Golfing is a wonderful sport. It entails fresh air, exercise, and good friendly competition. Golf is also great stress relief, as your only concerns are hitting that ball, watching the winds for a perfect launch of the ball, and thinking about the next hole. Most golf courses are beautifully landscaped, so it just makes you feel good. Golfers can go back to work, ready to take on the day, after a morning round of golf.

However, there are some dangers to golfing. Occasionally there are some mishaps that occur, such as being hit by a ball, or even a club. Those who live in Florida have to watch out for the water traps, as alligators love them. It is not rare to see an alligator, sunning on the course near the water. One of the worst things for golfers is sudden storms. Lightning is very dangerous for golfers, as #1 they are carrying metal sticks, and the #2 they are the highest standing point on the turf. Lightning always strikes the tallest thing and anything metal.

Florida is the Capitol of the world, for such activity. As a matter of fact, from Tampa across to Titusville, is a major alley for strikes. Because of this fact, many golf courses in Florida have adopted a warning system. If activity is detected within six miles, a 15-second horn blast, much like a fire siren will go off, to let golfers seek safety in time. People are killed every year from sudden strikes, more than any other weather hazard, including hurricanes, and tornadoes.

All across the world, these electrical sparks are a danger to golfers, not just in Florida. When there are big golfing events, there are lots of golf spectators as well. Everyone is in danger when sudden inclement strikes. Just recently, on August 24th, at a tour championship round, in Atlanta, at the East Lake Golf course, six golf spectators were injured. This happened because a tree took a tremendous strike nearby, and the debris hit these people with force. Others have actually been struck and died on the course.

How can you protect yourself? The first and most important is to watch the weather before going. If you don’t keep your eyes on the sky, storms can pop up out of nowhere. So, what can you do, if you are out on the greens when you see it coming? Remember that strikes can and do, happen before a rain, so don’t look for rain first. If you see it in the distance, get to safety quickly.

Here are a few suggestions, should you be caught out on the greens:

    1. Do not get in the golf cart
    2. Get away from your clubs
    3. Take off metal spikes
    4. Do NOT stand under a tree
    5. Go to lowest spot possible

Always heed the weather, and follow these simple rules. It could be a matter of living for another day of playing golf. Never take chances with the weather. An average of 58 people a year die from strikes, and even more, are injured from nearby strikes. Though this sounds like a small amount, don’t become a statistic over something that could have been avoided. Gather up some friends, and family, plan ahead, be safe, enjoy your day, and remember, have fun!