A sudden lightning strike on an otherwise temperate day can be a jarring sight, especially if you happen to be standing out in the wide open, perhaps while teeing off on the golf course. Rather than attempt to weather the storm, however unexpected, or just assume it will soon pass, it’s best to remove yourself from the storm’s path and seek shelter immediately.
At IonLoop, we care about our golfers and want to spread some helpful suggestions on how best to avoid lightning on the green.
When Lightning Strikes
The fact is, according to FEMA’s May 2018 report, Be Prepared for a Thunderstorm, Lightning, or Hail, “lightning is a leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards.” Earlier reports from ready.gov, detail an average of 51 deaths annually in the U.S. due to lightning. While some people do survive after being struck by lightning, they are often left with long-lasting, even lifelong, injuries or symptoms as a result.
To keep these facts and figures in perspective, it’s important to recognize that this same study estimated the chances of anyone being struck by lightning at 1 in 600,000. Even so, we have some suggestions to lower your odds of a lightning strike even further…
How to Stay Out of Striking Distance
In all likelihood, your favorite golf course already has some sort of thunderstorm warning system in place, especially if it is located in an area that experiences storms on a frequent basis. These systems are usually siren-based and will sound early enough to give you time to get off the green.
Perhaps it’s not surprising then that over the course of a 30-year study, the U.S. National Oceanic Administration determined that only 4% of lightning strike deaths take place while golfing. For comparison sake, standing under a tree accounts for 13% and lightning fatalities around water sources make up approximately 8%.
The best steps to avoid associating with that 4% are as follows:
- Move away from open high ground; seek a lower spot to shelter, but be mindful of flash floods if the thunderstorm is accompanied by heavy rains.
- Stay clear of isolated trees
- Keep away from water and areas near the water, like beaches and shorelines
- Shelter inside an easily accessible building or vehicle (Note: safe vehicles in this scenario do not include golf carts or boats -- see note above).
- Avoid doors, windows, and any metal materials, as well as electrical or metal objects
Of course, accidents can and do happen, but can so often be avoided by observing a little common sense.
IonLoop’s Objective: Safety First
Our IonLoop inventory is designed to be durable and water-resistant. And while we celebrate the negative ions delivered by rain storms, and believe that spending time in nature is one of the best things we can do for our personal well-being, we do not want to see any of our customers taking risks when it comes to lightning.