Friday, June 27, 2014

Lightning Safety on the Golf Course

Recently I read an article in one of my trade magazines that dealt with lightning on the course.  It highlighted several cases from last year of golf course staff and golfers that were hit by lightning.  Some didn't survive.  With the season for rain and thunderstorms upon us, I feel it is a good time to reflect on some simple safety guidelines concerning lightning.
Lightning strike in the mountains
Every year more people are killed or injured by lightning than by tornados, floods, or hurricanes.  In fact, it is estimated that in the United States, as many as 300 people are killed by lightning each year.
Because golf courses are generally open areas with scattered individual trees, they can be a dangerous place to be 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 the fairway or huddled under a tree is a prime target for a strike. 
Tree strike
However, there are several safety measures we can take to avoid being hit by lightning:

Ø  Use common sense

Ø  Seek shelter at the first sign of a thunderstorm

Ø  If possible, get off the course

Ø  Do not stand under a tree.  This is where most people are injured or killed

Ø  Stay away from water

Ø  Stay away from your golf clubs, these can act as lightning rods

Ø  If stranded in the open, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley

Ø  Listen for the safety alarm

Ø  Don’t take chances (you can play after the storm)

These are just a few safety measures we can all take during a thunderstorm.  The storms here in the mountains can appear quickly, and many times do not show on the radar.  Because of this, we must act quickly and use our common sense. We all want to see our friends and neighbors on the course the following day.  Also, please remember that all members are responsible for using their own judgment in seeking safe refuge during a storm.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Practice Tee Etiquette

Late July is usually the time when there is a lack of turf coverage on the practice range tee, since heavy play removes divots faster than the turf can recover.  While we have an efficient and effective tee rotation seeding plan, the small tee makes it very difficult to have thick turf during times of heavy play. However, there are a few things that you the player can do to help us have the best practice tee possible.
Please be efficient with your practice by keeping your divots as close together as possible. Take each shot from the back edge of the previous divot. Move back in a line until you have reached the back of your tee station. Repeat this process by making a new line of divots near the first. This will save the turf on the tee and leave more room for the next player(s).