When you're stuck in the middle of a five-hour round, it's hard not to think about the joy that will come when the round mercifully ends. As you kill way too much time between shots, you start to think about the 19th hole, maybe downing a cold one and having a bite with the rest of your group.
Well, a resort in the Algarves in Portugal came up with a way to encourage faster play, and it involves free beer.
The Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort concocted a nine-hole tournament where teams of three were sent out in a shotgun start. Beforehand, with a shot of Merdonho in hand, they were told there would be free beer available in the grill room for the next 1 hour and 45 minutes, but that beer would only be available after they were done with the round.
That was the cue for Brad Walker, Steve Smith and Derek Sanders from the United Kingdom to play their nine-hole round at the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-led 2011 redesign in a blistering 45 minutes, leaving them with an hour of free drinking time.
The score didn't matter at all as it related to the free beer, but the team was 1 under in the gross competition. They were the only team drinking for exactly 5 minutes, as teams joined in after 50- and 55-minute rounds, respectively.
On top of the free beer, there were other team penalties for time-dragging activities, including one-stroke penalties for looking for lost balls (which the resort said they would replace), practice swings, hitting provisional balls and reading a putt from multiple angles.
“Seeing some of the participants in their 70s running between shots was quite a sight and we’ve already had many requests to repeat the experience," said resort operations director António Pinto Coelho. "It will be back again in the near future and perhaps we will come up with a few extra local rules to enjoy.”