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Thunderstorm Rolls over Golf Course, Camera Captures Unmistakable Mark on the 5th Hole

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Thanks to modern technology, we have a better chance of witnessing the sometimes terrifying beauty unleashed by nature on this planet.

On Thursday, as a large storm system moved over Montana that resulted in localized flooding and even a report of a tornado, the thunder rolled. And the lightning struck, as evidenced by pictures taken at Sidney Country Club in the northeastern part of the state.

Jason Lamb, the superintendent and general manager of Sidney Country Club — a popular destination for golfers — sent jaw-dropping pictures of the golf course’s fifth hole to NBC Montana.

The impressive photos were posted on Facebook and show the scorched pattern after the bolt struck the green.

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Lamb, who has worked at the country club on that course for a quarter of a century, said it was the first time he’d ever seen anything like it, according to KRTV. And while it appears that the ground took the brunt of the strike, the bolt of raw electrical power also did damage to nearby equipment.

“It did blow several electrical components in the controllers and electrical parts in several sprinklers,” Lamb told the station.

Lamb said he was told that grass would eventually grow out of the scorched marks the lightning left on the green.

Luckily, in this case, there were no reports of injuries. Had this storm rolled over and tossed out bolts of lightning like that while the course was populated with golfers, it could have been a very different situation.

Do you take cover when you see lightning?

Because lightning strikes are such a threat to golfers, Sidney Country Club used the incident as an example of why golfers aren’t permitted to play during thunderstorms, NBC Montana reported.

I don’t know about you, but those pictures would certainly convince me to head to the clubhouse when the weather turned threatening.

The power of a thunderstorm that produces prolific lightning can certainly spell trouble for wherever it’s headed, especially in heavily populated urban areas that don’t have tall buildings outfitted with lightning rods.

According to Weather STEM, lightning strikes the earth a staggering 100 times per second, or about 8.6 million strikes per day. And if you thought lightning couldn’t strike the same place twice, it actually does.

The Empire State Building in New York City is estimated to be struck between 25 and 100 times per year, according to Weather STEM.

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Even scarier, the National Fire Protection Association stated in a 2013 report that between 2007 and 2011, local fire departments in the United States responded to an estimated average of 22,600 fires started by lightning each year.

It was also interesting to learn that wildland fires were far more damaging in the number of acres burned than fires started by humans.

If anything, let the pictures of the golf course be a stark reminder that lightning is unpredictable and life-threatening. Taking cover during a storm is a wise way to extend your life expectancy.

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Ryan Ledendecker is a freelance journalist and writer. He began reporting news and writing commentary during the 2014 Ferguson riots. Prior to that, he worked as a web editor and columnist for an award-winning local newspaper.
Ryan Ledendecker is a freelance writer covering politics and breaking news. He previously worked as a columnist and web editor for an award-winning local newspaper. When he's not writing, he's honing his competitive BBQ skills. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Truth Social.
St. Louis, Missouri
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