Golf Course Lighting

Perth 17th February 2010

Later tonight I will be going out to check on a fairly common lighting issue. Local residents are complaining about the glare from the nearby golf course lighting. In this case, more specifically, the driving range. As so many developments in the Asia Pacific region (and probably around the world), golf courses are build as complete resorts, leisure and sports facilities and residential developments around it happily make use of the golf course’s presence to promote a “lifestyle”.  

There is nothing wrong with that as long as golf is played during daytime, but with the nice climate that we have in many of the countries in Asia Pacific it is really nice to play golf in the cooler hours of the evening.  So in comes golf course lighting…but most of the time as a commercial afterthought!  🙂  Some clubs just provide lighting for the driving range, some for the last 9 holes, and some for the whole course.

For those not familiar with golf, the lighting at night needs to illuminate the flight path of the ball which can go up fairly high. The general guideline calls for about 50m high as a “volume” to light up. Simplified this means that when using about 25m poles, the floodlights are shining pretty much straight ahead. With floodlights ranging from 1 to 2 KW it is easy to see the amount of glare that will be produced!  

Unless the golf course design has been developped to consider playing at night under lighting right from the start (playing directions and related lighting aiming directions, etc), golf courses are generally not really designed and suitable to be lit. It is already challenging enough to design golf course lighting to be comfortable for the players themselves, let alone to control the glare within a residential environment!

17. February 2010 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting applications | 13 comments

Comments (13)

  1. Hi,Martin

    What you write is trueth that Many people would like to go to play golf in night in China because of the hot weather. And I have a question, do a LED flood light 90W can be use in lighting of golf course?

  2. Dear Zain
    I think that there may well be a future for LED in golf course lighting as it seems that LED can match our eyes night time sensivity curve better then some other light sources. However the performance may not yet be enough to replace current floodlight systems using 1 and 2 KW metal halide

  3. Excellent Article! I personally really appreciate your post. This is a great website. I will make sure that I stop back again!.

  4. Dear Sir,

    What would be the recommended lighting level for night golfing.
    As per ISNA RP 6-01 standard, it is indicated that 30 Lux for the fairways and 50 Lux for the TEE and GREEN.

    1. Is it possible to play with that lux level.?
    2. I am in the stage of lighting design for a 9 hole golf course with LED lighting. Can you guide me whether i have to consider asymmetric LED fixture or wide flood for the same.
    3. Any recommended height for the lighting mast.
    4. I belive night golfing is for recreational level and not for professional players.

    Tom Mathew

  5. Dear Tom
    Thanks for your question…first my answer would be that it is not only about lux levels, we do not design for lux meters, we design for people. So whatever lux levels are indicated by standards are generally a good indication. Key to the design however is the placing of the lights and its careful distribution. You need to be able to follow the ball in flight so your lighting design should cater for a lot of vertical lighting levels, not only on the grass! This brings the unavoidable risk of glare so aiming and positioning are critical to minimize any form of glare, specifically considering that fairways are alongside each other with opposite playing directions! Finally uniformity and brightness contrast are probably more important then lighting levels. Golf courses are never flat, always undulating with sandpits, trees and water bodies straddled through the fairways. Getting it right will require quite some experience and understanding of the game. If you have not played the game, don’t even try… You can reach me directly on for more information. Cheers and good luck

  6. We are going to construct 9 holes golf course. our owner asking us to install street lights on driving road. is it possible? if yes what type of lights we use over here, height of pole length of arm and distance between two pole and lux level

  7. Thanks Martin for this article. It is true that lighting for golf course not only focus on the ground but also in vertical specially along the fairway. For putting green and Teeing ground, yes, horizontal illumination is very much important.
    @ Tom Matthew, as per LG4: Sports Lighting Guide, lux level for tee is 100 lux, 150 lux for green, and 75 lux on fairway. These are for horizontal calcs. While 150lux on 5m high on vertical along fairway. Check it more here:

  8. Thanks for sharing Nelca. I may knock on your door one of these days if I have another golf course client!

  9. Hi Martin,

    I just want to ask for the design for Solar Lightning.
    – Distance of pole for Tee,Green and for Fairways
    – Height of the pole from the ground for (Tee,Green and for
    – Required Lux for area of Tee,Green and for Fairways
    – required lightning specification for solar light in golf area.

    Thank you,

  10. Hi Jes, apologies for this late reply. I was away in Europe and just returned back to Asia. I will reply to your email address as shown here in your comments, otherwise please contact me directly at and we can take this further. It is not as simple as just giving you answers to your questions. Thanks for enquiring Jes.
    Cheers Martin

  11. Hi,

    I am doing lighting design for a golf course in india.

    I wanted to ask for the levels for recreational ground along with the vertical illumination in fairway.

    Any rule for considering height.

    Any rule we can check that we have done a optimised design.
    As somewhere I read no of fixtures used has some relation with the length of the golf course.


  12. You can reach me directly at
    Cheers MK

  13. Hi, Martin. I really love your post. as per LG4: Sports Lighting Guide, lux level for tee is 100 lux, 150 lux for green, and 75 lux on fairway. These are for horizontal calcs. While 150lux on 5m high on vertical along fairway.
    For more details, click here:

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *