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The Daily Tar Heel

A Guide to 'Bar Golf': UNC's classic senior tradition

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Blue Cups, a signature of the Chapel Hill bar He's Not Here, are pictured on April 15, 2023. He's Not Here is a "hole" for senior bar golf. 

Visiting 12 bars in one night while wearing your best country club golfing attire may sound like something out of a funny dream, but for UNC seniors, “Bar Golf” is one of the most anticipated nights of the year.

Held this Friday, Bar Golf is a longstanding, senior-led tradition unique to UNC. While wristbands are sold out, seniors who missed the sale can still participate in the tradition apart from the organized event.

“It’s a rite of passage,” He’s Not Here General Manager Fleming Fuller said about the night.

The event begins at 8 p.m. and the ultimate premise is to have at least one drink at each of the popular Chapel Hill bars, while keeping score of the drinks one consumes.

Fuller said the hype leading up to the event is part of what makes the tradition so exciting.

“I mean, when do you get an opportunity to have 1600 people playing the same game?” he said. 

In terms of game rules, the night follows that of a traditional golf outing — 12 bars or 12 “holes” and each drink serves a certain number of points. 

“Every bar is different, but at most bars there's three drinks,” Senior Emily Grund said. “The first drink will be something small and if you drink that, that's a bogey. And then if you get the second drink, that’s par, and then if you drink a third drink, that's eagle.” 

Traditionally, a par is the expected score of the hole, while a bogey is one stroke over par, and an eagle is two strokes below par.

In traditional golf fashion, the participant aims to keep a low score, which in this case translates to drinking heavily. 

“It can get a little wild,” Fuller said. “There will be a lot of water distributed, I can tell you that.”

The solution for many? Bringing a “caddy,” or a non-senior friend who is 21 years old and can help participants consume unfinished drinks so they can maintain a low score through the night. Alternatively, a caddy can simply watch over players during the game. 

“They go with the seniors, making sure they get to their destinations and everyone's a little bit together so it doesn't get too chaotic considering there's a lot of drinking involved,” Senior Hunter Burch said.

He also said he knows that while the night will be one of drinking, it is ultimately a celebration of the seniors’ time at UNC.

The game is a chance for celebrating community spots at UNC and “reminiscing on the times we've had,” according to Burch.

For Grund, this celebration marks not only one milestone, but two. 

Grund had to red-shirt her senior year last year after a battle with leukemia kept her from participating in UNC’s Dive Team. 

She still participated in Bar Golf that year with her friends, but sickness from chemotherapy forced her to cut the night short. Now that she is cancer-free, she is excited to give Bar Golf another run.

“I'm excited to finish it and I'm excited to do it with the senior class this year, who were all of our caddies last year,” she said.

Grund’s story aligns with what Fuller believes to be the greatest aspect of the night.

“I think it's understanding how great it is in the sense that it gets a lot of people from different walks of life— all the seniors— to hang out and co-mingle and it sort of breaks down social barriers,” Fuller said.

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