The best and worst part of the game of golf is that it’s played outside. While golfers enjoy the unique challenge that playing on different surfaces and in different climates brings into the fold, it can also be one of the game’s biggest detriments.
One Florida golf group found out in devastating fashion just how dangerous playing golf in nasty weather can be on Friday. A foursome of elderly golfers headed out to play at Clearwater Country Club just north of St. Petersburg, Florida when some spotty weather moved in and a nightmare scenario became reality.
Fox 13 News’ Aaron Mesmer had the details of the unfortunate accident.
A round of golf at a Clearwater golf course took a frightening turn Friday when a bolt of lightning struck nearby, knocking a golfer unconscious.
Frank Sink, 75, was golfing in a foursome that included his friend, 84-year-old Walter Staats. They were approaching the green of the fourth hole at the Clearwater Country Club when lightning struck.
“It was just rainy, just overcast and rainy. We hadn’t had any sign of lightning or we hadn’t heard any thunder,” Staats recalled later Friday.
Seemingly out of nowhere, at about 11 a.m., a thunderstorm built up overhead.
#SkyTower Radar loop of Clearwater storm. Elderly golfer struck by lightning: https://t.co/xOHw6U6GKG pic.twitter.com/kFrk2AMiIL
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) August 18, 2017
“That big boom hit,” Staats said. “We looked at each other and said, ‘we’re out of here.’ And we turned around and there’s Frank laying on his back. I didn’t see him get hit. I didn’t see him fall. But just, he was laying on his back on the cart trail.”
Staats said Sink didn’t appear to be breathing and was turning blue. One of their other golfing partners ran over and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
“He did a fine job, he kept him alive,” Staats told FOX 13, adding the situation was very scary. “You feel like running, taking off running but you don’t have any place to go.”
Sink was in critical condition for a couple of hours at Tampa General Hospital but, by late in the afternoon, his condition had been upgraded to fair.
Staats said he golfs with Sink three times a week and hopes he can get back on the course with him again soon. In the meantime, he’s relieved more golfers weren’t hurt.
“It could have happened to all of us, any of us, all three of us, if we had been together all in a bunch,” he said.
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