Tuesday 23 January 2018

Golf ball which hit woman was a 'freak and wayward shot', court told

Mary Brennan hit as she stood chatting on the club house balcony

Mary Brennan with husband Philip
Mary Brennan with husband Philip

A golfer being sued by a woman who claims she was injured when struck by a ball he hit has told the High Court it was a freak and wayward shot.

Patrick Trundle said his shot out of the rough on the 18th hole of Old Conna Golf Club in Bray, Co Wicklow, was " wayward beyond belief."

"I was playing away from the club house. If I had seen the flight of the ball heading towards the club house I would have had an automatic reaction of shouting fore," he said.

He added: " I was very confident the ball was going towards the green. I was happy with my shot until I discovered my ball landed on the balcony."

Mr Trundle was giving evidence in the third day of an action by fellow Old Conna member Mary Brennan who has sued Mr Trundle for damages as a result of the April 2009 incident where his golf ball struck her on the right top of her head as she stood chatting on the club house balcony.

Mrs Brennan from The Park, Cabinteely has claimed Mr Trundle should have called a warning such as fore when hitting his ball from the rough.

Mrs Brennan had  only three weeks earlier become a full member of the Old Conna.

She told the court she started vomiting eight days after the incident and had double vision  and headaches. She was admitted to St Vincents Hospital and was told she had had a stroke. She told the court she still has vision difficulties, pain and problems with her right hand.

Yesterday, counsel for Mrs Brennan said there was no suggestion Mr Trundle deliberately shot at the club house.

Mr Trundle, who has been playing golf since the 1980s and has a handicap of 8, told the court he was playing a game of fours with Mrs Brennan's husband Philip on the other team.

"When I hit the ball I felt I got a good hit. I looked up expecting to see it fly over the trees

"I looked to my play partners  expecting them to see where the ball landed," he said.

Mr Trundle added he became aware of a commotion at the club house balcony and he got " a shocking feeling" his ball may have gone in that direction.

"Next thing I see Philip running along the fairway and I know there's a serious problem," he said.

He said shouting fore was like a reflex action to him if a ball was heading towards a person or a group of people, like you would move your foot on to the brake of a car.

"To me it is an automatic reaction. On that day if I had seen my ball head for the club house , let alone the balcony I would have shouted Fore," he said.

His shot was so wayward it can only be described as a freak shot, he said.

"It is my responsibility , because I played the shot".

He said when he took the shot he felt he got a very good hit on the ball and it was unthinkable that it became so wayward.

He said if a player does not see the ball he has hit, he does not shout fore, but turns to his other players and asks them where the ball has gone.

Looking back on how the shot went wrong, he said the most likely scenario is the nine iron club  got caught and turned in the rough grass or the ball may have been redirected by one of the trees, but he thought this was unlikely.

The case has been adjourned until later in June.

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