Safety Experts Recommend Mandatory Helmets for Golfers

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©. Leon Neal/Getty Images: "GET A HELMET!"

It is a fore-gone conclusion that this will happen. After all, "if it saves just one life...."

TreeHugger has long called for helmets for everyone – statistically, it makes no sense to yell at cyclists "get a helmet" when people who drive or even walk have a high rate of head injury.

Now health and safety experts are saying that golfers should wear helmets at all times; apparently insurance companies and golf clubs are having to make big payouts to people injured by golf balls. According to Chris Hall of, a health & safety and employment agency,

“If you look at a selection of other sports played in the UK, both contact and non-contact, there are measures in place to reduce injury. For example, many amateur and lower-league rugby clubs insist on protective helmets; martial arts classes provide pads for their students – and this is not just to prevent injury. It’s because financially, it makes sense for clubs (and their insurers) to prove they’ve reduced harm wherever possible.”

Statistics suggest that "between 16% and 41% of amateur golfers are injured each year" which is a lot higher than injuries to people riding bikes. It seems like a no-brainer. Chris Hall continues:

Public safety campaigns are crucial to changing the status quo – but it has worked with cycling, and all cyclists are aware that helmet use is recommended. With enough support from insurers, businesses and health & safety professionals, a similar scenario could happen with golfers. Not only would greater pressure upon golfers to wear the correct safety equipment mean that thousands of pounds could be saved in insurance pay-outs and days lost to injury, but a huge proportion of potentially quite serious injuries could be avoided.

As an environmentalist and a cyclist I totally support a requirement that all golfers (and spectators, since they are the ones who are often hit) wear helmets and safety glasses. Golf courses are environmentally problematic, using enormous volumes of water and chemical fertilizers.

Wherever helmets have been made mandatory for cyclists, the rate of cycling has dropped significantly. Mandatory helmets for golfers might just kill the sport once and for all.