Cigar Aficionado

Enough Cigars?

I was standing in the kitchen going over a few boxes of cigars. My wife, the lovely Manuela, was slicing some vegetables for the grill.

“What do you think?” I asked. “Five guys, four days of golf, three boxes of cigars. Good?”

She paused, giving the matter serious thought. “I’m not sure,” she said. “You might need some more.”

I loathe running out of cigars, especially when I’m heading on the road. Day trip? That calls for a handful of cigars. Two days? Many more. In this case, I was preparing for a four-day-golf trip to Myrtle Beach. I knew I needed plenty of heaters.

A long time ago, a guy I knew went on an eight-day trip with a dozen guys, and he brought precisely one dozen cigars. And he was the designated cigar supplier. His idea was to save the smokes so they could all smoke together on the last night.

Are you kidding me? Out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by gorgeous campgrounds and forest, and you don’t want to light at least one cigar a day? No thanks. Not my way of traveling.

You’ll be happy to know that I took Manuela’s advice, which is always a good idea. I brought four boxes of cigars, including a box of Padilla 1932 Lanceros and a box of La Gloria Cubana Reserva Figurado Selectos de Lujos, plus a few Arturo Fuente Short Stories and a smattering of other smokes.

Two of the guys on the trip are colleagues from Wine Spectator magazine, James Molesworth and Bruce Sanderson. James, perhaps the world’s biggest golf fan, planned the trip, and Bruce took care of the wine list. We also had a fair amount of beer, as well as a bottle of Booker’s Single Barrel Bourbon. We weren’t lacking in any department.

We played five courses on the trip: Barefoot Love, Barefoot Dye and Barefoot Fazio, plus True Blue and Caledonia Golf and Fish Club. We played more golf in four days than I typically do in a month. We landed on Thursday and screamed to our condo, dropped our bags and zipped to the Barefoot Fazio golf course, where we played 9 holes in a light drizzle. That under our belts, we cooked a huge meal, washed it down with fine wine (for the wines we drank, read Molesworth’s blog) and then headed out to the balcony to enjoy the cool air and smoke cigars, which we paired with the Booker's. On Friday we played 36 holes (True Blue and Caledonia), on Saturday we played another 36 (Dye and Love) and we wrapped it up Sunday with 18 at Fazio.

Sadly, it seemed as if everyone in America was playing Love at the same time. It’s a fine golf course, with pristine greens, but it’s more crowded than the New York subway. We waited on every tee box, including a good 20 minutes on the first hole. It took us 5 1/2 hours to play, which is ridiculous.

Caledonia, however, is an utter gem, one of the most memorable courses I’ve played. It’s a gorgeous track, with 100-year old twisted oaks draped in Spanish moss, narrow fairways and a stunning finishing hole requiring a 100 to 200 yard carry over a pond to land on a green sitting near the back porch of the posh clubhouse. It almost has an Augusta feel to it. If you’re ever in Myrtle, do yourself a favor and play this course. I had a nice up and down over the creek on the par-3 11th, turning a short tee shot into a par.

Alas, that was one of very few golfing highlights on the trip, as my game was very rough. But I brought plenty of cigars.

"Tanner, I like your philosophy. You can never have too many.Gensho, I've always wanted to play in Hawaii. If someone would just start growing cigar tobacco there, I could be all set..." —May 29, 2007 14:52 PM
"umm...if you ever need a sixth...I'm free whenever! Sounds like a truly memorable trip!!! for another great golf experience...I suggest going to the Big Island of Hawaii. Has some of the most picturesque golf holes in the world...I highly suggest brining a camera with you!" —May 27, 2007 13:50 PM
"The way I do things... I take as many as I "need" out of the humi, then double it." —May 22, 2007 20:17 PM