Tournament officials at the Castle Pines Golf Club, site of this week’s PGA Tour event, have installed high-tech conductors aimed at shielding golfers and spectators from the deadly darts of lightning. Besides the sophisticated electronic devices, evacuation routes also will be prominently displayed.
Castle Pines officials were aware they had a lightning problem. The Front Range of Colorado ranks No. 2 in the country in the number of lightning strikes per year, just behind the St. Petersburg-Tampa, Fla., area. In the first five years of the tournament, nine of 23 rounds were interrupted by inclement weather.
In 1985, officials spent $40,000 grounding 75 trees and building shelters on the course. Four French-made Prevectron S6 conductors are also in place for the tournament--one atop the clubhouse and the others at strategic locations around the course.
The terminals contain an electronic device that generates ions, creating a path for the lightning to follow, thus directing it away from sensitive areas.