Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nighttime Round of Golf Catching on in Duluth

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nighttime Round of Golf Catching on in Duluth

Article excerpt

DULUTH, Ga. -- On a breezy, cool night, chirping crickets provide the ambiance as Larry Clark tees off on hole No. 9.

It's nearly 10 p.m., and the 35-year-old Kodak employee is among dozens of amateur golfers playing under the lights at an 18-hole, par 3 course in metro Atlanta.

"This is perfect," said Clark, who usually plays three nights a week. "It's just a beautiful place to play . . . It's almost daytime."

Family Golf Center in Duluth, a growing Atlanta suburb, is one of only a few golf courses investing in the expensive amenity, hoping to attract anyone from avid golf fans to families and couples on a date.

The lights illuminate the sky for a half mile away from the course, located down the road from the site where the PGA Tour's top-ranked players annually compete in the BellSouth Classic.

Surrounded by trees and hugging the Chattahoochee River, the course is attractive and well lit. But some golfers admit it takes a while to get used to seeing their shadow on the greens and it's sometimes hard to follow the flight of the ball.

"This gives them an opportunity to play golf, regardless of what their schedule is," said Frank Garrahan, manager of Family Golf Center, which has been open for four years and also features a driving range, batting cages and miniature golf.

"During the day, the sun beats down on you. It's really different dynamics at night."

When people call asking if the course is lit, he says he often hears disbelief in their voice.

"If I could leave them on all night, I truly believe I would have golfers here all night long," Garrahan said.

The twilight golf, with lower rates for as many holes a person can play between 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., is the center's most popular attraction. It usually takes a little more than two hours to play 18 holes on the par 3 course, which is much more compact than a regular golf course and can help golfers develop their short game. …

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