Golfer who hit spectator with ball says he did not see reason to shout ‘fore’

Man sues over allegedly ‘life changing’ injuries suffered when ball hit him on forehead

Golfer Kevin LeBlanc of Donabate, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts in Dublin after giving evidence in a High Court action for damages. Photograph: Collins Courts

Golfer Kevin LeBlanc of Donabate, Dublin pictured leaving the Four Courts in Dublin after giving evidence in a High Court action for damages. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A golfer being sued by a spectator who claims he was knocked unconscious after being hit on the head with a ball has told the High Court he was unaware of any reason to shout a warning as he took his shot.

Kevin Le Blanc, who has represented Ireland many times and was a professional for over a year, told Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon he would call ‘fore’ if a shot was going off target.

“I did not see a reason to call fore. I presumed it was empty up there,” he said.

Mr Le Blanc was giving evidence in an action taken by Colin Campbell who claims he is in constant pain and his life has totally changed after he was hit on the forehead during the 2016 West of Ireland Championship at County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point.

Mr Campbell contends that Mr Le Blanc, who was in the rough near the 11th green, hit “an errant shot” for which there is a fundamental obligation to shout ‘fore’ because somebody could be in its way.

Mr Campbell (65), a father of three from Donegal town, has sued County Sligo Golf Club, Rosses Point; the event organisers, The Golfing Union of Ireland National Coaching Academy Ltd, with offices at Maynooth, Co Kildare; and Mr Le Blanc, Donabate, Co Dublin over the incident on March 28th, 2016.

It is claimed against the County Sligo Golf Club and The Golfing Union of Ireland there was failure to take reasonable care for the safety of spectators and to give any warnings to those attending the competition that they ought not be located at the place where Mr Campbell suffered injury.

It is claimed against Mr Le Blanc he failed to warn spectators including Mr Campbell of dangers of which he ought to have been aware,

All the claims are denied, and it is pleaded there was contributory negligence by Mr Campbell who, it is claimed, was engaged in conversation and not looking at the golfer take the shot.

In evidence, Mr Le Blanc said he had a lot of experience on the Rosses Point golf course. He had turned professional in 2017 but did not like it and he is now studying aircraft engineering.

He said he had 40 seconds to take the shot and hit the ball on the intended line and he and the caddy were happy with that. Had he been aware there were people left of the green and the ball was headed that way, he would have shouted fore but he was not aware of it.

The case has been adjourned to January 12th.