Diving for Golf Balls

Recovery of lost golf balls from golf course water hazards is covered by health and safety legislation, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) points out as the golf season hits its peak.

Course Managers and Head Greenkeepers have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees, and that persons not in their employment are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

This includes other contractors working on or visiting the golf course as well as members of the public.

The guidance on the general health and safety topics are in HSE's booklet: Health and Safety in Golf Course Management and Maintenance.

"This guidance does not have a specific section on the recovery of lost golf balls from golf course water hazards. However, a general risk assessment of any water hazard associated with the golf course should have included risk control measures to prevent foreseeable incidents like drowning," said Nigel Hammond, acting head of HSE's Local Authority Unit.

If the recovery of lost golf balls requires the use of divers who are at work then the Diving at Work Regulations 1997 apply and an Approved Code of Practice for Commercial diving projects inland/inshore gives further practical advice on how to comply with the regulations.

If the divers are not at work then the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 still applies and a similar duty of care standard would be expected.