From an early age, my dad taught me that the approach shots were just as important as the rest of your game. As your irons get dialed in these strokes become natural and often the most rewarding. My father is not a man of big analogies or long sit-down talks. Only now as I sit down and write do I realize so much of what my dad taught me through golf I have applied in my approach to life.
Golf is a game of etiquette. There are rules and guidelines for your behavior, and how to treat the course and the other players. The game is structured but creative. It tests your patience and demonstrates what is possible when you are able to string the perfect strokes together. It is social, but dependent on your own skills. And if you love it, it makes you tenacious; you always come back for another round.
I missed making a lot of father/daughter moments while living out of state for ten years. When I returned to Maine, my family decided to celebrate our love for trying new things by agreeing to play 18 holes at a new course every Father’s Day. We love trying new things and giving it “100” (pronounced “hunnid” in this household) in reference to always striving to do our best.
We have played golf as a family my entire life and have made indelible memories at Fairlawn Country Club. Yet our annual Father’s Day rounds stand out. I can share at least three cherished memories from each of these rounds, and not one of them has to do with any strokes. Instead I recall moments of closeness, joy, and levity. Watching my brother donate his entire bag into every obstacle at Old Marsh is favorite; helping my father decide to become a “Boat Guy” was another.
Gopher It was born with these memories in mind. Our beloved Bootleg Fireworks fans long clamored for a replacement. We decided on a bombastic, heavy-hitting Triple IPA to satisfy their thirst. Our previous seasonal, Innuendo, demonstrated that a project could be fun, close to your heart, and successful. We wanted to pull from another cult phenomenon. We looked to the time of year. It was Spring and my thoughts turned to golf days with my dad.
On staff we are fortunate to have a group that loves to golf. Naturally there was an undeniable draw to bring to life another fan-favorite film, this one involving my cherished family pastime and a little rodent. With a lot of banter and some expressive Caddyshack film quotes, we sat and reveled in all of the possibilities. The eventual determination was the label had to be of the gopher blowing up a hole. We needed to illustrate the explosion of flavor Gopher It would ultimately possess. The result: A hole in one.
Personally, I love the idea of bringing our fans a bit of fun and personality in our beer. But Gopher It is extra special. It highlights a game both my Baxter family and related family cherish. It recalls fond memories and some unforgettable wisdom: “I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen, and all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.”
Words to live by.
For all the dads, mentors, and father-figures out there who have helped shape us for the better, thanks! This day (and beer) is for you.
Happy Father’s Day!