A golfer owes a duty to use reasonable care to avoid injuring other players on the golf course. Furthermore, a golf ball is a dangerous missile which can cause serious injury if it hits someone while in flight. The ordinary rules of negligence apply to games and in the playing of games as in other transactions in life a person must exercise reasonable care.
Defendant, 11 years old, was playing golf when he hit a ball that struck plaintiff. Defendant saw plaintiff before he hit the ball, and he yelled "fore." Defendant was an experienced golfer who had been playing golf two to three times a week for the past two years. Plaintiff brought suit and the jury returned a verdict in his favor. Defendant sought to have the verdict set aside and a new trial ordered. Defendant argued that he should have been held to the standard of care of the reasonably prudent infant rather than the reasonably prudent man. The court affirmed the prior judgment and denied defendant's motion to set aside the verdict and order a new trial.
Did the trial court err in its jury instruction that the boy should be held to the same standard of care as a reasonably prudent adult?
The court held that defendant should have been held to the standard of care of the reasonable man. The court found that golf was a dangerous sport which, when played negligently, could cause serious injury to other players. The court found that because defendant was playing with adults, it was proper that he be held to the same standard of care as the other golfers on the course. The court found that the situation was an exception to the general rule that infants were held to a lower standard of care than adults.