• Wrongful Death & Drowning
  • Serious Injury
  • Errant Ball Shot
  • Golf Cart Accident & Rollover
  • Slip and Fall
  • Golf Course Design & Planning
  • Golf Course Safety
  • Construction Analysis
  • Irrigation Damage
  • Premises Liability
  • Nets & Barriers
  • Property Damage


  • Accident Investigation
  • Forensic Studies
  • Expert Testimony
  • Depositions
  • Consultations
  • Reports
  • Site Surveys
  • Graphic Exhibits & Presentation
  • Replacement Cost Estimates
  • Dispute Resolution

Expert Witness: Golf Course Design and Safety

Architect MICHAEL S. JOHNSTONE, AIA, is an expert witness for golf accidents plus golf course design and safety. Recent cases include wrongful death, errant balls, golf cart accidents and rollovers, injury of spectators and volunteers, golf cart paths, blind holes, hidden hazards, neighboring property, irrigation damage, construction defects, slip and fall, snake bite and fire.

Michael Johnstone has been retained in cases throughout the United States, including those involving PGA and LPGA Championship courses. Over 175 cases and investigations have been completed in 31 states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin) Washington DC, and Canada. Michael has also published two peer reviewed papers on golf accidents and safety for the National Academy of Forensic Engineers.

Golf accidents and golf course disputes involve complex factors unique to the specific environment. Industry standards, standard of care, assumption of risk, premises liability, and other safety issues are unique to the circumstances of golf. With over 15,000 golf courses in the U.S., personal injuries or even death often do occur. Understanding allegations of negligence is often tied to design and construction, whether it be about golf courses, golf cart paths or related facilities. Established principles of golf course design must also be applied in cases of property damage, construction defects or land use. Therefore, an expert is typically needed to investigate, identify and resolve these disputed issues.

The firm serves both plaintiffs and defendants equally. Most of our clients are law firms or insurance companies that need an expert witness while engaged in or preparing for litigation. We also provide consulting services for property owners to analyze their risks and liability. Our firm has represented leading golf course management companies like American Golf, Marriott Resorts, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Billy Casper Golf, Salamander Golf Collection, and New York City Parks and Recreation. Our professionalism has also brought us cases from the largest insurers like Zurich, Travelers and Philadelphia Indemnity, and even referral by the United States Golf Association (USGA).