Lightning at "The Master's": An evaluation of April thunderstorms in and near the Augusta National Golf Club

Mace L. Bentley, Lauren M. Lee, J. Anthony Stallins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


April lightning production in Richmond County, Georgia, from 1995 to 2003 is considered with regard to the associated risk to golfers and spectators at the Master's Golf Tournament and courses throughout the county. An examination of the April lightning climatology of Georgia, focusing on Richmond County, reveals a minimum in lightning activity during the time of the tournament (the first full week of April). A discriminant analysis of Richmond County lightning production utilizes several meteorological variables in order to discern between three categories of April lightning days: little or no lightning activity, minimal lightning activity, and high lightning activity. The analysis distinguishes relatively well between the categories with only 13.5% of the events misclassified. A composite regional analysis of the three lightning categories illustrates the environmental differences between these events. Although the little or no lightning and high lightning categories are somewhat similar environmentally, the intensity of features separates these events and allows for interpretation. The statistical and synoptic analyses together emphasize the importance of low-level instability and frontal proximity and intensity in enhancing lightning production in thunderstorms during April in and surrounding Richmond County. A multitude of meteorological conditions can lead to thunderstorm development. Localized studies of these environments, especially during times of major outdoor sporting events, are needed to help mitigate the risk associated with lightning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-257
Number of pages22
JournalPhysical Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Georgia
  • Golf
  • Lightning
  • Thunderstorms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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