Golfers are notorious for continually seeking quick and not-so-quick fixes to better scores.Â They buy expensive new drivers, hybrids and â€œgame improvingâ€ irons.Â They switch to golf balls touting clever patterns of aerodynamic dimpling.Â They gobble up swing aids and instruction books.Â They pay extra to play better conditioned courses.Â Some â€“ relatively few? â€“ golfers even try the extreme measure of better conditioning their own bodies.Â Â Nevertheless, despite all the time and money spent to improve their games, last time we checked,Â the statistical evidence matched our personal, empirical observations â€“ none of it works.Â In other words, the average golf score isnâ€™t actually going down, and hasnâ€™t for a long time.
Which is not to say golfers havenâ€™t experienced real advances on the golf course.Â One area of the golf world thatâ€™s definitely improved of late, in Massachusetts, is in one of everyoneâ€™s favorite aspects of the game â€“ the beverage cart.Â For years, many golf courses in Massachusetts included bars which sold beer, wine and/or cocktails pursuant to so-called restaurant or â€œpouringâ€ licenses pursuant to M.G.L. Ch. 138 Â§12.Â Like any other bar or licensed restaurant, however, patrons had to imbibe right there, inside (or right next to) the premises.
In the Spring of 2009, however, the State Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (â€œABCCâ€) issued Guidelines that for the first time admitted Massachusetts to the ranks of states which allow beer and other alcoholic beverages to be legally purchased and consumed outside, on the links, where the game is played and alcoholic assistance is most directly needed.Â Yes, two years ago, beer carts finally sputtered their way onto courses and up and down golf cart paths throughout Massachusetts.
As an aside, some might wonder how pre-2009 Massachusetts golfers dealt with their poor play (of their notably frustrating sport) without immediate access to alcoholic beverages.Â Others would note that golf bags then and even today possess numerous capacious pockets, and follow the melting ice to their own logical (and sudsy) conclusion.
But back on the legalized links, the ABCCâ€™s 2009 Guidelines set forth rules for the legal sales and consumption of alcoholic beverages out on the course in Massachusetts.Â To summarize:
1.Â Sales and service of alcoholic beverages outside on theÂ course has to first be authorized and approved by the local licensing authorities AND by the ABCC.Â No unlicensed sales â€“ ever.
2.Â Once properly authorized and approved, ALL alcoholic beverages out on the course have to be obtained from the licensee.Â No more smuggled six-packs; not even any unauthorized nips or flasks.
3.Â Signs have to be posted at conspicuous locations, advising â€œno alcoholic beverages permitted beyond this pointâ€.
4.Â Of course, all the usual restrictions still apply:Â No sales to minors.Â No sales to intoxicated persons.Â No delivery of more than two drinks to one patron at any one time. No beverages carried away from the licensed premises.
That last restriction â€“ no â€œcarry-outâ€ â€“ leads to one unusual wrinkle in the legal, licensed sale of alcohol out on golf courses.Â Most restaurants, bars and other licensed premises donâ€™t have roads, streets or even highways running through them, whereas many golf courses do.Â So, how did the ABCC handle streets and other â€œpublic waysâ€ right in the midst of licensed premises?
The ABCCâ€™s golf course Guidelines on this point are clear, and clever.Â First, if your course is intersected by a public way, and you want a single license to cover both sides of the street (and who wouldnâ€™t?), all beverage carts must get a transportation permit from the ABCC.Â Just like the big beer delivery trucks have to have to operate out on the roads.
Second, and perhaps even less obvious except to the liquor licensing cognoscenti, â€œNo licensee shall permit any patron to possess or carry alcoholic beverages in or on a public way.â€Â So, if Mr. or Ms. Golfer buys a beer on the second hole, and must cross a street to get to the third hole â€“ drink fast!Â Or, think of your local beer cart girl as the pre-security gift shop at the airport, and that street between the second and third holes as the TSA â€“ no liquids (of the alcoholic beverages sort) permitted through security!