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.