Sir Charles Barkley is a real hacker who likes to puff while he plays.
By Michael McCarthy
The Masters is only two months away, which means that the end of winter is in sight and the love affair between golfers and cigars will be renewed.
Golf and cigars go together perfectly: you’ve got hours outdoors, you can ash your cigar anywhere without getting dirty looks (except for the greens), and compared to the rest of society, golf courses generally provide cigar-friendly environments.
And Sam Driban, co-owner of Black Cat Cigars in East Norriton, can attest to the popularity of stogies and bogeys. He sells thousands of his product to a few hundred public and private courses nationally, and the demand has remained strong.
“It’s a natural for us because it is our clientele,” Driban says. “Guys love smoking while they are playing, after they are playing, and then in the clubhouse when they are drinking.
“We started doing it in 1983, and business has been strong … we supply them with humidors too, and lots of clubs do combinations of cigar and cognac nights. Golf clubs are one of the last places where a guy can be a guy and not worry about offending someone.”
If you follow these four tips, you will have a more enjoyable cigar experience on the course without having to buy anything that average Stogie Guys doesn’t already own. Sadly, we have no tips to offer that will improve your golf game.
1. What to smoke? The golf course is no place for small cigars. Courses can get pretty crowded on the weekends, so you have nothing but time. Grab something at least as long as a toro (6 inches). The golf course is perfect for churchills or – if a smaller ring gauge is more to your liking – a lonsdale. Remember your cigar may sit unsmoked for a while as you four-putt, throw your putter in the sandtrap, and then retrieve it and find that your stogie went out. Larger cigars have a higher tolerance for re-lighting than small ones.
Also, don’t break out that super premium cigar on the links. It will be wasted as you are distracted by your sub-par golf game. Keep the Cohiba in the humidor and try to find a value cigar. Three stogie cigars are perfect for golf.
2. How to light your cigar? While golf courses are perfect for smoking a stogie, the wind that never seems to be blowing at your back can make lighting a cigar awfully difficult. If blocking the wind with your hand doesn’t get the job done, you may want to try using a hat to block the breeze. As always, a torch is preferable to matches.
Finally, while toasting the edges is still the best way to light your cigar, on the golf course you might skip that step if just keeping the flame lit proves difficult. If you do light the cigar without first toasting the edges, be sure to give your stogie a few big puffs immediately after lighting it to make sure it is completely lit.
3. Where to put your cigar? While you swing you probably will need to put the cigar down, but with no ashtrays there may not be an obvious place to put it. Plenty of places hawk special “cigar tees” but really all you need is a flat non-flammable surface: golf carts, tee box markers, or even carefully balanced on a wood (with head-cover removed) in your bag. The most abundent cigar holder of all also works well: the grass next to your ball (as long as it isn’t wet or dusty).
But remember, like your sand wedge, you should leave your cigar on the green (not on the fringe or in the ruff) while putting so you don’t forget it in the excitement of that 40 foot eagle putt. Of course the easiest way to not forget your smoke is by leaving it in your mouth.
4. How many cigars to bring? The standard is one for every nine holes, but if you have a bunch of slow-playing old ladies ahead of you, this may leave you with a few hours without a cigar on the back nine. So maybe three is really the ideal number.
Also, make sure the cigars don’t get damaged in your bag. A simple leather case will work perfectly. So do cigars that come in their own tubes.