|Written by Bill Hanks|
The last thing that people think about on a golf course is safety. The chance of being hit by a little golf ball is very slim. The same can be said about being struck by lightning. The odds are very slim on a person getting struck by lightning. However, in both cases, it happens more than you realize.
In the case of a ball being hit, the hitter always yells "fore". This is when a ball is hit near a crowd or a player. It is a warning that is never took lightly. It is a very important responsibility of any player to give a warning. All players should be aware of what is happening around them.
Lightning strikes are different. They can happen with no warning at all. Recently, there was a story in the newspaper about a foursome that looked for shelter when a storm came up. One Senior player decided to stay under a tree with his clubs. Game over.
Many individuals think they are safe in their golf cart. A golf cart acts as a conductor for electricity. It has a plastic or fiberglass roof. Unlike a car, there is nothing to ground the lightning bolt. Even though a cart has rubber tires, the top has no metal.
Many golf clubs have graphite in them. Graphite is an excellent conductor of electricity. If you have graphite clubs during a lightning storm, leave them. Don't carry them with you. We all remember the minister in Caddyshack. It does happen.
Don't use a tree. While it may protect you from rain, it won't help on a lightning strike. Most courses have shelters on fairways. Either those or the clubhouse are your best bet. Better to resume play under safe conditions, than risk injury or death.
Golf is an excellent game, but it can cause problems. Another problem deals with the human body. Heatstroke and Heart Attack happen just as much on a golf course as shoveling snow. A good example is Bing Crosby. He had a heart attack playing golf in Spain.