AAGOLF ISLAND HOPPING: SCENES FROM THE PHILIPPINES - PAGE 56 The #1 Asian American Golf Magazine
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Take a Look at Your Year of the Rat Forecast
Great Golf Awaits on Hawaii’s Big Island
The #1 Wedges in Asia Since 2002
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AUGUST 21, 2008 | SANTA CLARITA, CA Partnering with: Asian American
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Through leadership we guide individuals, companies and communities to new heights and are unafraid to tackle the impossible and challenge orthodoxy. This year’s convention will spotlight the shining stars of Asian North America—well-known celebrities corporate trailblazers and unheralded everyday heroes— and give them a stage to tell their stories to guide the next generation.
~ Over 20 seminars and workshops on leadership and professional development ~ A one day intensive Leadership Institute ~ A two day Diversity Career Fair and Business Expo ~ Gala keynote luncheons and dinners ~ The NAAAP Golf Challenge ~ An opportunity to network with over 1000 attendees from the United States, Canada and the world ~ And the finale, the Who’s Who in Asian American Communities Leaders and Legends Awards
Come to the convention this August and be one of our rising and shining stars! For more information, visit www.naaap.org or www.aaga.us
Adventure awaits on the other side of the globe
AAGOLF iSLAND HOPPiNG: SCENES FROM THE PHiLiPPiNES - PAGE 56 The #1 Asian American Golf Magazine
Time for Tadd
It’s Time for Tadd
Fujikawa discusses the highs and lows of turning pro How to Become K.J. Choi’s Caddy
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Make a difference while caddying for a PGA Tour pro.
Go Big Take a Look at Your Year of the Rat Forecast
The Big Island
Ji yai shin photo By Brandon malone/©action imaGes limited
Hawaii’s ultimate golf experience
Great Golf Awaits on Hawaii’s Big Island
Year of the Rat
Read your forecast fot the new Lunar Year
2008 Hybrid Review
A review of today’s hottest hybrids
Also in this issue...
32 Swinging Singles
Meet your golf match on the internet
Ji Yai Shin
Read about South Korea’s Secret Weapon
photo By stan BadZ/pGa tour/Getty imaGes
Scenes from the Philippines
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56 36 40 46 20
Junior and Collegiate Golf
13 Match Up: Americans vs. Chinese in a Brand New Event 14 Young Stars Keep Lady Bruins Atop NCAA Elites
Business & Golf 27 House Edge: Gaming Exec Dealt Winning Hand 28 Getting Loud on the Golf Course 30 Simpac Golf Squares Off with Golf ’s Heavy Hitters
Golf Course Destinations 26 Las Vegas: Test Your Luck on the Links 52 Tee it Up for Golf and Romance in Naples
Gadgets & Equipment 31 Cruise the Course in Style with Segway 66 Tap-Ins: Seeing Green
Miscellaneous 25 Dragon Dances and Dice: Chinese New Year Las Vegas Style 35 Sudoku 43 Dr. Paul Rhyu: Spot Golfer’s Elbow Before It’s Too Late
photos clockwise: courtesy of Bali Hai Golf Club; courtesy of segway; courtesy of nike golf PRINTED IN THE USA. COPYRIGHT©2008 By AAGolf Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. AAGolf Magazine (ISSN 1932-703X) is published 4 times a year, quarterly, by AAGolf Magazine, Inc., 559 W. Diversey Pkwy #128, Chicago, IL 60614. Subscription rate for U.S. and Canadian residents is US $12 per year. Subscriptions are available only to U.S. and Canadian residents. Subscriptions ordered are nonrefundable unless otherwise promoted. Send all correspondence to the address listed previously and make checks payable to AAGolf Magazine. If correspondence is in regards to an address change, please allow 4-6 weeks for change of address to become effective. Include your old address as well as new. No part of this magazine may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated in whole or in part without written permission from the editor. Request for permission to reproduce or reprint should be directed to email@example.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to AAGolf Magazine, Inc., 559 W. Diversey Pkwy #128, Chicago, IL 60614. Returned postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings and photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. All letters sent to AAGolf Magazine will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and as subject to unrestricted right to edit and to comment editorially.
