Cardiac arrest on the links: are we up to par? Availability of automated external defibrillators on golf courses in southeastern Pennsylvania

Prehosp Disaster Med. 2006 Mar-Apr;21(2):112-4. doi: 10.1017/s1049023x00003459.


Objectives: A growing number of golfers are senior citizens, and it may be predicted that the number of golf-related medical emergencies, including the incidence of cardiac arrest, will increase. This study was designed to survey the level of preparedness of golf courses in southeastern Pennsylvania to respond to cardiac arrest among their members.

Methods: A telephone survey of all of the 180 golf courses in the area was conducted to determine their type (public/private), volume in rounds per year, presence of automated external defibrillator (AED) devices, number of employees, and percentage of employees with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. Participants also were asked to estimate the time needed to reach the farthest point on their course in order to estimate a maximum time to the application of an AED device.

Results: A total of 131 of 180 golf courses completed the survey (53 private, 78 public) for an overall response rate of 73%. Private courses reported a greater average number of employees with CPR training [private = 9.1, public = 3.6; p = 0.001] and in AED presence [public = 9%, private = 58.5%; p = 0.0001]. Public courses support a higher volume of play than do private courses [public = 32,000, private = 24,000; p = 0.001], yet have far fewer employees [public=25, private=44; p = 0.004]. The longest time necessary to reach the most remote point on the course was between four and five minutes in all courses. Analysis was performed using the Student's t-test and Pearson's Chi-square as appropriate.

Conclusion: Neither public nor private golf courses are well equipped to respond to cardiac arrest, but outcomes on public courses likely are to be far worse.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Defibrillators / supply & distribution*
  • Golf*
  • Heart Arrest / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pennsylvania