Is cannabis good for golf?

The marijuana debate is impacting golf on tours and at everyday courses.
Should golf embrace marijuana?

The relationship between golf and marijuana has always been fuzzy. It's getting more confusing by the day.

Maybe the smoke in the room is blurring the lines of what its impact should be on the game. Make no mistake, cannabis is a player in all levels of golf, whether you want to believe it or not.

I've played golf with somebody smokin' a 'j'. (I didn't partake, let alone inhale). There's even a Canadian course, Lombard Glen Golf Course in Ontario, that marketed itself in 2019 as North America's first "cannabis-themed golf course."

The latest craze is CBD oil. Although it's technically not illegal or intoxicating, CBD, a cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp, is making serious inroads in golf as an anti-inflammatory and to ease anxiety. Reports have linked Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to chewing CBD-infused gum at tournaments. At this year's PGA Show, CBD brands had a major presence on the floor in hopes of getting into more golfers' medicine cabinets.

Marijuana is definitely a hot-button issue on the PGA Tour, magnified this week by Matt Every, whose first-round 65 Thursday sat atop the leaderboard of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando. Every, who was suspended last year for 12 weeks for violating the PGA Tour's drug policy, believes the PGA Tour needs to amend its policy on cannabis.

"It bothers me that it's even an issue out here at all," he said. "I think it doesn't do anybody any favors that it's even on the list for a prohibited substance. You could fail for heroin and marijuana and the penalty is the same. If anyone wants to make the argument that that is performance enhancing, they have never done it before. I promise it's not."

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Pros and pot

In an anonymous poll conducted by Golf.com last fall, roughly 60 percent of the 52 players who participated indicated that weed should be legal on Tour. One in five said they had smoked or taken an ingestible form of the drug.

The PGA Tour's anti-doping policy currently follows guidelines set by the World Anti-Doping Agency. This is where the conflict arises.

"I think it would be cool if we were proactive about it and made some changes," Every said. "I, you know, anxiety is a real thing and the way I treat it - like, I know I treat it the healthiest way possible for my body. And, but WADA doesn't think so and the Tour goes by what WADA says. So it's really silly, to be honest. It's really silly. Now I'm kind of fired up about it, so I'm going to stop talking now."

But he couldn't help himself.

"Here's the other thing that's weird," he continued. "The cutoff for THC (in the body) is 150 nanograms. So you could have, you, let's just - we'll use me. If I get tested and I have, and I'm at 145, good to go. If I'm at 155, I'm a drug abuser. That's ridiculous."

Matt Every, seen here playing the famous 18th hole at Bay Hill during the final round of the 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard, is against the PGA Tour's stance on marijuana.

Every, who has won twice on tour but shot 83 in Friday's second round to miss the cut at Bay Hill, isn't alone in his beliefs. Robert Garrigus, who was suspended last year, spoke out against the Tour's policies to golfchannel.com upon his return last July. Garrigus says he was using cannabis prescribed from his doctor to treat knee and back pain. He owns a marijuana farm in Washington, one of the many states where it is legal.

"If you have some sort of pain and CBD or THC may help that, and you feel like it can help you and be prescribed by a doctor, then what are we doing?" he said. "If you are doing marijuana then we should be testing for alcohol, too. If you can buy it in a store, then why are we testing for it? That's my opinion."

Marijuana in the amateur game

The golf course has always been viewed by marijuana smokers as a relatively safe place - wide open park spaces with the only surveillance being the occasional ranger.

I'm sure we've all run into a scenario where golf meets the grass at some point. I got paired with a toking twosome at a Colorado muni a few years ago. They fired up their joints and blue-tooth speakers on the first tee and away we went. It was a perfectly enjoyable round. I can assure you it didn't help them play better, but both hit it well enough to keep up pace of play and didn't endanger anyone. But the one major concern is a golfer high on cannabis behind the wheel of a golf cart. That, just like alcohol, can seriously injure not just themselves but other golfers on the course.