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AAGOLF iSLAND HOPPiNG: SCENES FROM THE PHiLiPPiNES - PAGE 56 The #1 Asian American Golf Magazine
How to Become K.J. Choi’s Caddy Great Golf Awaits on Hawaii’s Big Island
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Pa evi yb ge ew rid 16
Take a Look at Your Year of the Rat Forecast
Visit www.aagolf.com for details
Letters from the Editors Springing into Golf Season A
s the weather warms up in Chicago, many questions race through my mind about the upcoming golf season: How far am I going to drive the ball? How low will I shoot this year? What golf courses will I play? In which outings should I participate? What new equipment should I buy? Will this be the year that I finally stop three-putting? In January, I spent a few days at the 2008 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. Thousands of vendors displayed new products, and although it was overwhelming to see so many products, I felt like a kid in a candy store. My favorite part of the show was Demo Day, where more than 100 vendors showcased their new products for golfers to try. My goal was to sample all the new drivers, hybrids and wedges. I’m not sure how many clubs I tested or how many balls I hit, but at the end of the day, I felt like I had played 54 holes. What surprises me is that every year I drive my ball farther off the tee. I don’t play as much golf as I used to, so I know that it can’t be an improvement in my technique. I also am not as strong as I used to be, so it must be the technology of the equipment. My only problem now is deciding which brand I want to use. In this issue, we present our 2008 Hybrid Review (page 16). It’s becoming more popular for golfers to carry hybrids in their bags. I’ve been using a hybrid in my game for more than two years and it’s rescued me from many tough lies. Those who have played golf with me know that my weakness is my putting. My main goal in golf is to not threeputt in an entire round. I am determined this year to find a putter that will help me sink all my putts. With that said, we have included a new section, “Tap-Ins ” (page 66), that will feature new putters in every issue. We hope that our reviews and club tests will help you find the right equipment for your game.
Kimberly H. Engler EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Sunny Leon FOUNDER
Director of operations
Noelani Kimura, Jeff Ritter SENIOR EDITORS
Melissa Dahne, Andrew T. Engler ASSOCIATE EDITORS
Randi N. Belisomo, Kristen Brockmeyer, Eric Fleming, David Gialanella, Erin Golden, Hilary Masell Oswald, Dr. Paul Rhyu, Dave Saldana, James A. Stammer CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
Ellen Sugarman firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberly H. Engler Editor-In-Chief aagolf.com
Letters from the Editors The Island Experience
ometimes, life is good. Like, for example, the moment you find a forgotten $5 bill in your pocket. Or those charmed instances when you arrive at the curb just as your bus is pulling up. Other times a simple drink with friends is all it takes to remind you how great you’ve got it. But if things are really clicking, sometimes you get to spend several days in Hawaiian and Filipino golf resorts—while your loving family and loyal friends remain behind to suffer through the onset of Midwest snow season. For the past couple of months, I have tried my best to downplay how much I enjoyed the Philippines and Hawaii’s Big Island so my friends would still, you know, continue to be my friends. But I can’t deny the truth any longer. These trips were obscenely fantastic: perfect weather, incredible scenery and gracious people. I am now ready to shout it from the rooftops— or at the least from the second floor of my apartment building. These are two of the best places you can imagine to take a golf vacation. It was like diving face first into a postcard—or one of those Corona beer commercials. The bluest skies. The brightest beaches. The best food. Speaking of food, Filipino fare includes a kooky, colorful dessert called the “holahola” and quite possibly the world’s best mangoes. The Big Island, of course, has its own fresh fruits, mountains of those legendary macadamia nuts and many, many other delicacies. Oh, the golf was pretty stellar, too. But don’t just take it from me. Try both destinations for yourself. Spread the word. It’s a minor miracle that I returned of my own volition from either of these trips to my frigid Chicago home. A big thank you—or should I say, mahalo and salamat—to the folks at the Big Island Visitors Bureau and the Philippine Tourism Office for guiding me through two of the most enjoyable golf adventures around. Jeff Ritter Senior Editor
Check out Jeff Ritter’s Scenes from the Philippines blogs at www.aagolf.com
Americans vs. Chinese in a Brand New Event By Jeff Ritter
ith Ryder Cup popularity at near unprecedented heights, perhaps there’s no better time to bring the Ryder format to junior golf. Oak Valley Golf Club, based in Beaumont, Calif., has successfully staged elite junior tournaments for several years, but this summer they’re using the Ryder Cup as a model for something new. Debuting July 3–5, the Oak Valley Cup will be a threeday match play tournament with two twists: It’s a Chinese team vs. an American team, and it’s coed—each team will be comprised of eight boys and eight girls. The tournament promises a unique competition that gives Chinese juniors a new opportunity to experience golf in the United States. “We’re tying to bring in the Chinese around the world, and to connect them to American kids and American culture,” says Kai Chang, Oak Valley’s club manager. “We tried to create a more exciting format for them to play.” The timing of the tournament should appeal to all juniors as many already plan to travel to California in July for the Callaway Golf Junior World Golf Championships. Arguably the largest junior event, the “Worlds” will be staged at famed Torrey Pines Golf Course less than two weeks after the Oak Valley Cup. “We [started hosting junior] events in 2002 to give kids one more event to play while they’re over here,” Chang says. “When the kids go back to their home country, they might only play three or four events a year. That’s a big reason the kids want to come over here—they get to play in some actual tournaments.” Competitors will be selected by two prominent golf organizations: The Chinese-American Golf Foundation (CAGF) will choose Chinese team participants, while the Southern California Section of the PGA of America
(SCPGA) selects the U.S. team. The last four spots on the Chinese team (two boys and two girls) will be determined by an open qualifier on Mother’s Day weekend at Oak Valley. “The American side should have a couple of the topranked kids in the nation. The PGA has committed to forming an all-star team,” Chang says. “The Chinese team is still being worked out, but we’re really excited about it.” To participate or to request more information, contact Oak Valley Golf Club at 951-769-7200.
