or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Courses and Architecture › Why aren't there more lighted, par-3 golf courses?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why aren't there more lighted, par-3 golf courses?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and when I picked up the game in 1982 I didn't realize how spoiled I was, but now I do.

 

We had three decent muni courses and a few semi-private ones you could play, and then we had Oscar Blom, a public, lighted 9-hole, par-3 course (last tee time was around 10pm).

 

I loved getting in 9 holes of REAL short-game practice in a little over an hour on a summer evening without having to deal with slow play on the "big course" or the heat and humidity of July and August in the Ozarks.  Fees were cheap ($10 I think?), tee boxes and greens were well-maintained (by the same guys that take care of what's now Bill & Payne Stewart GC next door) and they were always well-lit.  Holes are mostly in the 150 range, but there are a few short ones and one long one near 200 yds.

 

So now I'm in Phoenix.  Actually I've been here for 15 years.  I've looked for and asked around about lighted courses here and I often get a "what's that again?".  Most people think I'm talking about a practice facility.  Well, I'm at least lucky enough to have a multi-level, automated practice facility 5 minutes away (Valley Golf) but still haven't found anything like Oscar Blom out here.

 

If golf has indeed grown in popularity, particularly since 1982 when I started, why hasn't anyone built a lighted par-3 course out here in the Valley of the Sun (especially since many people AVOID the sun this time of year)?

 

Do you guys have them in your areas?  Is there a secret fraternity I have to join to find out where the night course is here, or do they just not have one in this golf mecca of 1000 courses?  Judging from the constant night-time traffic at Valley Golf, I have trouble believing that there isn't enough interest to support a little par-3 course.

post #2 of 15

I know of a handful in Southern California.  There is at least one down in San Diego  (somewhere near the Mission Beach area, but I forget exactly), there is one in Long Beach (or was), there's one in Anaheim, one in Newport, and one right by my house in Lake Forest.  My local one is a 9 hole, par 29 course with lights on until (I think) 10 pm.

 

I've only played at night once and I didn't care for it that much.  Heck, I don't even like going to the range at night because it's hard to see well.  My guess as to why there aren't more is that it's probably just not worth the cost of the lighting and employees.  But that is just a guess, I really don't know.

post #3 of 15

Yorktown Golf Course, an 18-hole par 3 course in our area which is lit, was an early design of Pete Dye. But, its lights are an exception.

 

Since most par 3 courses in this area are budget operations, I suspect adding the lights would be considered tooe "high end." Also, Yorktown is down in a lower area of the neighborhood, and shielded by trees in open fields on three sides. Thus, the 10 PM lights wouldn't bother too many people. But, if you have housing on four sides, you might get complaints from the neighbors over extended light.

 

Ruth Park GC, a 3000-yd. nine-hole muni layout across the river in St. Louis, had this problem when it proposed lighting its driving range. Neighbors got testy, and environmentalists filed "quality of life" lawsuits to block it. The lights finally went up, but lots of neighbors were angry over floodlights until 10 PM.

post #4 of 15
Simple answer: because it is not economical.
post #5 of 15

I can't find my golf balls in daylight, how am I supposed to find them at night under lights?  a1_smile.gif

 

I agree with iacas, it can't be cheap to light up a 9 hole course.  Mini golf courses in tourist areas do pretty well at night because everyone can play mini golf.  A par 3 course still requires real golf clubs and some golf skills.  Given the demographics I'm not sure how many golfers want to play golf at night under the lights more than a few times a year. 

 

Most of the league bowlers I knew hated bowling on Saturday nights when the local bowling alleys turned out lights and the pins glowed in the dark. 

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post

I can't find my golf balls in daylight, how am I supposed to find them at night under lights?  a1_smile.gif

 

I agree with iacas, it can't be cheap to light up a 9 hole course.  Mini golf courses in tourist areas do pretty well at night because everyone can play mini golf.  A par 3 course still requires real golf clubs and some golf skills.  Given the demographics I'm not sure how many golfers want to play golf at night under the lights more than a few times a year. 

