I’ve never been one to advocate drinking and driving: Golf is a difficult and confusing enough game as it is. I have downed a few brews in my time while playing golf, but water is really my favorite on-course beverage. After a round—of golf—the story is altogether different. The perfect nineteenth hole would put me in a rocker overlooking the eighteenth hole, where I sit with a warm and pleasant fatigue brought on by my successful strivings on the course, a glass of tasty beer in hand, all infused with a timeless feeling of contentment.
To those courses that lean in an enlightened direction goes our call for another round.
Legion are those who do drink beer on the course. If there were world enough and time, it might be interesting to know what the best-selling beer is from the beverage carts that crisscross all the golf courses in this great land. One thing is certain—the word “light” (or “lite”) will be part of the beer’s name.
But since the golf season is now well underway and time is a-wasting, we had to find a fast way to assess the beer offerings at the nation’s golf courses for those who may be looking for the perfect parley this summer. That was readily solved when the May issue of Golf Digest showed up in my mail box. It was back in 1966 that Golf Digest first ran what has since become a house franchise article, the “100 Greatest Courses” ranking.
“A lot of other magazines have copied us over the years, but ours remains the definitive list,” said the magazine’s executive editor, Roger Shiffman. “It’s the oldest, the most established—we have the largest panel of selectors, we do it more scientifically than anyone else.”
Golf Digest runs the ranking every other year, and this was the year. What was curious about the list—beyond the fact that Pebble Beach toppled Pine Valley from the #1 perch for the first-time ever—was that 18 of the 100 courses are open to public play. Some may cost an arm and a leg, but they’re open nonetheless. Since two pairs of courses are run by the same companies, 16 phone calls didn’t seem like too much bother. Then, as a panel of one, I could scientifically re-rank the top public courses solely on the basis of their beer offerings.
First, here are the public courses that made the Golf Digest list, with the numbers showing where they fell amongst the “America’s 100 Greatest Courses” ranking:
1. Pebble Beach Golf Links,
Pebble Beach, CA
9. Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (No. 2), Pinehurst, NC
31. Shadow Creek Golf Club, North Las Vegas, NV
34. Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Pebble Beach, CA
41. Bandon Dunes, Bandon, OR
46. Bethpage Golf Course, (Black), Farmingdale, NY
48. The Homestead Resort’s Cascade Course, Hot Springs, VA
51. Prince Course, Princeville Resort, Kauai, HI
62. Whistling Straits (Straits), Haven, WI
63. TPC at Sawgrass (Stadium), Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
64. Cog Hill Golf & Country Club (No. 4), Lemont, IL
66. Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, SC
67. Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, SC
70. Blackwolf Run Golf Course (River), Kohler, WI
76. Mauna Kea Beach Golf Course, Kamuela, HI
77. Pasatiempo Golf Club, Santa Cruz, CA
96. Crosswater, Sunriver, OR.
97. World Woods Golf Club (Pine Barrens), Brooksville, FL
Obviously, there’s something for every traveling golfer here, from northeast to south, midwest to northwest to far west. There’s also something for every budget, from a high rolling $500 at Shadow Creek down to the working class $39 at Bethpage Black. But in truth, most of the courses here are high-end daily fees, upwards of $100 per greens fees.