Glow Ball at Naperbrook; Lighting Up the Night Sky

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Glow Ball at Naperbrook Golf Course took over the night sky, allowing golfers to take to the course with a tee time of 9pm to play a 4-person scramble.

Warm, yellow hues stretch across the sky above Naperville; the sun is setting here at Naperbrook Golf Course. Even the most lackadaisical golfer is finding pep in their step, trying to beat the descending darkness. The shadows stretch across the tee box, the carts are in for the night, and yet… tee time is still nearly 90 minutes away for some.

Don: “The ones that have been here before are very excited to come back. The ones that haven’t been here really don’t understand what’s about to happen.”

Don Harshaw is responsible for this Glow ball scramble at Naperbrook. And while players are wrapping up rounds, a group of 72 golfers are eating a meal in the clubhouse before the night ahead of them.

Don: “We buy a bunch of equipment for it, which is equipment that we use at night obviously. So we’re using glow sticks, we’re using… we call them beacons, but what they do is like at an airport, where you see a beacon going off and on – we utilize those. We also use glow balls, which are actually balls that light up once they’re hit for about five minutes.”

Debbie and Scott Wolff have been here before. They’re regulars at Naperbrook, hooked by their first experience with glow ball.

Debbie: “Fun. I just had a lot of fun. It was a beautiful night, the stars were out, the moon was out. It was just a different experience.”

Scott: “Being out here without anyone else, it’s fantastic. And watching the balls fly, it’s like meteors going through the sky. It’s awesome out here.

Don: “It’s the atmosphere itself because it’s very, very dark. And you’re hitting a golf ball that’s glowing, into a location that you really can’t see where it’s going.”

Green glow sticks line the runway up to the green. Blue lights signify the tee boxes, and every golfer has a flashing glow light, with their bright golf balls streaking down fairways.

The glow ball is latest reason for the Wolff’s to make a trip to the course. A past time that started 30 years ago.

Scott: “It was actually her (Debbie’s) father who got me into golf. I was a fisherman and was one of those guys who would say you’d never catch me dead on a golf course… until I started playing. And once I did I was amazed at how much I loved the game, it’s addicting.”

Debbie: “We love the people, my dad used to work here. He has a bench on hole number one and it’s a place where we know them and they know us. It’s comfortable.”

If you want to follow suit and would like to give glow ball a try, how about some advice?

Don: “When you go out, go out to enjoy yourself. Don’t go out to be very competitive because it’s a different ball game at night.”

Debbie: “oh… just hit the ball. Watch it fly. Just have fun. (laughter).”

Nothing like golfing when the brightest light around… is the moon…

Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman