Woman hit by golf ball sues after suffering stroke

High Court told Mary Brennan (56) heard no ‘warning’ from player at Bray club

Golfer  told the High Court she was standing on the balcony of Old Conna Golf Club, Bray, Co Wicklow, after waving to her husband on the course when, all of a sudden, she thought her head had been ‘split in two’. Photograph: Collins

Golfer told the High Court she was standing on the balcony of Old Conna Golf Club, Bray, Co Wicklow, after waving to her husband on the course when, all of a sudden, she thought her head had been ‘split in two’. Photograph: Collins

 

A woman who suffered a stroke days after being hit on the head with a golf ball while standing on the balcony of a golf clubhouse has sued for damages.

Golfer Mary Brennan told the High Court she was standing on the balcony of Old Conna Golf Club, Bray, Co Wicklow, after waving to her husband on the course when, all of a sudden, she thought her head had been “split in two”.

“That is what it felt like. Nobody shouted fore. I did not hear a warning,” she said.

Ms Brennan (56), The Park, Cabinteely, has sued Patrick Trundle, a fellow member of Old Conna Golf Club, as a result of being struck on the right top part of her head with a golf ball in April 2009. Mrs Brennan, with a golf handicap of 28, had three weeks earlier become a full member of the club.

She claims Mr Trundle should have called a warning such as “fore” when hitting a ball from the rough. “If I had heard a warning I would have put my hands over my head and ducked to the ground,” she told Mr Justice Michael Peart.

“I opened my eyes to look at my husband, Philip, and I could not see him. I thought I was blind.”

She was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital where a scan came back normal, she said. She went home but felt the inside of her head “wanted to burst”. She started vomiting eight days later and had double vision and headaches, she said. She was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital and was told she had had a stroke.

“I was absolutely shocked to hear it. I have headaches to this day. I am never totally without a headache,” she said.

Prior to the incident, she said life was wonderful and she was looking forward to holidays abroad playing golf with her husband as their daughter had grown up. However, they had to cancel a planned Caribbean trip.

“I loved playing golf and the club and the interaction and the social evenings. I tried to play golf four or five tines afterwards but when somebody shouted fore I threw another lady in front of me. I realised my fear was too big,” she added.

Doctors had told her she will have pain for the rest of her life and never drive again, she said. She has to wear special glasses and has a flickering in her eyes and double vision, she added.

“I could not understand why this had happened to me. I thought I was going to enjoy the rest of my life playing golf around the world. I had a To Do List.”

Cross-examined by Colm Condon SC, for Mr Trundle, Mrs Brennan agreed there were photographs of her without her glasses on her husband’s Facebook page while on holiday in Dubai. She said she has to wear glasses all the time but takes them off for photographs.

Brian Murdoch, also a member of the golf club, said he was playing golf with Mr Trundle on April 9th 2009. He said Mr Trundle was a good golfer playing off eight. His ball went into the rough and his first shot was out of bounds.

Mr Murdoch said he did not see the second shot but heard the impact of the club on the ball. The shot ended up on the balcony and there were people shouting because the ball had gone up, he said. It was the norm to call fore to warn people in the vicinity there might be a risk of the ball going in their direction, he added.

The case continues.