How to make golf even more difficult

Saturday , July 19, 2014 - 2:25 PM

Quick! Name the second-most difficult sport ever invented.

If you said “golf,” you’re a heck of a lot smarter than you look. Taking a Midwestern-hail-sized ball and hitting it with a club that features the surface area of your average tongue depressor — and then attempting to put that ball in the equivalent of a small rodent’s hole nearly four football fields away — is nothing short of an exercise in futility.

So then, if golf is the second-hardest sport on the planet, what’s the hardest?

Night golf. That’s right. Golf in the dark.

Some of you didn’t even know that was a thing, did you? But it is, and coming up on July 31 — as part of the annual Roy Days celebration — Eagle Lake Golf Course is hosting a “Night Golf Tournament.”

I spoke with Eric Bumstead, the golf pro at Eagle Lake, and he explained that night golf is actually pretty popular.

“Night golf has been going on for years and years,” he said.

It’s been a thing at Eagle Lake for at least five years, according to Bumstead, and the course hosts four or five night golf tournaments each summer. They’re usually held on a Saturday night, although the Roy Days event will be on a Thursday.

“People who haven’t experienced it should try it. It’s a lot of fun,” Bumstead said. “It’s a little weird at first, because there’s a depth perception problem. But after awhile you get used to that.”

But Eagle Lake isn’t the only golf course named after a bird and a body of water that offers golfing in the dark. You can also try it at Swan Lakes Golf Course in Layton, where they host a Glow Ball Tournament.

They’ve been offering night golf at Swan Lakes for the last two or three years, according to golf pro Chad Romney.

“We do it about every other Friday throughout the summer,” Romney said. “They’re a riot. Honestly, they’re really, really fun.”

Night golf uses a golf ball with an LED light in it.

“It glows very bright,” Bumstead said. “You can see people teeing off two holes away.”

At Eagle Lake, they place glow sticks on the tee box, glow sticks on the flag, and glow sticks in the cup. Other than that, it’s pretty darned dark out there on the course.

“I tell people, ‘You don’t have to be nervous, because nobody can tell who’s hitting the ball,’ ” Bumstead said.

At Swan Lakes, they use LED lights to mark the tee, flag and cup. They also put LED lights around ponds and greens.

“We light up a whole bunch of stuff,” Romney said. “But the tricky part with glow ball is that less light is better.”

Both pros say it’s hard to lose your ball in night golf.

“In day golf, you hit your ball and say, ‘I know I hit it up here somewhere,’ ” Romney said. “In night golf, you hit it, and you know exactly where your ball is. I’ve yet to hear about somebody losing a ball.”

Both courses offer four-person scrambles, so you’ll want to bring three friends along. And both award prizes for low scores.

“You might get lucky and win something,” Bumstead said. “But even if you don’t, you’ll always have fun.”

The next Night Golf Tournament at Eagle Lake Golf Course begins at 10 p.m. July 31, as part of Roy Days. The next Glow Ball Tournament at Swan Lakes Golf Course is at 9 p.m. July 25. Both courses charge $30 per person for nine holes, and advance registration is highly advised. Intrigued? Call Eagle Lake at 801-825-3467, or Swan Lakes at 801-546-1045.

You should know the one thing they don’t allow at night golf — motorized carts.

“That would be dangerous,” Romney points out.

Really? More dangerous than walking around a darkened course with lighted golf balls flying all around?

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.

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