Different regions of the US possess different unique threat to homeowners in Golf Course Communities. 

However, Golf course communities everywhere share the same added risk of damage.  That damage comes from one word, Golfers.

An interesting fact to note is that nearly half of all homeowners who live in golf course communities don't play golf.  So many do not realize the risk they face when they buy a home 150 to 200 yards away from a tee box on the right side of a par 4.

For many golfers this is referred to as the slice zone.  Houses in this zone can be pelted with little white balls the size of large hail stones regularly if their home is not far off the fairway.

Homeowners insurance was introduced long before the rise of the golf clubs and golf neighborhoods and was originally intended to cover natural disasters, thefts and accidents. Many also cover homeowners from injury liability should anything happen on their property.

Golfers, however, rarely assume responsibility for the erratic shots.  While it is the golfer's responsibility to pay for any damage done to property around a golf course, most try to avoid this any way possible.  Golfers may just jump to the next hole or deny they broke a window in your home and it can be difficult to find out exactly who broke the window without a confession or a witness.  In this case, the homeowner would have to repair damage caused by errant shots.

Golf courses often shy away from paying for damages, although several lawsuits in the past have found courses to be guilty of negligence when dealing with houses that are hit an extraordinary amount of times. There's often confusion among homeowners who is responsible for damage to a house, but insuring your home can help clear it up.

"If you are golfing and breaks someone's window, the golfer is responsible," said Mike Siemienas, an All-State spokesman. "However, if no one claims responsibility or does a "hit-and-run', your homeowner's insurance will cover it."

Siemienas also points out that it depends on your deductible whether filing a claim is even worth it. Deductibles can range from $200 to $1,000 depending on your insurance plan, which might cost more than the broken window itself.

Also, while it may seem more dangerous to live on a golf course, insurance companies don't view golf courses as more dangerous or susceptible to accidents than any other type of home, so most insurance companies will not charge too much of a higher premium just because you live on a golf course.

Golf Insurance Claims

Many do not know that they are liable for their mishit golf shot and any damage or liability it may cause.  Even the best golfers mishit shots from time to time and a golf ball can do as much damage as a large hail stone.  An example of one golf insurance claim came In 1998 when a low handicap golfer was directed to pay damages of more than 70,000 after he mishit his golf ball causing him to strike a fellow golfer with his shot.

The golfer was attempting to hit the ball over a hazardous area towards the green.  He swung very hard and mishit his ball, causing it to strike a tree.  The ball ricocheted hard off the tree and hit another golfer who was standing many yards away on the next fairway.

The golfer shouted "FORE" when he realized he mishit his shot very badly.  Unfortunately, the golfer on the other fairway who was hit did not hear the shout and was struck badly in his eye by the golf ball.

The golfer sustained damage to his eye and retina from the mishit golf ball. A court case was held for the damages and the judges upheld the verdict that the golfer who mishit the shot is responsible to the pay damages, even though he shouted a warning.

This case is one example of many relating injuries or damage during a round of golf.  Most golfers can attest to hitting a house or mishitting many shots while playing a round of golf.  Now with courts putting the liability back on golfers for the damages, it is imperative to have some type of golf insurance coverage.  It is relatively inexpensive for the money it can save you in the long run and it is just not worth the risk of golfing without.  For more information on Golf Insurance talk with an insurance broker or look under the many directories on GolfInsurance.org to find a policy that is right for you and your golf game.

Golf Etiquette

Etiquette is defined in the dictionary as the conventional requirements of social behavior and proprieties of conduct as established for any occasion. There are rules of etiquette for golf and all players should act in a disciplined and courteous manner, displaying sportsmanship at all times.

Some of these Rules of Golf Etiquette are:

  • Safety: One of the first things that you need to know about golf etiquette is safety. You need to be aware of your surroundings and use common sense. Do not swing clubs while other people are walking around, and you should not be walking around others that are swinging clubs. Players should not hit until the group of players in front of them are out of range. If you have mishit a ball and it is in danger of hitting someone, immediately shout the warning of “fore”.
  • Quiet: When you are on the green putting, teeing off or another golfer is preparing to hit the ball, QUIET is the word.
  • Course Maintenance:
    1. Fairways: Repair divots by replacing the grass and/or use the sand mixture on the cart.
    2. Sand Traps: Pick up a rack and walk towards your ball. A player is not allowed to “ground” their club in any type of hazard (as this counts as a stroke). A player should rake the sand smooth as the next player will have to play the ball from your footprint. Return the rake outside of the trap with the rack handle parallel to the fairway.
    3. Greens: Repair all ball marks both yours and others.
  • Etiquette on the Green:
    1. The furthest player from the hole putts first.
    2. Mark your ball, if it is in the line of another player. This should be a club length away, returning your ball to your original spot once the other player has putted.
    3. Do not walk on another player’s line.
    4. Typically, the player closest to the flag is the one that tends it.
  • Pace of Play: Players should try to keep up with the group in front of them. If you are being pushed from behind, you should allow faster players to play through.
  • Ready Golf: Typically the player that is furthest away is the one that hits. If you agree to play “Ready Golf”, whoever is ready can hit. This helps speed up play.
So now that you know some golf etiquette, get out there and have some fun!

