A friend wrote me this week for a bit of party advice: My father is retiring at the end of the month, and we're putting together a celebration for him mid-June. He's asked for something low-key and he's an avid golfer. He and Mom go wine tasting and are going to host a wine bar for the event, but I haven't pinned down any other ideas regarding food or decoration. It should probably be golf-themed and the food should be more hors d'oevres and snacks instead of an actual dinner. I saw a photo somewhere of cupcakes with green frosting and toothpicks with golf flags on them, which I will probably incorporate, but Dad likes pie better than cake, so I'm thinking maybe some sort of dessert bar would be in order.
Thanks for writing, Melissa! I did a little thinking and can't help but want to steer you to a retro summer golf party. All the more so if you can host it outside, which will give it a casual backyard BBQ feel perfect for an open house. Lime green and lemon would be great colors. Create golf flags to label each table "Food," Drinks" and "Gifts," or get creative and use retro fonts to print custom signs like "Chipping and Sipping" for your wine bar. Serve Key Lime and Lemon Merengue Pie, and pair them with your cupcakes or even golf ball cake pops. Let guests pour their own Arnold Palmers—half iced tea/half lemonade, named for the famed golfer—from a spouted drink dispenser.
Decorations can be simple and color driven. Make a lemon and lime party bunting to hang above a door or on an outdoor fence. Search secondhand stores and friends' attics for vintage golf gear to display. Put out colorful golf umbrellas with lawn chairs below for shady outdoor seating. If you have a cement patio, round the edges of some astroturf for a miniature "green" under a few of the chairs.
You can go any direction with food, but I say keep it light and easy to eat with a napkin or small plate. Serve club sandwiches pre-quartered and secured with a golf flag-topped toothpick. Scoop potato chips into favor bags or cones rather serving them in a big bowl. Serve additional hors d'oeuvres that don't require heating or chilling.
Congratulations to your father on his retirement! I know whatever you decide to do it will be a wonderful, relaxed occasion.