Generally speaking, drinking on a golf course is allowed at most clubs, but licensing regulations must be adhered to.
However, for obvious reasons, the professional tour is the exception as the pros play for huge prize money and tour points to gain access to further special events during the tour. It is their ‘work’ after all, and not many employers allow drinking at the workplace!
If you go down a level to top league amateur golf, the same applies. Go down a further level to local club competitions and social play, and things change though. The serious golfer who wants to win the competition is unlikely to drink on the course but may have a beer before play to settle the nerves.
Has Drinking On The Golf Course Always Been Allowed?
I am sure the odd golfer imbibed before a round in the old days.
Playing in the cold weather in Scotland surely invited a “sip” to warm the body during the round.
Why Has The Trend Changed?
The introduction of mobile golf carts has definitely seen an increase in drinking on the course.
Probably for various reasons:
You don’t have to carry the drink in your bag and add weight to the caddy or push cart.
Cooler boxes were added to the carts to ensure a cold one was available when required.
Some carts are fitted with “tot measures” for the bottled drinks.
( And years ago we thought the movie “Caddyshack” was a little way out! )
Sponsored Golf Days
Golf clubs throughout the world are struggling financially to increase turnover and rounds to stay in business.
Sponsored golf days have become a good income stream and the element of fun is key and the sponsor usually has a drinks cart circulating the course.
Charity Fund Raisers
Golf is used as the medium to attract Corporations and get top-level businessmen to partake in a mid-week game. These are fun days and a good place for networking.
Greens and tees or a hole are sold to various organizations and food and drink are offered.
Short holes with water in play are a favorite location for drinks on the tee…drop the ball in the water and down a “shooter” for your trouble!
Overall, substantial funds are generated for both the club and the charity.
Is Etiquette Compromised?
For the older generation of die-hard golfers, who still play strictly to all the codes, drinking on course may be frowned upon. Having said this, the clubs may turn a “blind eye” to certain activities out on the course, but etiquette will never be compromised.
Most courses have marshals out patrolling the fairways to ensure that speed of play and other rules are adhered to at all times. Overzealous (or drunken) behavior will not be tolerated and spoil the round for others.
Who Partakes The Most?
The younger generation seems to lead the way when it comes to drinking on the course.
A positive for most clubs is the increased hire of carts and consumption. Another positive is that it has taken away the perception that golf is a boring game.
Stag parties before weddings, 40th birthdays, and many other reasons swell the fields on many Saturday mornings.
Most importantly these activities introduce new players to the game who believed it “too slow”.
Does A Social Round Of Golf Offer New Business Opportunities?
People may question this aspect but look at a different viewpoint.
Where can you get a 5 to 6-hour appointment with any prospective client?
You get to know the client and his behavior patterns when things go well or bad on the course.
Sharing a drink on the course loosens up the occasion and adds a casual element to what could become a great opportunity.
Is The Trend Increasing Or Decreasing?
The trend is positively increasing as several social groups and company teams play bi-weekly or monthly.
Any regular player at the club will see new faces on most Saturdays or Sundays. They hire carts and stock up with their drinks and set out to enjoy their round.
Does Drinking On The Course Help Your Game or Not?
If the player is a non-drinker then it goes without saying that one drink will affect his performance.
Some players have a beer or two before the round to settle the nerves and loosen the swing. Having a drink before play can take away the inhibitions and allow the golfer to play without fear.
Depending on the consumption and ability to “hold” their drink, many players believe they play better, but, it has been proven that most players lose their feel and the ability to judge distances.
I believe most players go out and play their rounds for time spent with their friends and family.
If a drink before the game is offered it can be accepted or rejected.
Fun sponsored or charity days may be the exception and all may want to engage in the spirit of the day and enjoy a few drinks during the round.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.