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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Country Club Overreacted to ‘Dickhead’ Joke, Golfer Says

RICHMOND, Calif. (CN) - A golfer claims in court that a country club wrongfully suspended his membership for jokingly referring to a fellow golfer as a "dickhead."

Robert Yick Jr., sued the Richmond Country Club, general manager MacDonald Niven, president Stuart Offer and the club's board of directors in Contra Costa Superior Court.

Yick says he regularly golfs with a group dubbed the "Dick Brothers Traveling Golf Club."

"The members of the aforesaid Traveling Golf Club refer to themselves as 'Dickheads' and other such names reflecting upon the ability, or lack thereof, of said members' proficiency on the golf course," his lawsuit states.

Niven was allegedly stalking the group in the pro shop on July 4 when he overheard Yick calling a fellow golfer a "dickhead" in jest.

Niven, who had been targeting Yick for complaining about his inappropriate management style, reported the incident and recommended that Yick be "reprimanded, fined, and/or suspended or expelled" from the country club, according to the lawsuit.

Yick says Niven claimed that the nickname was "unacceptable" and violated the country club's policy against "foul or abusive language."

He says the board voted to suspend his membership for 90 days for simply exercising his right to free speech.

According to the complaint, Niven "has attempted to place himself in the position of an unelected czar exercising essentially unchecked and unlimited control over policies, members, groups of members, and employees ... and has carried out said activities with cunning, and retaliatory motive and intent at all relevant times."

Yick seeks exemplary and punitive damages for wrongful suspension of membership, civil rights violations, state constitutional violations, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

He also demands a declaration that the country club's language policy violates the California Constitution.

His attorney is James Paul Green.

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