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November 10, 2022

We’ve discovered an ingenious way to find golf balls

By AGN Staff
ultraviolet flashlight

Lost balls at your local course won't be lost much longer

After all these years, someone finally has published a foolproof way to find lost golf balls:At night, through the use of an ultraviolet flashlight.

Alan Barnstable of published a groundbreaking piece about how he and the rest of his foursome used ultraviolet flashlights to find 154 golf balls in the dark within one hour.

It all started with a friend’s deep dive into golf-related threads on Reddit.

“My pal Scott has been known to lose whole afternoons on the virtual community’s golf threads, and on just such an occasion a couple of weeks back he came upon a post from a golf-course scavenger who used a UV flashlight to unearth balls in the dark. Like, lots of balls,” Barnstable wrote in a Nov. 10 online piece for the magazine.

“Scott was inspired, and when he shared his findings with his suburban New Jersey golf buddies — Dan, Matt and me — we didn’t take long to fall into line,” he wrote.

“None of us had heard of the practice. Heck, none of us had heard of a UV flashlight. The device looks just like any old torch but emits ultraviolet radiation — aka black light — that is useful for detecting certain substances and objects in the darkness otherwise undetectable to the naked eye, from saliva and scorpions to olive oil and rock salt to … yep, golf balls. When the UV light catches the orbs, they fluoresce like comets in the night sky.”

The long and short of it was that Barnstable and crew assembled for dinner, drinks and Thursday Night Football at their New Jersey Club on a recent October evening. After nightfall, with permission from the club, and armed with ultraviolet flashlights, the group started walking the course they knew so well. They planned to focus on holes they believed held the greatest number of lost Pro V1s.

It was about 9:30 when we slung backpacks over our shoulders and plotted our first move,” he wrote. “The October air was cool and crisp.”

Venturing into the bushes, the group was rewarded with more balls than they had dreamed of. “I’m not sure if one backpack is going to be enough!” one hollered from deep in the brush.

“When Scott emerged nearly 10 minutes later, his pockets loaded with ProV1s, we didn’t need a UV light to know that he was glowing,” Barnstable wrote.

The group had bought ultraviolet flashlights for $18 for a two-pack.

“Not even an hour into the job, we had filled two backpacks. Sated, we reversed course back to the clubhouse, stopping briefly on a par-3 for an impromptu closest-to-the-pin chipping contest,” Barnstable wrote.

For his ultraviolet flashlight story, the staff of Alabama Golf News humbly suggests the Golf Writers Association of America give Barnstable an “Outstanding Reader Service Award,” although they probably won’t because his piece doesn’t mention Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.

Have a story idea or a news item to report to Alabama Golf News? Email

Featured image courtesy of HS You via Flickr

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