Playing Golf In the Dark

To play as much golf as I wanted over the years, I sometimes had to fight darkness to either start or finish a round. It is something that none avid golfers shook their heads at, but when you have a passion for something it is easy to play in challenging conditions. And playing in the dark was definitely one of them.

The interesting thing about playing golf in the dark is that I am not the only one. Actually, an overwhelming number of golfers 99% have ventured into darkness to play:

In my case, the most golf I have ever played in the dark was 1.5 holes. I remember this one round at Hylands Golf Club in Ottawa where I was playing after work in the fall. As you can imagine, it starts to get dark around 8 pm and started at 5 pm. So I was pressed for time and I hoped that I would not be held up anywhere or their was no chance of getting the round in.

I remember scooting around the course until the 15th hole where I met a twosome who were following a foursome. There was no chance of getting through so they asked me to join up. I figured I might as well since I was not going anywhere anyway. As it turned out, it was the wrong choice because we lost sight of the foursome on the next hole. Time seemed to stand still.

On the 17th tee, it was quite dark. I could see my ball leave the tee, but not where it landed. The other two players packed it in, so I set off by myself with no spotters. Fortunately, I knew the course very well and could tell from my ball flight where my ball would finish up and how far. As I trekked down the fairway, I wondered if there would be enough light to play the 18th hole.

After putting out, I raced over to the 18th tee and decided to play regardless of the light situation. My drive was okay and it finished on the right side of the fairway about 150 yards from the green. I hit my 7 iron at the green, but had no clue where it would end up. As I stood beside the green I notice my ball was no where to be found. The first thing I did was look in the cup and alas, it was not there. Now the search was on.

I found my ball long and left. I guess I hooded my approach shot a bit and now was left with a simple chip to the pin. I played a simple up and down and walked off with a par on the final hole. Walking to the parking lot, I realized mine was one of 5 cars in the parking lot. It was quite dark.

I have other adventures in the dark while playing golf. It was not usual to start early birds at Hylands with my friend Mike. We started most Saturdays and Sundays at 0530 hrs either just as the sun was rising or while it was still dark. It was the only way to get a round in without being on the course for five or six hours. It was quite an ordeal to be first in line, but that is a story for another day.

Playing golf in the dark is interesting. The most important thing about the whole ordeal is to trust your swing and hope you it the ball in play. I rarely play in the dark anymore, but it I guess I still would if I was having a great round.

Have you ever started or finished a round of golf in the dark?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “Playing Golf In the Dark

  1. Jim, the last time I played in the dark was about 10-15 years ago when a round took unexpectedly longer to play. With two holes to go it was very dark and the cool thing we noticed was on our tee shots, sparks flew from our drivers on impact. I don’t think it was the ball or the sole plate hitting the ground because it was wet out. Perhaps it was the friction contact with the tee. But it was repeatable and added some intrigue to an otherwise elongated experience.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve finished many a round in the dark. It’s my preferred time of day to play.

    I got my first round in at my new “home” course today. It’s going to make for a nice place to practice my game. It’s the shortest 18 holes I’ve ever played, but regardless, it’s here, it’s free, so I’ll get to spend a lot more time practicing and nothing provides more help than that.

    The downside is it’s going to play slow. I saw guys coming up short with their drivers on a 165 yard par 3. And their walking pace is glacial as well. So I’m going to get some practice in patience on the course too. For me, that’s probably a good thing.

    Today, I tried to pick at everything. If the hole was 240 I hit a 3 iron instead of a wood that might reach. I didn’t know the layout and hit to spots I could see instead of taking chances. That worked out really well. I messed up my score by hitting 3 or 4 into trouble I didn’t know was there and by judging speed on the greens wrong more than once. And of course, when I landed on the greens I was on the wrong side more than once since I don’t know them well yet. I ended at 9 over but knowing I’ll do better next time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      Sounds like a great adventure for the first round. Trying to use course management is never a wrong thing regardless of the result. Obviously you will get to know the course and be able to avoid those hazards or tough areas. As far as slow play and patience…..good luck. 🙂

      Cheers Jim


  3. Personally I tried it twice – and was actually a bit scared the one time it was darkest.
    I could no see the fairway from the 18 tee nor where my ball ended up. After finding it ok I then looked back towards the tee and forwards towards the flag. I could just make out the flag on the green and went for it, but the tee was gone. I could literally not make it out in the dark. While preparing for my approach and under the stroke it self I was so intensly listening for a drive off 18. I mean – I could not see them, so if there had been any – they would probably not be able to see me. But their ball could very well have hit me.
    If there were any, but it showed out the group behind me had given up due to darknes and were just walking the 18 back to the clubhouse. My anxiety during that second shot must have been what made my shot so bad: I never found the ball anywhere around the 18th green, and promised my self that would be my last golf in the darknes.
    The second time was not so late, so the entire 18 hole could be made out, but the ball was hard to follow off the drive, so that was IMO as late as it should be. If you cannot make out where you shoot the ball it is too late. That first (my only so far) drive into tital darkness still feels scary – just talking about it now so many years later.

    Liked by 1 person

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