If there is any threat of lightning while you are on a golf course you have the right to stop play whether or not the Committee authorizes a suspension of play. Rule 6-8 permits you to discontinue play if you believe that there is danger from lightning. Do not wait to be told to leave the course, you can make that decision yourself. On the professional tours you often see hooters being sounded to signal that play had been suspended when lightning is in the area. There are officials present who are monitoring the weather and they have procedures in place to evacuate the course if necessary. This is not the case in regular golf clubs so if you think that there is any threat of lightning you should leave the course rather than wait to be told to do so. The club may not have any kind of hooter to sound nor anyone there to make the decision to suspend play. Leave your ball where it is and if you get back out on the course when play resumes and it is no longer there estimate the spot where it was and place a substituted ball on that spot. Your safety is paramount and never take unnecessary risks.
Lightning safety tips
- A large permanent enclosed building.
- If no enclosed building is convenient, a vehicle such as a car or van is a suitable alternative.
- If neither a building not a vehicle is convenient, go to the lowest possible elevation area.
- Tall objects such as trees and poles
- Small rain and sun shelters
- Large open spaces, wet areas or elevated areas
- All metal objects like golf clubs, trolleys, golf carts, fences, electrical and green keeping machinery, power lines
Other tips if you cannot evacuate in time to a safer place
- Spread out from the other people in your group
- Squat down, tuck your head in and cover your ears
- Head for the safest place as soon as the immediate threat passes