Golf-related injuries treated in United States emergency departments

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This study investigates unintentional non-fatal golf-related injuries in the US using a nationally representative database.


This study analyzed golf-related injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments from 1990 through 2011 using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database. Injury rates were calculated using golf participation data.


During 1990 through 2011, an estimated 663,471 (95% CI: 496,370–830,573) individuals ≥ 7 years old were treated in US emergency departments for golf-related injuries, averaging 30,158 annually or 12.3 individuals per 10,000 golf participants. Patients 18–54 years old accounted for 42.2% of injuries, but injury rates per 10,000 golf participants were highest among individuals 7–17 years old (22.1) and ≥ 55 years old (21.8) compared with 18–54 years old (7.6). Patients ≥ 55 years old had a hospital admission rate that was 5.01 (95% CI: 4.12–6.09) times higher than that of younger patients. Injured by a golf club (23.4%) or struck by a golf ball (16.0%) were the most common specified mechanisms of injury. The head/neck was the most frequently injured body region (36.2%), and sprain/strain (30.6%) was the most common type of injury. Most patients were treated and released (93.7%) and 5.9% required hospitalization.


Although golf is a source of injury among all age groups, the frequency and rate of injury were higher at the two ends of the age spectrum. Given the higher injury and hospital admission rates of patients ≥ 55 years, this age group merits the special attention of additional research and injury prevention efforts.

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