Forget the granola bar. Skip the hot dog at the turn.
I've discovered the ultimate golf course snack: Spam Musubi. I know I'm late to the party on this one (I've heard my friends talk about it before), but I recently got my first taste at Poipu Bay, the coastal gem on Kauai that hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994-2006, the glory years of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
I know what you're thinking. Spam? I had my fair share of Spam nightmares growing up. After my parents' divorce, I loathed many a meal my dad cooked with Spam as the main course.
Spam Musubi, however, is considered a delicacy in Hawaii. It's essentially a sushi roll with a seaweed wrap and rice complementing the grilled Spam. Poipu Bay's version of a breakfast Spam Musubi included hard egg scrambled like an omelet and jasmine rice instead of the more traditional sticky white rice.
I wanted to order another one, but the cart girl was sold out on her next pass. That's a common problem. Diann Hartman, the communications director at the neighboring Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, which handles the food and beverage service for Poipu Bay, said the resort kitchen staff makes 60 a day for the course, and they all sell out. That's nearly 22,000 Spam Musubis eaten on Poipu Bay every year! Each one costs a mere $4, which is much more affordable than the rest of the menu on a high-profile resort course like Poipu Bay.
Spam sushi might not sound perfect for golf, but it is. It's easy to eat on the go. There's no messy condiments like ketchup or relish to ruin your shorts. There is no melted chocolate on a hot day. It's delicious and probably healthier than a hot dog or burger. You can take a couple bites, wrap it back up and go hit your shot. Mine didn't last more than a hole or so.
There are plenty of other legendary golf snacks out there. Fruit. Nuts. Chips. Beef jerky created by a PGA Tour caddie. My fellow GolfPass scribe Tim Gavrich swears by this granola bar he discovered at the American Club in Kohler, Wis., site of this fall's Ryder Cup. Just hit up Google for all sorts of snackable options. None of them have ever felt as satisfying to me.
I always end up eating at least two burger dogs whenever I visit Silverado Resort in Napa or, on the rare occasions, The Olympic Club in San Francisco. The binge might explain why I never play well at either place.
I'm convinced Spam Musubi elevated my game thanks to a nice calorie boost that didn't include sugar or unnecessary extras. Sadly, I've always felt like a choker on the golf course. Whenever I have a good round going, I melt under the pressure of the closing stretch. After devouring a Spam Musubi, I played the back nine even par at Poipu Bay, something I'd never done before.
Now I'm on a crusade to bring Spam Musubi to a beverage cart near you. I believe it could be popular on the mainland if it ever crossed the Pacific. Who's with me? Back in California, I'm still searching for that next bite of Spam Musubi and, perhaps more importantly, the sweet taste of another even-par back nine.
What's your go-to golf course snack? Let us know in the comments below.