If you think wine goes well with food, how about the perfect combo of the right cigar with the right golf course? On the recent Golf Road Warriors Scottsdale we were lucky enough to partner with Certifresh Cigars, who package some of the world’s best smokes in a way that outsmarts even the laziest humidor owner. The cigars are housed individually or in groups of two or four and sealed with their very own personal humidipaks that keep them fresh for up to one year. So when I pile a few into my golf bag I don’t even have to remember that they might find themselves living in the basement for weeks at a time in the off season. When I’m initially delighted to find a couple of premium cigars in my bag when I take it out for spring, I’m even more stoked when I realize that the cigars not only haven’t turned to dust over the winter, but that they’re moist and chewy and ready to light up.
Our first round of golf in Scottsdale had us on the renowned Troon North Monument Course, the highlight of which was calling my shot on the 544-yard par-five third hole, where a red sandstone monolith right out of 2001 A Space Odyssey except for the monkeys divides the fairway where the hole doglegs off to the right. I discussed the shot with my playing partners– Brett Brooks , the manager of marketing communications for Troon golf; fellow Golf Road Warrior Terry Moore; and PR wizard Jerry Rose, of Communication Links. They seemed to take pleasure in my indecision as I tried to guess whether I was going to hit a low-running draw that would skirt the rock on the left, or a cut shot that would track toward the rock and then swerve in the direction of the hole just before impact.
Deep down, I figured that whichever shot I decided upon I’d probably hit the monolith and end up with an unplayable lie at the base anyway. But I muttered something about going with the fade and stepped up and hit about the best tee shot I’ve launched since Sputnik. It left me with 230 to the green and perhaps for the first time since the invention of the cell phone I hit my second shot OVER the green on a par five, chipped close, and walked away with a clean, easy birdie.
None of which has anything to do with cigars, but did you expect me NOT to tell that story? My front nine score of 40 inspired me to pull a stogie out of the bag. I opted for Certifresh’s Oliva Series V Torpedo, singly packaged with a photo of the Monument Course. It’s a rich, deep, mahogany beauty from Nicaragua dressed in a Habano sun-grown wrapper, oily and nutty, with a clean, cedary freshness to it and hints of coffee, chocolate, and other delicious flavors. The shapely torpedo exudes an air of power even before you fire it up, and mine burned like a champ, retaining its ash even after I set it down on tee blocks and greens to hit a few more no-less suprisingly good shots.
While I got a bit of a nicotine lift early on it leveled out and proved a calming cigar that accompanied me like a good caddie, not speaking much but there when I needed it. A strong cigar can sometimes send my short game and putting packing, but the Oliva was a steadying influence. Was it a good match for the day– a crispish sunny afternoon with a nip of Arizona winter in the air? Well, I shot 40 on the back nine with a double on 18 that I can’t blame on my devoted Nicaraguan friend.