It says in our membership terms and wherever we post anything that we will sound the horn if we know there’s lightning in the area, but it’s a golfer’s responsibility to get off the golf course and seek shelter.
The problem is that they use the horn as their only warning, but the weather at the clubhouse here can be totally different than it is out on the 15th hole. Down in the valley here, if it rolls in and comes along the river, it can be on you incredibly fast.
People will come in and say, `Well, you didn’t blow the horn,’ and my response to that is, `Did I tell you to take out the garbage this morning?’
We’ve had lightning strikes here, including having a tree hit, but knock on wood, nobody’s been hurt.
There was one night here that we had a tournament in the building. We had a tornado warning come up and there were three people on the golf course and I found two of them. The other one, I couldn’t find.
At this point, I had all of the staff downstairs in the clubhouse. We lost power and I went out to find the golfer and finally did in the middle of the 16th hole. The storm was coming in from behind, over a ridge and he was playing into where it was sunny, but not looking behind.
I pointed to the sky behind him. He took one look and he was out of there. We got him to safety and the next day, he came in and said, `I can’t believe you came out to get me.’ I replied, `I can’t believe you stayed out there.’
That night, we had a tree struck out on four and I’ll never forget standing in my office and seeing that strike. I couldn’t actually see where it hit, but when we went outside afterwards, it was a dead calm, an eerie feeling, and your hair stood up because of the electricity in the air.
After it passed, I went out and there were deer laying in the bunkers. When that happens, there’s a pretty good chance that they know the kind of weather that’s around them.
There were literally toothpicks in the fairways from the tree that had been hit. We didn’t figure it out until the next morning, but it actually went down the tree, hit a sprinkler head and followed the irrigation all the way to a control box and blew it up. It was smoked.
As many precautions as we take, you wish that people would follow the example of the deer in the bunkers and be aware of their surroundings. On a golf course, you’ve got 14 metal clubs and a metal pull cart.
That makes the deer safer than the people playing golf.