And now, contact golf

Posted: Friday, February 04, 2000

The following editorial appeared in the Miami Herald on Tuesday:

Too bad the appellate judge who wrote that golf isn't a contact sport doesn't play golf with our friends. New Jersey Judge Leonard Arnold ruled recently that a golfer whose errant shot beaned a fellow player on the noggin is liable for damages.

Golf isn't a contact sport, the judge said, unlike softball, hockey and the like. Therefore, participants have a reasonable expectation to play the game without harmful contact from other players. And certainly, members of a golfing foursome don't expect a playing companion to unexpectedly hit an extra, illegal shot - typically called a mulligan among hacks. That very thing happened in the case at Bar.

Judge Arnold's ruling makes it clear, however, that he's unfamiliar with real people's golf. This is a game where mulligans are as commonplace as bogeys and where hitting the ball where you want it to go is a rare, serendipitous experience.

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