It is a disorienting thing to try to read your putt with your feet but this is what you have to do when you are out on the course on the darkest night of the month like special forces commandos in neon bling trying to figure out the pace and turn on an uphill 20 footer for birdie.
In one of our coolest events of the year we do a couples scramble playing night golf from the forward tees with neon balls and a truck load of Oriental Trading glow sticks for demarcation of teeing grounds, cart paths, bunkers, water hazards, and the pin. Honestly the biggest challenge of the evening is not driving into a bunker or worse as you wend your way about a familiar course rendered unfamiliar by the shroud of darkness. “Oh, you meant that tree!” Screeching brakes would indicate that the responsible warning against unreasonable intake of adult beverages was not heeded by all.
With a bang of the Night Flyer on the pavement your ball elicits it’s warm and luminous glow, at least for about 10 minutes before requiring a little cart path reminder. Which leads to the uncomfortable possibility that you are standing on the 10th tee preparing for a soft fade down the left and as you draw the Rocketballz head away from the ball someone switches off it’s light. Now you are wondering, when I deliver this club back to the impact zone is there really going to be something with dimples awaiting it’s return. Often night golf takes trust…unwavering and unquestioned trust…just to get the ball into play.
Once you do get it going it is a sight to behold. Flight path is clear as the Pro Tracer from the Sunday broadcast against the night sky. The bounce out of an approach looks like a three-frame cartoon rendering and the apres visual of the putting line leaves little doubt about the influence of the slope your feet seemed to miscalculate. Needless to say there is great value in being second in the scramble putting sequence.
Distancing is a big issue as well. Even though they look and feel like the real pills these luminous puppies only fly around 80% of your expected distance. It is like playing a course measured in meters well below sea level, there is an add increment to the preshot figurin’ equivalent to a generous tip at your favorite diner. They don’t generate a whole lot of spin either so the lower trajectory bounce out and roll is often the method for getting it close.
Far and away the biggest skills challenge in this nocturnal setting is pitching and chipping. You are 60 feet from the pulsating pin but with a four-bounce runner in your mind but you have no clue as to where the fairway ends and the pretty grass begins. Trying to visualize where to land the pitch when you cannot make out the laces on your shoes is like running the hurdles with your eyes closed, you are in for bruised shins or a face plant and there is nothing you can do about it.
The peaceful tranquility of cruising about 120 mowed acres in the stillness of the night will remind you of playing Capture The Flag at summer camp. A very stealthy, almost ethereal experience with an occasional hoot and a high five thrown in. For golfing addicts this is probably the second most fun you can have in the dark and you get to keep your clothes on.