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Province pushing booze-in-the-golf-bag drinking with liquor store promotion

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May 12, 2016 - 8:00 PM

KELOWNA - A golf course manager from the Okanagan says the province is encouraging the long-standing “bottle-in-the bag” tradition of drinking while golfing, while at the same time requiring operators to monitor their customer’s consumption.

Ian Robertson, general manager and owner of Kelowna Springs Golf Club, says a photo one of his staff members took recently at a local government liquore store suggests Big House pinot grigio and zinfandel in a can are “great for the golf bag”.

“He showed it to me and we kind of laughed about it but then it started to bug me,” Robertson says.

He says the entire grounds of a golf course are considered licensed premises, and as such, require staff to have their Serving It Right designation and monitor customer’s consumption levels.

Robertson says that runs counter to the long-standing tradition some golfers have of drinking while golfing from the ubiquitous bottle-in-the-bag, which he describes as a “nation-wide issue” for course operators.

“The problem has always been how can we monitor it if we don’t know it’s there,” he says. “The issue revolves around liability. If someone gets drunk from their “in-the-bag” liquor and has an accident, golf courses are exposed because the entire course is a licensed facility.”

He thinks there would be an uproar if the same type of marketing was used to sell booze to nightclub patrons.

“Imagine a B.C. liquore store promoting the sale of pocket size liquor or wine bottles as 'great for the nightclub - skip the line-ups at the bar.' This is no different.”

Robertson has fired off a letter to the B.C. Liquor Control  Board complaining of the practice and asking how they plan to get local managers be more sensitive when marketing their products.

"It's probably just some local manager who just wants to move some product, but they need to think it through," he says.

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