Golf season is finally in full swing among most golfers around the world. So whether you’re at the turn or just finished up on 18, grab a barstool while I putt around some thoughts on the nineteenth hole.
- Nineteenth Hole?
For those of you unfamiliar with the nineteenth hole, it is a reference to any bar, pub, or restaurant golfers stop at for food and drinks after finishing a round of golf. Many golf courses, knowing golfers tend to be hungry and parched after a long round on the course, have a bar or lounge built right into their clubhouse. Making it an easy and convenient choice for golfers to get a beer or two with a bite to eat after spending four hours or so chasing a ball down eighteen holes. Hence the name nineteenth hole.
The size and quality of these places can vary greatly. For instance, some golf course clubhouses may house a 5-star restaurant home to a renowned chef, with a full bar, large beer selection, and indoor or outdoor seating overlooking an amazing view of the surrounding landscape. While others may only have a refrigerator for the three types of light beer they carry, a tired coffee pot, some candy bars and chips, with a couple folding chairs to sit on. Regardless of the condition or quality these places, they still serve the same purpose for golfers, and that is to give them a place to sit down, relax, and hang out just a little longer before returning to the real world.
- The Who’s Who
Unfortunately for most people, myself included, the real world makes it hard enough to find the time to get in a round of golf, let alone staying after at the nineteenth hole for food and drinks. You know with things like a job, a home, a spouse, and children, the luxury of spending nearly the equivalent of an average workday golfing and drinking with pals isn’t really in the cards. So who is hanging out at this bonus hole?
Based on my own observations, the most common golfers I’ve noticed sticking around for the nineteenth hole are men at least 50 years of age and up, and who are either empty-nesters, retired, widowers, or all of the above. They can often be found gathered in groups of 4-8, sharing stories, boosting about triumphs that may or may not have happened, and picking on anyone who happens to venture within earshot. First impressions may have you avoiding them, but if you can make it past their initial hazing, which is usually just a little verbal abuse, they are usually a group of good “old” boys worth getting to know. Especially if they’re locals and you’re curious to hear some different insights on local happenings or want to make a good impression for yourself in the community.
Another group I’ve noticed sitting around the bar after a round are the business type. You know, they are there just as much for work as they are for play. What better way to get to know a potential client or pitch the next great idea to your boss than spending hours in the sun, playing an often frustrating game, and getting an honest glimpse into the real character of the people you’re with. All the while revealing how well you handle adversity as you calmly work your ball out of a hazard and safely onto the green.
So whether you’re 19 or 91, there for business or just for fun, hanging out at the nineteenth hole, if you have the time, is more then just a place to eat and drink after playing a round of golf with the guys or gals. It’s a place where you can hear tales taller than a fishermen’s, learn who your neighbors are and get the latest scoop on what’s happening, network with out of towners there for business, and of course, sulk about your driver being the reason for your terrible slice.
It’s time for me to get my tab. Thanks for tuning in and I’ll see you next week. I’m just going to head home a cover myself in aloe vera because I’m a grown man and still forget to put on sunscreen.
3 thoughts on “The Nineteenth Hole”
If I could make just one exception to my no drinking rule, it would be a Corona with a lime after a round of golf. I miss that more than most of my deceased relatives.
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I first learned to golf at 10 on a Navy supply base course. The 19th hole was like your latter description. Basically vending machines. If no adults were around, we’d sneak cigarette butts from the ashtrays to give smoking a little try.
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You nailed that older crowd right on the head. They do give you a light hazing as a part of the “ritual” to incorporating you into the group, but once you are in it is like another part of an extended family. My buddy and I golf every Thursday and the crowd is just good people. Love the post!
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