OJ Simpson’s old golf haunt, La Riveria, sits on the other side of LA from my downtown crib. That westside country club was the setting for the single golf tournament that I can recall watching with intention. The scene was all the way back in ’95, and The Juice was no longer loose — he was locked up about a mile away from the crib, awaiting trial.
That year, La Riviera hosted the Pro Golfers Association Championship. Had my man Heavy D not spotted me a ticket, I might never have borne witness. As much as I was struck by the power and skill of the tour’s top players, it was golf’s customs that rocked my world: alcohol culture in full peacock bloom, continuous day drinking that Jim Nance hadn’t bothered to rhapsodize over, and caddy culture making it a game for men who have sons or, at minimum, assistants.
Golf was goddamn fascinating. And I didn’t especially care for it. What might happen if one introduced weed? Might that favorably tip the balance?
Looking for weed at Lemonhaze
Around 7:00 am on March 21, I caught the Southbound 7th Street train to Long Beach. My oldest child snatched me up and dropped me off 25 miles down the 5 freeway at Orange County’s Irvine Spectrum Mall. A Lyft driver scooped me at Spectrum and carried me 20 roundabout miles along the southeastern edge of Angeles National Forest — some raw California beauty that I ain’t never laid eyes on before.
Past the obscure Highway 241 sits Coto de Caza, home to the first season of The Real Housewives of Orange County and, on this day, the Lemonhaze Executive Golf Classic. Tragically, the first round of beverages had already happened by the time I arrived. The 122 cannabis executives invited to the classic were out on carts. Tee-offs were happening. I ordered a Greyhound, but weed was on my mind.
Tournament organizer Brian Yauger asked me to join him on his cart and we began making our way from the Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club to the course rimmed with tightly designed multi-million dollar homes. I never would see the pool or court, but Coto de Caza also offers swimming and tennis inside its 44,000-square-foot craftsman-style clubhouse.
We delivered cans of beer to each hole. Every third green or so had a sponsor tent set up adjacent to its foursome.
Yauger, 49, is an Austin, Texas native. In his white Cascata cap, Yauger looked every bit the college ball defensive front seven coach that he was not that long ago. He started Lemonhaze in Seattle a little before the COVID quarantine and moved the operation to Las Vegas last year. An avid golfer himself, Yauger said that he only consumes cannabis at night.
There have been 24 of these events. Yauger covers the golfers’ fees and the money gets made by charging sponsors for the hole-adjacent hangouts. The tournaments have a yin-yang relationship with the company’s Budtenders First parties, a series of events intended to “recognize Budtenders as the de-facto salesforce behind every cannabis brand and celebrate their contributions to the growth of your favorite brands.”
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Donnell Alexander on Weedmaps
Published: May 09, 2022
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News