How much beer SHOULD you drink on the course? I asked a pro.
On the entertainment family tree, golf and beer drinking are cousins.
Think about it. Overswing, and the odds of you hooking or slicing jump. Overdrink, and, yes, you’ll swerve. Underswing, and you may be failing to get the most out of your game. Underdrink, and you may be left feeling thirsty. Golf and beer drinking get along, too. For the most part. The trick is, of course, finding that Goldilocks number — what’s the best amount of beer to drink that will allow me to still play the best golf I can play.
So I asked a pro. At beer and golf.
Gemma Dryburgh is playing the LPGA Tour this season, has won three times on the UK-based Rose Ladies Series (including once at Royal St. George’s) and played in a final-round final grouping last year with world No. 1 Jin Young Ko. In short, the Scotswoman knows her golf. Dryburgh is also backed by the Scotland-based St. Andrews Brewing Company, toured some of the hippest beer spots in Brooklyn when she was in the area for an event, and recently spent an hour with me on a Zoom call talking beer and golf — and drinking. She knows her hops. And I was curious. At one point, I even apologized for getting too drunk on booze questions.
“Yeah, I like it. It’s good,” Dryburgh said. And then we toasted again.
Now, she’ll readily be the first to admit that she’s no scientist on the matter. But I did think I’d get a good answer to this question: How should a golfer drink on the course?
Then she asked me a question.
“For performance or for enjoyment or both?”
“Both!” I said.
“I’d say I haven’t done much drinking on the course, but when I have, I’ve still wanted to play well,” Dryburgh explained. “I’d say I get one, maximum two beers and sip them slowly. Like, I don’t think you can have much more than two and feel like you’re playing to the best of your ability, but maybe some people can. Maybe some people can. Maybe it calms them down. But for me, after probably one, it kind of goes downhill. So for performance, it’s not, not great.”
“Have you ever had — and we don’t need to get into too much detail — have you ever had, we’ll call it, a more spirited round?” I asked.
“I haven’t actually,” Dryburgh said. “In the UK, we don’t really drink on a course. It’s obviously just after the round. So I know in America, that’s kind of the culture, isn’t it? Taking off and put some beers in the car and have a few.”
“Sure, yeah, yeah,” I said.
“Yeah, I haven’t actually had a boozy round, which I will need to have at one point.”
OK, two beers a round. Or a beer per nine. But what kind of beers? The hop bombers? Or one of the lighter fares? Much like the beer-to-golf ratio, it’s something in the middle, she said.
“Yeah, probably a lighter one, I’d say,” Dryburgh said. “You know, kind of three to five, no more than five percent alcohol. And I’d say the lighter beer is probably best.”
One last question for the pro. What about the heavy heavy stuff?
For you, dear beer and booze fans, I asked which she would prefer: a flask in the bag or a cooler in the cart.
“Oh, that’s a good question,” Dryburgh said. “In the UK, I’d say flask, but I guess it gets chilly in America, too. It’s nice to have a wee dram — or a wee snifter, we call it — at the turn or, you know, during the round. Keep you warm. But then if it’s like a hot day, kind of, you know, got the car going like, I’d say a cooler would be best.
“It depends on the situation.”