This article first appeared in the January 2019 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.
The setting sun usually signifies the end of the golfing day. But some clubs are offering night-time experiences that allow members and guests to extend play, without requiring an entire course to be floodlit.
Westfield Country Club in Ohio introduced a new Himalayas-style putting green designed by Dr Michael Hurdzan, to provide entertainment for golfers and non-golfers alike.
Hurdzan recommended using perimeter and hole cup lighting from Toro to illuminate the green at night.
This increases the useable hours of the new green without creating objectionable light pollution for neighbours. The result is a unique entertainment experience for evenings at the club, both for golfers and spectators who prefer to watch the fun.
Indian Wells Golf Resort in California, USA, has gone a step further, and introduced ‘Shots in the Night’.
Over a five-year span, the resort had seen the number of rounds played at its facility decrease from 80,000 to 75,000 per year.
“Whatever concept we decided to adopt needed to accomplish two primary objectives,” said Rosen. “One, it had to provide a new and different source of revenue that would leverage the golf course assets when they were traditionally not being utilised – after our golfers leave for the day. Two, we wanted the new revenue centre to be one that facilitates the growth of golf by providing a non-threatening introduction to the game.”
‘Glow Golf on the Range’ sees golfers play from one of twelve tee stations with glow-in-the-dark balls. Participants can attempt to hit large inflatable lit-up bowling pins and beach balls, or play games like closest to the pin.
Indian Wells also adapted its nine-hole putting course for night-time games, including golf variants of darts and shuffleboard. The club has used technology from California-based NextLinks to project game boards down to greens illuminated with overhead coloured lasers. Scoring is tracked on a computer screen at each green.
“It’s cosmic bowling, combined with the playability of mini-golf, mixed with an outdoor night club atmosphere,” said Steve Rosen, general manager at the resort. “Shots in the Night is a terrific evening entertainment option for Coachella Valley residents and guests staying at nearby resorts.”
Read more on the Westfield project in the February 2018 special edition of By Design magazine, available via www.asgca.org