Lightning strikes can cause death and destruction, but sometimes they just leave an interesting calling card.

Lightning and Golf, A Bad Combination

There are a few places you don't want to be when lightning is in the air -  and a golf course is one of them. Believe me, I know. Over the years of playing golf, I have dodged my share of thunderstorms on the golf course. Fortunately, I usually play with guys much taller than me. ( He says with a morbid chuckle.)

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Hitting the Green

Recent storms brought thunder and lightning to Morgan County in northeastern Colorado and my old stomping grounds of Brush. I doubt that anyone was on the golf course during the storm, which would be a good thing considering the fact that lightning literally struck the #9 green. You can see from the City of Brush Recreation Facebook post the lightning left quite an impression on the green.

It Actually Has A Name

What I've learned is this. The tree-shaped image on the green is known as Lichtenberg figures named after German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, who originally discovered them. These fern-like patterns sometimes appear on the skin of people who have been struck by lightning. It's actually not uncommon for a lightning strike to create these figures on a grassy area, such as a golf course. There's a pretty detailed scientific explanation of these figures here if you are interested in learning more about them.

The design created on the green by the lightning is pretty cool, but it also serves as a stark reminder of why it's a bad idea to be on the golf course when there's thunder and lightning in the area. According to the National Weather Service, 49 people are killed by lightning strikes every year in the United States and hundreds are injured. You definitely don't want to mess around with mother nature.

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