Cigar Aficionado

Half Moon Nights

Out here on the East Coast, we are living through a mini-Monsoon season—rain, rain, rain, all the time. Unfortunately, the unusual period of rainforest-like precipitation coincided this past weekend with my club’s annual member-guest tournament, known as the Half Moon Invitational, a two day tournament with about 100 people playing five nine-hole matches divided up into a dozen flights or so created by the total combined handicaps of the two players. For the most part, the rain held off during the day, but each night, downpours turned the fairways to Velcro, and the greens to a slower than normal speed.

I played with a good and dear friend from the West Coast who had last been in the tournament three years ago. He’s been inundated with too much work and hadn’t played much recently, so his handicap index was at an all-time high of 3.7 (Yes, we really hate people like that, don’t we?) We managed to stay competitive, tied for the lead after three matches the first day, but everyone in the flight was within 2 1/2 points of each other. Our second day started with a loss on hole one, and we never really recovered, losing the match 5-4, but we were still within a point of the lead and a point ahead of our morning opponents. But then our morning match opponents, (a four handicap and a zero) turned up the heat in their second match, winning 6 1/2 to 2 1/2 points, and edging us out by 1/2 point after our five and four win. Our afternoon opponents had two putts of approximately 10 feet on the 8th and 9th hole, and sank both of them to halve each hole; otherwise, we would have won our flight. So, it was close, but no cigar.

One of the best moments of the weekend was a Friday night dinner/dance on the club’s west terrace, which has an unobstructed view of the Hudson River. Amazingly, the clouds broke late in the day, and the cocktail hour took place during a spectacular sunset that lasted well into dinner. After the meal, I handed two Padrón Millenniums to a friend of mine at my table (He’d asked me to bring a cigar for he and his guest). I lit up a Tatuaje Taino with a bit of age on it, and we retired to the outside of the dining tent to talk about cigars, Tequila, the golf course and the state of the economy. Another friend joined us with one of his Romeo y Julietas and we chatted away until I realized it was time to go home and get a good night’s rest for the next day’s matches.

All in all, it was a great weekend of golf and camaraderie. But my best moment came on Sunday when for the first time in our 15-year friendship, I finally won five bucks off my buddy from the West Coast. I know he won’t forget that next time we play.