Lightning Injures Six at PGA Tour Championship

Panic at the PGA Tour Championship

Lightning struck and injured six spectators at the PGA Tour Championship on Saturday, August 24, 2019.

The cloud-to-ground lightning strike hit a tree near the 16th hole and traveled to the victims. Their injuries are not life-threatening.

This scary situation occurred around 4:45 pm ET at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta Georgia.

PGA officials delayed play at 4:17 pm ET because of weather concerns. All the players and many spectators left, however some guests remained in harm’s way. It is unknown why they didn’t seek a safe shelter, but possibly they did not know where the nearest one was.

If you’re a golf course or country club and you don’t have a comprehensive weather alerting solution, it’s time to put one in place.

Yes, I want to protect my golfers

Total Lightning Play-By-Play

Our total lightning detection network correctly tracked storms moving towards East Lake Golf Club during the afternoon hours of August 24.

total lightning detection for lightning injury event at PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, August 24, 2019

We detected 1,518 total pulses in a 10-mile radius of the club from 4 pm to 5 pm ET. We also pinpointed the exact strike that caused the injury with great accuracy.

1,518 total lightning strikes occurred within a 10-mile radius of PGA Tour Championship between 4:00pm and 5:00pm ET on 8/24/19 Share on X

The cloud-to-ground strike that struck a tree at East Lake Golf Club and injured six spectators at the PGA Tour Championship on August 24, 2019

The video below summarizes the incident and our impressive total lightning detection.

Keep reading for our total lightning detection play-by-play.

First Warning

Our total lightning network identified 16 cell tracks to the south of East Lake Golf Club. This tipped us off that storm cells were moving northwest towards the club itself.

Earth Networks Total Lightning Network Cell Tracks showing storm moving towards East Lake Golf Club

A Half Hour Before the Incident

The first in-cloud lightning strikes near the course occurred approximately 32 minutes prior to the incident around 4:13 pm ET. This was 4 minutes before officials delayed play.

Although in-cloud lightning doesn’t pose a direct threat to people on the ground, it is one of the most reliable warnings that dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning is on its way. That’s why we detect the combination of both so we can issue faster and more accurate warnings.

It’s also a precursor to other dangerous conditions like hail and microbursts.

The Strike

Our total lightning network detected a strong cloud-to-ground pulse at 20:45 UTC (4:45 pm ET). This strike had an amplitude of -44,869.

The cloud-to-ground strike that injured 6 at the pga tour championship

Our network pinpointed this strike near the 16th hole, just 160 meters away.

Preventable Injuries

Reports of terrible storms circulated the morning of the championship, however tee times went off as planned.

Dramatic scene of lightning strike at a golf course

We believe our Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts and lightning horn could have played a big role in forecasting these storms and getting everyone off the course before this near-tragedy occurred.

Protecting golfers and spectators from lightning depends on accurate alerting technology and lightning safety knowledge. Never stand underneath a tree during a thunderstorm. Other unsafe places include tents, gazebos, and overhangs.

The safest place to be is inside a lightning safe shelter, like a closed-off building or a car. Golf clubs should make sure patrons know what to do when severe weather is imminent.

Protect Your Golfers

Are you ready to protect your golfers from lightning?

It all starts with comprehensive severe weather safety policies and the best detection and alerting technology. Having a team of dedicated meteorologists doesn’t hurt, either. If you’re ready to protect your golfers, click the link below to get started.

Yes, I want to protect my golfers