They call it an advertisement for “The Official Beer of Going Golfing Just to Drink Beer.”
I call it a Rocky Mountain-size insult to our great game.
You know the ad. It shows a guy taking a casual, one-handed swipe at the ball while holding a can of Coors Light in his other hand.
The camera then pans back to his playing partners – we use the term “playing” loosely. They nod approvingly over his “shot.” The ad ends with the group meandering down the fairway as the guy hits another one-hander.
The commercial’s implication is that drinking beer on the golf course is wonderful and actually playing golf is silly and stupid and secondary.
Or at least that’s how I take it, at the risk of sounding overly sensitive. And I think it’s time for golfers to rise up and defend the sport that gives us so much joy.
My main problem with this piece of Madison Avenue nonsense is that it foments the notion that golf should be treated like a joke.
Sure, there are people who feel that way. We’ll all seen them. If we’ve been really unfortunate, we’ve had to share a foursome with them.
They are out there to get blasted, not get birdies. They mainly want to know how far it is to the beverage cart, not how far it is to the hole. The only score they care about is the number of cocktails they can guzzle.
It is exactly the attitude that golf courses have fought to eliminate. It is why coolers no longer are allowed on most courses. It is why marshals have to be more concerned about drunks than slow play.
One bad group can ruin the day for a lot of people, especially those playing behind them. Of course they’re taking longer to play – they can barely see the ball. They probably hit it about as far as the guy swinging one-handed in the beer ad.
But there’s an even more big-picture side to this issue. As much as alcohol is a problem at many courses, I’m just as concerned with the lack of effort the ad glorifies.
A simple question: Let’s say you’re playing tennis, and your opponent deliberately keeps hitting the ball into the net or over the fence or three courts over – anywhere but back to you.
Would that be fun? How long would you let that go on before you just said, “OK, that’s enough.”
How about an even simpler activity: You’re tossing a baseball or football back and forth, and your throwing partner chooses to throw it at your feet or over your head or just stops throwing it entirely. How long would that last?
So let’s take this idea back to the golf course. Again, surely you’ve seen it.
Someone in your group is having a bad day – a REAL bad day. Rather than just accepting the fact that this game can do that to you sometimes, they stop trying. They purposely overswing or attempt crazy shots or maybe even swing one-handed, just to show their displeasure with how things are going.
Maybe they threaten to walk off the course. Quietly, you mutter to yourself that maybe that would be a good idea.
Are their shenanigans fun to watch? Do you start doing the same thing because you want to be like them? If the answer to either question is yes, you’re playing the wrong sport.
We all have an obligation to make the day better for those around us. That means you try your best – no matter what.
It doesn’t mean that you take three minutes to analyze every shot.
It doesn’t mean that you go ballistic when you don’t hit the ball just right.
And it certainly doesn’t mean that you casually bump the ball one-handed down the middle of the fairway.
Look, I get it. I know that some people are never going to consider golf a sport. They just want to go out there once or twice a year with a social group they enjoy and spend four-plus hours talking and laughing and, yes, drinking.
Golf isn’t as strenuous as tennis. Your main opponent is the golf course, not someone waiting for you to deliver a ball to them. And it certainly can drive you to drink sometimes.
But we owe it to our playing partners to know golf etiquette, play quickly and efficiently, and be mindful of what will brighten their day.
The goal should not be to get drunk and turn those four-plus hours into a boozefest. Trying your best on every shot shows respect for the game and for your playing partners.
If that’s not how you feel, I’ll bet that about 98% of the people out there – and 100% of golf course operators – would rather that you take your lame act elsewhere.
Because anything less is an insult to the rest of us.