By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna
Now that the weather is being more cooperative, Golf is in full swing. Golf really is a very safe sport and if you follow a few basic safety rules injuries can be reduced or eliminated.
Swinging of metal clubs propel golf balls at high speeds. If you’re in the way of either you’re in danger. Following a few basic guidelines can help ensure your safety and that of those around you on the course.
Keep Track of Those Around You. When a golf club is in your hands and you are preparing to swing, it is your responsibility to make sure that your playing partners are a safe distance away from you. Never swing a golf club when another golfer is close to you. Practice makes perfect but be a little extra cautious on practice swings, when it’s easy for golfers to let their guard down. Don’t hit your ball until you are confident that any golfers up ahead are out of your range.
Be Heads Up. Even when it’s not your turn to hit, stay aware of your surroundings. Fore Pete’s Sake, Cover Up When You Hear It! Yell “Fore” as loud as you can if you suspect someone may be in danger. This is the universal word of warning in golf. If you hear it, cover up, cover behind your golf bag, tree, cart, (or friend) and cover your head with your arms. Make yourself a smaller target, and protect your head.
Patience: A virtue desired by many possessed by few! Yes, there are those occasions when a very slow group is ahead of yours, and frustration takes over. We’ve all seen it or know them. That “special” person who gets angry and tee’s up intentionally hitting into the slow-playing group ahead. If you’re ever tempted to do this, don’t! It’s very rare, but golfers have been killed after being struck by golf balls. Many have been injured. Just take a deep breath and enjoy the scenery.
Drive Safely. Driving a golf cart isn’t a difficult thing to do. Observe all safety rules. Don’t hang your feet out of the cart while it’s in motion; don’t go off-roading over bumpy terrain; don’t drive at full speed around curves or down steep hills. Don’t let small children drive the cart. Don’t drive the cart if you’ve had a few too many beers. And watch out for other golf carts at points where paths cross.
Sunscreen! Protect your skin by always using a strong sunscreen. Wear a wide-brimmed cap to keep the sun off your face.
Add Fluids … (No, not Beer!) the Right Kind of Fluids… If you’re playing golf under the sun on a hot day, you’ll be sweating off a lot of body fluids. Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water.
Lightning. At the very first sign of lightning, head for the Clubhouse. If caught out in the open and unable to find shelter, get away from your clubs, your golf cart, water and trees, and remove metal spikes if wearing them. If in a group, group members should remain at least 15 feet apart. If you feel a tingling sensation or the hair on your arms stands up, crouch in a baseball catcher’s position, balancing on the balls of your feet. Fold your arms in front of your knees, keep your feet together and your head forward.
Time to Take Off, I Mean – Tee Off!