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A birdie tells us damage to golf clubs is on the rise

There are now around two and a half thousand golf clubs in the United Kingdom, proving the ever growing popularity of this sport. Protecting the financial viability of each club with a comprehensive golf club insurance policy is absolutely essential. Golf clubs face a wide variety of risks, and whilst golf may remain the core business, enterprising clubs are also now heavily involved in catering and hospitality, training and retail, and some areas may not be completely obvious when shopping for golf clubhouse insurance.

Vandalism frequently occurs because golf courses are large areas and difficult to secure If your golf club is damaged due to vandalism you may have to close those damaged areas for repairs. This may have a significant impact on your profits. Malicious damage to the greens and tees can prevent medals or competitions from being played and society bookings (which represent an important flow of income for any club) can be disrupted. Damage to the greens may take weeks or months to repair and while private members or guests may choose to still play on temporary greens, it spoils the enjoyment for players and damages the club's reputation – as well as its cash flow. Business Interruption insurance can help protect your golf club for loss of profits for a wide range of perils.

Hospitality plays a large part in most modern golf club's profits and most clubhouses will have some form of catering facilities on site such as a restaurant, café and bar. The risk of destruction of the clubhouse from fire is the most likely and significant threat to the financial viability of the business. The loss of income caused by a major fire would prove devastating to many golf clubs. In particular, the rebuild time as well as the settlement time of the claim could have a hugely detrimental effect on club finances. Like most businesses, it is therefore vital to protect the clubhouse, pro shop and all other buildings such as equipment and tractor sheds as well as assets which include shop stock and all fixtures and fittings. Other than vandalism and fire, there are a host of potential risks to consider such as falling trees damaging the buildings, flooding or lightening strikes, storks, burst pipes and accidental damage.

All golf clubs must have liability insurance as they deal with the public. It is worth bearing in mind that if the clubhouse facilities are hired out for parties, weddings and other special events, then appropriate insurance must be in place. Furthermore, if catering is provided in the form of food and beverage, then there is always the slight risk that if someone becomes ill shortly after enjoying hospitality there, they may choose to sue the club for failure to comply with health and safety regulations. Likewise, if catering staff are directly employed by the club then suitable insurance must be in place to cover accidents which may result in serious injury: should they then be forced to take time off work they may be able to prove the club was negligent in allowing the accident to happen and can sue for loss of earnings.

As part of the building insurance it is important to remember the stock stored in the pro-shop. A growing trend amongst golf clubs is the theft of expensive equipment which generally occurs in the night-time in the form of a ram-raid. With the proliferation in GPS devices for yardages etc, thefts are ever increasing as these items are small to carry and fetch a good market price. Remember to all the maintenance equipment such as tractors, mower and strimmers etc. It is worthwhile investing in a good security system as this will help reduce your premiums – CCTV, secure door and window locks and even access control for staff will all help to prove you are taking security seriously.

One of the biggest fears for companies which operate golf clubs is the threat of any event which means there can be no access to the area or the club – such as the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. To help mitigate this it is possible to obtain insurance to cover you should access to your premises be restricted through no fault of your own. This could include local problems too such as a gas leak or nearby roads and access points being cut off. Business Interruption Insurance can help protect you against the loss of revenue in this type of event.

Don't incur a penalty stroke - it pays to be eagle eyed!

As a golfer you should not rely solely on a golf club to have its own public liability insurance that covers you as a play member, guest, visitor or green fee player. If you are a keen golfer and take part in many society away days visiting other golf clubs, it may be prudent to check whether your own home insurance policy also has an option for liability cover to protect you in the event of a range of circumstances. For example, if you are personally injured at the club you are visiting, you may be able to claim from your own policy. Most liability policies have some form of personal injury option (such as slipping on the stairs or being hit by a stray golf ball).

Most personal policies that cover your own individual golf clubs will include a section covering personal liability. It is a recognised fact that quite a few people can, and do, get hit by a golf ball each year. Sadly in this litigious society, even if you shout the traditional 'fore' (in the spirit of the error) the golfer who gets hit with your ball could potentially sue you for personal injury.

As a player you should give due consideration to protecting your possessions when visiting a golf club. Check to see whether your home insurance policy will help protect against loss or theft of your contents whilst out and about. It is a sad fact that many petty thieves target clubhouse car parks, changing rooms or practice putting areas (where thieves know golfers sometimes temporarily leave golf bags outside whilst they pop into the clubhouse or pro-shop to sign in). Many players like to keep their personal possessions with them whilst they play and so mobile phones, wallets, car keys and much more are stored in the golf bag – perfect for the opportunist thief.

Don't play a round – use Westhill Insurance Services

Whether you are a golf club looking for insurance to encompass all aspects of your business or you are a golfer looking to make sure your expensive equipment is covered (and perhaps that includes damage to yourself!), then our professional and friendly team can provide all the advice you need. These days it pays to make sure you have as much protection from vandals, thieves and the general things in life which can play havoc with your well being and routine. As an independent insurance company, Westhill Insurance Services will shop around to ensure we find the best possible cover to suit your budget – and that goes for businesses as well as individuals too. One quick phone call to us will make sure you have all the cover you need to enjoy playing golf without the handicap of wading through uncommunicative comparison sites: our customer service is second to none and when it comes to providing a professional service we are definitely ahead of the game.

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 3rd February, 2013