November 25, 2009
You've done the Happy Gilmore golf swing, right? Please tell me you have. Please don't say you've never set a ball on a tee, taken five steps back, then slap-shotted the ball into the stratosphere. (It'll add 10 percent to your drive -- Padraig Harrington proved it.)
Of course, if you manage to pull this off without snapping either your driver's shaft or your own wrists, you've got to deal with the fact that you've just rocketed a ball off the tee with no idea of where it could end up. Best case: you just lost a ball. Worst case: you're in Nova Scotia and you're gonna be in trouble with the law.
The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog brings us the story of Bezanson v. Hayter, a case in which the defendant Happy Gilmore'd a shot right into the wrist of the plaintiff. Said plaintiff with said wrecked wrist is now unable to do his work, which apparently involves a chain saw and is therefore by definition cooler than anything you or I do.
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court determined that the defendant "violated his standard of care to other golfers," and that the Happy Gilmore swing is not a "natural risk" of golfing. Come on, Nova Scotia! Next you're gonna say that we can't use those exploding gag golf balls on the tee! You're going to take that laff riot away from us?
As the WSJ notes, this wasn't just a case of a couple dudes swingin' away on the course. No, this was a bachelor party, one which involved beer, pot and unsanctioned cart behavior. The defendant noted that he "consumed nine beers and half a pint of Baja Rosa tequila," and in my humble opinion the court should show him some leniency just for being able to stand upright after that, much less golf.
Anyway, there you have it. If you're going to do the Happy Gilmore swing on your Turkey Day outing, don't do it in Nova Scotia. And if you do hit somebody, don't leave any witnesses.