Find elegance, efficiency (or both!) with these fancy and functional flasks
Photo: Jeffrey Westbrook/Styling: Miako Katoh
Fall golf is arguably the best golf. Good prices. Comfortable weather. Those colorful leaves. What’s not to love? Here, in our Fall Trips package, our experts ready you for everything fall golf (for this year or next). We’ve unveiled favorite fall courses, resorts, value spots, must-have apparel and more. The goal? To educate and motivate you for your next golf trip. So read up, then grab your clubs and bags, and maybe a sweater or two.
It was a frigid, windy winter day in Ireland, circa 2008 — the kind of weather that requires so many layers you can barely bend your arm enough to swing the club. But it was dry, and I was playing golf overseas for the first time, so being cold was no excuse to miss out on the adventure.
As a strictly fair-weather golfer, this kind of on-course discomfort was a new experience for me. The cold was positively bone-chilling. But then, halfway through the round, salvation came in the form of a piping hot Irish coffee at the halfway hut. It was just what the doctor ordered. One gulp and the whiskey did its work. My shivering immediately subsided, a warming sensation coursed through my limbs, and I felt a new energy to battle on with the round.
Our friend and playing companion, Colin, explained that he keeps a flask of whiskey in his golf bag year-round for just such circumstances. You never know when a “wee nip” will need to be called upon to save the day — or simply your round.
Such is the great power of the humble flask, a handy, concealable vessel created to discreetly house the libation of your choice. Up until that blustery Irish day, I’d never held a flask, let alone taken a swig from one. But you can bet from that day forward, I considered it an essential piece of golf equipment — especially when playing in the cold you might experience in the fall or winter.
Now that I’ve become an Arizona transplant, the need for warming spirits on the course has lessened substantially. But the usefulness of maintaining a few ounces of hooch handy remains.
Perhaps you’re a fan of Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz’s popular GOLF podcast and are familiar with the concept of “birdie juice” — that is, celebrating a birdie with a tasty libation. Depending on how and with whom you’re playing, this can potentially involve a sizable bar tab. So, instead of downing an entire cocktail, many golfers keep a few mini bottles of their favorite spirit in their golf bag for sharing with their playing partners whenever the occasion demands. But, as anyone who has enjoyed a serving of birdie juice knows, it tends to disappear rather quickly. (Especially in a net format.)
So, unless you plan to stock your bag with multiple miniature bottles of alcohol, investing in a flask is a much more prudent way to observe the birdie juice ritual. And, options abound, from the classic Stanley flask, which holds eight ounces of liquid, to innovative features like those of High Camp’s Torch flask and VSSL’s model, which incorporate shot glasses directly into the design.
So, which flask is best suited for golfers? While that will vary from person to person, I decided to ask someone who knows his whiskey from his, ahem, whisky. Brian Cox is the vice president of Dewar’s Scotch Whisky, North America, and the first thing he recommends is to pay close attention to your flask’s material makeup.
“I am against the old traditional pewter or sterling-silver flasks,” Cox messaged recently via email. “I have always found that they are very difficult to keep clean. But stainless steel does work. Just make sure you don’t use dishwashing soap to clean it or you’ll never get rid of the smell and taste of soap.”
Wise advice indeed. And Cox brings up an important point: A proper flask should not impart any of its material’s flavor into your spirit. The ivory ceramic flask from Misc. Goods Co. is fully glazed both inside and out to avoid the possibility of tainting the spirit with any unwanted flavor as well as to preserve the spirit without diminishing its quality.
Guy Sporbert, a certified whisky specialist and the senior Scotch ambassador at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, Ariz., brought up another salient point for flask shoppers: Prioritize quality.
“Don’t go too cheap because you don’t want any good whisky leaking into your pocket due to poor construction,” he emailed. “And don’t forget to also invest in a funnel, which is important for filling.”
More prudent advice, to be sure. One more nugget before you go: Don’t waste a drop.