Augusta National Golf Club (WFXG) - With storms and rain forecasted for Saturday, round 3 of the 2018 Masters Tournament could be in jeopardy. Golf course managers are always very aware of the threat of lightning.
Augusta Municipal Golf Course relies on a lightning detection system at their neighbor, the First Tee of Augusta.
"They have a lightning monitor that monitors lightning so whenever it's within about 5 miles, the horn will sound off and we go by that," explained Ira Miller, general manager of the Augusta Municipal Golf Course."Whenever that alarm goes off, we tell everybody they have to come off the golf course."
Augusta National Golf Club uses a system called Thor Guard which is able to detect lightning within 25 miles. According to Thor Guard, other lightning detection products sound an alarm when a lightning strike is detected. The Thor Guard system is able to detect if there is enough of an energy change to create a lightning strike, even before it happens. This gives anywhere from a 5 to 20 minute heads up that lightning could strike on the course.
Miller explains that lightning delays at Augusta Municipal do not happen often.
"It doesn't happen that often," said Miller. "It's more when the thunder starts, when the thunderstorms start coming through. You're looking at about July, August, September, during that time frame that's when you hear it every now and then."
It has happened at Augusta National during the Masters. Lightning delayed the 2017 Par 3 contest in 2017. That and the rain ultimately led to the event being canceled.
Lightning delays have also happened in 1983, 1999, and 2008 according to the Masters. Sunday is normally the final day of the tournament, but there have been several Monday finishes due to weather delays. 1983 was the last time the Masters finished on a Monday.