Me and my mates did the ultimate pub golf night out in the Toon, here’s how you can too
All the gear and clearly no idea…
In my house, we have something called a wildcard system. “What’s a wildcard system?”, I hear you ask. I had the exact same question when my brother, Sam, told me about it. To summarise, whenever you feel like you haven’t socialised enough as a group (or you need confirmation that your flatmates are still alive), you are granted the chance to “pull a wildcard”. This can be anything: a bottomless brunch, cute day out at the beach. Whatever you like. The only downside is, you get one a year so you need to make it count.
Now, initially this system was supposed to be “spontaneous” – something to do on a whim, if you will. However, with various housemates having different commitments, it’s more of an RSVP event which needs a stupid amount of planning. Regardless of this, it’s 100 per cent worth the effort, and choosing pub golf as mine was a great decision. My fave thing about the wildcard? The power is in your hands. Your card, your rules. For me, this meant I was pretty much the referee the whole night and nobody could say anything about it (I had the whistle and everything).
I think the majority of students are familiar with the rules of pub golf, but let’s recap anyway:
- You must visit either nine or eighteen pubs (it’s optimistic to choose anything over nine).
- Each pub is essentially a “hole” and you must make a certain number of pars per place.
- To win, you need the lowest score. AKA, the least amount of pars: one par is equivalent to one attempt, so basically down that pint!!
For every pub, we added some extra rules. For example, when ordering a baby Guinness at Quattros, you had to do an Irish accent (borderline offensive, but we didn’t get kicked out so that’s a positive). Another was the toilet rule; nobody was allowed to break the seal in Osbornes. Shot myself in the foot with that one. The best of the bunch though? Taping every pair together in Spy Bar. Such fun. Having said that, I made the mistake of using the same arm as my partner. Very painful and actually not so fun.
(Side rules: + two points for falling over, + five for spillages, + 10 for being sick).
I don’t want to sound basic but asides from the drinking, the visors were the main reason I chose this activity. I like an excuse to dress up, okay? (Promise I’m not a furry, just really into costumes…). Anyhow, we’re talking polos, a skirt or chinos and some knee-high socks if you’re feeling fancy. Basically something which screams “I can’t play golf but I’ll feed into the stereotype”.
Will you look like a complete melt? Of course, but that’s the whole fun of it! Like I said, I was in referee mode so I had the whistle, a notebook and a couple of cards which I used at any given chance. Lateness? Yellow card. Don’t like your outfit? Red card. I had far too much power.
Being the typical Jesmond students we are, it only made sense for us to tee off along Osborne Road. Ah, what a place. Now, we did take price into consideration and hence we skipped the bars which didn’t quite fit the budget (Pheonix, I’m looking at you). On top of this, we set a timer for twenty minutes per place. This was an absolute game changer, plus it gave us the opportunity to leave before we were asked to.
Considering it was a Friday, we actually found a table in most places; Bar Blanc was practically dead but maybe this was because it wasn’t £2 Tuesday. Anyways, we started here and ordered pints. Admittedly, I did fall at the first hurdle and much to my teammate’s disgust, I ordered a cider instead of the lager agreed by the group. But hey – my card, my rules. This was a par three and our first rule was to drink left-handed. If you didn’t, that’s + five points I’m afraid.
Moving onto Quattros. You know the drill: drink, do a silly rule and then ditch. In Osbornes, it was VKs. I have to say, some super judgy looks were thrown our way. I’m sorry an Ice VK isn’t your tipple of choice on the golf course, but no need for a death stare. This was par two and I have to confess, it wasn’t as easy as I’d thought. The utter chaos of trying to guzzle from such a ridiculously made bottle…I would rather save the turtles and use a straw.
