Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lightning Safety

Colorado has the second highest amount of cloud to ground lightning strikes in the United States and it is for this reason that extra caution should be taken when lightning is near by.
It always seems to happen when you are having the round of your life. The sky darkens, the wind picks up and the thunder begins to roll across the golf course.
The temptation always exists in these circumstances to convince yourself and your playing partners that there is enough time to finish your round, or at least a few more holes. If you play on instead of seeking shelter, your great round could become the last round of your life.
Every year more people are killed or injured by lightning than by tornadoes, floods or hurricanes. In fact, it's estimated that in the United States, as many as 300 people are killed by lightning each year.
Because they are generally open areas with scattered individual trees, golf courses are dangerous places during a thunderstorm. A lightning bolt will take the shortest route between the cloud and the ground, which means that a golfer standing in the middle of a fairway or huddled under a tree is a prime target for a strike.

However, there are several safety measures you can take to avoid being hit by lightning:

  • Seek shelter at the first sign of a thunderstorm.
  • If the course's warning system sounds, take cover.
  • If possible, get off the golf course or go to a designated lightning shelter.
  • Do not stand under a lone tree. This is where most people are injured or killed.
  • Stay away from water.
  • Stay away from your golf clubs.
  • Move away from your golf cart.
  • If stranded in the open, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley.