As an outdoor sport, golf is mostly played during the day.
It makes sense as you need to be able to clearly see the ball, fairways, and greens to be successful.
Also, from a safety standpoint, poor visibility can bring a serious risk of getting hit by a ball and severely injured.
This is why most golf courses close their gates once the night falls.
Still, as golf courses commonly feature beautiful natural scenery, a lot of people find the idea of going there during the night as appealing as spending time on the course during the day.
And, strolling, running, or walking your dog through the golf course after hours does seem like a great way to relax and get a breath of fresh air.
However, golf courses have their rulebooks and they often include regulations on night walking.
So, can you walk on a golf course at night?
Can You Walk on a Golf Course at Night?
Walking on a golf course at night can be legal or illegal, depending on the particular course you have chosen for your night stroll.
There are no state or federal laws governing this (or anything else golf-related), so it’s up to golf courses themselves and their ownership and management to decide whether walking there at night is allowed.
In general, privately-owned golf courses keep their doors closed during the night, and going there after hours will likely be considered trespassing, or even breaking and entering.
These courses commonly have security guards or similar staff guarding the property and usually also have a system of surveillance cameras set up.
If you get caught walking there at night you may be facing fines or, in some cases, criminal charges.
The exception to the rule are the night golf sessions that some clubs organize, but more on that later.
The situation is different on public golf courses. They’re publicly owned and governed in a similar way as public parks or beaches.
In most cases, you will be allowed to walk there after the sun sets and enjoy the peaceful environment at nighttime.
Of course, you still have to be mindful of your surroundings and be careful not to damage the course or leave any litter behind you.
Also, be aware that even publicly owned facilities often have rules on when they open to the public and when they close, or the exact time of night when they allow access.
So, it’s always a good idea to ask around and get precise information on the rules for a particular public golf course.
Still, most public courses are willing to look the other way if you don’t cause any problems.
Can You Play Golf at Night?
Even though it’s not common, playing golf at night can be a lot of fun.
At most courses, night golfing is not available, but courses that do organize these sessions take a whole new look during the night.
If you have one of these courses nearby, you should definitely try it, as night golf is pretty much a completely different experience than playing during broad daylight.
Night golf is also very accessible which is why it’s been gaining a lot of popularity lately.
You don’t have to worry about taking time from work or trying to fit a game into your busy daily schedule.
The night version of golf is usually more fun and relaxed than day games. People rarely take night golfing too seriously and often don’t even keep score.
It’s more about spending time with your friend and enjoying the game you love in a new and unusual environment.
What Do Night Golf Courses Look Like?
You are likely to be very surprised when you go to play night golf for the first time. In most cases, night golf is played on smaller courses, usually par 3 with 9 holes.
The whole surrounding is more similar to a nightclub than a regular golf course.
Due to the reduced visibility during night hours, golf courses use various lighting equipment to make the game even possible.
This adds a unique atmosphere to the whole game but is also necessary for safety reasons.
Below are some of the main pieces of equipment golf courses use to make playing at night viable.
Playing golf at night wouldn’t be possible without floodlights.
They serve to illuminate large areas of the course and make it possible to visually track the ball as it flies through the air.
The particularly intensive floodlights are set up around the greens.
However, these floodlights are usually very expensive not only to install but also to run and maintain.
This is why most golf courses organize night golf sessions only once or twice a week.
Fluorescent Tees and Markers
Fluorescent or neon tees and markers are also a necessity if you want the game to go smoothly.
They help you see the ball on the tee and avoid digging up the turf as you try to hit it.
So, they’re also useful as they help keep tee boxes in good condition.
Fluorescent markers also add to visibility and clear any confusion as to where your ball was on the green.
Some courses will provide you with these tees and markers, while, at others, you’re expected to bring your own.
Fluorescent Flags or Lights
As the traditional flagstick is likely to be invisible during the night, most golf courses use fluorescent flags instead for night golfing sessions.
Some courses will simply use neon light to mark the position of a hole.
Either way, they’re very helpful and allow you to see where the hole is from the tee and plan your shots accordingly.
Walking on the golf course at night can be very enjoyable and relaxing.
It allows you to enjoy the fresh air and the scenery of the course, without many people around and without the risk of getting hit by a ball.
However, you should be aware that night strolls across the golf course are not always allowed.
If the course is private, it’s very likely that night walks are prohibited.
You may have more luck with a public course, but still, make sure to check if it has a set closing time.
If you don’t want just to walk, but also play some rounds after the sun goes down, you should certainly try night golf.
Not all golf courses have this option, but those that do usually provide a unique and fun experience.