Greenkeepers at the Robert Trent Jones Hampton Cove course discovered an unusual spider web pattern on the sixteenth green Wednesday morning.
The singed earth, radiating in irregular spokes from a center point, was caused by a lightning strike during a strong thunderstorm Tuesday night.
RTJ at Hampton Cove posted the image to its Facebook page, adding the caption "Oh Mother Nature! Lightning hit the Highlands Course #16 green last night. It's still playable, just a wicked pattern!"
Cherie Farmer Allred commented, "How ‘bout that!! Proof that we should respect that whistle that brings us off the course when rain clouds are threatening!!!"
Good advice. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that about 5 percent of annual lightning deaths and injuries in the US happen on golf courses.
WAAY 31 Chief Meteorologist Stephen Bowers says golf courses are one of the most dangerous places to be in a thunderstorm. "There's very little cover. Wide open spaces offer zero protection from lightning bolts. Indoors is the safest place to be. Remember, if you can hear thunder or see lightning in the distance, you're close enough to be struck."
According to their Facebook page, the RTJ Hampton Cove, near Huntsville, AL, is the northern gateway to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a collection of 26 courses across Alabama all designed by the famed golf course architect. The lightning strike happened at the par 72 Highlands Course.