Is night golf fun?

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 15, 2024 14:32

More clubs are offering night golf, featuring LED equipment and special balls, as a fun nighttime offering that includes music and a meal. Daragh Small reports.

With demand for tee times still so strong, perhaps golf in the dark might be a way to alleviate the burden, and bring a new type of golfer to the club.

Last autumn, Leopardstown Golf Centre in Ireland was the host of Golf Ireland’s Women’s Social Golf Community third instalment of night golf, which featured three-foot-high LED rods lining the fairways, bunkers and greens.

In fact over 700 LEDs were spread across nine holes, thanks to Lunar Golf.

“The ball is probably the best part,” said Damian Doyle, Lunar Golf owner. “Some people call them glow balls but they’re not fluorescent, there’s actually an LED at the centre. Obviously when you put an LED chip at the centre of a golf ball it’s not going to perform the same way as a normal golf ball would but they still play very similarly.”

As part of the European Tour’s Irish Challenge event in Mount Wolseley in 2018, Lunar Golf shot a promotional video for the event with Sky Sports, where four Challenge Tour professionals hit balls for a couple of hours and the professionals were surprised the ball could still reach up to 80 percent distance.

“People just want a good, different social activity to do for their club,” said Doyle. “It is a big advantage to the hospitality element for the clubs too. There’s no overhead to the club and then typically what a club will do is incorporate some sort of meal, €15 a meal and drink, included in the price to create an overall package.

“People are having a nice event in the night but from the club’s perspective they’re getting people into their bar and restaurant, adding value to their membership with a social event for members and guests, and they’re doing it at a time when the course would otherwise be closed.

“It’s not costing them anything for that privilege, so everyone wins.

“We put music on the golf course as well, from our music gazebo, and blast some nice 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s music out over two or three hours.

“It’s just to try and create good vibes, nothing is too serious, everyone has a bit of craic instead of sitting at home on a Friday night.”

And Doyle believes that removing the competitive element is a crucial part in making the evenings all the more enjoyable, and some golfers actually play better in the dark.

“People sometimes come in and say they play better at nighttime than they do in the day, probably because they don’t actually see the danger on the golf course,” said Doyle.

“I remember the first event we did at Courtown Golf Club where there is a par three over water. I remember being worried that these expensive golf balls were going to go into the water very quickly but because people didn’t see the water, aside from our hazard lighting, they didn’t actually hit into it.

“So a lot of people play better at nighttime.”

Damian Doyle

He said the busiest months are generally throughout spring and autumn when the nights are dark enough but the weather tends to hold up better.

However, he also ran a Christmas event at Woodenbridge Golf Club, where mulled wine and mince pies were served on the course.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 15, 2024 14:32
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1 Comment

  1. J February 23, 19:46

    I have to say that we played night holf at the Warren golf club in Dawlish and it was the best fun that I have had on the golf course. We play a selection of 9 holes short par 3s and the shortened par 4s with food and prizes at the end. You could hear the players enjoying the format, with laughter echoing around the course.

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