Golf Mechanics

One of the most difficult things and something every golfer strives for is to be able to consistently hit the ball every time. In order to develop a routine that you can trust and rely on is by practicing your golf swing mechanics. Learning a golf swing that fits your body and physical abilities is what leads to building a repeatable golf swing. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Tension: This kills your golf swing. It tightens the muscles in your hands and fore arms and reduces your ability to hit the ball any distance. Grip the club with your fingers and not in the palm of your hand and consciously loosen your grip.
  • Grip: You want to keep your hands ahead of the clubface. You will hit the ball a lot cleaner and further.
  • Stance: Your stance should be slightly wider than your shoulders. The ball should be placed just inside the heel of your left foot for your tee shot and longer iron shots (just the reverse if you are a left handed player).
  • Ball above Your Feet: You will want to choke down on the club as you will be closer to the ball than a shot from a flat lie. The ball will have a tendency to go left, so aim further to the right.
  • Ball below Your Feet:  With a ball below your feet the ball is going to want to go right. Bend down more than usual when addressing the ball. Aim to the left and take an extra club to allow for loss of distance.
  • Alignment: Find a target line that you want the ball to start out on and then in addressing the ball align your body accordingly.
  • Distance off the Tee: Everyone wants to hit the ball longer off the tee. In order to do this you must tee the ball up off of your forward arch foot. This allows you to hit up on the ball which creates more topspin and allows the ball to roll further.
  • Rhythm: Keep the tempo of your backswing and downswing smooth and steady.
Enjoy your next round of golf! 

Golf Instruction Tips

There are golf tips for every part of your game. We all want to improve our game, be more consistent, hit the ball longer, and lower our score. Here are some golf tips for the average player.

  • Off the Tee: Most golfers cannot hit the ball straight. So you need to understand your golf shape and which side of the fairway it favors. Setting your stance up to allow the ball to move the other way. If the hole doesn’t “fit” your typical swing, use a shorter club off the tee.
  • Swing Speed: Club head speed is the key to hitting the ball further. A faster swing comes with both hands working together. Grip the club lightly. Gripping the club too tightly is the number one reason most golfers struggle with club head speed.
  • Wrist Cock:  Good players maintain wrist cock through the golf swing. The hands need to be slightly ahead of the ball on impact. This creates more power in the golf swing. Most high handicappers release the hands early instead of having the hands ahead of the ball at impact.
  • The Grip: Gripping the club too tight causes weak shots that will tend to slice. You should feel relaxed and tension free in your hands and forearms when addressing the ball. Gripping the club tighter with your hands and forearms will constrict your swing and the distance that you hit the ball.
  • Setup: If you don’t set up yourself correctly, you’re bound to hit a lousy shot even if you hit your best shot. Good setup helps creates power and control of the direction of your golf shot.
  • Playing out of Sand: Playing out of sand depends on setup. Equal weight on each foot, club face slightly open and hitting behind the ball to allow the sand to lift the ball out of the trap.
Enjoy your next golf outing and take a look at your different options for golf insurance before you go!

Golf Driving Ranges

Golf Driving Ranges are large open areas where golfers can practice their swing. They can also include target greens and yardage markers. The golf Driving Range industry used to be a “mom and pop” operation but has gone through some major changes and is now being operated by large companies.

Traditionally, golf driving ranges have depended on revenue from sales of buckets of balls (most golf driving ranges sell buckets of balls of varying sizes – typically small, medium and large). But today’s large companies have added services such as providing golf lessons, a pro shop with all of the latest in golf club technology and food services.  Some driving ranges also provide areas for practicing chip shots, sand trap shots and putting.

Golf Driving Ranges may have natural grass or rubber mats with a tee. If available, it is preferable to hit off the grass as this is more similar to playing on a golf course. Driving range balls differ very much from those that are used on the conditions you will face on the golf course. They typically don’t travel as far as they are often cheaper balls; with hard covers to make them last longer and in general are what I call “dead” balls. But the whole point is about hitting balls and building a routine golf swing memory.

A mistake by many beginning golfers is that they spend the largest amount of their practice time on hitting their driver and other long clubs. A golfer actually spends more time on the golf course chipping and putting. For practice, you should split your practice time between your long clubs and chipping and putting.

So have some fun out there on your next practice at the driving range.

Golfing and Back Pain

 One of the most common injuries in golf is lower back pain. The golf swing is an unnatural motion and is severe on your back. Specifically, maintaining a stationary lower body and rotating your upper body around can be merciless on a golfer’s lower back. This movement is continued for the entire 18 holes. Not to mention bending over to put the ball on a tee or to retrieve a putted ball out of the hole. It is said that at some point during an amateurs playing days, 80% of them experience lower back pain.

