Twilight rates in golf: What they are, how to get the most holes in before sunset
CMC Golf Culture

Twilight rates in golf: What they are, how to get the most holes in before sunset

A photo of Sand Valley The 18th green at sunset on the Coore-Crenshaw course at Sand Valley Golf Resort (Photo by Darin Bunch /

Most golfers don't belong to a club, and they actually have to work during the day. That means ducking out for a mid-afternoon tee time really isn't plausible. That's why twilight rates at many public golf courses are so great for working people who want to get in a little golf before the day is done.

If this is the first time you're hearing about twilight rates (or the rare super-twilight rates), here's how twilight rates work: You go to the golf course after a certain time -- it is usually anywhere from 3-5 p.m. -- and pay up-front like you would for a normal round. However, with this substantially discounted rate, you're allowed to play as much golf as you can until dark. Basically, with a twilight rate, you're racing against daylight to get in as many holes as possible. That might be 13 holes. That might be 18 holes. Rarely, it might be more than 18 holes. A cart is typically included to encourage speedy play.

So, if you're playing twilight golf, you want to maximize the number of holes you get in before you can't see the ball anymore. Here are some easy tips to make sure you do just that:

  • Get to the golf course in time to start playing when twilight begins, maximizing your time
  • Don't worry about looking for balls for a long time since that's just wasting daylight; approximate lost balls and drop with a one-stroke penalty and move on
  • Give yourself slightly longer putts than normal, like expanding the Circle of Trust to 3 feet
  • Don't be afraid to skip holes or play quickly to go through slow groups in front of you, especially if you're alone

Twilight golf can be a thing of beauty and a great value. You just have to know how to take advantage of the opportunity.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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