There are a lot of great ways to play disc golf. You can get out in the rain, in the snow, and my favorite, at night time. Yes, that’s right. One of the most fun ways to play disc golf is at night. I’m telling you, you won’t enjoy the sport of disc golf in its entirety until you learn how to play disc golf at night.
But therein lies a question: how can somebody play disc golf at night? I mean, for the most part, it’s probably pitch black out on the course. You’re not going to be able to see where the disc lands and good luck trying to see the basket that may be 400 feet ahead of you.
So, how do you play disc golf at night?
Disc golf at night is a challenge, but you play at night by using lighted discs, lighted baskets, flashlights, friends who can help you find your disc, and a few necessary safety precautions.
Now, before I really dig into the who, what, when, where, and why, you need to understand something about night time disc golf: playing at night can be an absolute nightmare if you don’t plan, prep, and set everything up properly. You have to do everything correctly or else your night will turn into a clusterf*ck of epic proportions.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what we need to do. The following 6 steps will show you everything from planning to prep to play. This short checklist will help you have a great time disc golfing at night so you’ll want to go out again and again.
Step 1 – finding a place to play
In your attempt to go out and play disc golf in the dark, you’ll run into your first problem pretty early. Where are you going to play at? You’d think this would be easy to figure out. Usually, you would just head to your local park to play a round. Simple, right?
Not quite. Most parks shut down at night or close up at around sunset. That means, unless they have a special night disc golf event, public parks are most likely out of the question. There are some leagues and clubs that do play at night at local parks.
There are also a couple of public parks that do pay to play events at night. Look this up for your local area. Otherwise, you’ll have to find another place to play at night.
Let’s keep looking. If you’ve been playing for a little bit, hopefully you’ve met a few players around the courses. Ask them if they have a course at home or if they know of anybody that has a home course you all can play on. This is probably your best bet. The people I play with built a pretty legit course on the property they own. They have a full 18 hole course with lights on all of the baskets for night time disc golf. If you know of somebody that has a home course but doesn’t ever play at night, suggest night disc golf to them.
If none of the previous options are available to you, I recommend building your own course. The drawback to this is that you must have at least a few acres of land to work with. If you can build a course, that would be great for you because you can tailor it to whatever you like. You can build as many holes as possible. And best of all, you can play on it whenever you want. Here is a breakdown of how much it costs to build a disc golf course.
Step 2 – finding someone to play with
Next, after you figure out where you’re going to play, you need to start looking for a person or a group to go with. It’s absolutely essential that you go through this step and find at least a friend or two to go out at night and play with you. While you can go out and play by yourself at night, I would never ever recommend doing this.
Why it’s important to always play disc golf with a friend or group
There are a couple of reasons why I believe you should always go out with a friend or a group.
1. Safety: this is probably the most important concept of this post. Safety, or your ability to stay safe out on the disc golf course, needs to be your top priority. Now, I know that we don’t usually talk about safety in disc golf, but when playing night disc golf, playing out in the dark in the woods or at a public park can become a safety concern. You never know who or what is out on the disc golf course at night. Playing with a friend or a group is the safest way to play a good round and not have any problems.
Also, it’s still important to have a buddy or two even if you’re on your own property. You never know what’s lurking in the dark. But if you play with friends, you’ll be fine.
2. Fun: yes, we always want to be safe on the disc golf course. That’s number one. But having a lot of fun is another reason why I play disc golf. I’m sure you like to have fun, too. That’s another reason why you need to play disc golf at night with a friend or a group. It’s okay to play by yourself every once in awhile. Most of the time, though, it’s no fun to play by yourself. Why not get out on the course with friends and try to tackle every basket after dark?
Alright, so we’ve completed step 1 – finding a place to play and step 2 – finding someone to play with. Those are really important steps in this short guide so hopefully you’ve written those first two down and are ready for the good stuff. Next up comes bag prep, followed by disc prep, how to actually play at night, then the final cleanup.
Step 3 – caution and night bag prep
Now that you’ve gotten through the first two steps, it’s time to move on to probably the most important part of this post: prepping yourself and your bag for night time disc golf. In step 3, we’re going to look at what gear you need for the course at night.
Just remember, the outside world is very different at night. There are creatures, bugs, and sometimes, big animals out. I mean, who knows what you’ll see out there. So take caution in what you do and what you need to bring.
Here’s everything you need to play:
• Disc golf bag: this is kind of obvious as this is what will carry all of your stuff. I very highly recommend the Dynamic Discs Trooper Backpack Disc golf bag. You can find it here on Amazon. It has space for about 17-20 discs, a pouch for you water bottle, a side pocket for keys, wallets, etc, and a top pocket for more storage. Oh, and the kicker? It’s only like $45 bucks.
• pocket knife: always good to have one on you for safety or for anything else that needs cutting. This one, the SOG specialty knife, is what I carry (link to Amazon).
• pepper spray: you know, for bears and stuff. Seriously, though, this is good to have for safety. This pepper spray from Defense Technology is what I carry in my full time law enforcement job (and believe me, it works).
• cell phone: another good thing to have just in case. Most of us carry one anyways, so why not have it for safety, some course pictures, or recording your score.
• flashlight (plus an extra flashlight): and don’t forget about some extra batteries. This is important so you can stay on the right path. You don’t want to get lost at night. That sucks. The J5 Tactical flashlight is perfect for your bag.
• Microfiber towels: good to have if it is rainy or if you throw your disc right into that tiny little water hole. My discs seem to be water magnets, so I always carry a towel. You can take your pick of any disc golf towel on InfiniteDiscs.com or just use any old towel to keep your discs dry.