Pub number four was potentially my favourite of the night. Picture this: we get to Spy (well, seven out of the nine of us anyway), we’re waiting in line for a drink. Everyone’s smiling, having a nice time – completely clueless as to their fate. Suddenly, I open my bag. The players are in disbelief. They clearly didn’t read the rules on the group chat. I whip out my masking tape and start wrapping wrists together. A few incriminating mugshots are being taken, it’s all fun and games. Think again, it’s my card so my rules. “You’re stuck together until Lonsdale”, I say. “Also, that’ll be nine double vodka lime sodas and it’s a par two” (I can do maths btw, the other players did eventually turn up).
Next we have The Lonsdale, otherwise known as “freedom”. What a lovely pub. Probably too lovely which is why the server ignored us and our visors for a solid ten minutes. Nonetheless, we patiently waited to order cocktails. This was also a par two but you had to tap your glass on the table before every attempt. Again, not the most realistic when you’re drinking gin. Also, changing the subject completely – did anyone else not know that there’s free merch on the stairs of this pub? Either that, or we’re tote thieves.
To keep ourselves entertained inbetween bars (because clearly we can’t hold a conversation with each other for more than two minutes), we set some missions. Firstly, we had to hop on the metro and hang from Haymarket to Monument (by hanging I mean holding onto the monkey bar handles…it’s harder than it sounds). The second was to jump through the hole outside The Gate. Shoutout to NUWRFC for making us do these on socials, it’s really shaped me to be the person I am today.
For hole number six, we did actually venture into The Gate (don’t ask me why). Unlike the Five Swans which we should’ve gone to, every bar in here was dead. I know The Keel Row Spoons probably isn’t your typical hotspot, but I didn’t realise it would be SO quiet on a Friday night. Do people dare not go in or do they simply not know it exists? Probably best they don’t.
The drink of choice in here was cider (not the most creative but the rules had gone out the window by this point). Technically I was supposed to have beer to make up for Blanc, but I don’t do beer so that was the end of that. Yes, I did use the “but it’s my wildcard” excuse every five minutes. What about it?
To keep things convenient, we moved next door to WonderBar. I’m pretty sure every time I’ve been in here I’ve seen a group of golfers. Unfortunately, there was no-one else around and so in turn, we became those people. Besides this sad reality and the fact we were two people down, the shots were good. The demographic, however, slightly questionable. In fact, we did have a few awkward dance battles with 40 year old men. The most upsetting thing about WonderBar other than these weird interactions and the upstairs being closed? The DJ. One song. I asked for one song and the guy wrecked it. Murder on the dance floor simply does not need a remix, sir.
Right let’s not beat around the bush. After this, we (and by “we”, I mean housemate Phil) jumped through the hole, before heading to Sinners. You had to do a shot in here and then proceed to get in the cage. I love the cage. More people should get in the cage. Little bit blurry from what I remember, but the music was good and it made for cheap drinks. Before we get to Hole nine (which we did, kind of…), I just need a quick rant.
Two housemates could not join the wildcard (they couldn’t get time off work…pathetic excuse), so we decided to go and surprise one of them on our way to the final pub. Given he bartends at Filthy’s, we thought surely there wouldn’t be an issue. How very wrong we were. Apparently they “don’t do fancy dress on a Friday night” and so we were refused entry. For starters, what do you mean you don’t do fancy dress on a Friday night? Secondly, what makes you assume this isn’t our normal attire? Complete costume discrimination right there.
Onto the final stretch – so close yet so far. Realistically, we knew we’d never get into Market Shaker without joining that horrendous queue, and so being as impatient as we are, we went straight to Pumphrey’s. Good trebs, good vibes, good DJ (take note, WonderBar). What’s not to love? As you can imagine, all rules went out the window and we were, yet again, down a few players.
“And then there were three”…and then five again. Crazy how things work out, especially when you find yourself in the queue for Soho. All in all, a very eventful night and I can’t recommend pub golf enough. Not only is it a great excuse to dress up like an idiot and drink like a fish, but it’s the perfect way to get the housemates out (well, most of them anyway). Final words of advice: get yourself a visor and guard it with your life. Also, don’t expect to keep count – I still have no idea who actually won.
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