The 10 Worst Ways To Die On A Golf Course

October 28, 2016

Illustration by Dan Woodger

Although rare, it's possible to play lights out—for good. In 2014, 30,047 people visited the emergency room with golf-course-related injuries and 15,225 more as a result of a golf-cart "incident." We learned this in our effort to determine the odds of dying on a golf course. Unfortunately, after consulting with an expert in risk management at Harvard University and poring over obituaries and data from the Centers for Disease Control, we determined that the figure is undeterminable. Too many variables. The best we could come up with is that it's somewhere far south of 0.5 percent. That's the good news. The bad news? Some golfers have died in horrible ways. Here are the 10 most bizarre on-course deaths we found.

1.) A man in Ireland was searching for his ball in a ditch when a rat ran up his leg, urinated and bit him. The man finished his round despite suffering the bite. He died two weeks later from kidney failure, a symptom of Weil's disease, which is carried by rats.

2.) A man left a Virginia country club with a headache, which was compounded by fever, nausea and a rash. Four days later, he was in the hospital covered with blisters and died from a severe allergic reaction to a pesticide used on the course.

3.) In another toxic incident, a teenager from Arizona died after drinking from a golf-course water cooler. He contracted a norovirus from water that was contaminated.

4.) After a poor shot on a New York golf course, a teenager slammed his 3-wood against a bench. The club snapped, and a piece was propelled back toward him and pierced his heart. There were doctors at the course who attempted to save him before he was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. He was the second golfer we found who was killed by the shaft of one of his clubs. Another died when his driver broke during a swing and part of the shaft pierced an artery in his groin, causing him to bleed to death.

5.) In California, an 83-year-old celebrated his 18th hole-in-one only to die from an aneurysm moments after his scorecard had been verified.

6.) In Canada, a golfer died on the course after his cart hit a retaining wall and tumbled 20 feet to the road below. The death was ruled accidental, though the coroner noted that the man's blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

7.) During a round with her family in Japan, a woman drowned after falling into a sinkhole that formed in the middle of a fairway. The water-filled hole was about 15-feet deep and five-feet wide and was said to be caused by a runoff that made the turf collapse.

8.) A fight between a golfer and the threesome playing behind him turned deadly when a man was fatally kicked in the chest. The argument stemmed from the threesome losing their patience waiting on the guy to search for a lost ball. A jury ruled that the kick was an act of self-defense.

9.) After his round, a man was searching for balls in a South African dam when he was attacked by a crocodile and disappeared into the water. His body was found the next morning, without mutilation but with a few teeth marks. Park rangers killed the 12-foot reptile.

10.) A man in Australia died after a large branch broke off a tree and struck him while he was waiting to tee off. He suffered several injuries that contributed to his death six days later.