An ode to the joys of twilight golf

Can there be a better time to play golf than at day's end as the sun is setting?

Is there a better time to play golf than at day's end?

Is there anything better than a spot of twilight golf when the sun is gradually dropping and the shadows ever lengthening? We think not...

Okay, the mission here is to avoid using the phrase ‘crepuscular twilight’, partly because the adjective’s definition remains a bewildering mystery for many, and partly because it tends to crop up every time someone waxes on about the sheer joy of playing golf at the dusk end of the day in the lengthening, then fading shadows.

But there’ll be no promises…

Who among us can honestly say they haven’t enjoyed beyond all measure stepping onto the 1st tee at 4.30pm as the sun loses its fire on its merry way down to meet the horizon?

What breeze there has been, however fiercely it’s been blowing, dies away like a whistling kettle finally removed from the hob and there’s a wonderful sense of becalmed stillness all around, so you won't have to dredge the memory bank to work out how to play with a howling wind off your back.

All is calm as the sun sets and the wind often dies

All is calm as the sun sets and the wind often dies

This sensation is all the more marked if you’ve just rushed straight from work or finished a long journey to get there.

It’s the first time you’ve stopped all day and there’s an almost tangible feeling of readiness and oneness with nature for the four-mile trek ahead.

You look down the fairway where the contrast between light and shade ’twixt hump and hollow is more pronounced that at any other time of day, and see the course in all its rumpled three-dimensional splendour – especially so on one of our coastline’s gloriously rugged links.

Every links hump and hollow is accentuated in the twilight

Every links hump and hollow is accentuated in the twilight

The sea beyond will be calm, perhaps even millpond-like, and the whole ambience is one of peace, tranquillity and overwhelming wellness with the world.

This is even more overpoweringly therapeutic if you’ve endured a particularly stressful or hectic day – golf’s perfect antidote to life’s tribulations.

You sweep your opening drive away, then watch it land and hug every contour of the ground before rolling out to its conclusion.

Time seems to almost stand still. There’s no sense of urgency even though you may be battling the daylight to make it all the way round.

This is because you’re likely to have the course largely to yourself, so you can relax, savour every moment, have another go at shots that don’t quite pan out, and maybe even skip a few holes if need be, rather than suffering the plight of the frustrated single golfer that still exists at some courses.

And you’ll be amazed at what levels of darkness you’re prepared to play on into when the golf itself is all that matters rather than the scorecard.

Playing on into the evening without a care for the scorcard...

Playing on into the evening without a care for the scorcard...

Often you’ll retire to the clubhouse, look back out over the 18th and marvel that just moments earlier you were playing golf in that seemingly impenetrable darkness.

And it is the clubhouse where the final act of twilight golf is played out to a fitting conclusion.

The dying embers of sunlight finally disappear as you take the first sip of a refreshing post-round pint and reflect on a perfect end to whatever sort of day you’d had prior to your evening outing.

No, there really is nothing quite like a game of golf in the crepuscular twilight… damn, fallen at the final hurdle!

The perfect end to the day

The perfect end to the day
Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and instruction. He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, a highly regarded trade publication for golf club secretaries and managers, and has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played well over 950 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, right across the spectrum from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response