Yes, you read that right, golf at night is a thing and it’s getting very popular. If you’ve never heard of night golf before then this article will be full of earth-shattering information for you.
No longer confined to daylight hours, golf courses have discovered two ways to extend your playing time.
If you’ve played night golf before, you’ll find some bonus tips here to help you enjoy your next night round even more. We’ve also included information on where to play and how to lower your scores while you’re out playing in the moonlight.
What Is Night Golf?
Night golf is a great way to enjoy your favorite game without worrying about having to finish before the sun goes down. In fact, it’s the exact opposite; you MUST wait for the sun to go down before teeing off.
There are two types of night golf;
Glow In The Dark
On this style of night golf course, certain changes are made to illuminate the crucial aspects. LED lighting is used to outline the greens, tee boxes, flagsticks, and hazards.
You will use a glow-in-the-dark ball, and in some cases, the hole is cut larger than regulation. I’ve seen some as large as a basketball hoop.
This style of night golf course has large posts with lights affixed to the top, similar to a baseball or football field. The lights are spread out across the course to illuminate the entire property.
You can use your own balls, and this version offers much better vision from tee to green.
Just Your Average Golf Course
No matter which style of night golf you play, these courses are available during the day. Not all regions are blessed with both options, so you may be forced to play one or the other.
Northern regions tend to favor the glow-in-the-dark format because lighting is too costly when you can only use it for 6-8 months of the year.
GITD (Golf-in-the-dark) is usually offered as an event as well to ensure that the course gets the most play while it’s in this state. GITD is not a permanent solution.
Stadium lights are very permanent, and if you’re lucky enough to have one near you, then you can enjoy this seven nights a week in most cases.
Who Plays Night Golf?
Night golf is gaining popularity because of its accessibility. You no longer have to take time off work or give up a precious Saturday to enjoy a round of golf. You can work, go home, have dinner, throw on your golf clothes, and head to the course for 8 pm.
This advantage has opened the door to a whole new type of golfer, one that doesn’t want to bask in the sun for 5.5 hours on a hot day.
It’s also a much more relaxed atmosphere than day golf. This makes it a perfect way to introduce beginners to the game. Without snooty members or cranky marshals around, rookies can relax and have fun while they learn the many intricacies of this fantastic game.
Best Places To Play Night Golf
Night golf is gaining popularity and starting to pop up all over the world. Here are the courses that are shining the brightest so far.
USA – Angel Park Golf Club, Cloud 9 Course, Las Vegas, NV
As one of the first built, it’s no surprise that Las Vegas has night golf. This 12-hole golf course features all par 3s that are inspired by some of the most famous golf holes around the world.
While not exact replicas, this course features recognizable holes such as the 17th at Sawgrass and the postage stamp at Troon North.
Mexico – The Lakes Course at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, Puerta Vallarta, Jalisco
This course may be small, but it’s also mighty. Most golfers find out the hard way why it’s called the ‘Lakes’ course and usually go home with a much lighter golf bag.
Short holes are made that much more demanding when surrounded by water and bunkers. The perfect climate of Puerto Vallarta ensures that the course is always in immaculate shape.
This is the best way to enjoy it without the scorching Mexican sun beating down on you.
UAE – Emirates Golf Club, Faldo Course, Dubai
Leave it to Dubai to build a full 18-hole championship golf course under the lights.
This 7052-yard course was re-designed by Nick Faldo in 2006 with the addition of stadium flood lights throughout the entire property.
While this may cost you a pretty penny to play, there’s literally nowhere else in the world you can play a full 18 holes in the moonlight.
Various Locations – Top Golf
With locations all over the world now, Top Golf is a great place to practice your game when you don’t have time during daylight hours.
It’s outfitted with all kinds of bright lights to allow you to see your ball. It also includes some fun games to keep your practice sessions lively and engaging.
While these are only driving ranges, they have full-serve bars and restaurants and plan events periodically, so there’s plenty of chance to meet other night golfers just like you.
Anywhere – Glow In The Dark
Finding a glow-in-the-dark golf course is much easier to do. There are companies that will come to your home course and transform it for one night so you and your fellow club members can enjoy a cool night of golf.
Check with your club pro to arrange one of these nights as they are so much fun you may start a new tradition at your course.
7 Tips To Make Your Glow In The Dark Night Golf Round More Enjoyable
Glow in the dark is very different than playing under the lights. It’s more like camping as you will find yourself in some pretty dark corners of the golf course that will have you wishing for a few rays of sunshine.
To help you navigate a glow-in-the-dark course better, check out these tips before you tee off.
- Bring extra glow sticks or a flashlight. This will help you find any errant tee shots you or your playing partners may hit.
- Familiarize yourself with the course layout beforehand. You don’t want to take a wrong step and end up in the pond next to the 8th green!
- Adjust your yardages. Glow-in-the-dark balls do not travel as far as your Titlist ProV1x. Allow for some rollout as well; it will be tougher to hold greens with the firm cover on a glow-in-the-dark golf ball.
- Before you start packing your trusty rangefinder, it’s worth noting that it won’t work as well in the dark. It will have difficulty locking on targets, and you may or may not get the pin every time. Use GPS if that’s an option, as the darkness will not affect it.
- Always walk if you can. If your health permits, avoid the power cart since they do not have headlights. This makes it very dangerous to operate at night, and you still want to avoid that pond on the 8th.
- Focus on your putting. This will be more challenging than you think, even though the green will be the lit part. The shadows make it very difficult to get a good read, so be sure the look at your putts from all angles.
- Carry a lighter bag by leaving the sunscreen at home—no need for the SPF 50 during this round.
Are Night Golf Courses All Short Yardages?
No, not all night golf courses are short, but most are. The only night golf course that is full-length is in Dubai and is quite expensive to play. It was re-designed by Nick Faldo in 2006 and includes large flood lights spread out across the property.
Are Night Golf Courses Made With Real Grass?
Yes, night golf courses are made with real grass. They operate as a normal golf course during the day, so their grass is well-taken care of.
Whether you play under the lights or via a glow-in-the-dark method, you get to enjoy the feel of real grass on all your shots, including the greens.
What Do You Need To Play Night Golf?
To play night golf under lights, you only need your clubs and anything else you would typically bring golfing.
If you’re playing glow-in-the-dark style, you will need a few extra things. Ensure you have a flashlight or a few extra glowsticks to light your path, and also bring glow-in-the-dark golf balls.
Night golf is yet another way that golf is inviting new people to the game. Without the pressures of a packed daytime course, new golfers can relax and learn the game with a completely new perspective.
Enjoy both avenues of night golf but just be sure not to miss your morning tee time the next day either.