Ever play golf in the dark? With over 700 LEDs spread across nine holes of a golf course, Lunar Golf has made that possible.
On Thursday the Lunar Golf Experience will illuminate the night’s sky at Leopardstown Golf Centre when Lunar Golf Events takes on Chip & Chat.
Golf Ireland’s Women’s Social Golf Community will have its third instalment with the unique three-foot-high LED rods lining the fairways, bunkers, and greens.
“The ball is brilliant, it’s probably the best part,” said Doyle.
“Some people call them glow balls but they’re not florescent, there’s actually an LED at the centre. Obviously when you put an LED chip at the centre of a golf ball it’s not going to perform the same way as a normal golf ball would but they still play very similarly.”
As part of the European Tour’s Irish Challenge event in Mount Wolseley in 2018, Lunar Golf shot a promotional video for the event with Sky Sports, where four Challenge Tour professionals hit balls for a couple of hours and the professionals were surprised the ball could still reach up to 80 percent distance.
And with light fading as the winter nights move in, Lunar Golf has become an ideal social outlet when golf courses would usually be closed for the evening.
“People just want a good different social activity to do for their club that doesn’t come with any cost to the club,” said Doyle.
“It is a big advantage to the hospitality element for the clubs too. For traditional club events you would have firstly no cost to the club, so players just pay through the BRS competition to take the hassle out of organising for Clubs.
“There’s no overhead to the club and then typically what a club will do is incorporate some sort of meal, €15 a meal and drink, included in the price to create an overall package.
“People are having a nice event in the night but from the club’s perspective they’re getting people into their bar and restaurant, adding value to their membership with a social event for members and guests, and they’re doing it at a time when the course would otherwise be closed.
“It’s not costing them anything for that privilege, so everyone wins.”
Doyle is from Ashford just outside Wicklow town and he plays his golf in the nearby Blainroe Golf Club, although work and life began to get in the way since 2017.
He set up Lunar Golf that year and after some turbulent Covid-19 times it returned, with growing demand now especially around the Leinster region.
“We will put music on the golf course as well, from our music gazebo, and blast some nice 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s music out over two or three hours,” said Doyle.
“It’s just to try and create good vibes, nothing is too serious, everyone has a bit of craic instead of sitting at home on a Friday night.”
And Doyle believes that removing the competitive element is a crucial part in making the evenings all the more enjoyable.
While, remarkably, he has noticed that playing golf in the dark seems to help the players play better and even avoid any hazards on the golf course.
“People sometimes come in and say they play better at nighttime than they do in the day, probably because they don’t actually see the danger on the golf course to be honest,” said Doyle.
“I remember the first event we did was in Courtown Golf Club and the 18th down there is a Par 3 over water. I remember being worried that these expensive golf balls are going to go into the water very quick but because people didn’t see the water, aside from our hazard lighting but typically they don’t actually hit it into it.
“So a lot of people play better at nighttime.”
Their busiest months are generally throughout Spring and Autumn when the nights are dark enough but the weather tends to hold up better.
However, Lunar Golf did a Christmas event at Woodenbridge Golf Club where mulled wine and mince pies were served on course.
There may not be the same festive atmosphere on the course in Leopardstown this week but the women in attendance can expect all of the fun that comes with playing golf in the dark. And after two sold-out Chip & Chat events earlier this summer, this promises to be another outstanding opportunity to join the fast-growing women’s social golf community in Ireland.
“It’s going to be great actually,” said Doyle. “I’m not a big social media person but I do follow Golf Ireland and I actually think it’s great the extra push that’s going into it.
“It’s nice to be a part of that as well. It’s something different, one of the reasons we started Lunar was to try and get a bit more fun into the game and get more people into the game, while benefitting clubs. We just enjoy doing it we have good fun running them as well and we enjoy working with the clubs and companies that we do it with on an annual basis all over the country.
“Having people that are brand new to the game playing at an event like this for the first time I think it will be really good for them.”