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By: Lindsay Heller
Better weather means less restrictions on when and where you can enjoy a cigar, and many enthusiasts like to combine their appreciation of a good handmade alongside another activity. One of the most common examples of this would be smoking while playing golf, which seems "as American as apple pie," if you forget the tobacco is from Latin America and that golf originated in Scotland. There are some rules of etiquette to follow, however, but I guarantee they won't hamper your handicap.
1. BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS
Unless you know everyone showing up for your tee time, ask those joining you if they mind you smoking while on the course. (Even if they all say 'yes', beware of wind direction as you puff away!) Always bring enough cigars to offer to tall members of your party, as the gesture never goes unnoticed—even if everyone doesn't accept the kind notation.
2. BE CAUTIOUS WITH A LIT CIGAR
There will be times when you need to put down your premium, and this is where preparedness prevails. Never put a lit cigar on the green or rest it on the golf cart, as that's a guaranteed way to create other problems for yourself. To avoid starting an uncontained bonfire, purchase a Get-A-Grip-Clip: useful on the links, while grilling, or working outside, these clips can accommodate 60-plus ring gauges, holding your handmade horizontally so as not to compromise an even burn.
3. TRANSPORT AND STORE PROPERLY
Even though we ladies will eternally be jealous of the number of pockets sewn into men's clothing, that doesn't' mean you should put your unlit cigars in there. Do yourself a favor and use a travel case, as this simple accessory protects your premiums in more ways than one. You can use a leather case if that suits your style, but my colleagues will always recommend a Herf-A-Dor: they're crush-proof, water-proof, air-tight, and come in a variety of capacities. Best part is these are a type of humidor, so unlike a leather case, should you have an early tee time and not want to smoke until after lunch, the humidor function within these travel cases is truly handy.
4. TORCH LIGHTER—ALWAYS
I enjoy the classical feel of a cedar spill, but there's no telling what the wind will be like until you're out on the course. Most enthusiasts own at least one Torch Lighter, so make sure to pack along your preferred model filled with butane. Unlike soft flame lighters, a good torch is highly wind-resistant, so you can avoid scorching the wrapper, lighting unevenly from the start, and the frustration that comes from trying to thwart Mother Nature with your back.
5. A BIGGER RING GAUGE IS ACTUALLY BETTER
The cigar in this instance is meant to enhance your golfing experience, so choosing a larger vitola is to your advantage in many ways: longer smoking time, easier to light (or re-light if need be), and they require less "babysitting" while you work for that birdie.
As you dust off your clubs and embrace the springtime, remember that you're out there to play the game—the cigars are an added bonus. (That is unless you're me, as I'm an infinitely better smoker than golfer. Invite me to join you at your own risk.) Be sure to practice proper etiquette on the links while acting as an educated enthusiast to create a memorable experience for all involved!
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