Lightning on the Golf Course

I live in a part of the country where a lightning storm is as rare as hen’s teeth. Many of you are more vulnerable to this dangerous occurrence.

A reader of this space sent me an article last week about a tragic accident on a golf course when a golfer was killed by a lighting strike. The stricken individual unfortunately failed to heed two lightning safety regulations by standing under a tree and pushing his metal golf cart. The photo below shows what was left of his golf cart and clubs.

The temperature of a lighting bolt is, according to reliable sources, over 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit. You have no chance if struck.

The inside back cover of the USGA rule book contains vital advice about what to do if you are caught on the golf course when lightning is in the area.

1. A large permanent building (and get inside).
2. A fully enclosed metal vehicle (car, van, pickup truck).
3. A low elevation area (like a bunker).

1. Tall object (trees, poles).
2. Small rain and sun shelters.
3. Large open areas, wet areas, or elevated greens.
4. All metal objects (including golf clubs, golf carts, fences, electrical machinery, and power lines)

If you are caught in a lightning storm without warning, your group should spread out, get away from your clubs, squat down in a ball, tuck your head, and cover your ears (get low and get round). You cannot remain standing. When you do, you turn yourself into a lightning rod.

Do not take lightning lightly. If you can see lightning, start taking precautions. Visit the National Lightning Safety Institute for more information.


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