Golf is a non-contact game, so people assume it is not as dangerous as other sports. This is not true. The golf course can be dangerous, and there have been numerous accidents. Unfortunately, most of these accidents have come from a stray golf ball.
According to statistics, it is improbable for a golf ball injury to cause death. The question of death by golf ball ultimately depends on the severity of the injury and the general health of the injured individual.
Although death is unlikely, a golf ball injury can cause severe damage leading to permanent health conditions and disabilities.
Since death is a possibility on the golf course, it is essential to understand how this is possible and what you can do to protect yourself. This article will talk about this and more to help you stay safe as you enjoy watching and playing your favorite game.
How Dangerous is a Golf Ball?
It is hard to believe that something as small as a golf ball can be fatal, but understanding the science behind it might help you understand how death is a possibility. Of course, not all golf balls are created equal, and some are certainly more dangerous than others, with the worst golf balls posing a greater risk of harm.
A golf ball travels at 1.5 times a player’s swing speed. For example, if a golfer has a swing speed of 85mph, the ball will travel at 128mph. According to research, the fastest golf ball ever recorded was traveling at 211mph.
A golf ball travels fastest initially after being hit and slows down as it approaches landing. Therefore, the injury will not be as severe unless you get hit at close range when the ball is at full speed.
A typical golf ball weighs 1.62 pounds or 46 grams. Compared to a bullet, something small and relatively light, a golf ball does not travel as fast, so it does not have much force upon impact.
Additionally, a golf ball compresses when hit. This means that the energy or force upon impact is not transferred immediately.
To understand the concept of compression, think about boxers wearing boxing gloves. Boxing gloves have a cushion or stuffing, which minimizes the impact of a boxer’s punch on their opponent.
How? The energy from a boxer’s punch travels through the box glove’s cushion, first minimizing the force their opponent feels upon impact.
Looking at the science behind the golf ball, it is clear why people do not view the sport as dangerous. The design of the golf ball and the inconsistent speed make it less dangerous. This means that you are likely to recover from a golf ball hit.
When is a Golf Ball Hit Fatal?
Latest statistics show that about 40,000 golfers suffer head injuries from golf balls and flying club heads. While many recover, there have been golfers and fans who have died from similar head injuries.
For example, in 2019, a little girl Aria Hill, died from a golf ball hit on the base of her head. As you already know, head injuries can cause internal bleeding or tissue damage that can lead to death.
What are Other Common Golf Injuries?
Golfing involves numerous body movements. If a player is not fit enough, they are likely to injure themselves during a game. Some of the most common injuries among golfers include;
- Back pain due to repeated stress of swing rotation and hunching their backs for hours during the game.
- Rotator cuff injuries are caused by micro-tears, bursitis, and raptures on the shoulder muscles and tendons.
- Golfer’s elbow or elbow pain is caused by sudden trauma or repeated stress on the forearm tendons.
- Wrist injuries are caused by inflamed tissue in the forearms.
- Knee pain and injuries are caused by stress and rotation during a golfer’s swing.
- Foot and ankle injuries are caused by sprain, strains, tendonitis, and inflammation during the game. This is common because a golfer’s foot ends up in a different position after every swing.
- Hip injuries because of too much bending and repeated rotation which makes the hips move from a middle position frequently during swings.
- Sunburn is caused by too much sun exposure.
According to medical research, lower back pain injuries are the most common among golfers, followed by elbow, shoulder, and wrist injuries. In addition, these injuries are higher among pro golfers than amateur players.
Besides golf balls and club heads, golf carts are another common cause of golf injuries.
Studies show that golf carts cause about 15,000 injuries annually. However, not all of these injuries happen on the golf course.
How to Avoid Getting Hit by a Golf Ball
Now that you know how dangerous a golf course can be, you must learn to keep yourself safe. Below are a few pointers to help you achieve that.
- Be aware of where you are standing on the golf course. It is always safer to stand behind the person swinging.
- Pay attention to the game so you always know whose turn it is to hit the ball so you can position yourself accordingly.
- Do not hit the ball if there are people in front of you.
- If you doubt your shot when people are in front of you, wait for them to clear.
- Pay attention to golf lingo like FORE. When a golfer yells this word, it means that the ball has gone off course, and it can potentially hit someone.
- Avoid roaming around the golf course, especially when golfers are playing.
What to do When You Get Hit by a Golf Ball
Although golf ball injuries are common, the steps you should take after getting hit are not always obvious. In addition, victims are usually in shock when this happens, so it is essential to have the following in mind to take quick action.
- Examine your body to know where you have been hit. If you have been on the head, you might require immediate medical attention.
- Access the impact on your body. How much pain do you feel? Are there any broken bones? Is there swelling? Are you dizzy or lightheaded? Is there any blood?
- Visit the nearest medical establishment for further examination and treatment if necessary.
Besides the high risk of injuries, golf remains one of the safest sports to play. However, both golfers and spectators are advised to take the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety on the golf course.