there is a fundamental obligation to shout ‘fore’ because somebody could be in its way.“It

is a key standard that applies to every golfer from the elite to the lower level, particularly in the circumstances where the match is being watched by a group of spectators,” Mr Reidy said.

Counsel for Mr Le Blanc, Noel McCarthy SC said it was their case it was not a wayward shot but a competent shot and that is why the golfer did not shout ‘fore.’

He said Mr Le Blanc will say the shot was a perfectly well struck shot and not a veering one that required him to call ‘fore’.

Mr Campbell (65) a father of three from Donegal town, has sued over the incident on March 28,2016.

It is claimed against the County Sligo Golf Club and the GUI there was an a failure to take reasonable care for the safety of spectators.

There was an alleged failure to give any warnings to those attending the competition they ought not be located at the place where Mr Campbell suffered injury.

It is claimed against Mr Le Blanc, of Donabate, Co Dublin, that he failed to warn spectators including Mr Campbell of dangers of which he ought to have been aware,

All the claims are denied.

It is contended there was alleged contributory negligence on the part of Mr Campbell who it was claimed was engaged in conversation and not looking at the golfer take the shot.

It is further claimed Mr Campbell failed to draw on his own vast experience as a golfer and failed to follow the flight of the ball and adjust his position accordingly.

In evidence, Mr Campbell said he was just talking and there was a bang and that is all he remembers.

He said he was kept in hospital until the early hours for observation and when discharged was in pain. “The next few days were terrible . I had a lot of pain, it did not improve,” he said.

He said he is in constant pain and has tinnitus in one of his ears which is “unbearable”.

“My life was totally changed”, he said.

He still plays “a bit of golf” but said he has “a lot of fear of being hit again.”

The case before Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon continues next week.

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Online Editors