TEMPE, Ariz. — First opened nearly 65 years ago, the Rolling Hills Golf Course in Tempe, Arizona, just underwent a massive overhaul to become the first fully lit, 18-hole golf course in the state.
Located just two miles from Arizona State University and right next door to the Phoenix Zoo, the venue is now called Grass Clippings at Rolling Hills, with tee times available from morning till way past sunset. In fact, golfers can play the course under the lights as late as 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.
A par-63 layout during the day, the golf course becomes an all-par-3, par-54 venue at night, with clearly marked artificial turf tee boxes for use during the late hours.
“The lights are a game changer for golf in the Phoenix area,” said Grass Clippings CEO Jake Hoselton. “Our location is conducive to slipping in 18-holes of golf on the way home from work, enjoying a golf date night, or meeting up with friends for golf and a beverage.”
The course held a preview night on Thursday, Nov. 30, and had a “turn on the lights” celebration, before opening up the tee sheet for night golf starting on Friday, Dec. 1. The night-time slots were all sold out over the first weekend.
Scott Hebert, formerly the assistant golf course superintendent at the TPC of Scottsdale, home of the WM Phoenix Open, is now the greenskeeper at Grass Clippings. Golf fans may recognize him, as he always has his dog Rye nearby. Those two patrolled the grounds at the Stadium Course ahead of the PGA Tour event to make sure the course there was tip-top for the pros. His title now is the director of agronomy at Grass Clippings.
There are close to 80 LED lights on the Grass Clippings course, which has night-time yardages from about 100 to close to 200 yards. The topography provides multiple elevation changes and the design has several elevated tee boxes. And even at night, there are great views of the downtown Tempe area, downtown Phoenix and airplanes overhead making their descent into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
Just off the first tee box is a lawn area with a food truck and a beer garden. There’s also a 15,000-square-foot practice putting green with several severe undulations.
The work at the course is far from complete, however. The original clubhouse is still in use but a…