Predictive weather technology has made preparation easier by looking at science entirely in a new way.
In 2018, the National Weather Service reported more than 500 deaths and $41 million dollars in damages in the United States were caused by severe weather. Within that same period, many deaths occurred on a golf course. Of those deaths, 95% of them were likely avoidable.
At this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, a video of a tree getting struck by lightning brought wide-spread awareness about the dangers of dangerous storms. Thankfully, the USGA worked with a Thor Guard meteorologist on site and rightfully decided to evacuate everyone well in time to prevent a dangerous situation. While this situation had a positive outcome due to proactive planning, that isn’t always the case.
Though some foolishly try to test the theory of playing through “rain or shine,” safety should never be taken for granted.
The real question here, especially for those with ultimate responsibility over a facility, is who should be liable for the repercussions – the individual or the course? Most will say the operators. Due to this alone, it’s essential you take meaningful steps to help your staff, members and guests and avoid a potential tragedy altogether.
The first step to ensure protection? Preparation.
Predictive weather technology has made preparation easier by looking at science entirely in a new way. Thor Guard, for example, is the only system in the world that predicts lightning strikes and can aid in predicting tornadoes in advance. With an ability to look at 170,000 atmospheric samples per second, Thor Guard system’s impressively render at least a nearly 90% accuracy rate in successful severe weather readings.
Comparing a lightning detectionsystem to a prediction system – like Thor Guard – is like comparing apples to oranges. It’s not even a fair fight. Predictive technology analyzes information 20 times faster than anyone else to predict lightning strikes (including “bolts out of the blue”), high wind storms, severe storms and even dangerous heat levels. In short, predictive weather systems provide course operators more time to protect individuals on their grounds.
Sure, some will tell you that horns and strobes are more of an annoyance than a help, but based off the success rate from Thor Guard, it’s clear that predictive weather technology works.
“We’ve studied more than 100 million hours of lightning strike data and kept evolving our systems to always improve our exceptional predictive technology,” says Bob Dugan, President of Thor Guard. “With our newest system, the TG 360, we’ve successfully created a system which meets the demands of golf course operators against all severe weather events including lightning strikes, tornadoes (beta version) and even dangerous heat index levels.”
Fortunately, no one was hurt during the U.S. Women’s Open lightning strike event; but, let this serve as a reminder that severe weather is a real risk which should remain top of mind daily. We must be properly equipped to evaluate dangers, apply precautions for your club and act accordingly to create a safe place to enjoy.
When people suggest protection is too costly, they may not fully understand the power of a cost/benefit analysis. Have you considered the direct and indirect costs of even a minor injury? Situations change over time, sometimes even very quickly, making it difficult to identify and control hazards. Preventing potential accidents and tragedy requires discipline and diligence.
Keep in mind that no human being can look at the sky and know if a lightning strike is about to occur. Let’s say you don’t have a predictive weather system involved and there’s an unexpected storm. Now, because the current players on the course weren’t alerted in time, people will be scrambling to find safety. Next thing you know, the club now has an unanticipated expense. An expense that could have been avoid.
Point blank, you can’t afford not to have a way to anticipate and mitigate potential threats.
Don’t complicate a situation that has a simple solution. Invest in a trustworthy predictive weather system, save money and help prevent the unexpected. Investing in systems like Thor Guard isn’t just good for business, but the best way to demonstrate you care about the safety of players and staff.