The late afternoon sun had bathed the 18th green at the Squires Golf Club in soft yellow light, and the intense heat of summer's first heat wave on the East Coast had dissipated just enough to make the outdoor seating comfortable. Around the table were good friends of my buddy, Dr. Matthew Stern, who had been asking me to join him for years at one of Squires' Thursday afternoon get-togethers. It's a simple idea: a tee-time around 1:30 or 2, a round with a group of friends, and then a 19th hole libation followed by a sumptuous dinner.
I had finally said yes to Dr. Stern after a charity golf outing had been cancelled, thus opening up a spot on my calendar. I drove from my home in Westchester County, New York, in an Audi RS5, on loan from the company (check out my review in the next issue of Cigar Aficionado), and without any traffic on the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike or the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I arrived "quickly." The doctor and I grabbed lunch, hit some balls to warm up and then played a fast 3:30 round; I'm told there is only one rule at the Squires Golf Club—don't make the group behind you wait. How refreshing.
After a less than stellar round on my part, we showered quickly, and I walked into the bar at the club, a dark wood-paneled lounge area with wide-screen televisions. It was packed with guys who had taken the afternoon off to attend the weekly event. I should explain: Squires is a men's golf club, and the ambiance really is of a private home with a locker room and a golf course. And, in the men's rooms, there are ashtrays on the walls. When was the last time you saw an ashtray in a public bathroom? Need I say more?
I'd been dreaming about a steak all day long, so I ordered a New York strip and served myself a green salad and sipped on first a California Chardonnay and then a fine bottle of Silver Oak Cabernet. Finally, the moment I'd been waiting for all afternoon was there: an after-dinner cigar at the table.
I'd filled a travel humidor with some well-aged Coronado by La Flor Double Coronas and Davidoff Millennium Robustos. I picked one of the Coronados and looked across the table at one of the doctor's friends. There was a wry smile on his face. "I haven't had a cigar in 12 years," he said, and explained that cigars had just become too big a part of every day for him, so he had decided to quit and that was that. None in 12 years. But, he added, "Did you say Davidoff Millenniums? That was one of my favorites."
I, being the king of temptation, said, "Take one, smoke however much you want of it. That's why I brought it." Sure enough, he lit it up, and there was simply a contented smile on his face as we sat there for almost another hour talking about life and soaking up the waning light across the golf course and smoking our cigars.
That's what I call a perfect day.