I have now watched for at least the 20th time the video of a young man's golf ball getting zapped in flight by a bolt of lightning.  This supposedly happened a little over a week ago at a Top Golf located in San Antonio.  I say supposedly for several reasons that I'll get to later.

First of all, the video is amazing.  A group of kids decides to defy Mother Nature at the instant a massive downpour arrives.  A young man with a metal driver firmly in hand launches a golf ball at 88 mph out into the sideways spray of rain.  Then...BAM!  Lightning strikes the ball and makes it glow fire, reminiscent of something you would see arriving to Earth in a Marvel movie.

The video is convincing and I have nothing to refute its authenticity.  I'm not an expert at video editing, so I don't know how much editing and technology it would take to create a video like this.  I would imagine someone that was able to fake this would need to get a job as one of the Imagineers at Disney World.  This is top level stuff.  Which is one of the reasons I'm leaning towards this video and this event being real.

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There are a few other things about this occurrence, however, that gives me just a bit of pause.  Such as:

Isn't there some sort of standard operating procedure in place at Top Golf that would cause mandatory closure when storms with lightning are detected within a certain distance of the business? Allowing patrons to hit into a storm is just asking for a lawsuit.

Many of stories released about this incident are quick to note that the ball was traveling at 88 mph.  Yes, I know Top Golf has technology in place that tracks the speed of the ball, and 88 mph is definitely a believable exit speed for a golf ball hit by an amateur.  But, as many have noted, 88 mph is tied to something else that produced an outbreak of electric sparks and fire.  Anyone recall the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future. Is that golf ball now sitting in a fairway somewhere near a Hill Valley golf course in 1955?

Finally, it's the physics of it.  A number of commenters on YouTube and social media make the point that the lightning bolt should have traveled through the ball and onto another grounded source.  I know enough about electricity to turn the breaker off when working with it...and that's about it.  So, if anyone reading this has a background in physics, and more specifically, electric conductivity, you're welcome to give your opinion.

Even with these questions, I still have to lean that this is an authentic video and occurrence.  Take a look and tell me what you think.

 

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