Jason Kokrak’s passion is collecting. The payoff is a houseful of liquid gold
In the era of prodigious purses and savvy strategic thinking, pro golfers are making it their business to be in business outside of their sport, while show-biz stalwarts and superstar athletes like Steph Curry, Peyton Manning and Andy Roddick are discovering that the smart money is in golf itself. In our Golf & Business package (which you can also find in the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of GOLF Magazine), we’ll go inside their wallets.
Part 1: Why Abraham Ancer and Mark Wahlberg teamed up in the tequila business
Part 2: Bubba Watson the businessman is a lot like Bubba the golfer
Part 3: How ascendant attire brand Johnnie-O made a splash on the golf course
Part 4: Why Peyton Manning is making cold calls about this 9-hole golf course
Get Jason Kokrak going on bourbon and he might not stop. Buffalo Trace this, William Larue that. It’s been only a few years since the Tour winner’s brother introduced him to this liquid gold, but Kokrak already talks like a master distiller. He’s memorized his preferred flavor profile. He handpicks barrels. And when he’s pegging it with buds back home in Ohio, well, “normally, between the four of us, the bottle doesn’t make it past the 18th hole.”
At any given time, Kokrak’s suburban-Cleveland estate houses his wife, their two kids and between 250 to 350 bottles of bourbon, depending on how much he’s been consuming, gifting or sharing with fellow Vitamin B fans. He and his pals regularly host bourbon nights, where each guest brings a varietal of their choosing. Hosting privileges are established up front: The leftovers are yours to keep.
“I’ve got a great group of friends who are all bourbon nuts,” Kokrak says. “They like to come over here and drool at my collection because I get some of the stuff you don’t see very often on shelves.”
It doesn’t hurt that the logo stitched onto Kokrak’s Tour garb belongs to Kentucky bourbon brand Eagle Rare. It’s a money deal with real perks, including a “select” Kokrak pour.
Kokrak’s fetish for collecting — and spending good chunks of his prize money on it — isn’t unique among Tour pros. Pat Perez is mad for Air Jordans; Ian Poulter for Ferraris. What separates Kokrak is the everyday commitment he brings to it. Wherever the Tour takes him, it’s not uncommon for him to play a Tuesday morning pro-am, then spend the afternoon mining local liquor stores for something he’s never seen before.
“‘In the wild’ is what we call it,” he says.
When he lands his amber bounty, Kokrak tapes down the caps and swaddles each bottle in his checked luggage. Another treasure worth hauling home — and raising a glass to.