Safety Tips on Golf
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Published by TOP4 Team
Golf is a fun and safe sport, as long as several basic safety rules are followed. When these rules are ignored, injuries most likely happen.
Golf involves the fast movement of metal clubs, which push golf balls in high speeds. If you are in the way of either the metal clubs or the balls, you are in absolute danger. Other threats from golf are when you expose yourself into direct sunlight for a long time, which may inflict dehydration and the danger of lightning. Here are some quick tips that can help you to ensure your own safety (and your surroundings as well) during the golf course:
1. Make Sure That Everybody is on a Safe Place
When a golf club is in your hands and you are preparing to swing, it is your responsibility to make sure that your golf partners are in a safe distance. It's not so difficult to keep track of where everyone is when your group is likely just four or fewer golfers. Never swing a golf club when another golfer is close to you. That's the most important thing to remember. Be a little extra cautious when practice swings, since golfers are easily let their guard down. Extra caution is also needed when younger golfers are part of your group.
Always look ahead of you (and to the left and right of the area as well) when you are aiming your shot. Never swing your club or hit the ball until you are confident that any golfers up ahead are out of your range.
2. Heads Up
While it's the responsibility of every golfer to make sure that it is safe for them to hit the ball, you can't always rely on every golfer to do that. So even when it's not your turn to hit, stay aware of your surroundings.
Be especially careful if you have to venture into an adjoining fairway to retrieve or play an errant shot, or if you are close to an adjoining fairway and golfers on that hole are hitting toward you. Always remember to keep a safe distance from golfers in your own group when they are preparing to play a stroke.
3. Yell “Fore” or Cover Up When You Hear It
Even if you follow the advice above, there will surely come times when you hit your ball further than you expected. Or when you play your stroke believing the fairway ahead is clear, only to notice players up ahead who had been obscured by a hill or trees.
You know what to do: Yell "Fore!" as loud as you can. That is the international word of warning in golf. It lets golfers playing near you know that a golf ball might be heading their way, and they need to take cover.
And what should you do when you hear "fore!" being yelled in your direction? Do not stand up, crane your neck or try to spot the ball. You're just making yourself a bigger target. Instead, cover up. Crouch behind your golf bag, get behind a tree, hide behind the cart, cover your head with your arms. Make yourself a smaller target and protect your head.
4. Never Hit or Aim at Any Living Beings
This should be an obvious suggestion, shouldn't it? You will agree until you have several occasions where there is a very slow group is ahead of yours and frustration takes over. It happens to all of golfers. Eventually, someone in your group will get angry, teeing up a ball and intentionally hitting into the slow-playing group ahead.
If you're ever tempted to do this, don't. It's very rare, but there are golfers that have been killed after being struck by golf balls. Serious injuries will occur. Instead of taking aim at someone in anger, take a deep breath. Remind yourself that you're playing golf and enjoying a good time with your companions. If you see a course marshall, flag him down and ask if he can help speed up play. Don't take the risk of hurting someone ahead.
5. Drive Your Golf Cart Safely
Most golf carts come with a safety label. Read it and follow the directions. Driving a golf cart along the course's cart paths might be not a difficult thing to do, but you still need to read and observe all of the safety rules. Don't hang your feet out of the cart while it's in motion, don't go off-roading over sand dunes, don't drive at full speed around curves or down steep hills, don't let your kids drive the cart, don't drive the cart when you are drunk, and watch out for other golf carts to avoid unnecessary crash.
6. Protect Yourself from Harmful Sunlight
A typical round of golf usually takes four hours of exposure under the sun. The duration is longer on a slow day or when you play more than 18 holes. In short, golfers have a large exposure to the potentially dangerous effects of the sun. Protect your skin by applying a strong sunscreen. Wear a wide-brimmed cap to keep the sun off your face. It is better to get yourself a straw hat or other full-brimmed hat that keep the sun off the back of your neck.
If you're playing golf under the direct exposure of the sun, you'll be sweating off a lot. Even if the sun is nowhere to be seen, and it's a cool day, you'll be thirsty. Drink right away. Drink plenty of water. If you buy a beverage, make it a sports drink like Gatorade or Pocari. Of course, there are those golfers who play simply as an excuse to drink beer. It's important to avoid beer (at least until after the round) on hot days. Alcohol, along with the sun, dehydrates your body. Beside, Alcohol has disorienting effect on people. The odds of an accident occurring go way up with each beer you drink.
8. Beware of Lightning
Lightning is a killer. During a thunderstorm, golfers carrying metal clubs in their hands while on exposed land are at great risk of being struck by lightning. If there is lightning anywhere around the golf course, or thunderstorms approaching, take cover immediately. Head to the clubhouse as fast as you can. If you are trapped on the course and unable to get to the clubhouse, do not get cover under trees. Trees are lightning rods. Instead, look for a designated lightning shelter (found on many courses in areas where lightning occurs with great frequency) or a concrete or stone bathroom.
Open-walled structures will not protect you from lightning, even if they have a lightning rod or are designated as lightning shelters. If caught out in the open and unable to find shelter, get away from your clubs, your golf cart, water and trees, and remove any metal objects if you are wearing them. If you are in a group, group members should remain at least 15 feet apart. If you feel a tingling sensation or the hair on your arms stands up, crouch in a baseball catcher's position, balancing on the balls of your feet. Fold your arms in front of your knees, keep your feet together and your head forward.