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Golfers compensated when golf course misplaces their clubs

Bloomer v Connaught Golf Club, 2017 CarswellAlta 771, 2017 ABPC 105

Mr. Bloomer and his wife were members of the Connaught Golf Club since 2005 and as such, they agreed to abide by the policy, rules and regulations of Connaught Golf Club. Starting in 2009, the Bloomers stored their clubs at the pro-shop after their games.

On June 23, 2016, the Bloomers left their clubs at the pro shop after their game. When they came the following morning for their daily game, the Connaught Golf Club employees were unable to locate the clubs. The Bloomers asked to be compensated for the loss of their clubs. The Connaught Golf Club refused to do so, and relied on an exclusionary clause in the members’ handbook.  Mr. Bloomer brought an action for $5,500 against the Connaught Golf Club.

Four club members testified that they were never given a copy of the member’s handbook policy, rules and regulations. The Office Manager of the Connaught Golf Club indicated that the handbooks were only given to new members and that the members did not automatically receive a copy when renewing their membership. The General Manager also testified that the club storage was left unlocked during the day and no cameras or other security measures were taken to protect the clubs once members dropped them off.

Justice D.G. Redman started his judgment by the following:

“The game of golf represents a myriad of opportunities to practice one’s perseverance, persistence, and perhaps most of all, patience. One is expected to contend with the wind and the rain, the roll of the greens and unusual lies, and slices hooks, whiffs and yips; there are also the hazards – bunkers, berms, traps and trees. But one thing that can be counted upon is your clubs, the bag to carry them in and the accoutrements one collects over a lifetime of managing this sometimes miserable, but always memorable, game.”

It was decided that the reference to the Membership Handbook in the Application did not suffice to incorporate the policies, rules and regulations, including the exclusionary clause.

Whereas it is possible to incorporate other terms to a contract, the parties must be aware of it and their attention must be drawn to the terms added. In other words, the Club should have referred the Bloomers to the Membership Handbook, specifically the exclusionary clause.

Based on the expert testimony, the golf club and bag was valued at $1,350. Mr. Bloomer was awarded $200 in costs.

You can read Bloomer v Connaught Golf Club, 2017 CarswellAlta 771, 2017 ABPC 105, in its entirety here.

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