Can you bring your own beer or alcohol to the golf course?
Golf Culture

Can you bring your own beer or alcohol to the golf course?

A photo of Paige Spiranac

For a lot of golfers, playing golf is not only a physical activity, but it's also a social activity that's an opportunity to escape from the day-to-day grind of life. As part of that escape, some golfers like to drink beer or alcohol while they play. Some golfers like to drink a lot of beer or alcohol while they play -- or even afterward on the 19th hole.

However, golfers are often confused as to whether they can bring their own beer and alcohol to drink on the golf course while they play golf.

Can you bring your own beer or alcohol to the golf course?

Generally speaking, golfers cannot bring their own beer or alcohol to a golf course. It doesn't matter if that course is public or private. Almost every golf course open has a stated policy against bringing in outside alcohol of any kind.

What can't golfers bring their own beer or alcohol to the golf course?

One of the big reasons why golfers aren't allowed to bring their own beer or alcohol (BYOB) to the golf course is liquor licensing. The overwhelming number of golf courses in the United States have liquor licenses, and at the local and state level, there are rules prohibiting those who possess liquor licenses from allowing patrons to bring in outside alcohol. Golf courses can lose their license to serve alcohol on premises if they're found openly violating that rule or even turning an eye to golfers who bring in their own booze. That's one of the biggest motivations behind signage and language all over golf courses that outside liquor is prohibited.

Of course, the other big reason golfers aren't allow to bring their own alcohol to the course is that golf courses want to sell you the booze. Golf courses turn a big profit on beer and alcohol sales. There's a reason the beverage cart is stocked with beer, airplane bottles of liquor, seltzers and all the non-alcoholic stuff they sell. They sell it to players at a huge margin in exchange for the instant convenience of it being delivered to them nice and cold. The same is true for alcohol sold in the halfway house and clubhouse. The margins are great, and they don't want people coming in with their own low-margin products and enjoying them on their premises. It's just like any other business.

The no-outside-booze policy doesn't mean golfers don't bring their own beer and alcohol to the golf course. It just means they have to keep it pretty well hidden. Some golfers will store alcohol in their golf bag in small portions, like a few cans or in a flask.

One great clandestine solution for bringing beer to a course is a beer sleeve. You can store it in the club slots of your golf bag, and it'll hold six or seven beers at most -- plenty for a single round of golf. It's insulated, so the beer (or soda, or whatever canned drink you have) stays cold. Courses may not love it, but, if you drink enough, you will. Just remember to drink a ton of water, too.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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