The continued proliferation of states legalizing marijuana may begin to have an impact on where buddies trips choose - or avoid - for their next trip. Destinations like San Diego, Denver and Las Vegas have fully legalized recreational marijuana and dispensaries galore. Will popular meccas like Myrtle Beach, where state laws are more conservative, be left behind? Marijuana is currently legal in 11 states - Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington - the District of Columbia and Canada.

Googling golf and marijuana brings up tons of stories from pro-weed websites that tout "Why cannabis and golf go hand in hand" or "why players who want to score low first get high." Golf Digest even tested the theory in 2018, inviting three Californians to light up then tee it up.

Lombard Glen, the Canadian "cannabis" course, was supposed to change its name to Rolling Greens, but that hasn't happened yet, according to its website. It's probably for the best. I'm guessing the course will alienate more golfers than it will attract by going all in on Mary Jane.

And that's the rub. Should golf - from the tours to the everyday course operators - embrace cannabis or shun it? It's a question that needs a definitive answer sooner rather than later.

Is cannabis harmless in golf or should it be banned? Let us know in the comments below!

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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www.MarijuanaGolf.com

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MarijuanaGolf.com is Golf's #1 Brand FORE the Medicated! Hit the GREEN ™

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If it were legal at the federal level i would most definitely partake. I love golf but suffer from extreme knee and back pain. It would help me.

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MarijuanaGolf.com Hit the Green™

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It's a natural alternative to opioids.it should be allowed.

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MarijuanaGolf.com

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When you go to a store or a Bar, you can wear a hat in doors you don’t need a collar on your shirt on public courses you can wear blue jeans. Golf for amateurs is not always about the score. There are a lot of reasons why golf has become so restrictive. Some of it is the company you keep, the course you play, your political believes.
That being said, they portray pot as a gate way drug. If you talk to most police officers they will tell you alcohol is the reason for most domestic disturbances. But it is easier to bust you for pot. I don’t think pot works very good for your score I don’t use it on the course unless I’m playing with friends and we’re just out enjoying the day feeling the club hit the ball, making a putt. That all being said I once asked a pro at my course that required a collar on your shirt to play. What if Tiger Woods showed up without one could he play. The pro said yes he could. Somethings your dealing with is who is in control. Good luck with that! I believe it was Byron Nelson who said get some calluses on your glove hand and you don’t need one. W C Fields said there is a sucker born everyday.
I have been playing golf for 50 years and I’m sure if I played you for money and you were stoned and I wasn’t. You would still smoke me. Good Luck!

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MarijuanaGolf.com

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George Carlin on one of his 1970's albums said " Mary Jane.....it's in all the anti pot brochures........Nobody ever called it that" You just did

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I'm a 70 year old avid golfer that smokes daily especially on the course. Pot will relax and concentrate the mind. I have shot my best scores and aced #7 at LPGA while on this performance enhancing drug. However, I won't play with loud drinkers or those who spit tobacco on the greens. Weed provides the required pure tunnel vision that eliminates negative thought interference between the hand and eye. You can hear the putts roll.

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MarijuanaGolf.com Hit the Green™

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Is cannabis harmless in golf or should it be banned? - I don’t feel the ever increasing casual acceptance of medical (and) recreational marijuana usage in every aspect of American society, has been (the) key element missing from our culture. The genie is out of the bottle now though. We’ve shackled our posterity with an un-neccasry burden of dealing with the adverse effects of “to much of a good thing” under the guise of health and tax revenue. In short, to appease the short sightedness of the masses, sure, add joints to the beer carts, frankly I’m old and don’t give a damn anymore.

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MarijuanaGolf.com Hit the Green™

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There is no justification for pot to be allowed in the game of golf whether it is in the amateur or professional setting. Promoting this behavior goes against all programs intended to provide educational programs to instill the basis of building character, instill life enhancing values and promote healthy choices. Would First Tee be changed to First Toke, I certainly hope not.

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MarijuanaGolf.com Hit the Green ™

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It’s definitely not a performance enhancing drug. Should it be on the prohibited list? Absolutely not! You are able to take a cooler full of beer in your cart, the club house is happy to sell it to you and provide the ice and cooler. So ease up the rules PGA. and get in step with the rest of society.

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Is cannabis good for golf?