OLD SCHOOL vs. NEW SCHOOL…sort of?
In our quest to make the Night Golf National Championships legit, we need to begin talking about the rules and start getting specific about what is cool and what is not when you are playing golf at night competitively.
We’d like to position this question as an old vs. new, but that really doesn’t apply because everything about Night golf, outside of glow sticks and crappy LED balls, is cutting edge and new. In the past players brailed around the golf course during night golf and the only bit of light was the lucky headlamp here and there. But what about artificial light in general. What should be the ruling for use of artificial light while playing. Is it like using non USGA balls or no conforming drivers? That is a very good question we should grapple with.
There are several kinds of artificial light starting with green lights at the tee box and on the green and maybe a few blasters in the surrounding bunkers. This, to me, is a bare minimum and should be a no brainer to allow. It’s what makes modern night golf enjoyable.
The real issue is headlamps and cart lamps. We’ve done a mountain of night golf events and see everything from mega headlamps that bath the player in a pool of light to players jacking their carts with a clip on headlamp and then parking it behind the shot. Hmmmmm. Really? Where does the purity of the game get compromised. Since night golf is so beyond traditional purity, my vote would stop at either the headlamp and definitely the cart behind the player. Here’s my case. You don’t need to decide… but we’d love your opinion.
IF THE RULE IS NO HEADLAMPS WHILE HITTING:
Players would have to either rely on their golf cart to help them around the course, or take off their headlamp when hitting. This will definitely mess with their rods and cones and most likely mess up their play quite substantially. So headlamps may be something that is optional and possibly of no advantage. If you want to mess up your night vision with a headlamp, ok….go for it…for now. Of course it brings up the purist argument that everyone should brail around the course equally and so no one should be allowed to artificially light their ball hitting experience with light that has not been provided by the venue itself. Wow, that’s limiting technological innovation and we know that ain’t gonna ‘grow the game’. In this light, yes, headlamps should be allows.
WHAT ABOUT CARTS WITH LIGHTS BEHIND THE PLAYER:
Ok, this is a whole other thing! If a club opts for golf carts, front lights are always a good idea for safety of the team playing and those playing behind and who may not see the other players and hit into them. So a cart light is highly advisable for night golf play. But it NGN tournament qualifying and finals, the golf cart cannot be placed directly behind the player so they are now in the Astrodome of artificial light. That’s kind of an unfair advantage. You’d need to make cart lights standard and ^#%$^#$% where is that going to go.
Basically, with green lights on the tee box, bunkers and greens creates a level playing field. But back lighting a player with a cart is crossing line and breaching the hallowed traditions of night golf in my book.
We haven’t really formulated the official night golf rules, so what is your opinion? Where do we draw the line. We would love to hear what you think.