It All Tends To Make Me Wince

I really do like the fact that the trophy that goes to the winner of The British Open Championship is termed "The Claret Jug". The great championship begins today. Its trophy, which resides with the current champion for a year before they must return it to the Royal & Ancient Golf Club for reissuing to the new champion, is modeled after an old Claret serving vessel. For those who golf and appreciate wine, this has to resonate.

My most recent encounter with a combination of Golf and Wine was playing in Inertia Beverage Group’s annual Golf Scramble at Chardonnay Country Club in Napa last weekend. I played a horrendous round of Golf, but probably had more fun debasing myself and the game than I have in quite some time.

I admit I also very much enjoy the idea of a major golf championship being hosted by an organization that calls itself  "The Ancient & Royal". Not even the most posing developers of golf resorts would dare suggest theirs is such a thing.

It’s appropriate that my first introduction to golf in fact occurred in Napa Valley years ago when my father took me to the Silverado Championship that used to be played over in Napa Valley. I wasn’t a golfer then. But I loved picking out a foursome of pros with my father and following them around the course all day. This is how my dad liked to watch professionals. Pick a group and stick with them. Back then I recall it was usually the foursome, my father and I, and about 20 or so others who followed them the entire time. It didn’t look much different then than it does today. The clothes were often still funky, the grass a perfect pitch of green and the talent enormous.

I don’t think my father ever got past being a 17 handicap. And he wasn’t much of a wine drinker either. For him it was hacking and bourbon. He thought a great deal of both.

I like the British Open Championship for a lot of reason, not the least of which is the Claret Jug and the historic context. But the more I think about it, I think my father had it right. I’m not convinced that wine and golf are the obvious pairing that marketers make it out to be. I think it just so happens that folks with above average incomes happen to like wine and golf. So the marketing is natural. But the pairing of the two is not necessarily natural.

In fact, I’m liking the bourbon and golf pairing much better. Both the game and the drink really need to be approached slowly. Each sip and each stroke needs to be appreciated on its own. And I tend to wince both when I stroke the ball and when I swallow bourbon.

Posted In: Personal


3 Responses

  1. Gordon - July 17, 2008

    Thanks for reminding me, I didn’t even know the open started today…no tiger = no hoopla.

  2. Ian - July 20, 2008

    Tom, surely in honor of the Royal & Ancient of St. Andrews you might consider a wee whisky with your game.

  3. Pete - July 28, 2008

    Tom —
    Good stuff…. The golf writer Damon Hack (seriously, that’s his name!) last year penned a nice piece about the jug and its travels with various winners over recent years.

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