-- In what might be a first, one luxury hotel is offering guests the opportunity to not only golf at night, but, with the help of night vision goggles, observe the wildlife not seen in the light of day.
Hole 1, Las Huacas, par-5, 543-yards, features a "sharp dogleg with the option to shorten the hole by shooting over the bunkers at the dogleg corner or drive down the wide fairway." Hole 9, Pizote, par-5, 522-yards, plays through the lush Nascascolo Forest, with a "rock-lined stream that protects the course’s most severely contoured green."
There are other -- albeit few -- opportunities to play golf at night in both China and Las Vegas, said Larry Olmsted, travel writer and golf expert. What so unusual, he said, is the use of night-vision goggles.
"In “traditional” night golf, which is still pretty rare, you use a special illuminated ball but you can’t see much of anything else," said Olmsted. "With the goggles – which I haven’t heard of anyplace else - you can actually see the features, the bunkers and other hazards, and they light the perimeter of the greens with rings of lanterns, but it has to be distracting to swing with the goggles on – the golf swing is hard enough under the best of circumstances."
Golfers have an assist beneath the starry night sky with a line of lights along the fairways and a circle of light on the greens. Lanterns are also available to the light the way as the foursome walks the course with pull-carts.
The evening ends with a private guided walk to Nacascolo Beach, protected by the Bahia Culebra headlands, with a white sand beach, mangrove and abundant fish, for more tropical nightlife.
"Scoring is not the point," said Olmsread. "It’s the experience – you only play two holes and the main reason you are out there is to observe the rich local wildlife at night, the monkeys and raccoons and what not. The course is one of the most eco-friendly in all of golf, and maintained as wildlife habitat, and the sky are also super clean with great star gazing."
Nocturnal golf is available through Nov. 23, and again July 1 through Nov. 23, 2015.