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High school golf coach dies when cart rolls over

Jonathan Wall
Prep Rally

When you think of some of the safest sports around, golf usually ranks near the top of the list. It's a low-impact sport that, aside from dodging the occasional random tee shot, doesn't require you to be alert at all times to make it through 18 holes without sustaining a major injury.

But every so often freak injuries come along that make you realize the tragedy can even strike on the golf course. That was the case for Southfield (Michigan) High School golf coach Eric Ostdiek, who was killed last week after a golf cart he was driving crashed, as he was trying to avoid a steep embankment.

As the Detroit Free Press reported, Ostidek, who'd been a social worker for the school district for the last 14 years, lost control of the cart while trying to retrieve his ball during a recent round of golf.

Ostdiek was trying to retrieve an errant ball when he drove through the tee box and down a hill, swerved to avoid a steep drop-off, and the cart rolled over, according to the Sheriff's Office. A 41-year-old Macomb Township resident who was a passenger received minor injuries.

Friends and colleagues were in disbelief after hearing about the freak accident. Ostdiek had been playing golf for years but had just recently taken over as the Southfield golf coach in 2010. He had no problem adapting to the new job, taking the team to the Oakland Athletic Association's Golf Division title in his first season at the helm.

"He was due to come back again this year," Ken Siver, deputy superintendent for the Southfield Public Schools, told the Detroit News. "I know he was well-regarded as a social worker by his peers. We are all saddened to hear of this."

As most casual golfers know, driving the cart is one of the more enjoyable experiences during a round. You usually get to drive all over the course, chatting up a buddy along the way during your 18 holes. It's supposed to be a fun experience.

But even though the carts can be fun, Ostdiek's shocking death shows the need to be careful on the golf course. It's horrible that we have to learn this lesson the hard way with the loss of life.

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