Cigars and Golf

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This weekend I had to do some corporate entertaining (company paid for piss up), and took a few customers and staff around the recently opened JCB Golf Course in the UK. Not being a keen golfer myself I decided to mainly spend the gloriously sunny day drinking beer and smoking cigars whilst racing around the course in a golf buggy.

The day started off with a lovely R&J Short Churchill enroute to the course, slightly wonky burn but I attribute that to my haste in lighting, lovely smoke to start the day off with. Once we arrived at the course it was coffee all around and a beautiful locally sourced cooked breakfast consisting of a sausage, a good thick rasher of bacon, a whole tomato that had been poached and lightly fried with sea salt sprinkled on top, some beautiful black pudding and a hand made staffordshire oatcake folded into a triangle.

After a little practice on the range the chaps soon got into the swing of things and away we went, the course is simply amazing and the grass very well kept, set close to the JCB World Headquarters and surrounded by a myriad of old ruins that are soon to be developed into various things such as hotels, spa's, gyms etc. I had a little drive around with my contact their whilst he explained the JCB dream and vision... all whilst smoking a beautiful Partagas 898 that I purchased from FOH this time last year. These are really coming into their own now that they have settled down and lose their initial greenness and edge.

After dropping my JCB contact off at his car and then stocking up on a few more cigars and unfortunately warm beer (damn last minute planning!) I rejoined my customers and staff on the third hole, after a few more beers and a few more holes I decided time had come to light up the cigar I had been saving for many months - my first ever Behike 52, so sat in the scorching heat with warm beer I lit her up and was pleasantly rewarded with the hay/grassy/honey undertones of a typical Cohiba. Construction was flawless and the burn fantastic. Was it worth the money compared to a standard Cohiba Robusto? Probably not, but one does have to try these things...

Just as the Behike 52 was drawing to a close on the 9th hole we spotted the 'Halfway house' - our salvation, an oasis in the 30 degree heat that was slowly becoming the desert of Staffordshire... (Aussie's quieten down, I realise at 30 degree's you chaps reach for the gloves and scarves but over here 30 degree's is incapacitating.)

The Halfway house stocked a small selection of ice cold beers and some water, after sampling a few and stocking up the golf buggy we soldiered on wards and carried on playing some more punishing golf - well the others did, I was simply a spectator.

Next up, after a suitable break was a Montecristo Petit Edmundo, again fantastic construction and burn and the lovely typical Montecristo flavours. It was around this time that one of my colleagues whom is more akin to off road driving as a hobby decided in his wisdom to take his golf buggy on a short cut up a 30 degree slope. This did not end well. The buggy close to tipping over locked him out and wouldnt budge, with a little playing about we reset the safety control and rolled the buggy back down the hill. Crisis and inevitable telling off from course management adverted we pressed on.

The 17th hole is JCB's signature hole, it is the one that is on all the promotional material. It is the one they sell the course on. In short its a bastard. A 180 yard par 3, the tee's are half way up a small mountain, we looked down at the small island in the distance that was surrounded by water. A drop of at least 60 yards. Out of four people, only two made dry land - the other two hit a few balls into the water. Glad that I wasnt playing and thusly making a fool out of myself I decided to continue the Montecristo theme and lit up a Montecristo Media Corona to enjoy over the last two holes, and Im glad I did. I dont think I have ever had a bad Monte Media Corona, they truly are little gems.

After a concluding the final hole we raced back to the club house and had a few drinks to cool down, I settled on a few gin and tonics whilst the others whom had not had the foresight to bring drivers settled on soft drinks and we then enjoyed a light mid afternoon meal, sandwiches, pork pie, scotch egg. All beautifully prepared and served in style.

After much discussion of the day, we all shook hands and decided to depart, I thought it was only fair that I would take a large Dalwhinnie with me for the journey home and final cigar, lighting up a fantastic rosado R&J Churchill which in fairness was more memorable than the Behike 52, me and my driver decided to have a little detour and drive around our old school that is next to the golf course - so much had changed and a little pleasure was found in despite being a middle aged chap - subverting school rules by smoking and drinking on the grounds, not to mention ignoring the ill thought out and badly implemented new one way system on the grounds - it was never like that in our day!

All in all chaps, if you get chance please do try the JCB Golf Course, it is probably one of the best courses about and in time once the landscaping has matured and the rest of the facilities have been built I am sure it will be in the top 10 golf courses of the world. And as for JCB service... if only they could make diggers as good as they provide first class hospitality!



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