No need to bring sunscreen on this golf outing. At Heartland Golf Park, you can get in a full 9 holes at night under the lights.
Although it's also open during the day, the golf park, in the midst of an industrial center, is open until midnight.
Three different golfing experiences allow both serious and less experienced golfers a place to co-mingle: a driving range, mini-golf and a fully lit par-3 course.
While families come for the mini-golf, the night par-3 course makes for "a nice date night" or time with friends, says manager Tony Sgroi.
THE GOLF COURSE
Each of the nine holes on the course are replicas of famous par-3 golf holes at well-known golf courses around the country. Except here, of course, the game is also played at night under lights.
The signature ninth hole is fashioned after the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., complete with a large hill and island green.
The third hole replicates the 12th hole at Augusta National, site of the Masters. The tee shot is downhill, and the ball will end up in the lake if it's hit a little short, Sgroi says.
Playing at night is an extra challenge, because if the shot is a little wild, it's harder to find the ball.
"We have a lot of good golfers come here at night," says Joel Srebnick, the course's starter. "But it's for everybody. You can rent a club if you need it, and if I see someone that can't play, I'll give them a few pointers."
SPENDING AN EVENING
On a recent Friday night, three friends are finishing up their game around 9 p.m. Playing under the lights, they say, is lots of fun.
"It's not as hot," says Matt Mignone, 26, of Merrick. His buddy, Billie Gies, 25, also of Merrick, says it's a different way to spend a night.
"It's a change from going out," he says. "You get to chill with the boys."
His friend, Chris Joannau, 25, of Merrick, agreed, saying it relieves the stress of the day.
Near the first hole, Tom Morse, 70, of Babylon, is practicing his putting. He has only been playing for the past two years but loves coming down to the putting green at night to practice, out of the heat of the sun. And there's no charge for using the putting green. Sometimes, he'll join a group and play the course.
"It's a nice 9-hole course," Morse says. "It's not too small and not too big."
THE DRIVING RANGE
Heated in the winter, the two-tiered driving range allows up to 92 players to practice their long shots. On the covered lower level, there is an automatic tee-up system that pops up the golf balls.
On the top level, there's no automatic tee-up, but it is peaceful and offers a view of the course under the lights.
Zach Daily says he often comes with his dad in the evenings to perfect his swing. The sixteen-year-old plays on the Babylon High School golf team, and visits the range even off-season.
"It's great," he says. "I can come here and hit even if it's raining, even in the winter."
He usually hits about 150-200 balls a night, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour, says his father, Tim. Sometimes, the elder Daily joins in, but either way, he says, it's a nice way to spend some son-and-dad time.
WHEN | WHERE 6:30 a.m.-midnight (last tee off is 9:30 p.m. for par-3 course), 1 Executive Dr., Edgewood (Brentwood).
INFO 631-352-2595, heartlandgolfpark.com
COST $20 ($10-$15 before 6 p.m.) for 9-hole golf course; Driving range is $10 for 125 balls.