• other scorecards: for keeping score.
• pen/pencil: for keeping score. You can forego this and the previous item if you use a phone. It’s still good to have these, though.
• sharpie: for recording those aces! You never know when you might sink a 250 foot hyzer shot at night. Let’s go! Grab a a 4 pack here (on Amazon).
• mini marker discs: for keeping you disc’s place during your round. Grab an Innova Gallactic mini marker. I like those. You can also get a mini disc from InfiniteDiscs.com here.
• bug spray: to keep away mosquitos, ticks, and other bad bugs. Courses at night have a ridiculous amount of bugs and the need for bug spray is crucial. Make sure you take this so you don’t start itching for the whole round.
• water bottles: I would bring at least two to three per round. You need to stay hydrated at all times so that you can stay disciplined and focused for each shot.
• snacks: you need some fuel to keep up your game. Disc golf rounds are always at least an hour to an hour and a half. Sometimes I spend three hours or more playing so I make sure to bring enough to munch on. My favorite snack to bring is the Nature Valley crunchy peanut butter bars or the Sweet and Salty nut bars.
• disc retriever: a tool to retrieve discs from water. This thing is a life saver. Grab one here on Amazon.
• baseball or hockey puck: for getting stuck discs out of trees. Seriously, don’t try using another disc to get that stuck disc free. You may lose both.
• Lastly, you need some discs. The section below features some of my favorite overall glow discs and a small bit of info about them.
Step 4 – night disc prep
Now that you’ve got almost all your prep done for your bag, it’s time to complete your prep with some discs. Now, you probably have a pretty sweet bag setup and some great discs. But you have to remember that we’ll be playing at night and regular discs won’t cut it.
When you play night disc golf, you need either discs with lights, glow-in-the-dark discs, or discs with florescent paint on them. If you don’t play with any of these discs, you can easily lose your discs on the course.
Let’s take a look at a couple of discs that can help you maximize your ability to do well at night:
1. Innova Katana Champion Glow driver: a very stable to understable driver that throws really well and is slow to turn over. This disc is great for beginners and it’s ability to glow in the dark makes it great for night time disc golf.
2. Discraft Glo Buzzz FLX LE mid-range: I love the Buzzz discs. They fly really straight and have always been a great disc through the years. I’ve had the opportunity to throw a couple of generations of Buzz mid-ranges and have been impressed again and again.
3. Innova Aviar DX Glow Putter: a great overall putter that has helped professional players win a lot of championships. They made a glow-in-the-dark model that’s just as good.
4. Flashlight LED 3 piece boxed set: this boxed set comes with a driver, mid-range, and putter. Each disc has LED lights that last a tremendously long amount of time and have 8 different colors you can select.
5. Nite-Ize LED Driver: an interesting choice for the night-time disc golf player. These understable discs can really fly.
Also, here are a couple of basket lighting options for you if the course baskets aren’t lit:
1. Trademark innovations LED lights: easy to install LED lights for your basket. A little cheaper than our second option and are great for night time play. Click here to check the current price on Amazon.
And of course there are other lighting options for your disc and your basket like glow in the dark paint and glow sticks. Those two options are generally pretty cheap. Although good, I would still recommend buying the appropriate glow discs and/or LED basket lights.
Step 5 – go play!
Alright, so we’ve finally gotten everything ready to play. All your gear is packed, all the peeps are ready, and you finally get a chance to go out and play some night golf. Sounds like this is going to be fun.
Once you get out on the course, set up like normal and get ready to throw. Your discs should be lit. Let’s go get it!
Here’s what you need to be careful of: each and every throw needs to be tracked so you don’t completely lose your disc. Just because your disc is probably brighter than Chevy Chase’s house from the movie Christmas Vacation doesn’t mean you still can’t lose it. The disc can go under leaves or down an embankment and can be lost forever. So always, always, ALWAYS track your discs.
Remember to have some fun: I know it’s disc golf and you want to win. I always want to win. But don’t forget to have a little bit of fun out on the course. Night disc golf is awesome, but it’s a little bit tougher than playing during the day. Remember to have fun while you play. Also, when you stay loose, have fun, and don’t worry about stuff as much, you tend to do better on the course. Funny how that works.
Step 6 – The Clean up
The 1st question is, “Who won?” No matter what happened during your round, try to keep score and see how you did during your round. Your score will almost always be worse at night, but with some focus and a few good throws, you should be able to get all the way through the round with some decent numbers on the scorecard. Who knows, you could’ve beat everybody. Now let’s take a look at the course and clean it up.
The cleanup is probably the easiest, most boring part of your night time disc golf round. There’s really not much to it. But it’s very important and must be done. Take a look around and think about the course. Hopefully, you’ve cleaned up along the way and all trash has been thrown away or collected and will be tossed when you leave. This is where good course etiquette comes into play. Use your best judgment and make sure you leave the course better than when you found it.
Make sure to then check all of your bag. Make sure you have all of the discs that you brought. Count them and verify how many. You should’ve counted before you played so that you could check again at the end. Next, go through all of your accessories and equipment to check that everything is present and accounted for. Everyone should be ready to roll out with all of their stuff.
I think that’s about it
All right, you’ve done it! You have all of the info you need to go out and play. Night time disc golf is probably one of my favorite ways to play disc golf. I really hope that you can get out on the course and play a few rounds like this. It’s pretty awesome, to say the least. The only difficulty you may have is finding a place to play. But keep practicing, meet some people, find a good course to go to, and go out and hit it after sunset.
If you’ve never played disc golf at night, gear up and hit the course. You won’t regret it! Thanks for reading, disc golfers. Now get out there and go throw.
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