Nobody has quite figured out whether golf is recreation or religion. My best guess is that it's both. (My wife, on the other hand, thinks it's just a glorified outdoor board game, like Sorry! with sand traps.) The mystical aspects of golf are about as notorious as Gerald Ford's slice. The whispering of hushed-voiced commentators during Sunday PGA coverage, for example, works like an incantation on La-Z-Boy golfers everywhere, subliminally urging them to call in sick on Monday, dress in styleless white shoes, and head for the nearest links.
The last time I played golf was in a celebrity tournament in Sonoma, where I got stuck with a dawdling caddy whom I nicknamed "Lagger Vance." In spite of the delays, I racked up a score of eight over par in a field that included Tommy Smothers as well as a few well-known Sonoma winemakers who like to scoop divots when they're not busy squeezing the tannins out of Zinfandel. I admit I'm no Tiger Woods, but it wasn't an entirely bad performance for someone whose idea of a long drive is the one to his mailbox.
Wine is a lot like golf in some respects. It makes for great recreation (at least the way I drink it). Both wine and golf have their hallowed pilgrimage sites, too: Pebble Beach and St. Andrews for golf; Château Margaux and Romanée-Conti for wine. Some golfers actually retire to the cellar after the 18th hole, as these three bottles show.
GREG NORMAN ESTATES 1999 LIMESTONE COAST SHIRAZ ($17)
Known as "The Great White Shark" for his imposing stature and