Oak Valley Golf Academy
2008 Junior Summer Camp Golf Training
English Learning Tournament Play And More..!!
Young Stars Keep Lady Bruins Atop NCAA Elites By Dave Saldana
Glory Yang at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Nashville, Tenn., where she finished seventh.
The team’s accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider that there is not a single senior among them. With three juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen on board, Forsyth credits the team’s strength to leadership coming from its best players. Twenty-one-year-old Joh, the reigning Pac-10 champion, has a résumé longer than her average first-putt distance. Starting with San Diego Junior Player of the Year for 2002 when she was in high school, she went on to four junior victories, including a qualifier for the 2005 Australian Ladies Masters, where she finished 13th, before arriving at UCLA. Once on campus, she earned Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year and all-conference honors with five top-10 finishes, and later won the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links title at Walking Stick Golf Course in Pueblo, Colo. Then she started her sophomore year. In addition to her considerable ball-striking skills, which Forsyth compares favorably to anyone on the LPGA Tour, Joh is also “the complete package as a student–athlete,” Forsyth says. Joh provides quiet leadership, working hard on her golf game and maintaining excellent academic standards, making her a perennial honor roll student and shoo-in for the first team of academic All-Americans. Uribe, an 18-year-old Colombian native, is a more vocal leader, “which is odd because as a freshman, it’s hard to speak up and demonstrate the leadership skills that she has,”
photos courtesy of UCLA Sports Information
hile the Southern California college sports community goes gaga over a certain high-profile football program across town, some West Los Angeles women are quietly going about building one of the most dominant teams in women’s golf. Through the first half of the 2007–08 NCAA golf season, the UCLA Lady Bruins have built an impressive record of top-three finishes in each of their first four tournaments, including two wins. The victories, coming at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Nashville, Tenn., and wire-to-wire at the Kent Youel Invitational at the extremely tough Kapolei Golf Course in Honolulu, Hawaii, were driven by the team’s brightest stars: junior Tiffany Joh and freshmen Maria Jose Uribe and Glory Yang. And it doesn’t hurt that they got off to a rocketing start. “We played extremely well in the first event [the Mason Rudolph] against a very strong field,” says head coach Carrie Forsyth. “And we won by a lot of shots.” That is a gross understatement. With a total score of 13under-par and four players finishing in the top 15, the Bruins were the only team to finish in red numbers. Other topranked schools like Duke, Arizona State, and crosstown rival USC had a few impressive individual efforts, but none could match UCLA’s top-to-bottom domination. The statistics tell the extent of the Bruins’ mastery. Ranked No. 1 as a team by Golfweek, at the season’s halfway point, UCLA had two players in the top 10, Joh (fourth) and Uribe (seventh), while Yang ranked 16th. Golfstat.com placed the team at No. 1 nationally in total short game scoring and in the top five in scoring on par 3s, par 4s and par 5s; subpar strokes per round; and putts per greens-in-regulation.
Tiffany Joh at the Margaret Moses Branch NCAA Fall Preview in Alburquerque, N.M., where she finished tied for sixth.
