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Are You Prepared for Lightning?


May was an unusual month for weather with various amounts of rain, hail, thunder and lightning. Many of our tournaments and qualifiers were affected by the poor conditions and even some lightning. Since Northern Cali-


fornia does not experience lightning as much as other parts of the country some clubs might not be prepared to deal with the safety of players on the golf course. No matter what the weather conditions are in your area there should be a plan in place just in case lightning becomes part of your day. You can never say lightning doesn’t exist in your area because it will appear when you are least expecting it. We are all responsible


for the well-being of our members, tournament players and groups playing during a lightning storm close to or directly over the course. No matter what the event when lightning is in the area the players’ safety comes first. Once the play- ers are off the course then it can be decided what will need to happen to resume play once the lightning has passed.


by Roger Val Director of Rules &


Competitions


E-mail: rval@ncga.org


It is important to


determine if your club has a plan. If not the profes- sional staff should prepare an evacuation plan. Staff should know its role in getting players to a safe location. The USGA and NCGA always include in their local rules and con- ditions of the competition the discontinuance of play policy which includes dangerous situations. This procedure is straight from the Rules of Golf under Appendix I Part C number 5. Rules 6-8b and 33-2d are referenced as well. Remember the Rules of Golf emphasize that players in a compe- tition have the right to stop play if they think lightning threatens them, even though the commit- tee may not have specifi- cally authorized it. This procedure can be modi- fied to accommodate daily non-tournament play. In structuring your


evacuation plan you should provide some personal safety tips to educate golfers includ- ing when to avoid water, high ground, open spaces, metal objects, small picnic or rain shelters and trees. When possible, find shelter in a substantial building or fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or van with windows completely shut.


SUMMER 2010 / NCGA.ORG / 69


It is also important to keep play suspended for 30 minutes after the last ob- served lightning or thunder and to know emergency phone numbers. A person injured by lightning does


not carry an electri- cal charge and can be handled safely. For additional informa- tion and guidance the National Lightning Safety Institute web- site is www.lightning- safety.com.


Remember it is


everyone’s responsi- bility to ensure people on the golf course are in a safe environment. A lot of time is spent ensuring the golf course is in the best shape possible for the players but how much time is


spent on an evacuation plan for the same players, especially for lightning? If no plan is in place then it is time to develop one before something tragic happens.


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