October 21, 2009

Why Do Some People Treat 18 Holes As An Excuse For Binge Drinking?

It's adequately covered by a lot of golf blogs, for example Ryan Ballenger's Waggle Room, but someone has brought a portable potty disguised as a golf club to market. Frankly, it's pretty disgusting, and I would not want one, not even as a joke gift. Some things just need to be done behind closed doors.

Here at the home course, we actually have hand-made signs that homeowners felt they needed put up on their property near some holes telling guys that if they relieve themselves they will call the cops on them. It’s that bad. For some reason, there are enough folks who have no qualms with pulling down their zipper and taking a tinkle on someone's bushes or trees. It must never occur to them that not only is it incredibly disrespectful in a suburban setting, there are also kids all over the place. That a parent may not want their 8 year old getting a glimpse of a grown man's bathroom break - much less pick up the habit - escapes them.

I think I know why – these houses are on the later holes and on a summer day you will see trash cans overflowing with beer cans. For some reason, some guys think that playing 18 is a reason to knock back a twelve-pack or more of beer. Naturally, since alcohol is a diuretic they can’t hold it in. The course does have to mid-round bathrooms, but some guys think that the surrounding neighborhood is fair game to be their toilet. Maybe it is because they are drunk, maybe it is because their parents failed to instill in them even the basic social graces, or maybe it's both.

As a 30-year homebrewer of beer, and a fellow who enjoys an adult beverage, I am by no means a neo-prohibitionist. I firmly believe that it's more than acceptable for an adult to enjoy an alcoholic libation, so long as it is done responsibly and not abusively, anyway. Responsible drinking has thousands of years of history to prove its merits, and in my mind, so long as one doesn't drive or drive themselves into alcohol addiction, there's nothing wrong with having one or two every now and then -- even while playing a round of golf, if that's your choice.

There is a line, however, and I see that line trespassed all too often. I used play with a pair of fellows who can drink a case of beer each while they are playing. The first few holes, no problem. After they've gotten themselves lathered up, however, it is a different story. Their actions are embarrassing, and I don't want to be seen with those two, either by friend or stranger. They think they are funny, but in truth, it is pitiful. Actions like pulling your pants down and "mooning" your buddy because he made a poor shot (because he was drunk) are reprehensible and not something I want to be associated with. Call me an old stick in the mud if you will, but I will tell you that I simply grew up and started acting like an adult a long time ago.

For folks like that, perhaps they need to examine why they think binge drinking sessions are fun. That's substance abuse and indicative of far larger problems the way I see things. More than likely, it will come back to hurt themselves, their loved ones, or God forbid, some innocent person when they pour themselves behind the wheel of a car on their way home. I sure as hell don't want that crap going on behind my house, much less at my club.


  1. Apparently it's worse where you're at than most other places - you have passed out drunks on your driving range ! :-D

  2. I don't think it's just golf, Charles. It seems that any reason is a good reason to get drunk these days. Maybe it's an escape from feeling miserable all the time, or maybe it's just a desire to look macho, but it seems that drunkenness has gotten out of control.

    It's a shame, really. It just causes others to look down on those who drink responsibly.

  3. Very, very few of our members drink at all on the course. They might get one on the turn and/or one at fifteen tee (at the clubhouse), but rarely do you see our little 'travel coolers' on the course. Don't get me wrong, our percentage of A.A. qualified members are probably equal to or more than many clubs and our tap room is the scene of the alcohol abuse you mentioned. (I used to be one of the abusers) Also, there are no homes on the course. We have an enclosed campus.

    One thing that helps I think is, except on weekends, we can start when and where we want as long as we do not jump in front of anyone. Most rounds during the week are played in well less than three hours. So, even our drunks can wait a couple hours to 'get the job done...'


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