I have discovered that there is no shortage of interesting, sometimes humorous and occasionally outright quirky legal disputes that have a golf connection. Please enjoy

I also invite you to join the Golf Dispute Resolution Linked In group, which has more than 2000 members.

We also recently established a Twitter account (@golfdisputes). All twitterers are welcome to follow.

Please don’t hesitate to share ideas for either the blog or the Linked In group.

By way of background, I am an attorney who serves as general counsel to a financial services company.  I also frequently serve as a mediator and arbitrator. And, of course,  I enjoy golf, most often at the Yale Golf Course. You can learn more about my experience here.

Now, for the required disclaimer, so I can remain in the good graces of the legal ethics powers-that-be:  This website, which may constitute Attorney Advertising in some jurisdictions, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


Rob Harris



By: Rob Harris

With Thanksgiving upon us, I wish to acknowledge those who have had a past and ongoing presence in the Golf Dispute Resolution frolic and detour in particular and my golfing life in general.

Thanks to:

  • Those who read (or at least tell me they read) posts on the website or the LinkedIn site.
  • Those who take the time to write to me regarding a post they have read, or with suggestions about one I should write.
  • Those prospective clients who seek my legal representation in golf-related disputes, even though I have a day job that does not encompass the private representation of clients.
  • Those attorneys who ask me to serve as a mediator and arbitrator in golf-related and other business disputes.
  • My golf buddies who continue to provide weekly companionship and entertainment, with special thanks to Ashish Deshpande, this year’s deserved winner of the Yale Golf Course Bragging Rights Reigning Champ Award. (The Reigning Chump trophy sits on my mantle awaiting next year’s return to its rightful owner.)
  • My wife Jeannette, and children Maya, Clea and Liam, who continue to recognize that golf provides me with a healthier, more productive and less expensive therapy than four hours reclined on a couch.
  • My formative years golf friends, especially Bruce Holliday and Peter Soffriti, with whom I have been out of touch for far too long.
  • My father, Alvin Harris, who introduced me to golf at the ripe old age of six.
  • And, of course, to Donald Trump, who I can always count on for Golf Dispute Resolution material on what otherwise is a slow golf news day.


Who would have thought?

Golf Dispute Resolution–this frolic and detour of the past four years–has been recognized by the American Bar Association Journal as one of the “100 excellent legal blogs” included in its 9th Annual Blawg 100.

Special note to Maya, Clea and Liam: laugh at me now, kids.



By: Rob Harris

Golf Digest’s John Strege has an entertaining take on “ye olde trademark infringement litigation” brought by The Olde Farm golf course against neighboring The Old Tennessean, about which we recently posted.

John’s view basically is a pox-on-both-their-houses, feeling that we should “just stipulate that the use of “olde” in a golf course name has gotten old.”

As John reminds us–since “Olde Tom Morris was unavailable for comment”–”[t]here is Olde Oaks, not to be confused with Olde Oak, Olde Sycamore or Olde Cypress.”

“There are Olde Atlanta, Olde Florida and Olde London. Olde Stone and Olde Stonewall. Olde Homestead and Olde Homeplace. Olde Point, Olde Kinderhook, Olde Barnstable, Olde Mill, Olde Beau, Olde Dutch, Olde Vine and Ye Olde Country Club,” etc.

John mercifully saves us from an comparably long list of courses who may be “Old” but not as old as olde–a small sampling of which would include Old Hickory, Old Sandwich, Old Silo, Old Trail, Old Works and Old Ranch.

And, so that we don’t lose perspective, let us remember that in St. Andrews, Scotland sits a track known to the world as the New Course, which this year observes its 120th anniversary. Of course, as the New York Times recently pointed out, unlike the case with its more celebrated older sibling, founded in 1413, “there is no New Course Hotel, no New Course signature golf cart, not even, it appears, a New Course cap, visor or T-shirt at double the reasonable price (or any price).”

So, hat’s off to today’s golf course marketers. Whether “old” or “olde”, ancient is in.



By: Rob Harris

The Virginia-Tennessee state border divides the city of Bristol into two distinct municipalities. For the past several months, Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee have each sported a golf course bearing the word “Olde” in its name.

The Olde Farm has been a presence in Bristol, Virginia since 1999.

The alleged “newcomer” is The Olde Tennessean, which has carried its name only since October of this year, when the operator hired to manage the club for its new owners, adopted the new name. The facility, however, has been around since 1894, and for the most recent several decades has been known as Bristol Country Club.

