Golf and beer (I think I’ve covered a topic of that combination before…) are fairly common things to see in tandem. Golf courses are known for having “Beer Angels” and 6-pack specials. Some golf carts - and even bags now - come equipped with a built-in cooler to help you keep the brews cold.
We have a responsibility, as a state liquor licensee, to ensure that all of our guests are served with the well-being of all possible parties in mind; that includes the several hours after the round when one might be driving home. With that in mind, I’d like to address the idea of “bringing your own” alcohol to a golf course.
The first, only, and most important point is this: it is against the law to bring outside food or alcohol to an establishment that has a food or liquor license, respectively.
That being said, most golf courses are not checking every bag as it gets loaded onto the cart. Policing every guest is simply not a feasible solution, and generally just isn’t worth the effort. We can’t stop everybody from bringing alcohol with them onto the course, and its probably not always a huge deal. But, that doesn’t mean it’s never a big deal. There are a couple things that do tend to happen, and can lead to very dangerous circumstances.
One: glass bottles. This is an outdoor venue and activity. Golf carts drive fast and there are bumps. The last thing anyone needs is to find broken glass the hard way. This is the reason I don’t even consider anything in glass containers for stocking the beverage carts.
Two: responsible consumption. Alcoholism is a real thing, and affects more people than some of us realize. Some of us are able to control our consumption more than others. This is simply a fact of life. The way this affects us, as a licensee, is if someone brings their own, consumes it all, and then stops in after the round for a bite and decides to have another beer or two. This is a risky situation because, despite the training and education that bartenders are required to have in the state of Michigan, their first contact with the guest is after they’ve already consumed an unknown amount of alcohol. If someone had been purchasing it on the course, the beverage cart attendant can relay information about how much has been consumed and inside of what time period. If that pint of beer, or shared pitcher, happens to be the tipping point that puts someone over the legal limit, any and all actions that result from this person’s activity are now the course’s responsibility. It doesn’t matter that they only served him one; as the licensee we are responsible for all alcohol consumed on our property. Penalties that could potentially result from this include a hefty fine or loss of license for a minimum of two years.
Having said all that, I enjoy drinking some
beer, myself. I enjoy everything under the sun, from porters to sours. I like
to keep a rotating variety of some seasonal or craft options, as well as the
big name domestics. I shop my prices, and I keep everything as reasonable as
possible. With that in mind, I ask you: please don’t risk our license to save a
few bucks. You’re not only breaking the law, but asking someone else to break
the law for you.