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Whiskey Shaped the Game of Golf?
Do you ever wonder why a round of golf is 18 holes and if whiskey shaped the game of golf? Do you ever wonder why a round of golf is 18 holes?? Picture yourself on the windswept links of St Andrews, the Scottish birthplace of golf. Way back in 1764, the members of this ancient club teed off on a sprawling 22-hole course.
“22 holes!?” I hear you exclaim. “But I’ve got dinner reservations!”
Well, four of those holes were short, like “putting on a green the size of a picnic blanket” short. So, the St Andrews crew decided to cut the runts of the litter, turning two pairs into one. And voila, the 18-hole golf course was born!
Whatever you want
When someone asks why we play 18 holes, I love Jack Nicklaus’s answer: “I think the golfers will be playing on Mars before they change the 18-hole rule.” Yep, even the great Golden Bear knew not to mess with tradition.
Speaking of tradition, have you ever heard the tale of whiskey’s role in golf?
Imagine a chilly morning in Scotland. You’ve got your kilt, your clubs, and a shared bottle of the local firewater to keep you warm. The early Scottish golfers, they loved their whiskey, you see. And what’s a wee round of golf without a nip or two of the good stuff?
Rumor has it, the whiskey flask held about one shot per hole. But after the 14th, the flask would run dry. Distraught, the golfers thought, “We can’t have this! Our drink is outpacing our game!” So, some believe this led to adding four more holes, rounding up to a neat 18.
While this story might be more fiction than fact, it sure gives a fun twist to the links between golf and whiskey. As Sam Snead, a golfing legend, once said, “Keep close count of your nickels and dimes, stay away from whiskey, and never concede a putt.”
So next time you’re out swinging your clubs, whether it’s for a sunny afternoon or a quick 9-hole run, remember the intriguing origins of the 18-hole course. And if you enjoy a glass of whiskey while you’re at it, just make sure you have enough to last you all the way to the 18th hole!
Oh, the famous golf and whiskey story! Get ready for a good old-fashioned tale that ties these two together tighter than a double knot on a golf shoe!
So, here’s the deal. The tale says that way back when, Scottish golfers used to carry flasks of whiskey to warm their spirits while they took their swings. The flasks, being just the right size, carried about 14 shots of the good stuff.
The Scots, being equal parts practical and fun-loving, matched the number of holes they played to the number of whiskey shots their flasks could carry. As a result, their rounds were limited to 14 holes. But, you know, the game always seemed to end a bit too early for their liking.
They found themselves on the 14th green, putts sunk, flasks empty, and thought, “Why not stretch this out a bit?” So, the clever Scots added four more holes to their round, making it 18 in total. This way, they could carry larger flasks filled with enough firewater to last them through the extended game.
While the tale is a fun one, it’s likely more of a myth than historical fact. Most historians agree the establishment of 18 holes as the standard comes from St Andrews, as we discussed earlier.
But hey, next time you’re out for a round, remember the story. As Lee Trevino, a golfing great, once said, “I’m not saying my golf game went bad, but if I grew tomatoes, they’d come up sliced.” If your game is going south, perhaps a wee dram of whiskey might just set it straight again, or at least make the roughs seem less rough!
So, whether it’s the history, the myths, or simply the love of the game that drives you, remember to enjoy your time on the course. Golf is a game of patience, precision, and occasionally, some pretty entertaining anecdotes. So go on, friends. Play like the pros. Laugh at the anecdotes. And treasure the charming idiosyncrasies of golf, the game we love so much.