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Family of Golfer Killed by Tree Branch Sues Resort for Wrongful Death

Golf is a passion for many and a great way to get exercise in a relaxed atmosphere. While it is possible to get injured while playing, this usually consists of a pulled muscle from overswinging or being struck by a ball when someone fails to yell “Fore!”

But there are many hazards on a golf course that few people think about. Unfortunately, a 71-year-old golfer in Palm Springs, CA, found this out the hard way, and his family is suing the golf course for wrongful death.

On March 30, 2017, David Hamaker had finished most of a round of golf at the luxury Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort in Palm Springs. While relaxing in his golf cart near the 17th hole, he was struck by a falling tree branch. The Black Butte Ranch, Oregon resident was rushed to nearby Desert Regional Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a severe fracture dislocation of the cervical spine. Although he underwent surgery to repair the injury, he passed away a week after the incident occurred, on April 7th. The cause of death, as stated on his death certificate, was “sequelae (damage or trauma caused to the site of a previous injury or condition) of blunt impact injury of the neck.”

The family of Mr. Hamaker is suing Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort for unspecified damages, alleging negligence on the part of the course’s owners. The suit declares that the owner’s inattention to the upkeep of trees on the property allowed them to fall into a state of disrepair. Citing recent windy weather, which may have exacerbated the situation, the suit further alleges that the owners abdicated their duty to warn golfers of the peril caused by the damaged trees. The suit seeks to remove the concept of “An Act of God” from the proceedings by placing the blame squarely on the owners of the course. The Hamaker family is also suing the City of Palm Springs for unspecified damages. The specifics of the suit against the city are unknown at this time.

Representatives for Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort and the City of Palm Springs have yet to respond to the lawsuit.