In the intricate tapestry of contemporary leisure pursuits, golf has emerged as more than just a pastime—it’s a cultural phenomenon. With an impressive surge, the United States currently boasts an estimated 25.6 million golfers, marking a decade-high in the sport’s popularity. Amidst the backdrop of over 16,000 courses, 43% of the world’s courses, an intriguing intersection unfolds between avid golfers and the 28.3 million smokers in the United States.
Today, we delve into a nuanced facet of this convergence, exploring the conundrum faced by smokers who seek a leisurely round of golf. As they navigate the emerald landscapes, a burning question arises: Can you smoke on a golf course?
Embers on the Fairway: Deciphering Smoking Policies
Whether smoking is allowed on a golf course depends on the specific rules and regulations of that particular course. They often have their policies regarding smoking, and these policies can vary. Some courses may have designated smoking areas, while others may prohibit smoking entirely due to fire safety concerns, environmental considerations, or to maintain a certain atmosphere. It’s essential to respect the rules of the course you are playing on and to be mindful of other golfers.
If you’re unsure about the smoking policy at a specific golf course, it’s a good idea to check with the course management or consult the posted rules and guidelines at the facility. Additionally, local and regional regulations may also impact whether smoking is allowed in outdoor spaces, so it’s essential to be aware of any broader restrictions that may apply.
The bottom line? Smoking is likely to cause you an issue if you wish to step out onto the green. So, if you wish to emulate Brooks Koepka’s achievements on your local course, you may need a different strategy.
Swinging Nicotine-Free: Strategies for Golfers
The first bit of advice worth heeding is this – if you’re a golfer and a smoker, it really is best to quit. Golfing can have all manner of health benefits, but they’ll be pointless if you’re puffing away on a cigarette while walking around the course.
However, quitting may not be that easy, and it shouldn’t be something that stops you from getting out on the course right now. If you are a smoker but you want to play 18 holes on a course that prohibits smoking, then you’ll need to investigate products referred to as NRTs, nicotine replacement therapies. These are products that replace the nicotine hit you get from burning tobacco with an alternative delivery method that is not socially frowned upon.
One such method that may be useful is nicotine pouches. They’re small pouches that sit between your gum and lip and dispense a hit of nicotine orally. There are multiple brands, such as On! and ZYN, which deliver different strengths, such as 4 mg and 8 mg for different levels of smoking. For really heavy smokers, there are White Fox nicotine pouches, which can deliver a 22.5 mg hit, which should satisfy even the harshest of cravings whilst you line up a putt. The big drawback from a golfing point of view is pouches only last for around 30 minutes, not long enough for a full round. However, they can be disposed of in a handy tin you carry in your pocket.
Another option would be a nicotine patch, the granddaddy of all NRTs. Patches have been around for years, and they stick to the skin like a band-aid, delivering their hit over a much longer period of time. Products such as the Nicoderm QC nicotine patch contain 7 mg, 14 mg, or 21 mg but generally disperse their nicotine over a 24-hour period. That makes it suitable for golfing, but it may feel awkward when you swing. There are other options, such as gum and lozenges, which may also help you get around 18 holes. The key is to find the NRT that works best for you but doesn’t affect your handicap.
If your long-term aim is to lower your handicap, then you should consider stubbing out the cigarettes for good. However, if you want to get out right now but struggle to avoid lighting up every half an hour, there are NRTs that should have you covered.