Company director throttled fellow golfer who criticised his ‘golfing etiquette’ after he didn’t shout fore when he nearly hit him with his ball
- Lee Heasman, 49, was playing with friends in Kent when a ball flew past them
- He was angry about no one shouting ‘fore’ warning and challenged Adam Roffey
- But Roffey became violent as he put his hands around his neck and throttled him
- Roffey was found guilty of assault by beating but received conditional discharge
A golfer who failed to shout ‘fore’ has avoided jail after assaulting a fellow player who criticised his ‘golfing etiquette’ when a ball nearly hit him in the head.
Lee Heasman, 49, was playing with friends at the £1,025-a-year Tenterden Golf Club in Kent in October 2017 when a ball flew past them as they putted on the 14th hole.
Angry about how no one had shouted the warning word before the ball was hit, he challenged property developer Adam Roffey, who was among the golfers behind.
Accountancy consultant Lee Heasman (left) photographed property developer Adam Roffey (right) at Tenterden Golf Club as he approached him, just moments before assaulting him
Accountancy consultant Mr Heasman, who has epilepsy, said company director Roffey quickly became violent as he put his hands around his neck and throttled him.
Mr Heasman immediately walked off to the clubhouse and got his phone out to take photos of Roffey, 31, so he could inform club bosses and police what happened.
Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard how Roffey, of Ashford, then stormed over to Mr Heasman as he took photos and attacked him, causing him to fall over a golf trolley.
The incident – which saw Mr Heasman fall onto a rockery in the club’s garden – was caught on the club’s CCTV and reported to police, with Roffey arrested for assault.
Mr Heasman who was attacked by Roffey when playing at the Tenterden Golf Club in Kent
Speaking today, father-of-two Mr Heasman said: ‘The ball came flying out of nowhere and one of the members of my party had words with Mr Roffey about golfing etiquette and dangerous play.
Why do people shout ‘fore’ on golf courses?
The word ‘fore’ is often shouted on golf courses to warn other players who may be hit by errant shots.
The word means ‘situated in front’ and it has been suggested that it started as a word to warn someone in front that a ball was flying towards them.
Another theory is that it derives from the word ‘forecaddies’, for people employed by players centuries ago to spot where the ball went at a time when the objects were very expensive.
However, the shout of ‘fore’ was also used at the time centuries ago to shout to the ball spotter that a ball was on its way for him to watch.
A third theory is that the phrase is an abbreviation of ‘beware before’, a military term used by artillerymen to warn the infantrymen ahead that missiles were about to be launched.
‘He then turned nasty and I stepped in to challenge him and he put his hands around my throat twice and tried to throttle me.’
He added: ‘I went the clubhouse to get my phone and get photos of him so I could report him, but he (Roffey) came at me and assaulted me again.
‘CCTV shows him punching and shoving me. He grabbed hold of me and punched me and I went over on the ground. People had to jump in to stop him.’
Both men were members of the club – but Mr Heasman, who is from Benenden, has not been back since due to fears over his epilepsy and of bumping into his attacker, who has still not been banned.
The father-of-two, who has been a member of the club for more than 20 years, added: ‘I was a member of a Saturday morning eight-o’clockers club and it was something I really enjoyed for the golf and social life. It was a way of losing the stresses of the week.’
He said the club had handled the situation ‘very poorly’, adding: ‘The club send emails about not parking in the wrong place but they wanted to sit on the fence about the assault until the court case is resolved.
Roffey was found guilty of assault by beating but was only handed a conditional discharge
‘It’s been resolved now – Mr Roffey was found guilty of assault – so he should at least be suspended, but he’s still a member. How can I go back to the place where I was assaulted?’
Roffey was found guilty of assault by beating but was only handed a nine-month conditional discharge and told to pay £750 in court costs after a two-day trial.
Bosses at the club said they was now looking into their options since being informed of Roffey’s conviction. The attack took place just before 11am on October 28, 2017.
Club chairman Peter Smallridge said: ‘The management committee will consider what to do in the light of this information.’