A golf course worker was left with a severed nose and a bleed on the brain after the buggy he was driving crashed. The green keeper sustained the "life-changing" injuries at Gower Golf Course in Swansea while he was driving a faulty buggy that crashed into a ditch.

Last month we revealed that Gower Golf Course, based at Cefn Goleu Farm in Gowerton, had been ordered to pay more than £25,000 after being prosecuted by Swansea Council. The 18-hole course and its owner Adrian Richards pleaded guilty to three health and safety charges as well as four food hygiene offences.

Now Oakwood Solicitors, a legal firm representing the 39-year-old green keeper, has revealed he is pursuing a personal injury claim for damages. The incident happened on April 1, 2022, when the employee — referred to as Mr X — had been instructed by his employer to put holes in the green.

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An Oakwood spokesperson said Mr X was provided with a Kawasaki Mule utility buggy but while he was using the vehicle to carry out his work he found it was "unable to stop, causing it to lose control and crash into a ditch". His nose had to be reattached and he suffered a bleed on the brain and soft tissue damage.

"He also initially needed substantial care and assistance to carry out everyday tasks such as cutting up his food and washing due to his injuries," said the Oakwood spokesperson. The criminal case at Swansea Magistrates' Court heard that the brakes failed on the "poorly-maintained" buggy.

Following the crash an engineer found a brake pipe had "substantial chafing damage" and other defects. A Swansea Council spokesman said Richards, 60, failed to ensure tractors, mowers, buggies, turf maintenance machinery, and chainsaws were being safely maintained.

Pictures from Swansea Council's prosecution of Gower Golf Course, including food hygiene offences and health and safety offences
Pictures from Swansea Council's prosecution of Gower Golf Course

"There was no evidence of a maintenance log for the buggy involved in the crash nor for other equipment," the spokesman added. Alex Singleton, the lawyer leading the civil claim, said: "It is a real tragedy that Mr X joined the club to deepen his passion for golf, as a former member of the club himself.

"Alternatively Mr X became the victim of the defendant’s malpractices and he will now be left with permanent injuries. It is our view that if the defendant had simply serviced and maintained its vehicles, which is common practice for work and personal vehicles, the incident could have been entirely avoided."

The golf course and hotel, which has four function rooms for weddings and events, also pleaded guilty in the magistrates' court to four food hygiene offences. These included failing to ensure there was hot and cold running water for cleaning kitchen equipment, failing to provide washbasins for staff to keep their hands clean, and failing to keep food premises clean.

The business was previously convicted for food hygiene offences from 2011 and 2017. The second case was brought after dead flies, out-of-date food, and mould were found in the kitchen in 2017, leading to penalties of £36,000.

In last month's criminal court case the business was ordered to pay £25,260 in fines and costs while Richards was told to pay a £2,700 fine and a £190 victim services surcharge. Ms Singleton said: “Companies owe employees a duty of care to keep them as safe as reasonably possible whilst at work, which appears to have been breached in this case.

"It is a word of warning that businesses should regularly inspect, maintain and service all equipment within their possession and this is not solely limited to vehicles.”

Damaged brakes on golf course buggy
Damaged brakes on golf course buggy

A spokesman for the business told WalesOnline: "The director regrets his part in the offences recorded and consequences affecting other individuals. Major investment has been made in resolving compliance issues and moving forward on a better footing.

"The kitchen area is now much bigger than the requirement of the business. The faults were found in two kitchens, one of which was not being used for any food production. Two years of Covid closure had starved the business of cash for re-investment although recent expenditure on kitchen resources has approached £10,000.

"The staff at the golf club were all suitably trained for their work but resources were stretched at that peak time of year. There were a lot of food storage and temperature records provided in line with 'Safer Food Better Business' documents at this hot time of year, with the missing information from times when the kitchen was closed.

"The director is currently in discussion with trading partners to focus on clubhouse activity and enable the business to grow and thrive with new resources." Councillor David Hopkins, cabinet member for corporate services, said customers were "let down" by the "significant disregard for food hygiene standards" which had "resulted in many complaints".

He said Richards "fell well short of legal expectations" in protecting staff, adding: “Most businesses in Swansea comply with health, safety, and other regulations that keep employees, customers, and other people safe. But cases like this should also act as a warning that the council will prosecute where there is evidence that legal standards are not being maintained.”