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The National Weather Service (NWS) has implemented a voluntary recognition program to help
golf facilities better protect staff and patrons from the dangers of lightning. Eligible sites include
any outdoor golf venue such as a golf course or driving range.
The NWS recognizes the efforts of golf facilities that follow these guidelines to protect staff and
patrons from the dangers of lightning. These guidelines may be satisfied by incorporating
dataservices provided by !merica"s Weather #ndustry$
Information Reception: The facility must install a locally%run lightning detection system
with a display unit on site or subscribe to a commercial notification system. The facility
must also have continuous access to information about NWS warnings.
Decision Support Standards: The facility must have a written lightning safety plan for
both day%to%day operations as well as special events
&
. The plan includes written
instructions on how to contact local emergency management (E' for special event( and
local police and fire personnel for day%to%day operations) and a weather service provider
(e.g.( provider from !merica)s Weather #ndustry or NWS).
Public Notification Plan: The facility must have several means to notify its patrons that
a lightning threat e*ists. +ptions include an audible alert system( streaming
televisionradio broadcast( te*temail message alerts( use of social media( and staff
announcements.
Protection Program: The facility must have means to shelter patrons. This would
include providing substantial shelter (clubhouse( restrooms( maintenance buildings)
ideally no more than , mi away from any point at the facility( and signs indicating where
shelters are located. The venue should investigate lightning protection e-uipment that
intercepts lightning and diverts the discharge away from patrons and staff.
Education: The NWS can provide lightning safety education materials. The facility
should ensure it informs patrons of lightning precautions it has ta.en and the actions
patrons should ta.e when notified of a lightning threat.
This program is designed to help reduce the ris. of lightning related threats through improved
preparedness on the part of the facility staff and increased public awareness of the hazards
associated with thunderstorms and lightning. Those who complete the process will be
recognized for their proactive efforts in lightning safety.
For more information on NWS support for special events, visit:
www.stormready.noaa.gov/resources/specialevents.pdf
To find out more about this program, contact van !entley at: /evan.bentley"noaa.gov/
To access the lightning safety tool#it visit: /www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov
Lightning Safety Toolkit
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Special Event: Event (amateur/professional tournament, etc.) where a signifcantly larger
numer of guests (spectators, local me!ia, etc.) an! sta" will e at the facility than a normal
!ay.
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$%efore the E!ent
These guidelines may be satisfied by incorporating data/services provided by $merica%s
Weather &ndustry.
'&nsert name of designated facility official and their title( will ensure a weather situational
awareness plan
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is in place anytime the facility is open. Staff will monitor the local weather via
three or more of the following services$ television news coverage( the #nternet( cable and
satellite weather programming( commercial services( N+!! weather radio( and National
Weather Service (NWS) forecasts.
NWS !dvisories( Watches( Warnings and /azardous Weather +utloo.s (/W+) can be
monitored at &http$www.weather.gov'insert& local office identifier(. Thunderstorms and severe
weather forecasts also are online at &http$www.spc.noaa.gov&.
#f thunderstorms are forecast( staff will review the safety plan at the beginning of the day and
identify the responsible officials and chain of command to implement the safety plan.
Specifically( at least one staff member will be designated as a weather watcher that day who will
notify the rest of the staff of the status of any thunderstorm that may threaten the safety of the
patrons.
Public Information
#f thunderstorms are in the forecast( a staff member (pro shop staff( starter( etc.) will notify
golfers prior to them beginning their round. 1ightning safety guidelines and shelter locations will
be printed on the scorecard and displayed in the golf cart
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.
Designated Shelters
'&nsert list of specific designated fully enclosed, grounded buildings to be used for patron shelter
assignments.(
#f a substantial building is not available( enclosed motor vehicles can provide shelter as long as
patrons do not touch the metal framewor. during the thunderstorm (golf carts are not safe
vehicles). No place outside is safe if lightning is in the vicinity. 3artially enclosed shelters are
not safe. #f no safe shelter is available( direct patrons to stay away from the tallest ob4ects
(trees( light poles( flag poles)( metal ob4ects (fences or golf clubs)( standing pools of water( and
open fields.
#
Situational 'wareness E(ample: Site has a computer with internet access !esignate! for
monitoring local weather we sites. ' television is tune! to a channel !e!icate! to weather.
