BAY RIDGE — A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Actually, it was only two months ago at the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Bay Ridge, but James Hallquist had an otherworldly idea.
“We’re the second busiest golf course in the United States,” the Dyker Beach general manager said. “What can we do to draw younger people to our golf course and essentially drive revenue?”
The answer? Cosmic golf — played at night.
“I actually wanted to call this disco golf, but someone else said cosmic golf and that worked out better,” Hallquist said.
The plan blasted off Thursday night. The 18-hole course is reduced to five par-3 holes, essentially a pitch-and-putt. Each tee box, bunker and flag is illuminated by LED lights, similar to glow sticks. Special glow-in-the-dark balls are used.
Two holes are target holes with colored rings detailing the landing area. A ball landing in the outer blue ring is a par, inside the red is a birdie and inside the smaller white ring is a hole-in-one.
For $30, golfers are welcome to play the five holes as often as they like throughout the night. Cosmic Golf will be open every Thursday night from sunset to 1 or 2 a.m. and will run until at least Labor Day, Hallquist said.
While the turnout on opening night was relatively light, Hallquist is hoping for 80-100 golfers each week.
There are numerous miniature golf options available in the five boroughs, but this is the only night golf in New York City.
“We’re trying to make it fun. Golf is the activity, but it's kind of like bowling,” said Hallquist, who was inspired by Cosmic Bowling at The Gutter in Williamsburg.
Chris Tuminello, 33, can attest to the difficulty, not that he or his group was necessarily keeping score.
“I actually haven’t hit a ball in years so doing it at night with a couple of beers in me is not exactly the best way to be doing this,” the Carroll Gardens resident said. “It’s fun. I almost took someone’s head off over there. I’m fine and happy with that.”
Each hole also has a kitschy cosmic name — number one is Merciless Mercury, number two is Sadistic Saturn, number three is Venus’ Vengeance, number four is Asteroid Belt From Hell and number five is The Really, Really Black Hole.
Golfers enjoy a cash bar in a tent before making their way onto the five-hole circuit with a special treat awaiting them between the third and fourth hole. Hallquist calls it a shot of “rocket fuel,” which is included in the cost of playing.
“Choice of beverage is prohibited to high-octane or low-octane,” according to the rules sheet.
This is most certainly not your father’s trip to the links — although Tuminello’s father Sal, 64, loves the concept.
“You come out here, have a few drinks, you have some laughs and play around. It’s not really about real golf, see?” the Brooklyn native said just as one of his foursome shanked the neon green ball across the grass inside the second tee box.
“Anyone who calls that real golf is crazy.”