Golf and Beer: The Perfect Match

By Andrew Hudgins, @andrewhudgins15

The Waste Management Phoenix Open has become a bucket list item for many. Photo via PRNewswire

The Waste Management Phoenix Open has become a bucket list item for many. Photo via PRNewswire

In the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, only a few miles away from Old Town in Scottsdale, a stadium sits in anxious arrival of a group of rowdy, boisterous fans that are ready to watch golf and...drink beer.

The Waste Management Open, also known as “The Greatest Show on Grass,” is historic for drawing some of the largest crowds to a golf tournament. The main attraction at this tournament: The “Stadium” hole on ‘16’ seats 20,000 people.

It has become customary for attendees to dress in their “Sunday best,” while soaking in the beautiful, warm weather at the end of January that draws snowbirds southwest for the remainder of the winter months.

The game of golf has always been considered a classy sport where the attendees are expected to be on their best behavior and dressed appropriately. When it comes to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the model has been flipped on its head with the drinks flowing and people enjoying great rounds of golf.

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Golf as a sport is still fairly new to the alcohol sponsorship game. Back in 2010, the PGA dropped a majority of the restrictions that would keep players and tournaments from being sponsored by spirit companies.

According to a Sports Business Journal piece from Jon Snow, “The PGA Tour was the last major U.S.-based sports property still banning sponsorships from distilled spirits." 

A 2013 study in IEGSR shows that, “North American companies [spent] an estimated $1.6 billion to sponsor professional and amateur golf tournaments”

Alcoholic beverages, banks, and insurance companies are the three most active categories sponsoring golf with Anheuser-Busch racking up 8% of golf’s worldwide sponsorship.

Also looking to constantly market to a younger crowd and generation, The Waste Management Open is a perfect opportunity to tap into the collegiate market for the PGA. With most of the attendants being college students, Smylie Kaufman just may become a fan favorite after the big weekend.

Kaufman signed a record endorsement deal with Natural Light aka ‘Natty Light’, a shockingly cheap beer that is a fan favorite amongst college students. The endorsement will align perfectly with their target market.

Kaufman “bro-ed out” after inking the deal with Natural Light by putting on a throwback Wizards jersey representing the Red, White, and Blue and building a ‘Natty Light’ throne, all the while sippin’ on a cold one.

Much like Tiger Woods having fans scream, “mashed potatoes,” after a drive, ‘Smylie’s Army’” will blurt out “BOOM TOWER,” signaling everyone in the surrounding area chug their beer.

Mark Zarthar, a brand manager for Natural Light thinks Kaufman is a great fit for the company as an athlete sponsor. “Smylie perfectly matches our consumer base…People who drink [our beer] work hard, but like to have a good time with their buddies," he noted in a piece by Darren Rovell.  

If Kaufman can continue his success in the game of golf, he better be prepared for his newly acquired fans to yell “BOOM TOWER” while he’s throwing one back in the clubhouse. Chug on, Mr. Smylie, chug on.


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