 

Most of the league bowlers I knew hated bowling on Saturday nights when the local bowling alleys turned out lights and the pins glowed in the dark. 

 

I hear ya.  Coming from someone who hits a lot of shots right and left, I can say I actually saw the ball better under artificial lights than I do in daylight.  Well...I USED to be able to, at least.  Haven't tried it in a long time and my 46-year-old eyes are a lot different than my 20-year-old eyes were.

 

The bowling thing I KIND OF get, too.  But the reason I hated moonlight bowling is you can't see the boards/marks when they turn out the lights, and most bowlers are aiming for a specific board, not just generically at the pins like recreational bowlers.  Golfing at night didn't require me to change my game one iota.

post #7 of 15
Way to expensive, the course I go to plays a once a year night/glow in the dark tournament on their par 31 track once a year. Needless to say, it's not worth the fees.
post #8 of 15

When I lived in Wisconsin, I used to play night golf at Vitense in Madison.  It was a blast.  IMO, the reason why you dont see more lighted par 3 courses is because most people dont want to play a par 3 course (most people I know hate par 3 courses, actually) and because the lighting costs are so high that its difficult to make a profit on them.

In the case of Vitense, its almost more of a general family fun center; with tennis courts, batting cages, 2 outdoor mini golf courses, 1 indoor mini golf course, a driving range, a food court and an arcade in addition to the par 3 course.

post #9 of 15

Honestly, I agree with Dave. The game is 50 times more popular than it was in the 80s and 90s and I'm not sure why we don't have more lighted golf courses. Now, that being said, I do work part time at one right now so if we were to install lights and I ended up staying there until 11, I wouldn't be to happy. As for the previous comment, I enjoy par threes, a lot. It not only gives you good practice with your irons, but also with your short game, which is the most important aspect of the game.

post #10 of 15

I'm not sure about the US but in the UK it would be difficult for a course to defend having several hundred kilowatts of lighting burning away night after night when the rest of the country is trying to conserve energy, not to mention the light polution aspects.

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vector Zero View Post

I'm not sure about the US but in the UK it would be difficult for a course to defend having several hundred kilowatts of lighting burning away night after night when the rest of the country is trying to conserve energy, not to mention the light polution aspects.

 

Good point. If Arizona is like a lot of other parts of the country, electricity is right up there with water in the "Precious Summer Commodities" category.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Simple answer: because it is not economical.

 

As is often the case, the simple answer is the correct one.

 

If people could make them profitable, they'd be on every street corner. 

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

 

As is often the case, the simple answer is the correct one.

 

If people could make them profitable, they'd be on every street corner. 

Occam's razor in action.

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer View Post

When I lived in Wisconsin, I used to play night golf at Vitense in Madison.  It was a blast.  IMO, the reason why you dont see more lighted par 3 courses is because most people dont want to play a par 3 course (most people I know hate par 3 courses, actually) and because the lighting costs are so high that its difficult to make a profit on them.
In the case of Vitense, its almost more of a general family fun center; with tennis courts, batting cages, 2 outdoor mini golf courses, 1 indoor mini golf course, a driving range, a food court and an arcade in addition to the par 3 course.

I've only seen two of them, and both were like this. Batting cages, mini golf, food.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

 

As is often the case, the simple answer is the correct one.

 

If people could make them profitable, they'd be on every street corner. 

 

The only one close to me has a night driving range, paid short game area, bar and restaurant, and a pro shop (closes early though). If you have a stand-alone night par 3 course, then it's probably not economical, but if you have more amenities to cover the nightly costs, you'll can survive. Plus, in areas with daylight savings, you have daylight until about 9:00 pm so you're really not sacrificing a lot on electricity. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Golf Courses and Architecture
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Golf Courses and Architecture › Why aren't there more lighted, par-3 golf courses?