Authorities are warning golfers they can be charged with drink-driving while driving around the course in buggies.
Authorities are warning golfers they can be charged with drink-driving while driving around the course in buggies. ALISTAIR BRIGHTMAN

Boozy golf days are dangerous

TO DRINK or not to drink on the golf course? That is the question.

The mere suggestion of the latter has the ability to strike fear in the hearts of golfers everywhere.

But while it may be common practice, punters may want to think twice before they take a drunken spin in a golf buggy, after one driver faced court this week after his buggy ended up in a creek bed.

Hervey Bay man Neil Ashley Holswich lost his driver’s licence for three months as a result of the incident at a Gladstone golf course on November 17.

After sinking a few beers with a friend, the 20-year-old lost control of the motorised cart and drove it into a creek bed. A club employee saw him trying to get the buggy out and called police.

Holswich blew .125 in a breath test and this week faced the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court charged with drink-driving.

He was fined $400 along with the licence disqualification.

Holswich told the court he did not realise it was an offence to drive the buggy under the influence.

Likewise, the issue has the ability to confuse even those in the business, with staff at several Fraser Coast golf clubs yesterday freely admitting they were not familiar with the specifics of the drink-driving legislation.

Joel Blane of Bell Dixon Butler Lawyers, who represented Holswich, said the case was unusual and not something he had come across before.

“My reading of the legislation is that it can be anywhere, on or off the road, so long as you are driving a motor vehicle,” Mr Blane said of drink-driving.

“I think people need to be aware that even on your own property, people that own farms and that can be taking a spin in their back yard in an old car and that can lead to an offence.”

Senior Constable Kev Monteith of Maryborough Traffic Branch said drink-driving laws applied to all types of vehicles and even some animals, for that matter.

He said there had been cases where people were charged after drunkenly riding horses or cattle.

“A golf buggy is defined as a motor vehicle so no matter where you are you can be caught drink-driving,” he said.

“A pushbike is a vehicle and you can be done for drink-driving on a bike.

“Over the years, we’ve had a number of people charged with drink-driving while riding pushbikes, horses and even cattle.”

He recalled an incident in 2008 where a Hervey Bay man was charged after drunkenly driving a golf buggy home from a party.

“The more education about the law we get out there, the better.”



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