Eat, Drink, Golf

The author on a spiritual journey of self-discovery and inner peace at Ireland's Doonbeg combining two of his favorite things.

If I get one more press release from a hotel offering an Eat, Pray, Love package, I am going to shoot myself.

I have nothing against Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller of the same name – my wife read it and liked it. In fact, I have some helpful advice for Gilbert: if these big name hotels are actively selling packages, and presumably making a profit, by invoking the name of your (copyrighted) book, shouldn’t you get a cut of the action? Something to ask your lawyer about. Then maybe I won’t get any more releases.

The book, I think, is about a woman with a midlife and marital crisis who goes on a literal and figurative voyage of self discovery featuring food (Italy), spirituality (India) and romance (Bali).

So now, every hotel that has an Italian restaurant, yoga and Balinese massage, and that is a lot of hotels around the world, from New York City to Paris and way beyond,  is rolling out Eat, Pray, Love packages. If you think eating lasagna and taking an Ashtanga class will solve the issues in your life, by all means sign up for one of these stupid packages.

Fortunately golfers, especially male golfers, are far simpler creatures. When they have stress or confusion in their life it can usually be solved quickly and easily by overeating, overdrinking and going on a golf road trip. So for all the men in crisis out there, I have created three perfect packages. I call them Eat, Drink, Golf. Each one addresses all the key activities to varying degrees.

Trust Dr. Larry – your path to enlightenment starts here.

Need proof that God loves you? Look no further than Ballybunion's dramatic Cashen course.

Eat, Drink, Golf Ultimate Road Trips:

Ireland: The food is the best you are going to find in the British Isles, much better than nearby Scotland, and the drinking is legendary between pubs, Guinness and Jameson et al. But it is the totally world class golf, maybe the best on earth, that stands out. We are talking the totally renowned and epic, like Ballybunion, Lahinch, Royal County Down, Waterville, Royal Portrush, the newer but still really good like Doonbeg, Lough Erne, Tralee and the European Club, and the hidden gems well worth discovering, Ballyliffin, Ardglass, Royal Belfast, Rosapenna, County Sligo and so on and on. In terms of meeting my criteria I rate it, best to worst, Golf, Drink, Eat.

Las Vegas: The golf here is good, but unless you are playing Shadow Creek, the one true world class course, it is secondary to the other angles. The drinking here is off the charts, whatever your taste. If you like buying a life sized plastic guitar filled with frozen margaritas (I kid you not!) and riding the monorail while cocked, this is the place – probably the only place. It is at one end home to ludicrously cheap beers (I like Fitzgeralds casino for really divey drinking), ludicrously expensive fine wines (everywhere now) and the nation’s most expensive cocktails (try the $99 margarita at Isla in Treasure Island). But the food is equally off the charts and after New York, Vegas is the nation’s best eating city. Again, you’ve got the gamut, from cheap and enjoyable (buffets, old school shrimp cocktails and prime rib dinners downtown) to great middle of the road places (Todd English P.U.B., Noodles) to arguably the nation’s best Thai (Lotus of Siam) and an unparalleled array of fine dining and Michelin-starred celebrity chefs, headlined by the very best fine dining restaurant in the country (seriously, sorry French Laundry), if not the world, Joel Robuchon at the Mansion. Vegas Rates Eat/Drink, Golf.

Riviera Maya, Mexico: Okay the appeal here is total excess. If you thought Vegas was over the top, wait till you try one of the two major all-inclusive golf resorts, the Iberostar (very good PB Dye course) or Moon Palace (strong 27-hole Nicklaus signature plus second very good Nicklaus Signature off site course, Riviera Cancun). Each has many different restaurants (seafood, Italian, Mexican, fine dining, sushi, casual) all of it all-you-can-eat. It is also all-you-can-drink, they are not shy about top shelf stuff, and they start early then never stop. My favorite is the beverage carts at the golf courses, also all-inclusive. Order a cold cerveza, drink half, it’s hot here, so you go to putt out and return to your cart to find your half finished warm beer gone and brand new cold one in its place. I dare you to finish a round sober. Mexico covers all the bases in a quantity over quality, gluttony driven, forget your troubles kind of way: Drink/Eat/Golf.

Such spiritual journeys often require a visit to a guru, in this case a lesson for your's truly in pouring the perfect pint at the Guinness plant in Dublin.

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