Golf. Beer. For many people who enjoy our game, the two often go together, whether it’s a couple of cold ones at the turn or post-rounder at the 19th hole. No one has a better understanding of that connection than beer-golf-travel writer Tom Bedell, who’s spent years and traveled thousands of miles pursuing his fascination with both and then sharing his observations with us all in the pages of numerous magazines and books during an award-winning career.
Bedell joins hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch for a wide-ranging and unique discussion on the latest episode of “Talking GolfGetaways,” which focuses on the beer side of golf when playing the great courses and destinations available in Alabama as well as other hot spots around the country.
Tom begins by detailing how his journey began, moving from local reporter at a newspaper to freelancer covering the subject he loved most: beer. He explains how he was able to focus first on the world of beer and then, after starting to play golf again, how he could combine the two and truly turn his work into a perfect lifestyle, traveling the world for magazines such as Travel & Leisure Golf, Virtuoso Life, and Golf Connoisseur.
He continues by discussing one of our Golf Trip Experts team’s favorite American destinations — Alabama — and shares some of his favorite stops in the state relative to enjoying great golf and great beer. The RTJ Trail and its Silver Lakes facility, Pursell Farms/FarmLinks, and Kiva Dunes near Gulf Shores all top Tom’s list of great golf-beer locations. He talks about the explosion of craft beers, slow to arrive in the South but now booming, mentioning the Northern Alabama Craft Beer Trail, which, at last count, features at least 12 breweries.
Tom’s advice when picking a good craft beer? “Think globally, drink locally.” And Tom and Darin discuss a favorite spot for them both, the legendary Flora-Bama beach bar in Gulf Shores, swapping tales of its famous drink, The Bushwacker. For real.
Bedell also talks about a few of his favorite other great golf-beer destinations, putting San Diego (and its U.S. Open-led pedigree of courses) and Vermont (his home state and with more breweries per capita than anyplace in the United States and great golf at the Country Club of Vermont, Jay Peak, Stowe Mountain and Brattleboro Country Club) at the top of his American list, and Northern Ireland as the newest of the craft beer destinations he favors.
Advice for finding great local craft beers? Find one you like, and when traveling ask for a similar local brew.
The great takeaway after listening to this pod is that with the availability of fantastic craft beers everywhere, including in cans on the golf course, those who love one of the world’s oldest drinks are in luck — just as we were to have Tom Bedell visit and school us on how to up our beer game.
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