The lower back muscles are tight and weak on most amateurs. Most of us perform stationary activities such as sitting at a desk, working on a computer or driving a car. This further contributes to tightness and weakness of the lower back muscles.

Exercising and stretching are one of the quickest ways to alleviate and prevent back pain. As the golf swing depends upon a high level of flexibility, it makes sense to start using exercising and stretching activities that apply to the lower back. The exercising and stretching are only effective if done on a regular basis (daily or every other day). If left alone through lack of exercise and stretching the muscles will “go back” to their original tightened or inelastic state.

See your doctor or physical therapist for exercises and stretches that can help you eliminate lower back pain. 

Miniature Golf

Miniature golf is truly an activity that can be enjoyed by the entire family and friends. Almost everyone has childhood memories of trying to hit a golf ball through a windmill, a clown’s mouth or banking a shot off the edge of a corner to assist in making a turn for a dogleg left or right. It is also a great activity for grandparents to take their grandchildren and enjoy fun times together.

Some hotels have even installed indoor miniature sized golf courses for their guests to enjoy.

The 18th hole is typically designed to catch the ball so that the player cannot continue to play extra rounds without paying for another game. The most common way of doing this, is to use a ramped target with the face of a clown. If the ball lands in the clown’s nose, a bell goes off and the player wins a free ticket for another game.

With the advent of indoor/outdoor carpeting and Astroturf, replacing concrete holes, it led to more theme park oriented courses. Myrtle Beach S.C. is the miniature golf capitol of the world. Many miniature golf courses have added other attractions such as baseball cages, game rooms and go-karts.

The world record for one 18 hole round of miniature golf is 18 strokes.

So get out there and enjoy a round of miniature golf with your family and friends!

A Brief Early History of Golf

There is general consensus that the Scots were among the first who invented golf, although there is some evidence that the game was started in Holland as the word “golf” is derived from the Dutch word “kolf”. However, it is known that the Scots developed the game using a number of clubs to hit a small leather ball stuffed with feathers (called a feathery ball) to a hole in the ground (typically these were rabbit holes). Many thousands of rabbits roamed the Scottish coast (play was primarily on the east coast as the west coast was too wet to play). 

The first true golf course was St. Andrews, Scotland. The first golf played in North America that was documented was in Charleston, South Carolina (as it was noted in the local newspaper “The Gazette” that mentioned events at the South Carolina Golf Club in 1786).

Where did golf terminology come from?

The term “Birdie” originated in the United States in 1899. A foursome playing at the Atlantic City CC, one individual hitting a great shot said “that was a bird of a shot” (Bird was American slang for anything great). They determined when one plays one under par that it be called a “Birdie”.

The term “Eagle”, a score that is two under par, being a big birdie should be called an “Eagle” as it is a big bird.

The term “Par”, is a standard term in sports, where it simply means level or even.

The term “Bogey”, comes from a song that was popular in Britain in the 1890’s, “The Bogey Man”. Looking for the Bogey Man was as difficult as hitting a perfect score.

Golfing terms came into use much the same way that new words are being invented and added to dictionaries and used on the internet.

The first set of written “Rules” (13 rules) was in Edinburgh in 1744. To keep the grass cut back they used cattle and sheep to help the golfers from not losing balls.

St. Andrews has become known as “the home of golf”.

Golf and Health

Golf is a casual activity that can be played by people of all ages. Golf is a leisurely sport and injury risk is relatively low when compared to such other sports as football. However injuries can still occur.

The most common injuries are to the:

  • Lower back – Most frequent complaint among golfers is lower back pain.
  • Wrist – injuries to the wrist are common due to overuse and/or by hitting the ground during a swing.
  • Elbow – Golfer’s can suffer a similar injury as in tennis (Tennis Elbow), called Golfer’s elbow. It’s caused by a repeated motion that causes the tendons in your elbow to become inflamed.
  • Shoulders – Swinging a golf club can put a strain on your shoulder muscles, particularly as you get older.
Some things to remember to assist you in avoiding injury are to do warm up and stretching exercises before playing. You should pay particular attention to your back, shoulders, arms and neck. Not warming up before teeing off can be a big mistake. Joint restriction (in the back and hamstrings) causing muscles to be tight and force you to make changes to your swing.

Some of the things that you should consider in addition to stretch exercises before you play are:

  • Reduce your grip pressure and loosen up your arm muscles during a swing. The tight grip and arm muscles actually reduce your flexibility and golf swing.
  • Consider changing from steel to graphite shafts to reduce arm strain at impact.
  • Whenever practicing, try to hit off the grass instead of the rubber mats.
  • In your swing, try to avoid contact with rocks, trees or sprinkler heads.
  • During the backswing always bring the club head back slowly.
Enjoy your next round of golf!