' lightning !etection system !isplay unit is teste! to ensure it is operale prior to the event.
'll weather reception an! communication metho!s are teste! to ensure functionality.

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)ot
re*uire! if the information is printe! on the scorecar! an! every cart is e*uippe! with a
car!.
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1%During the E!ent
The weather watcher will use weather monitoring and lightning detection tools along with local
observations
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to help determine the pro*imity of lightning and which safety actions to
implement. The direction and speed of an approaching thunderstorm should be accounted for
along with locally developing storms that may form nearby or overhead. #f lightning is in the
vicinity( the following procedures are recommended 'please note that lightning radii will vary
based on the ma)imum distance from shelter for each golf facility. *se the lightning radii chart
provided to determine the thresholds for your facility(:
"hen lightning is detected #ithin (15) miles of the !enue:
Weather watcher notifies staff of elevated lightning monitoring.
6acility staff notifies anyone near or in the clubhouse of the threat.
!dditional patrons should be held at the clubhouse and not allowed access to the facility.
"hen lightning is detected #ithin (12) miles of the !enue:
Weather watcher notifies staff of elevated lightning monitoring.
Weather watcher determines storm speeddirection using a radar estimate or te*t from
NWS warningsstatements.
6acility staff notifies anyone near or in the clubhouse of the threat.
!n evacuation of the course will begin if the thunderstorm moving toward the facility has
a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning on it. These are the ma4or impacting events
with high lightning counts( strong winds( large hail( and tornadoes where complete
evacuation of the facility is 4ustified. (Staff members may need to go out onto the facility
to ensure e!eryone is heading to shelter).
"hen lightning is detected #ithin (see chart) miles of the !enue $action stage%:
Weather watcher notifies staff of nearby lightning threat and the facility warning signal is
activated.
+#
,servations- .he est course of action is to practice, When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
.he /lash/%ang metho! can also e utili0e!. .o use this, the oserver egins counting at the
sight of the lightning 1ash. 2ounting is stoppe! at the soun! of relate! thun!er. .he count
is then !ivi!e! y 3 to !etermine the !istance (miles) that the lightning stri4e is from the
venue. 5arge venues with long evacuation times shoul! consi!er a longer count.
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6acility staff informs anyone in or near the clubhouse that play has been suspended due
to lightning in the area. #t may be necessary to send staff members out with carts to get
wal.ing patrons to the nearest shelter -uic.ly.
!ll patrons are directed to the nearest lightning%safe shelter (see designated shelters).
If a se!ere thunderstorm or tornado watch is in effect:
! watch indicates that conditions are favorable for severe weather to develop. The weather
watcher will communicate this information to the facility staff( indicating that elevated
thunderstorm monitoring is occurring. 7ital information to be shared will include the threats with
the watch and the time that it is in effect until.
If a se!ere thunderstorm or tornado warning is in effect:
! warning means that severe weather has been detected and may be imminent in the locale.
The weather watcher will communicate this information to the facility staff( indicating that the
thunderstorm may be imminent. 7ital information to be shared will include the threats with the
storms and the time that the warning is in effect until. #f the threat is imminent( an evacuation of
the facility will ta.e place.
#f the weather watcher has -uestions about a storm( they can contact a weather service provider
at 'insert provider phone number(. The NWS is especially concerned that you are prepared for
hazardous weather( and will want to tal. with your service provider from !merica)s Weather
#ndustry well before the event. 8our service provider can contact the local NWS office at 'insert
office phone number(.
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Public &ddress System E!acuation &nnouncements
In a case #here thunderstorms are in the forecast and an e!acuation is possible that day'
it should be communicated' either through signs or con!ersation that: (grayed out areas
can be edited for the locale)
+&nclement weather, including lightning is forecast today and may lead to the suspension of play.
Those of you who wish to leave the course for safe shelter will be permitted to re,enter 'insert
venue name( with your receipt( or a rain%chec. may be issued if you choose not to return after
the inclement weather has passed(
In the case of an e!acuation' facility staff should communicate some !ersion of the
follo#ing:
+&nclement weather, including lightning, is in the vicinity of 'insert venue name(. -lay has been
suspended until the weather no longer poses a danger to this area. -lease ma#e your way to
the nearest shelter. .nce the storm clears, we will notify patrons of the resumption of play. $t
that point, you may either continue play, or re/uest a rain,chec# to play at a further date.
