45-year-old Steve Plutz was struck by lightning on Friday afternoon at Wing Park Golf Course in Elgin after seeking shelter underneath a tree. He was airlifted to Rockford Memorial Hospital and this morning he died from his injuries.
Genoa resident Curt Jossart and his wife Sarah had just teed off on the second hole when the weather took a turn for the worse. After hitting their shots, Curt says he noticed a flash of lightning.
At that point, Jossart and his wife decided they were done golfing for the day. They headed back to the clubhouse right as the two men were teeing off. Jossart says the rain came pouring down almost as soon as he and his wife got off the course.
"So we went out the door and to the car when it started raining fairly heavily which I assume then is when they went under the tree and as a result got hit. And so we were just probably pulling out the back of the parking lot when he got hit," Jossart says.
Jossart says he and his wife didn't see anyone walking back to the clubhouse when they left. He also says the course only has a sign telling golfers to beware of lightning and to get off the course if there is any kind of danger.
And while sometimes the only way to know when a situation turns dangerous is for us to use our best judgment, some golf courses have other means of warning their players.
"We do have a air horn that we'll go out and blow the air horn and if you are out golfing, you're gonna wanna, once you hear that horn you're gonna want to clear the course or find shelter as soon as possible," says Chris Harmening of the Oak Club.
In the event of lightning, head for a low place such as a ravine or a valley, stay away from water and abandon your golf clubs and golf cart.