Forsyth says. But her title as the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion should encourage other players to listen when Uribe has something to say. Yang, who turns 20 in April, has been the biggest surprise of the season, finishing seventh at the Mason Rudolph tournament, and 11th in Hawaii, where Joh and Uribe tied for the tournament championship. “She did a lot of work on her game over the summer, some things that we got to address in terms of her mental game, and she has really stepped up,” Forsyth says. “She’s turned out to be just a phenomenal freshman.” That work included keeping Yang focused on her game, rather than anyone else’s. “She had a tendency to get ahead of herself on the golf course, worrying about her score, and not being sure of where she stacked up compared to other players,” says Forsyth. “That comparison can be very dangerous for a young player.” With a team comprised of so many young players, Forsyth says there’s a special challenge in keeping them all pulling in the same direction. “With some, it’s physical or mechanical, and they’re just not getting it done with their golf swing or their short game. Fortunately, a lot of the girls I’ve had in the last few years have been extremely talented,” she says. “With them, it’s more about teaching them how to deal with pressure,
how to think your way around the golf course, and how to handle disappointment, because golf will present you with a lot of disappointment.” Forsyth hopes to maintain the high standards that this year’s team has set, and seems to be taking steps in the right direction. Two of the top-ranked junior girls in the nation, Southern California native Brianna Do, ranked 25th, and Hawaiian sensation Stephanie Kono, who rarely finishes outside the top 10 in any tournament, have signed letters of intent to join next year’s squad. In the meantime, Forsyth’s toughest task is keeping her players focused less on the rankings and leaderboards and more on their next shots, so they can reach their ultimate goal in the latter half of the 2007–08 golf season. “In any given week you can win, or you can miss the cut. You really have to be in tune with your game and making your game better, and not worrying about how it compares to others’. We don’t care about the rankings, because that’s just someone’s opinion of how we rate,” Forsyth says. “We’re not interested in finishing the season ranked No. 1; we’re interested in winning the National Championship in May. We don’t care if we finish ranked No. 5, as long as we finish with the championship,” she says. “That’s all that matters.” Dave Saldana is an assistant professor of journalism at Iowa State University.
200 HYBRID REVIEW W
hether you call them “utilities,” “rescues” or the more traditional “hybrids,” these clubs have separated themselves from the ranks of the mere novelty. Today most any golfer could make a case for adding a hybrid club to his or her bag. Here are five of the market leaders we put in the hands of our product testers and what we learned. How we did it Our testers ran the golfing gambit. Handicaps varied from scratch to a robust 29. Ages ranged from 18 to 65, swing speeds from less than 80 mph to a smokin’ 125. But don’t assume these group members have nothing in common. They love golf, play as often as possible and look to improve their games by any means necessary—and that includes buying new equipment. Rating System: Excellent: Good: Average: Fair: Disappointing:
wilSoN FyBrid - $199
What our testers say: Great feel and control; extremely forgiving on mishits and poor swings; simple-but-sleek look; slightly lagging in distance but accuracy and feel compensate for it; a steady, reliable performer across all ages and abilities. Ratings: Look: Feel: Accuracy: Playability: Distance: Total: 20 Stars 16
Summary: The solid No. 2 choice among both low and high handicappers, and across all age groups.
photo courtesy of wilson staff
What the company says: “Combines fairway woods and hybrids into a single family…eliminates the redundancy of more than 12 traditional clubs by offering six clubs that cover the long distance needs between the driver and the 6-iron… proprietary sole design with heel, toe and central relief areas makes the FYbrid System extremely playable from all fairway lies…toe and heel relief areas also make the clubs more playable from hill side lies and allow the club to be laid open or closed for more advanced shot-making.”
Callaway X-Series - $199 What the company says: “Hybrids draft from our series of X-Series drivers and fairway woods…Incorporated with a modified X-Sole design for versatility and superior turf interaction…lowers the leading edge to help get the ball airborne quickly and easily…increased perimeter weighting for greater stability and increased trajectory control…the ultimate stainless steel hybrid performance.” What our testers say: Classic look appeals to all, especially older players; distance on par with the rest of the group; fairly easy to work the ball in either direction; playable from most any lie; another strong entry from one of golf ’s most prestigious clubmakers. Ratings: Look: Feel:
Summary: The No. 1 choice for handicaps 9 and under.
