Albuquerque native Mark Ball was playing in a charity golf tournament a while back when he heard the magic words, “Free beer!” A craft beer lover, he was disappointed to learn it was all macro brews, but that in turn gave him an idea, one that he quickly shared with his wife.
“He walks in with this grin on his face and I’m sitting there already at the bar with my drink,” Ashlyne said. “He says, ‘So, I have an idea. … How about we do a golf tournament that features craft beer and then we can partner with different charities in the area that we visit?’”
From that idea came Drafts & Drives, a charity golf tournament that teams up with local craft breweries and a local charity. The Albuquerque edition is set for Friday, July 24, at Desert Greens Golf Course on the west side. It will feature 12 New Mexico breweries with Paws & Stripes as the chosen charity.
“For Albuquerque we partnered with Paws & Stripes,” Ashlyne said. “In Texas we partnered with another veteran-based charity to benefit with at those tournaments. We kind of focus in on at the craft beer of the area and the charity of the area, because obviously we’re an outside company coming into a city. We wanted to keep it more local and support more local. That’s kind of our idea, keep it an Albuquerque thing or a Houston thing or wherever we visit.”
Choosing Albuquerque as a Drafts & Drives city was an easy one for Mark.
“I was born and raised here in Albuquerque, went to Eldorado, graduated in ’97,” he said. “My whole family lives here. It was just natural to come back to one of the best beer cities or states, I’d say, in the world. I think they have world-class beer here.”
The participating breweries are ABQ Brew Pub, Albuquerque Brewing, Bosque, Canteen, Distillery 365, La Cumbre, Marble, Pi, Ponderosa, Red Door, Santa Fe, and Turtle Mountain. The set-up for the tournament will work as follows, Mark and Ashlyne explained.
A 1 p.m. there will be a shotgun start, which means the four-person teams will each tee off at a different hole. Each hole will feature either a brewery or another sponsor. When at a brewery hole, players will have a tasting glass and a card with tickets for 12 samples, so he/she can cash it in for the beer of their choice in the form of a 4-ounce sample.
“That’s pretty much the premise of it,” Ashlyne said. “We give them the taster glass and the taster card. They go out onto the course and breweries are set up on different holes throughout the course. As you get to that hole as you’re waiting to tee off you get the opportunity to go get your swing booster, as we’re calling them. (Laughs) You get to taste beer and enjoy beer and be on the course and get to have some interaction with the brewery (staffers).”
T-shirts will be provided thanks to New Mexico Bank & Trust. After the round is over, there will be an awards ceremony, with food served and a silent auction featuring all sorts of swag and gift cards, including items donated by local MMA fighters including Carlos Condit. There will also be a “Cap Pull,” where participants can pull out a bottle cap with a number that will correspond to a donated specialty bomber from one of the participating breweries. Some of the beers will have been brought out of the cellar, so it is not just what is available around town right now. There will also be a grand prize basket featuring five to six rare bombers.
There are still spots available, though the deadline to sign up is this Sunday, July 19. You can still sign up online at the official site. The cost is $125 for all the golf fees and beer and swag. The majority of that entry fee will go to Paws & Stripes, as it should.
If you have any questions about Drafts & Drives, you can contact Mark and Ashlyne via their site, Facebook, or Twitter (@DraftsAndDrives), or just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward it to them.
Golf and beer for charity. We cannot think of a better way to spend a Friday afternoon.