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Playing Disc Golf At Night

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If you haven’t tried playing disc golf at night, you should really give it a try. I waited too long and didn’t try it until a friend of mine begged me to go because he didn’t want to play alone in the dark. If I knew how much fun it was when he asked, I would have immediately said yes. I’ve played in the dark multiple times since that first outing and each time I always enjoy it.

Why is it so much fun?

It’s hard to point to one thing that makes playing in the dark so fun. I think part of it is, it reminds me of playing flashlight tag as a child. Another part is the darkness is a great equalizer. If you have friends that normally destroy you on the course in the day, you’ll likely end up with similar scores at night. That is if you keep track.

If you are playing in the summer months, playing at night can be a great break from the heat of the day. If you are playing in the winter months, playing at night can extend your play time by hours. Finally, playing in the dark is just an exciting situation that you don’t normally get to experience. You’ll have to be alert at all times because you never know when you disc will hit a tree and fly off into the distance.

Here are some tips to make sure playing at night is fun

Play a course you know

Being familiar with the course will come in handy when playing at night. You are going to want to know where all the trees and other obstacles are that could block your shot and avoid them. You are going to want to know where any water or tall grass is that could swallow up your disc and avoid them too. When playing at night it might make sense to skip holes that contain some of these obstacles. If you are familiar with the course you can make these judgment calls before losing a disc.

Be aware of park rules

Before you play a round at night you’ll want to check the course hours and rules before deciding to play there. In theory, it may sound fun to sneak into a course or park after hours but be aware there might be consequences for doing so. Many parks have security or police that patrol the area at night. If you do decide to break the rules make it easier on yourself and your friends and leave the alcohol at home.

Don’t blow your night vision

You may think you need a bunch of flashlights and headlamps but you’ll probably want to leave most of your lights at home. You may not be aware of this but when you are in the dark for a period of time your eyes will actually adjust and you’ll be able to see fairly well.  

After your eyes make this transition, it’s commonly referred to as night vision, you’ll want to protect it. This means not wearing a headlamp and only turning your flashlight on when you really need it. You’ll also want to make those around you aware before you decide to turn on your light. I’ve found that closing one eye before turning on a light helps.

Pay attention to your surroundings

Playing at night can come with more risks than playing during the day and that’s why you’ll always want to be more aware and paying attention to what’s going on around you. If you’re playing in a park there could be other people around so you’ll want to be cautious before throwing your disc. If you are playing in a wooded area you’ll need to be aware that there could be wildlife nearby and you’ll want to take the steps necessary to protect them and yourself. Lastly, if you are playing in a residential area you’ll want to be sure to keep the noise down and not flash your flashlight at houses.  

Play in a group

This tip plays into the last one I mentioned. Being by yourself at night in a park or in the woods opens yourself up to risky situations and you’ll want to avoid this if at all possible. Being a part of a group, especially a group of people you know well mitigates this risk. Plus playing in a group is more fun. So the next time you’re playing in your normal group during the day you’ll want to suggest playing at night. Another benefit to playing with a group means more people to search for the disc that gets lost in the dark and more people to purchase the equipment you’ll need to play in dark. More on that topic later.

Have fun

When playing a night I find that it’s a more enjoyable experience to focus less on keeping score and more on making sure I and those around me are having fun. It doesn’t really matter that you missed your line if you can’t see it that well in the first place. Making sure you are improving is important but don’t worry so much that you missed a putt or slammed your disc into a tree. Worry about those types of things during daytime play.  

Try a glow tournament or event

A great way to break into playing disc golf at night is by signing up for a glow tournament or event. There are plenty of people to learn from and play with which makes the first experience more enjoyable. All the baskets are normally lit for you and the equipment may be provided although you may have to bring your own. Some places even offer glow leagues which regularly play through a specific season usually in the winter when daylight is scarce. I highly suggest looking to see if there is a glow event or league in your area. It’s a great way to meet local disc golfers.

Recommended Gear

To make sure you can find your disc after you throw it into the darkness you’ll need some extra gear. There are two major routes you can take with playing disc golf in the dark: flashlight and glow in the dark discs or discs that have lights. Whichever route you choose you are sure to have a great time playing some glow disc golf.

Let’s take a look at your options:

LED Flashlight

If you decide to go the route of glow in the dark discs you’ll need an LED Flashlight. LED Flashlights can charge up glow in the dark discs quickly and they don’t caste as wide of a beam as a traditional flashlight. This is great because you don’t want to be the guy or girl that breaks everyone’s night vision. You can also use the flashlight to locate your disc in the fairway or to help find a lost disc. Once the light hits the disc laying on the ground it should only take a few seconds before it’s glowing again and ready to throw.

Glow in the Dark Discs

Most disc golf manufacturers have glow in the dark discs available for purchase. Before reading this article you may have thought this was just a gimmick, not so. They serve a purpose and that purpose is glow disc golf. If you look in the right place most of the discs you use during the day should be available in a glow in the dark plastic. If not, it’s not a big deal you can use the opportunity to try out new discs. When you are starting out it’s fine to just get three or four glow in the dark discs and if you decide to play glow golf regularly you can always add more.  

LED Lights

If you decide to go the route of discs that have lights, attaching LED lights to your discs is a great option. These lights can be attached to your disc with clear duct tape and are small enough to still fly similarly to their normal flight. If you go with this option you are going to want to use discs that are at least somewhat clear or translucent so you’ll be able to see the light they provide. You’ll want to avoid water at all costs as the light will likely die after contact with a liquid.

Light up discs

You won’t need to attach LED lights to your disc if they come with lights already instead of them. These days there a couple of disc golf manufacturers that provide them. With this type of disc, you don’t have to worry about the LED Light coming off during play. Both Night Ize and Viking Fire Storm discs provide discs that light up on their own and they aren’t too much more expensive than buying a glow in the dark disc.

So if you are getting too hot during the long days of summer or just want some extra time to play during the winter you should really consider giving glow disc golf a try. You just need a little bit more equipment and a good group to play with to really enjoy it. So if you are having trouble sleeping or just want to have a great experience with some friends you should really give night disc golf a try.

Image Credit Flickr Creative Commons – youarenotaghost

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