The Olde Farm, located less than six miles from The Olde Tennessean, is not happy with the course’s new name, claiming that it constitutes an unlawful trademark infringement.

The dispute has been channeled to the United States District Court via a complaint recently filed by The Olde Farm.

By: Rob Harris

I will go out on a limb and predict that the phrases I have highlighted below were never before–and never again will be–recorded in the same sentence of a court’s opinion:

“A crowd which was gathered at the bar to view entertainment being provided at the mobile stripper pole began demanding the golf cart be moved to alleviate congestion.”

For those interested in mobile stripper poles and injurious golf carts, the full opinion in Henderson v. Republic of Texas Biker Rally, Inc. can be found here.

By: Rob Harris

Self-proclaimed activist Brian Rodgers felt he was being stonewalled by the City of Austin, Texas, as he pursued information about plans to convert 700 acres of parkland into a golf course.

Mr. Rodgers brought suit under the Texas Public Information Act, ultimately obtaining a settlement from the city that included a $5,000 monetary payment.

Here’s an article, including links to filed requests and court documents, that show how persistence sometimes pays.

By: Rob Harris

Two interesting cases involving golf and disabilities are being talked about this week.

Well known Boston sportscaster Bob Lobel has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Woodland Golf Club, claiming that it  acted unlawfully in refusing to permit him to drive a special cart he uses onto its putting greens. Lobel suffers from spinal stenosis and argues that, without cart access, he is unable to fully participate in a round of golf, and that the club’s actions violate federal and state protections for the disabled. The club has expressed concerns that the cart will cause substantial damage to its greens, an argument that Lobel denies.

Meanwhile, disabled golfer Zaki Sheikh has filed suit against Illinois’ Sunset Hills Country Club, alleging unlawful conduct by the club when it changed its tournament handicap rules. According to the lawsuit, prior to summer 2013  the club allowed full handicaps to be used in tournament play. At that point, the club changed its rules, allowing only partial handicaps to be used. Mr. Sheikh claims this was an unfair and impermissible change in that it precluded him from being able to play competitively in club tournaments. The club has filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court has no business intervening in the affairs of a private association and that, in any event, its handicap system conforms to USGA rules.

By: Rob Harris

Divorce may end a marriage, but memories often linger. So it is with John Daly’s ex-wife, Sherrie.

The former Mrs. Daly was arrested earlier this week, charged with aggravated assault, aggravated burglary and violating an order of protection.

Allegedly, she broke into a bedroom, occupied by a man and a woman. The woman and Ms. Daly apparently have restraining orders against one another. Ms. Daly is said to have attacked the man.

Her weapon? John is gone but not forgotten….. a golf club.

As reported,

“According to the Memphis Police Department, Daly broke into a man’s bedroom on Tuesday morning. The victim and a female witness woke up to find Daly was standing in his bedroom holding a golf club. The victim told police Daly charged at him with the club and began to strike him on his hands and forearms. He said was using his hands and forearms to prevent from being struck on his head with the club.

“The victim was able to get the club away from Daly and escort her outside through the front door. She fled the scene on foot.

“The witness in this case and Daly both have active restraining orders against each other.

“Daly was arrested on similar charges in September after being accused of sending angry text messages to a woman because they were seeing the same man.”

By: Rob Harris

So, what is the settlement value of an injury suffered when your derriere is struck by an erstwhile golfer who attempts to drive a ball teed between your butt cheeks?

Playboy model and plaintiff Elizabeth Dickson knows, but she isn’t talking.

Ms. Dickson reportedly has settled the suit she filed after a Playboy radio host decided to give the ball a whack when he was supposed to merely pose.

Alas, settlement terms have not been disclosed.

Those interested in seeing the commission of the tort can find it here.


By: Rob Harris

There’s always a first time.

An article headlined “Chiang Mai Driver Charged With Punching Japanese Golfer” reports as follows:

“Police Maj. Gen. Pacha Rattanapan said at a police news conference that Isuke Shimoda, the  76-year-old victim, hired Asang [Ayiku] to take him to Star Dome Golf Course for 40 baht on Tuesday. The altercation arose after Asang declined to take the man into the course.

“‘The driver wouldn’t drive into the golf course because there were passengers in the truck,’ Pacha said. ‘The Japanese national became angry and threw two 20 baht banknotes at the driver, but missed. This upset Mr. Asang.’

“Asang then punched the Japanese man in the left eye and then fled the scene, Pacha said.”

According to the report, the elderly golfer remains frightened “because he has been living in Chiang Mai for 10 years, and he never had this experience before.” Glad to hear that.

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