Resuming Play
The weather watcher will continue to monitor the pro*imity of thunderstorms and utilize local
observations to ma.e an informed decision( determining the appropriate time to resume play.
Staff may then allow for play to resume after 59 minutes of no detected lightning stri.es within a
'0( mile radius of the venue. :olfers will then be notified via 'insert communication methods)
that the lightning threat has ended and play can resume.
&fter the E!ent
The weather watcher will remain on duty until the facility closes. ! review of the weather)s
impact on course operations and the effectiveness of the safety plan will occur between the
weather watcher and facility management.
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)enue Preparation *hecklists
+, Data Reception Sources- The facility should investigate the installation of a locally run
lightning protection system with a display unit on site or subscribe to a commercial
notification system. #n addition( the facility should have a N+!! weather radio on
location.
N+!! Weather ;adio
N+!! Weather Wire (subscription)
Scanner
!mateur ;adio
3agers (warning reception)
Television (1ocal networ. or <able T7)
;adio Station (!'6') % E!S ;eception
# #nternet (subscription for alerts)============
<ommercial >ata Service=================
1ightning >etection System===============
=================
+ther
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., Decision Support Standards- The staff should have plans for when lightning becomes
a threat to the facility. The facility would setup lightning pro*imity criteria and resultant
safety actions.
<ompleted Tool.it for Safety 3lans
Staff #nformed on 3lan
>esignated Weather Watcher
1ightning 3ro*imity !ctions
+ther
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/, *ommunications- The facility management should have written instructions on how to
contact local emergency management and the National Weather Service for information
relative to the safety of their patrons.
National Weather Service <ontact
Emergency 'anager <ontact
1ocal 3olice <ontact
1ocal 6ire <ontact
+ther
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0, Public Notification Plan- The facility should have several means to notify its patrons if
a lightning threat e*ists. This could include a public alert system( streaming
televisionradio broadcast( te*temail message alerts( use of social media( and staff
announcements.
+utdoor Warning Siren(s)
:olf <art T7 Notification
Te*tEmail message alerts
Social 'edia
+ther
=
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1, Protection Program- The venue should have means to shelter and protect its patrons.
This would include a written emergency operations safety plan for evacuation of a
stadium( signs indicating where shelters are located( substantial structures on venue
property (e.g. restrooms and clubhouse facilities which are easily accessible from a
ma4ority of the course). !lso( the venue should investigate lightning protection
e-uipment that intercepts lightning and diverts the discharge away from patrons and
staff.
1ightning ;ods #nstalled
3rimary Shelters >esignated and 'ar.ed
Shelter 1ocation Signs 3osted
+ther
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2, Education 3 1ightning safety materials from the National Weather Service are available
for interested venues. 7enues should ensure that guests are made aware of lightning
safety precautions that the venue has ta.en and the actions which patrons should ma.e
when notified of a lightning threat.
7enue Staff Safety Training
1ightning Safety >ay
1ightning Safety :uidelines on :olf <ard
3lans coordinated with 6ire( E'S( and 3olice
+ther
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Lightning Radii *hart
This chart is created using the assumption that golf carts have an average speed of &? mph( it will ta.e people 5 minutes to receive
the alert( pic. up their ball( and find the location of the nearest shelter( and that everyone should be in shelter before there is
lightning reported within @ miles of the golf course.
4o# to use this chart:
efore the e!ent:
+, 5se google maps to find the furthest distance from shelter at any point on your golf
course, $This #ill remain constant for all #eather e!ents,%
The ma*imum distance from shelter at any point at this facility is $insert here% miles.
., 6ind the corresponding ro# on the left side of the chart to the nearest tenth of a mile,
E*, 'a* distance is 9.A miles. <orresponding line on chart is$
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During the e!ent:
/, Determine the storm speed through radar estimation or through the N"S or local
media, Storm speed is ========= mph.
0, 6ind the corresponding column on the chart to determine at #hat lightning distance
the action stage needs to be implemented, E*. Storm speed of ?A mph.
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1, egin taking action at the corresponding mileage you disco!ered on the chart, $+7 mi
in this e8ample%