Summer Nights: Golfing In The Dark
Our "Summer Nights" series continues on a golf course. Most golfers get up early this time of year to get a head start on the summer heat, but for some, golfing is most fun at night.
A group of friends have made twilight golfing a yearly tradition. It is after 8 p.m. and windy as 60 golfers at the Continental Golf course anxiously await their tee times. Curtis Van Slyke and his buddies are among them.
“If you want to get out there on Sunday with Tiger on national television TV, this is how you get your start. Like any great profession you gotta start at night,” Van Skyke said.
It is pitch black, but Van Slyke said that is what makes it fun. For the last four years, these dedicated 30ish golfers have been playing night golf. At a tee-box, Van Slyke and the group line up next to each other and start the game with a tradition they call a five gun salute.
“You usually go like one after the other, but we actually just go all at once,” the team explained.
It is kind of hard to see where you are supposed to hit the ball, but the course is lit just enough to help guide golfers. Light sabers like a "Star Wars" toy are strapped to the pins at every green.
Glow-in-the-dark necklaces are inside the holes. Those necklaces also dangle from the golf carts.
It helps! Neon circles float around the course, and everyone knows someone is in a cart, and the golf balls glow! They are LED equipped and stay on for about 10 minutes, after they are hit, and they are in different colors -- blue, green, red and white.
All over this course brightly colored balls zoom through the darkness, like a miniature meteor shower, and yes it does seem a little dangerous.
One of the group yells out, "Fore!"
Some golf courses around the Valley offer night games as a casual pastime, but this course is more competitive. It gives out prizes for the best teams.
For Van Slyke and his friends, the game is about having fun and relaxing. Halfway through the course somewhere in the fourth hole, Ronny Miller makes things more interesting.
“He’s barefoot, and he’s in the hole,” one of the group members yells out. “He’s gonna get the hole."
The hole and barefoot works. Anything goes in night golfing? He knows how to hit balls in the dark.
The group does get better by the end of the night, and it probably has nothing to do with skills. No, they did not win the grand prize, but then again they did not come here to keep score.