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Leisure Golf is Fun, but Be Responsible

By Tom Hendricks

Published September 2, 2021 in The Burg

It’s often heard the reason there are 18 holes on a golf course goes back to the guys that started the game in 15 th century Scotland. They made up the game and started a makeshift course thru the windswept landscape and each took one bottle of scotch. They decided they would drink one shot for each hole they played—and a fifth of booze consists of exactly 18 shots. I have no idea if there’s truth to that story, but one could google the details I suppose. Whether the internet’s version is any more accurate could be debated as sometimes things on the world wide web are not 100 percent accurate.

I’ve run into several friends and gotten some good feedback on these columns—I appreciate all of it—even the heckling. Notorious for a bad memory, they will often ask how I remember all that I write about. I don’t. But I’m honest about it and so, just like Twitter and Facebook, read at your own peril.

Totally unrelated to the column’s title, we were back in the Burg last week for my uncle Ken Anderson’s funeral. Uncle Kenny was the last of my mom’s generation to pass. At 98 he had a good, long life and raised three sons with my Aunt Gerry. It was good to connect with them and other family on our trip.

They had Uncle Kenny’s 1935 Ford in front of HPW and it was a very appropriate statement about a quiet man. While in town, I was saddened to see Millie Horaney had passed. I had written earlier this year about Gale Ward Sporting Goods and working with Millie in the early ‘80’s. She and husband Bill were gems. I was fortunate to play golf many times with Bill as a Bunker “Dew Duster”—he was always one of my favorites.

Back to golf: Depending on the type of facilities available wherever one is playing, adult beverages are often part of the mix. From fully stocked bars, to a simple standup cooler with domestic cans, beer is likely the most consumed alcohol. These sales help increase revenue and improve the profitability of the club.

From my experience, most do a good job of policing those sales so there’s no underage drinking and excessive consumption is kept to a minimum. Of course, there’s always exceptions and youtube and snapchat are full of funny clips of those that may have over-imbibed. In some videos, no doubt feeling invincible after a few drinks, golf carts slip and slide and flip over with apparent ease and we can only hope the cart was the only thing damaged. Risking legal issues and the loss of a liquor license usually tamps down on the shenanigans and no one wants to see anyone hurt at the course, or on the way home.

So if you are planning a trip to your favorite course and intend to have a few, pace yourself and be responsible. And don’t be one of “those guys” that sneaks your booze in your golf bag. Patronize your local club or pro and buy it on site. Supporting local business is important, especially these days.

And whether drinking or not, at what point in the past did we golfers decide that clothing for the links needed to be loud? I have some golf shirts in my closet that probably would be more appropriate for a deer blind or a construction site. Hunter’s orange and neon green/yellow seem to be popular and in some cases one cannot stare directly at them so no retinal damage is done. I attended the PGA’s Fedex St. Jude WGC tournament in Memphis a few weeks ago. Staying at a hotel near the entrance to the TPC Southwind course, I was having coffee in the lobby restaurant early in the morning. No one in sight but me and the wait staff, in walked a notorious golfing fashionista—Ian Poulter. Sporting a white shirt and relatively muted plaid pants, I wished him good luck. It must have worked as he carved out a T10th place finish and took home a cool $220,000 for his troubles.

(Natives of Galesburg, Tom and his wife Greta, live in O’Fallon, MO and he writes a monthly column about his memories of growing up in the ‘Burg. He was also a standout golfer for Galesburg High School.)

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