Fall. Although the shorter days and cooler temperatures mark the beginning of many exciting seasons – football, hunting, festivals, holidays – unless you are blessed to be living in the South, it also marks the end of one of the greatest seasons of all: golf season!
Golf has been around for hundreds of years now and has grown into one of the most popular past times. The amount of time, money, and effort spent trying to perfect the art of smacking a little white ball hundreds of yards down a narrow fairway into a tiny hole has resulted in the construction of thousands of golf courses around the country. Many country clubs now have multimillion dollar clubhouses with immaculate amenities while smaller, more affordable municipal courses offer the basics of the game. They all, however, face similar insurable exposures.
Aside from the common exposures most people are aware of like property coverage for the clubhouse and business income coverage, owners and managers should consider these coverages for protection against the many unique exposures a golf course presents:
- Golf Course Greens and Grounds. This coverage is for the outdoor grounds of the course. Included in this coverage are putting greens, trees, shrubs, flags, fairways, tee markers, sand traps, bridges and cart paths, ball washers, coolers, sprinklers, and retaining walls among other outdoor structures. Coverages and perils insured against will vary from program to program.
- Golf Carts. Many golfers enjoy scooting around the course in a golf cart as much as they do chasing their ball. These carts, however, can create an exposure that needs to be addressed by the course management. Some courses own their own carts, while others lease them out from a separate owner. Either way, coverage for the liability of and physical damage to the carts should be reviewed.
- Errant Ball Coverage. This coverage hits very close to home for many golfers, including myself. Hitting that little ball straight is sometimes a very challenging thing to accomplish. Many courses are lined by private homes or roads and an errant ball can do serious damage. Having excess coverage for the liability not covered by the golfer can protect the course when the golf ball does not cooperate!
- Pesticide and Herbicide Coverage. Those beautifully manicured greens and fairways are not that way naturally. Courses apply pesticides and herbicides to keep grass green and free of weeds, opening them up to pollution liability from overspray or misapplication.
Other exposures golf course owners and operators may need to consider include swimming pools, restaurants, liquor liability, and tennis courts, just to name a few.
Although the game of golf can be VERY aggravating from time to time, those of us who play love the game. If the owners and managers of the courses we play know the exposures they face and address them with the proper coverages, we can all continue to enjoy the game! If you own or operate a golf course, contact your independent agent to assure you have the proper coverages to keep your course up to par!The policy coverages described above are in the most general terms and are subject to the actual policy exclusions and conditions. For specific coverage details and policy exclusions, refer to the policy itself or contact an independent insurance agent.