Interbay’s Lunch Bucket Bliss

The act of smashing an object, of whatever size, with enough force that it hurtles through the atmosphere until it crashes onto trim green grass, bouncing and then rolling to a final resting place so far off that the eye can barely register its existence: This is what it feels like to be a god.

Naturally, then, golf is a game that has long been associated with power. It requires vast tracts of land, empty afternoon hours and hired help. It’s a game synonymous with big business deals, the pastime politicians accuse each other of indulging too much. It’s also a sport that carries a regrettable history, stained by exclusive clubs that require pale skin, greenbacks and a Y chromosome for admission.

But not so at Interbay Golf Center, a golf mecca that’s literally on the other side of the tracks from the Magnolia neighborhood. Interbay Golf Center exudes an egalitarian vibe, requiring no membership and a reasonable fee to play the game of titans. Nowhere is this truer than on the driving range, where a power lunch costs $11.

The Lunch Bucket—with its blue-collar moniker—is the Center’s midday food special and the most liberating lunch in the city, capable of transforming the lowly ditch digger, cubicle jockey or freelancer into a momentary Master of the Universe. It comes with a sandwich, a handful of chips, a fountain soda and a bucket of 68 balls.

Don’t be intimidated. Upon entering the facility, proceed to the deli. There, ask for the Lunch Bucket and choose a sandwich from the menu. Nothing too fancy: The Roasted Turkey Sandwich, slathered with cranberry mustard, is a pleasant surprise and the Interbay Roast Beef Sandwich is robust and flavorful, a clubhouse meal that might get some respect from Rodney Dangerfield. Fans of acronyms should order the P.G.A.B.L.T. (Perfectly Great Amalgamation of Bacon Lettuce and Tomato).

Eat your sandwich in the deli or out on the patio, or take it with you through the back door and onto the range. The Interbay Golf Center is one of the best driving ranges in the area, featuring 80 stalls on two levels. The stalls are rarely full and most of the time one of the 40 heated stalls on the first level is available. If you don’t own clubs, they’ll lend you a set.

Settle in and relax like a big shot. Take bites between crushing drives while discussing the highs and lows of the stock market, or the progress of your Kickstarter campaign, or the great deal you got on tube socks at Value Village. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Because when that little tractor comes out to collect the balls scattered across the range, king and pauper alike are aiming for the same thing.

Photo by Nate Watters.