Mr. Pirkl is a fellow in the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA). The ASGCA is the premier golf course architecture organization in America, and has members that have molded golf course architecture as we now know it. Names such as: Ross, Bell, Thompson, Fazio, Nicklaus, Dye, and Hurdzan, are part of the past and present members of the ASGCA. The Fellow status recognizes that the Architect has been elected by the Society and his pears, and successfully achieved status in the organization, according to the ASGCA membership rules. This status also recognizes a long history in the golf course design business. Mr. Pirkl and Nicklaus we both elected as Fellows at the ASGCA 2011 annual convention. Mr. Pirkl’s over 40 years of design and construction experience and knowledge of the golf course business allows for creditable Expert Witness Services in numerous golf related areas, such as:
- Golf Cart Accident Expert – this is the majority of cases in Mr. Pirkl’s business as a golf course accident expert, and involves analyzing the accident site together with the design of the cart path. An on-site survey is conducted to establish elevations and the layout of the cart path section. These elevations are then converted into grades, slopes, and design criteria. Part of Mr. Pirkl’s education included surveying and highway engineering. He may be the only golf course architect with this combination of credentials that offers services as a golf cart injury expert. The hiring attorney can retain one individual to provide golf expertise, survey and cart path analysis – one expert doing the job of three experts. In most cases, after review of interrogatories and depositions, the hiring attorney requests a report documenting the findings of the case. The goal of the report is to assemble the facts of the accident to allow for settlement of the case. If the settlement fails, then the expert presents the facts in court. The result of golf cart injuries varies quite a bit – all the way from soft tissue injuries to death of the passenger and or driver. Golf cart passenger ejection is a common occurrence. Over the 28 years, acting as a golf cart lawsuit expert, Mr. Pirkl has provided services for dozens of crippling injuries and up to a dozen cart deaths.
- Errant Golf Ball Injury Expert and Errant Golf Ball Damages Expert – this is the second largest segment of Mr. Pirkl’s Golf Course Accident Expert. These types of cases involve physical damages resulting from people being hit by errant golf balls on their own property, on a golf course, or while doing activities adjacent to a golf course. Some of these injuries include severe brain injuries that are life threatening. Other cases involve damages to people’s property from errant golf balls. This may vary from home and vehicle damage to loss of use of portions of the property and the resultant loss of value. Here again, Mr. Pirkl may be one of a very few golf course Architects that has expertise in the three dimensional aspect of errant golf balls. This includes golf design, typical and non-typical errant balls, and the third dimension of ball trajectory studies. In many cases the expert analyzes the problem and acts as a mediator, usually between the golf course and the property owner. Sometimes the resolve of the problem is to design mitigating golf course features to stop or reduce frequency of errant balls. In all cases of this nature, you want a qualified golf course architect with 3D errant ball experience to plan these modifications. Over the years in this practice, Mr. Pirkl has worked with the United States Golf Association (USGA), and developed these 3D criteria, that have always been used successfully in court appearances.
- Golf Course Construction Expert – this expert handles cases where: golf courses are improperly constructed; construction specification disputes between golf course builders and owners; and analysis of damages for insurance companies from natural disasters. Early in Mr. Pirkl’s golf course architectural career, he preformed services as a survey crew chief, staking grades and locations of all golf course construction features. He ran a construction management golf course construction service where his firm became the general contractor, and various sub-contractors were hired to complete the work. His people then managed and inspected the project. From this experience, it is safe to say that he is familiar with almost every aspect of golf course construction. and can make sense of contractor disputes in the golf course construction field. In analyzing natural disaster golf course damage, most of these same qualifications are required.
- Golf Safety Analysis Expert – this service combines all the aspects of the aforementioned expert services into making observation and report containing the broad stroke label of a Golf Course Accident Expert. As part of this service, the entire course is walked, and overhead photos are studied to: establish clearances for golf shots, fairway layouts, and errant balls; review the cart path layout; study typical access routes used during play for steep terrain for golf cart travel, and slip and fall areas; review tree locations and tree health; review pond conditions for potential hazards of not being able to get out of a pond once the patron has fallen into it; etc. Some new golf course want this service, but most existing course don’t want to know about their existing problems. It is kind of a head-in-the-sand position – until an accident happens.