Poorly Maintained Golf Course Causes Cart Accident

Golf Course Management Expert

This case involves a couple that suffered injuries after falling out of a golf cart. She and her husband were driving their cart through a patch of the course to retrieve a stray ball. It had recently rained and the ground was still muddy in many places. As the couple drove over to the side of the course, the ran over a muddy sink hole that had been hidden by the rough. The driver did not see the hole and the cart flipped. The husband suffered a broken leg and bruising from the impact of the cart. The wife broke several ribs and suffered long-term complications as a result of her injuries. An expert in golf course management and regulations was sought to discuss best practices for preventing such accidents from occurring.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please explain your background in managing golf clubs.
  • 2. How should golfers be informed about treacherous course conditions?
  • 3. What are best practices to ensure dangerous holes/ditches are sectioned off?

Expert Witness Response E-014058

I have managed 4 golf courses during the course of my career, and have also owned my own golf course and hotel. I have trained, as a manager, hundreds of staff members. I have also trained operators and managers in the United States, China, and Korea, on best management practices for golf driving range operations and golf management operations broadly. Because of my extensive experience managing golf courses, I am highly familiar with policies for safety and can speak to best practices for informing golfers of dangerous holes and ditches. Firstly, on any section of the golf course that is intended for playing, holes or ditches should be marked with a warning sign indicating “ground under repair” and be roped off or marked with a cone. It is critical to keep in mind that the customer or patron may not be aware of the dangerous or abnormal ground condition. It is incumbent upon staff of the course to regularly inspect the golf course for conditions of this sort, and, as indicated, prevent patrons from being exposed to those risks or dangers. This is often done in a safety audit or systematic inspection of the golf course.

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