Guidance on Running a Competition

Appendix H: Lightning Safety Tips, Suspension of Play and Course Evacuation Plan

While it is the responsibility of the Committee to do everything possible to protect players from lightning, the players themselves, must also take measures to ensure their safety. The following are tips for players if caught in a lightning storm:

Lightning Safety Tips


  • A large permanent enclosed building.
  • If no enclosed building is convenient, a vehicle such as a car or van is a suitable alternative.
  • If neither a building nor a vehicle is convenient, go to the lowest possible elevation area.


  • Tall objects such as trees and poles.
  • Small rain and sun shelters.
  • Large open spaces, wet areas or elevated areas.
  • All metal objects like golf clubs, trolleys, golf carts, fences, electrical and greenkeeping machinery, power lines.

Other Tips if you cannot Evacuate in Time to a Safer Place:

  • Spread out from the other people in your group.
  • Squat down, tuck your head in and cover your ears.
  • Head for the safest place as soon as the immediate threat passes.

Discontinuing Play

  • Players in a competition have the right to stop play if they think that lightning threatens them, even though the Committee may not have authorised it.

Suspension of Play

Any decision to suspend play will be taken by Peter Dawson and myself. If conditions oncourse are of concern to referees or rovers please advise Radio Rules Base without delay. If, for example, heavy rain was causing casual water to lie on putting greens, squeegee operators could be deployed to those parts of the course most affected or could accompany a group, enabling play to continue.

If the suspension is for a non-dangerous situation (e.g. extensive casual water, high winds, poor visibility, etc.) the signal will be three consecutive short notes of a horn (repeated) and you will be informed of this decision on the radio. The normal procedures of Rule 6-8b will apply.

If, however, play is suspended because of a dangerous situation (e.g. lightning) you are reminded that a player must discontinue play immediately (see Condition of Competition 5 on the R&A hard card and Note to Rule 6-8b). The signal for suspending play due to a dangerous situation will be a prolonged note of a horn and this will be confirmed by Rules Radio Base.

If play is suspended, you will be required to take players in your group to pre-determined points during the suspension. Please refer to the additional Note and Map, which explains the procedure the players should follow as far as sheltering is concerned, and details pick-up arrangements for each part of the course.

Play will be resumed as soon as it is practical to do so (see Note for details).

The signal for a resumption of play will be two short notes of a horn (repeated) and the procedure is set out in Rule 6-8d.

Procedure in the Event of a Suspension of Play (including Course Evacuation and Resumption of Play)

In the event of play being suspended during the Championship, the following procedures will be in effect:

  1. Walking Rules Officials (WROs) will be advised by Rules Radio Base if there is to be a suspension of play and the nature of that suspension (i.e. an “ordinary” suspension or one for a dangerous situation). There will be a count down for the Rovers who will signal the suspension of play, using horns (one prolonged note for a dangerous situation and three consecutive notes for non-dangerous). WROs may advise the players of an imminent suspension.
  2. WROs will be advised by Rules Radio Base as to whether (a) players will be required to take shelter on the course (or, where appropriate, walk to the Clubhouse) for a period of time while the possible duration of the suspension is assessed, or (b) players will be transported in from the course once they have discontinued play. 
  3. In either case, the WRO should take his/her players to the appropriate location identified for that group’s position on the course (see attached map indicating assembly points). This will involve the players either walking a short distance to pre-located mini-buses or returning to the Clubhouse. If players are brought to the Clubhouse for a period of shelter only, they should be asked to remain in the locker room with their caddies until further notice as they may be required to return to the course after a short period of time. Rules Radio Base will conduct a roll call to ensure that all groups have reached the assembly points. The WRO should reply by confirming his/her group number and answering in the affirmative or negative, i.e. “Group 16, yes” or “Group 16, no”. Further explanations of a negative answer should only be given if specifically requested by Rules Radio Base.
  4. If the decision is taken to transport those players sheltering on the course into the Clubhouse area, only once Rules Radio Base is confident that all groups have been accounted for will it instruct mini-bus drivers to commence transportation. Drivers should not be pressurised into beginning transportation until Rules Radio Base has given such authorisation.
  5. Only players, caddies and WROs (including observers) can be transported. However, if the players have their partners walking with them, they can also be included. No one else may be transported. Mini-buses will be identified according to their respective evacuation points, i.e. A1, A2, A3, B1,etc. WROs should take a note of the mini-bus number and remind players/caddies that on a resumption of play they must board the same mini-bus.
  6. Players on buses will be transported to the Clubhouse. All players should be told to remain either in the Competitors’ Family Marquee or the Clubhouse. Announcements regarding the resumption of play will be made at these two locations and at the Practice Range. However, during a suspension of play for a dangerous situation, the Practice Range will be closed. WROs should base themselves in the Championship Committee Marquee, where an announcement will also be made.
  7. Prior to the resumption of play, transportation will be provided from the back of the Clubhouse for those players and caddies who were brought in by transport. These players and caddies should not walk to their location on the course. They will be transported back to the original mini-bus location at which they were picked up. Rules Radio Base will only instruct drivers to commence transportation once it is confident that all groups can be accounted for (only a “yes” or “no” answer required). When the vehicles arrive back in location, the WRO should take the players in his/her group back into position on the course.
  8. Prior to the resumption of play, Rules Radio Base will contact each WRO on the course by game number and will ask if the players in that group are in position and ready to play.
  9. Once Rules Radio Base is confident that all players are in position and ready to commence play it will authorise Rovers to signal for the resumption of play.
  10. It is important to keep “radio traffic” to a minimum during these procedures. Please limit radio use to essential communications at such times.

    Appendix H1