Fact Check

Golf Club Death

Rumor: A golfer angered by a bad shot was killed by the club he threw in frustration.

Published July 1, 2008


Claim:   A golfer angered by a bad shot was killed by the club he threw in frustration.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, June 2008]

I once read in what I believe was The Arizona Republic (or a similar Arizona newspaper) about a young but spoiled golfer, so upset with a bad drive that he violently threw his club at a nearby bench. The club's shaft broke and sprang back at him and the jagged end of the shaft punctured his heart and killed him instantly.


Origins:   At first blush, this story appears related to theme of the legend about an irate golfer who in a fit of pique pitched his golf bag into

a water hazard, then realized his car keys were in the bag, dived into the water to retrieve it, became entangled in the weeds, and drowned — an angry golfer vents his dissatisfaction with his game on an inanimate object, with fatal results. Surprisingly, however, this particular story is true: the life of a teenage boy was indeed ended by the very club he used on a bench as a way of venting his displeasure over a bad shot.

In 1994, 16-year-old Jeremy Brenno of Gloversville, New York, was killed when he struck a bench with a golf club, and the shaft broke, bounced back at him, and pierced his heart. Brenno had missed a shot on the sixth hole at the Kingsboro Golf Club and looked to vent his frustration by giving the nearby bench a good whack in retaliation. The fatal club was a No. 3 wood.

Brenno's is not the only accidental death by golf club. In 2005, 15-year-old Rafael Naranjo of Gardner, Massachusetts, expired after playfully swinging a 5-iron he'd found in the street at a fire hydrant. His act caused part of the shaft, along with the head of the club, to break off and lodge in his neck.

In 1951, Edward Harrison was playing a round at Inglewood in Kenmore, Washington, when the shaft of his driver broke and pierced his groin. He staggered 100 yards before collapsing and bleeding to death.

In 2005, 12-year-old Chandler Hugh Jackson of Frisco, Texas, died in Cunningham, Kentucky, after apparently falling onto a broken golf club at Dogwood Hill club. A piece of the club's shaft went through the boy's chest and pierced his aorta.

Barbara "club dead members" Mikkelson

Last updated:   14 May 2015


    Ashmun, Chuck.   "And You Thought Sand Traps Were Bad."

    The Seattle Times.   12 March 1998   (p. D2).

    Kelleher, Caitlyn.   "Teen Dies in Tragic Mishap."

    [Fitchburg] Sentinel & Enterprise.   24 August 2005.

    Associated Press.   "Youth Killed as Club's Shaft Pierces Heart."

    The New York Times.   11 July 1994   (p. B4).

    Associated Press.   "Coroner: Boy Killed When Piece of Golf Club Pierces Chest."

    8 July 2005.

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