I have now watched for at least the 20th time the video of a golf ball of a young man being zapped in flight by lightning. This would have happened a little over a week ago at a Top Golf located in San Antonio. I say so for several reasons which I will come back to later.
First of all, the video is amazing. A group of children decide to challenge Mother Nature as a massive downpour arrives. A young man with a metal screwdriver firmly in his hand throws a golf ball at 88 mph into the side rain spray. So … BAM! Lightning strikes the ball and makes it glow, reminiscent of something you would see happen on Earth in a Marvel movie.
The video is compelling and I have nothing to disprove its authenticity. I’m not an expert in video editing, so I don’t know how much editing and technology it would take to create a video like this. I imagine someone who can pretend should get a job as one of the Disney World Imagineers. It’s high level stuff. This is one of the reasons I am leaning towards making this video and this event real.
There are a few other things about this event, however, that just give me a little break. Such as:
Isn’t there some sort of standard operating procedure in place at Top Golf that would result in a mandatory shutdown when thunderstorms accompanied by lightning are detected some distance from the business? Allowing customers to get into a storm is simply asking for legal action.
Many of the stories published about this incident quickly note that the ball was traveling at 88 mph. Yes, I know Top Golf has some technology in place that tracks ball speed, and 88mph is certainly a credible exit speed for a golf ball hit by an amateur. But, as many have noted, 88 mph is linked to something else that produced an outbreak of electrical sparks and fire. Everyone remembers the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future. Is that golf ball now in a fairway somewhere near a Hill Valley golf course in 1955?
Finally, that’s the physics of it. A number of commentators on YouTube and social media argue that the lightning should have gone through the bullet and headed for another grounded source. I know enough about electricity to turn off the breaker when working with it … and that’s about it. So if anyone reading this has a background in physics, and more specifically in electrical conductivity, don’t hesitate to give your opinion.
Even with these questions, I still have to think of this as an authentic video and event. Take a look and tell me what you think.
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