Local golf club Chairman doesn’t believe the Ryder Cup eye injury will affect rules

Penwortham's first tee, with the safety notice to the left and fairways either side.

The Chairman of Penwortham Golf Club, Dave Brooks, doesn’t believe there will be changes in spectator safety following a horrific incident at the Ryder Cup.

Golf’s biggest competition was held in France for the first time this summer, with Europe comfortably winning. French fan Corine Remande, 49, was struck with a ball from Brooks Koepka, as he drove off the tee on the par four sixth.

Shortly after the Ryder Cup, at Kingsbarns, hosting the Dunhill Links, another female specatator was hit by a wayward ball, suffering a cut to her head.

Remande suffered a broken eye socket and will not see out of her eye again, but Brooks sees that incident as a one off.

Penwortham Golf Club Chairman Dave Brooks sat down with The Gazette to talk safety, and how recent Ryder Cup events may affect the amateur game. Credit: Tom Sandells

“I haven’t been to a Ryder Cup, but I have been to a number of competitions – in fact I have been to the Dunhill Links where someone was hit recently as well,” he said.

“It was a horrific injury, I’d like to think it was a bit of a freak incident, people do get hit watching golf tournaments quite often.

“It’s generally just a bang on the shin or on the arm, a bit of a bruise, get a signed glove from the player and everyone’s happy.

“I wouldn’t want us to get to the situation where it became a litigation thing every time someone got hit by a ball. It is obviously high profile because it’s in the Ryder Cup, the biggest golf competition there is, and it was such a serious injury,” he said.

A man responsible for the safety of everyone at his club, not just those that are out on the course, Brooks and his club have made measures to ensure everyone is accounted for.

Penwortham Golf CLub’s safety sign, which is situated alongside the first tee. Credit: Tom Sandells.

He explained: “In the last three years we’ve taken out club insurance. If the worst comes to the worst, if a visitor or somebody walking across the course – anything – or even property, is damaged, we have got insurance for everyone that steps foot on that course.

“If anything happens as a result of their actions the insurance will cover that, their medical costs and anything else. There’s no way of stopping the possibility of it happening.”

Another issue that affects the amateur game more than the professional competitions is the size available for the courses. At Penwortham, there are houses and a river to contend with; and as Brooks told The Gazette, there isn’t room to expand.

“It’s a lovely course, but on one side we have houses and on the other side we have the river. To some degree, it’s 18 holes fit where, just about, 18 holes would.

“We don’t have the capacity to spread it out a bit and there are occasions where definitely if you’re here on a Saturday afternoon, you will hear fore shouts regularly.”

With demands for safety and entertainment both ever-increasing, it could prove to be a fine balancing act for both the professional and amateur games.