The hot dog is the building block. It’s the default order when you’re playing an unfamiliar course. Or when you get to the turn and don’t know what you want.
A base model costs around $3, can be ready in less than a minute. And is a blank slate for toppings and condiments. You can hold it in one hand as you’re walking to the next tee and wolf it down in three or four bites without taking off your glove. And—let’s be honest—even a mediocre one on a grocery-store bun tastes pretty good with a cold beer or an iced tea.
The hot dog does its job.
But the best golf food aspires to do more than just deliver quick calories, carbs and protein between nines. It stands out. It’s almost as much a part of the playing experience as the tee shot on a signature hole or the view from the 18th tee.
You remember it.
We asked more than 2,000 players nationwide—from pros to average hackers—to name their favorite golf-food item. The rules were straightforward. It had to be something on the regular menu at a halfway house or clubhouse in the United States and something you could conceivably eat at the turn. (That means the lovely dry-aged steak dinner at your club doesn’t count.)
The response was overwhelming, with nominees from Hawaii to Maine and all points between. Our voters covered the staples in all shapes, sizes and accessories—from giant custom hot dogs to hand-ground boutique burgers. They also identified clever and unique dishes that are a fundamental part of the history of the course or club where they’re served.
The runaway winner, Olympic Club’s iconic burger dog, checks both boxes with authority.
The quarter-pound offspring of a marriage between a fresh-baked hot-dog bun and a premium, cigar-shape burger, the burger dog is both familiar and new. The ultimate testament to the burger dog’s status? Served for more than 60 years in the same form from the same nondescript stand, the $7.50 sandwich is probably more memorable for a first-time guest than any hole on Olympic Club’s Lake Course—where five U.S. Opens have been played.
You don’t need a membership at an exclusive golf club to enjoy what the best halfway houses have to offer, either. Municipal, daily-fee and resort courses are all represented on our list—from the “Best in L.A.” wings at Griffith Park to the homemade barbecue at Streamsong in Florida and Prairie Lakes in Texas.
And if you prefer your food ahead of your round instead of in the middle, we have a couple of go-to places for you. Coronado’s prime-rib machaca burrito sets the breakfast standard, along with Jefferson Park’s version of the BLT—which includes avocado and a fried egg.
It’s a great time to be a golfer with a few bucks in your pocket and a few minutes before you need to hit your next shot.
The Best Half Way Houses in the USA – #3 Sounds Fantastic!
1. BURGER DOG
Olympic Club, San Francisco
With Hollywood types, some hyperbole is to be expected. The hamburger shaped to fit a hot-dog bun has become a part of the 156-year-old club’s landscape—literally. Originally created by Bill Parrish for his Hot Dog Bills stand outside the club’s Lake Course, the sandwich became so popular with players stepping across the street for a food break that Olympic asked Parrish to move the stand inside the grounds to serve as the halfway house.
Bill’s daughter, Candy, took over the operation in the 1980s. Today, she, her husband, Jack, and her two sons, Max and Grahm, oversee three stands across Olympic’s 45 holes and practice range and cook up roughly 200 burger dogs each day for lucky members and guests. The star of the show hasn’t changed a lick since the beginning: a quarter pound of ground chuck (85 percent lean) formed into an oblong patty, cooked medium rare and topped with cheese, red relish, mustard, dill pickles and onions.
Parrish isn’t possessive of the burger dog’s secrets. The recipe is on the Hot Dog Bills website. And she’ll even sell you a plastic mold to get the torpedo shape just right. “It’s a good grind of meat, a really hot grill and some salt and pepper,” Parrish says. “And the bun? It has to be toasted.”
Pictures: Will Styer (Lobster BLT on a ciabatta roll, Belgrade Lakes (Maine) Golf Club.)
Thanks for reading – The Best Half Way Houses in the USA – #3 Sounds Fantastic!