Charity to benefit after golf ball hit

DOG walker Mike Kent has today received £500 compensation after being hit in the eye by a flying golf ball – but the real cost to the golf club is nearer £200,000.

By Richard Cornwell

DOG walker Mike Kent has today received £500 compensation after being hit in the eye by a flying golf ball – but the real cost to the golf club is nearer £200,000.

For that's the amount which Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club is understood to have been forced to shell out to make its course safer.

The club is altering three holes so that in future people walking on the river wall will not be in danger from sliced tee shots.

Solicitor Mr Kent, 53, of Cliff Road, Felixstowe, said today that he would be giving his £500 personal injury compensation to charity.

"I had never intended this case against the golf club to produce any money – the idea was simply to get them to take the safety of this issue seriously," he said.

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"I merely wanted to have this area of the course made safer and now that the ground works to realign the 15th fairway are almost complete, it seems a good time to draw a line under the matter."

Mr Kent, who walks the sea wall between Old Felixstowe and Felixstowe Ferry frequently, as do many people, said he had heard of many near misses with sliced golf balls and of a woman who was struck in the back.

He suffered a badly bruised left eye and his glasses were smashed in July 2002 as he walked along the wall with his dog.

However, with the realignment of the fairway, he feels the area is now "very much better" for safety.

"The ball that hit me came straight off the tee. It was horrendous. The doctor told me that my eye could have been ruptured," he said.

Mr Kent said he had decided to give the compensation – paid by the golf club's insurers – to the Felixstowe Blue Cross animal welfare rescue centre because that is where his dog Anubis, a Pharoah hound, came from.

"It wasn't about money and so I would like the Blue Cross to have it as they do such a wonderful job and have to raise all their funds themselves," he added.

Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club, which expects the work on the changes to the links course, one of England's oldest, to be completed this year, said that it had been considering the work for some time, even before the incident involving Mr Kent.

It had been carrying out risk assessments and was "extremely concerned" about the possible danger for members of the public.

Problems had arisen over the past ten to 15 years as the club had become busier and more people were out walking. The club wanted to ensure people could walk in safety and enjoy the sea wall and beach.

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