What Is a Golf Sundowner Tournament or League?

Some golf clubs and golf associations play what they call sundowner tournaments, or hold sundowner leagues. What does that mean — just what is a "sundowner"? "Sundowner" refers to the time of day: late afternoon. So a golf tournament or league that is called a sundowner is simply one that takes place in the late afternoon.

As for where the name comes from, well, that's obvious. Playing golf in the late afternoon, you are trying to finish before the sun goes down. A twilight tournament or twilight league is the same thing as a sundowner.

When a tournament or league is called a sundowner, that doesn't tell you anything about the competition format that will be played. That could be anything: best ball, stroke play, bingo bango bongo, acey ducey, whatever. Sundowner just tells you that it's a late-afternoon — head to the course when you get off work — time frame.

Because many golfers do, literally, go play a sundowner after work, these types of tournaments and leagues are mostly limited to the summer months. You have to have enough sunlight left in the day to complete play, after all.

And although "sundowner" doesn't tell you anything about the scoring format, it usually does tell you that the tournament will be a 9-holer. Playing nine holes after work is a tradition for a lot of golfers, and many golf associations like to take advantage of long summer days by launching a sundowner league that runs over a couple months.

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