Four golfers struck by lightning while teeing off at Hayward golf course

Local News

HAYWARD, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Following a week of severe weather across the state, four golfers from Janesville experienced one of mother nature’s rarest occurrences.

Gretchen Gerlach caught up with one of them Monday who says they had no idea a tee time would turn dangerous – in a flash.

Tim Hantke likes to stay busy.

When he’s not tending to his hobby farm, he’s driving semi-trucks around the Midwest. But a once in a lifetime accident has recently slowed him down.

Tim Hantke said, “First four holes went well, we got to the 5th, it started misting a little bit and then I heard one crack and then I woke up face down

Tim, his son Jackson, his uncle, and cousin, were the ones in that one in 500 thousand chance.

Hantke said, “The craziest thing in my lifetime and I’m 38.”

Struck by lightning while teeing off at Big Fish Golf Course in Hayward last week.

“I was in pain obviously, couldn’t breathe and it was the worst feeling I ever had,” said Hantke.

The group was tracking a storm an hour away but besides overcast weather, they had little indication lightning would strike.

“It was just one blimp and it was gone. And then it rained for about five minutes afterward when we were laying on the ground,” said Hantke.

All 4 were rushed to a local hospital with leg pain, trouble breathing, and vision issues.

Tim and his cousin later transferred to a hospital in Minnesota for specialized care.

Hantke said, “It just doesn’t happen. Both hospitals I went to said we’ve never treated a lightning strike patient; It literally looked like a purple marker was drawing my veins. It was scary. I’m still waiting for my Thor ability.”

Spirits high, all things considered, he’s hoping to receive a positive prognosis at the end of the week and return to the road by the weekend.

He’s not rushing a return to the golf course, however. Now taking it easy at home, it’s Tim’s heart that doctors are monitoring.

“If it’s cloudy out, I am not doing nothing outside,” said Hantke.

Tim and his son Jackson joke that they’re considering naming two new cows on their hobby farm “lightning” and “bolt”.

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