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Getting high to go low could be a new debate

Getting high to go low could be a new debate

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in California, golfers and course operators are wondering if more players will be smoking before - or during - their rounds.
Tom Hill

Lighting it up on the golf course could soon mean more than playing well, now that voters have made marijuana legal in California. It’s no secret, however, that some golfers have been getting high for years on courses here and across the country.

“I play most of my rounds with a nice buzz,” said a golfer at Santa Anita who asked to remain anonymous. “First off, I enjoy it. Såecondly, I think I play better; I concentrate more on the swing or putt. And third … well, third, huh? I don’t remember third.”

Then he laughed and said he was playing to the stereotype of the forgetful stoner.

“I’ve had my best rounds – in the low 70s a few times, even – when I was relaxed and loose,” he said. “At a different altitude, you might say.”

Improvement in golf skills when high is a common belief among those who, until the law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018, still indulge illegally.

“It’s been illegal all my life,” said a member of an L.A. County course’s men’s club while on the range. “That never stopped me. Sometimes when I stand over a putt and I’ve got the right buzz on, I just know I’m going to make the putt and stroke it so smooth. It will seem strange that it’s legal.”

Smoking marijuana on a golf course technically will not be permitted under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act that California voters ratified with a 56 percent majority. That’s because the AUMA does not allow marijuana smoking “in any public place (other than a business licensed for on-site consumption).”

Smoking in public is also banned in Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington, the first states to legalize recreational use of the drug.

“Legalization hasn’t changed anything, whether they are smoking or aren’t on the golf course,” said Rex Smith, director of golf operations at Bandon Crossings in Oregon. “You don’t notice it, and we’re not selling any less beer.”

There’s a group called Fore-twenty in Oregon that claims it hosts the “largest cannabis golf tournament in the Pacific Northwest.” This year it will be on June 29 in Oregon City at Stone Creek, which opens the place to a host of clever nicknames.



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