There is great pressure on designers to squeeze golf courses into ever smaller sites. The safety of property around courses and of golfers within such courses can thus often be threatened.
It is impossible to plan a course which is totally safe but it is possible to design a course which is reasonably safe and that is all that is required.
In the past, designers used very different planning techniques with crossover holes and greens and tees which were exceptionally close. Today with an enormous growth in the number of accidents and legal claims for compensation, designers are all concerned to ensure that all plans are as safe as is reasonably possible.
However there are still many existing courses which were planned many years ago. Today there are many more golfers playing with shorter tee time intervals and generally with higher average handicaps.
New courses have become much longer than the early courses putting pressure on the separation of holes and the proximity of boundaries. The impact of design on course layouts and amendments cannot be underestimated.
Planning authorities have given approval to built development around many of the UK's older courses changing insensitive boundaries to sensitive.
Balls exiting courses are a frequent source of complaints and legal actions.
Within the golf course areas, internal Out of Bounds have proliferated in an attempt to maintain safe playing conditions.
It remains possible for ramblers to cross many of our golf courses either on footpaths or Rights of Way. In many cases the risks have not been identified and no actions are taken until an accident happens.
Few Club Directors realise their responsibilities and potential liabilities in relation to accidents on courses. It is always better to identify risks and deal with them before they become accidents.