Golf and alcohol go together quite well. It seems that every golf cart now has a built-in cooler on one side, or at least plenty of room in the standard wire basket to hold a few brews and some ice. This is to say nothing of all those cup holders and other storage space up front.
So with that in mind, and with St. Patrick’s Day coming up this Friday, we decided to look for golf courses with alcohol tie-ins, whether in their names or their histories.
Here’s what we discovered:
Whiskey Creek Golf Club – Ijamsville, Md. – One of the top-rated public courses in Maryland, Whiskey Creek was designed by Ernie Els and J. Michael Poellot and opened in 2000. It’s located in the greater Frederick area, about 35 miles west of Washington, D.C. Definitely one of the top public course options in its area.
Ole Still Golf Club – Hickory, N.C. – Originally called Rivercrest Golf Club, Ole Still took on its new name right after the Karl Litten-designed course was renovated in 2014. It is the first North Carolina course to use Sunday Bermuda grass for its putting surfaces. The course’s logo depicts an old-time double-pot whiskey still. Hickory is in the foothills of North Carolina’s gorgeous mountain country, making the course a nice stopping point for a round for those visiting communities like Boone, Plowing Rock or Linville.
Bootleg Gap Golf Course – Kimberly, B.C., Canada – Les Furber designed Bootleg Gap’s championship 18-hole course, as well as a companion par-34 nine-holer called the Recreational 9, which tops out at less than 2,700 yards. That might be a good start to the day if you’re feeling hungover.
Rum Pointe Golf Course – Berlin, Md. – Designed by Pete and P.B. Dye, Rum Pointe is a mainstay in golf vacation itineraries of visitors to the Ocean City, Maryland area. Despite carrying the Dye name, Rum Pointe is on the tamer side, with the only tees carrying a Slope rating higher than 120 being the 7,001-yard tips.
Eagle Vines Golf Club & Chardonnay Golf Club – American Canyon, Calif. – These two Napa Valley courses sit on adjoining properties, and their histories are tied up with one another: Chardonnay was originally 27 holes, but Eagle Vines took on nine of them, and Johnny Miller designed the other nine to bring Eagle Vines up to 18 holes. It’s a convoluted history, but there are more important things to mull over when you’re playing these courses, like which local wine to pair with the evening’s dinner.
Wine Valley Golf Club – Walla Walla, Wash. – Architect Dan Hixson is set to become the next big household name once people start visiting his reversible Silvies Valley Ranch course in rural Oregon this year, but his Wine Valley course in southeastern Washington – an underrated grapes-growing region – has been delighting golfers since opening in 2009. It may not be reversible, but it’s well worth playing if you’re in the area.
Renault Winery Resort & Golf Club – Egg Harbor City, N.J. – For the uninitiated, “New Jersey Winery” may sound like the punchline to a joke, but in fact the southern part of the state is home to some underrated vintages. In fact, Renault Winery has been in operation since 1864, and its boutique hotel attracts oenophiles for overnight visits. The golf course, designed by Ed Shearon, opened in 2004. The tee boxes on the par-4 16th hole are surrounded by active grapevines. The course is an attractive option for Atlantic City-bound golfers.
Canyon Lakes Golf Course & Brewery – San Ramon, Calif. – Many rounds of golf are followed by a cold beer, but seldom a cold beer brewed in the clubhouse. But that will be soon be a major perk of playing at Canyon Lakes, whose on-site brewery is in the permitting process. For now, visitors can enjoy a selection of craft beers from Canyon Lakes’ sister brewery: Idaho’s Kootenai River Brewing Company.
Sweetens Cove Golf Club – Pittsburg, Tenn. – This nine-hole course just west of Chattanooga and designed by the nascent King-Collins Golf Course Design firm, has set tongues wagging since it opened a couple years ago. Despite its small footprint, it has quickly acquired a reputation as one of the best courses in the Volunteer State. The alcohol connection? Sweetens Cove’s logo is a whiskey barrel with the initials “S.C.”, and the club’s overseers intend to develop their own whiskey recipe in the future.
High Pointe Golf Club – Traverse City, Mich. – Why are we including a course – Tom Doak’s first solo design – that no longer exists on this list? Because more than a third of the land on which the course was built was recently converted to a hops farm. It’ll no longer produce birdies and bogeys, but beer instead. Of the news, which was announced back in 2015, seven years after the 2008 closure of the course, Doak wrote, “My first born turns to alcohol.” We hate when a course goes away, but there are worse fates.
Does your home course – or one of your favorites from your travels – have a boozy history? In honor of the upcoming holiday, we hope you’ll tell us all about it in the comments below!