Golfers are being warned not to be complacent when dealing with kangaroos on the course following a spate of nasty attacks.
One Queensland golf club was forced to close this week after a number of a highly publicised attacks earlier this year.
Last week, a 64-year-old player was repeatedly kicked by a kangaroo at the Arundel Hills golf course on the Gold Coast, leaving her with large cuts to her neck, arms and back.
Less than a month before, a 69-year-old woman was rushed to hospital after being kicked and stomped by a roo at the same course.
Administrators said Arundel Hills club was also suffering from financial and other challenges, causing the business to close, according to reports.
The club had previously placed warning signs around the course alerting players to the dangers of approaching kangaroos.
Queensland compensation lawyer Bruce Simmonds from Parker Simmonds Solicitors and Lawyers said signs alone may not be enough to absolve clubs of legal responsibility in the event of an attack.
“Golf clubs – the owners of the golf course – are legally liable if someone is injured on that property due to the property owner’s failure to remove a safety hazard or sufficiently warn users of the presence of a risk,” Mr Simmonds said.
As most golfers know, kangaroos are not an unusual sight on courses across Australia and very rarely pose any issues.
Kangaroo expert Phil Murray from Nelson Bay Golf Club said kangaroos posed a very low risk, but had been known to attack golfers from time to time.
“A golf course like Nelson Bay is like Club Med to a kangaroo. You’ve got unlimited food supply, unlimited water and the presence of people keeps feral animals like dogs away,” he said.
Mr Murray said he was perfectly comfortable with kangaroos being on golf courses, but added golfers should understand how to deal with them safely.
“I’ve been up here for 15 years and we’ve never had anyone attacked, but I’ve seen pictures and articles of when people have been,” he said.
Despite not being naturally aggressive animals, eastern grey kangaroos may attack if they feel cornered.
One of the dangers, according to Mr Murray, is people – particularly tourists – getting too close to the animals.
Mr Murray said he had seen people feeding kangaroos McDonalds and putting hats and sunglasses on them for photos in areas where attacks had occurred.
He said people confused kangaroos being habituated to the presence of people with them being tame.
If golfers are trying to clear kangaroos out of their way, they are advised not to approach from the front, as kangaroos can’t move backwards.
“Sometimes people will walk towards a kangaroo, say tapping their golf clubs, and the animal might be in the position where it can’t move backwards, so the only place it can go is forwards,” Mr Murray said.
“People just don’t understand that whenever you’re dealing with wild animals, there’s a potential danger.”