Accuracy: Playability: Distance: Total: 20 Stars
PHoto courtesy of callaway; courtesy tour edge
Tour Edge GeoMax - $119 What the company says: “Deeper than traditional breadth-to-face-width ratio makes the club more stable and remarkably forgiving…strong lightweight steel allows the GeoMax to have thinner walls, great sound, and the maximum rebound rate allowed by the USGA…graphite shaft reduces torque for more accurate shots with less dispersion… helps you hit higher more accurate shots.” What our testers say: Evenly weighed and easy to swing; good but not great explosion off the face; not especially forgiving on mishits; nothing too flashy, but solid performance; lower price point and excellent bang for the buck. Ratings: Look: Feel:
Summary: The No. 1 choice among fastest swingers (120+ mph)
Accuracy: Playability: Distance: Total: 16.5 Stars aagolf.com
Adams Idea a3OS Boxer - $149 What the company says: “Category-leading MOI results in easy to hit shots that are more forgiving, straighter and longer...30% to 70% higher MOI than the leading hybrids… cambered sole designed to cut through turf interference, gets the ball up and into the air with a consistent smooth feel on every swing…the most-played hybrids in professional golf.” What our testers say: Steady and reliable; some find large, boxy head is a little distracting, others take comfort in an apparently generous sweet spot; some feedback on mishits; a middle-of-the-pack performer in our tests. Ratings: Look: Feel: Accuracy: Playability: Distance: Total: 18 Stars
NIKE SQ SUMO SQUARED - $179 What the company says: “Incorporates performance-driven geometry, a design philosophy that has brought moment of inertia to the forefront in golf club technology…provides the benefits of increased MOI with the versatility to work the golf ball…face is made of lightweight Cryo Steel that is thicker in the center and thinner around the perimeter to provide more consistent ball speed and increase forgiveness/distance across the club face...Nike Golf ’s most forgiving hybrid ever.”
Ratings: Look: Feel: Accuracy: Playability: Distance: Total: 20.5 Stars
PHotos courtesy of adams golf and nike golf
What our testers say: Square clubhead is a love it or hate it; popular choice for younger players who like putting something new and exciting in the bag; expert players have a more difficult time working the ball; no sign of the loud, pitchy impact sound characteristic of the early Sumo drivers; steady in tight lies and light rough; the longest and most forgiving of the group. Summary: The runaway No. 1 choice among 18+ handicappers
Special thanks to: Year Round Golf 12733 N. U.S. 131 Schoolcraft, MI 49087
PGA West Members 55-955 PGA West La Quinta, CA 92253
More Hybrids to Try.... These two hybrids were not part of our club test, but are hybrids that we recommend you to try.
FourTeeN golF uT-106 - $219.99 Fourteen Golf claims its new utility “yields supreme playability from the tee, fairway or rough.” The UT-106 is Fourteen Golf ’s first-ever entry into the hybrid wood market. Early tests indicate it will continue to strengthen the Japanese clubmaker’s already sterling reputation. For more, visit www.fourteengolf.com
photos courtesy of fourteen Golf and infiniti Golf
iNFiNiTi golF Ko HyBrid wood - $110 To $150
Now in its 21st year, Infiniti has been in the hybrid market since 2000 while carving its niche by selling both clubs and parts. “We have always sold both the components and the clubs,” says Eric Yeh, Inifinti Golf president. “For some of our dealers, we just send them a part and they build [the club] at their own place.” The company claims that “the dual sole cavity makes it extremely friendly and reliable from both rough and fairway. This hybrid delivers the knock-out punch for attacking the green.” Teaching pros, golf courses and custom golf club retailers are among Infiniti’s clients, and all should be stocking the KO Hybrid in the coming months. The price of the hybrid ranges from $110 to $150, depending on the shaft. For more, visit www.infinitigolf.com
2008 Chinese Overview By
fter two Fire years, life may seem calmer during this Earth year. That could be deceptive, however, as the Rat never stops moving -- especially when it comes to mental activity. Unfortunately, Earth has a destructive relationship with the Ratâ€™s fixed element, Water. This is not disastrous, but it does mean you should not rely too much on luck this year. On the other hand, the combination of Earth and Rat means this is extremely positive year for achieving results. The Rat tends to take a lot of risks, while Earth is associated with practicality and stability. This creates balance and can lead to good profits, increased productivity and all other accomplishments. Additionally, under Earthâ€™s influence there could be fewer scandals than in other, Rat, years. The Rat is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac and signifies new beginnings. That makes this year an appropriate time to start new ventures and break new ground. This includes new ideas, directions and ways of doing things. It is a time to experiment and put plans into action, as there will be plenty of opportunities to achieve success. Remember that things began during this year are likely to have long term consequences, so choose your actions wisely to enrich your life. This year is also an equally good time for thinking and all manner of intellectual endeavors. Planning, scholarship and research, for example, are favorable activities. It is also an auspicious time for the arts; although, under Earthâ€™s influence, applied arts such as design and graphics may do best. Earth favors those who are tied to the land, do a lot of routine work, deal with practical matters or perform work of a spiritual nature. Based on the characteristics of both Earth and Rat, it could be a very good year for those with careers in business, construction, engineering, academia, planning and the clergy. There is likely to be a focus on career and self-improvement this year, to the detriment of family. Therefore, you need to be attentive and creative so that the family area of your does not suffer. It is, however, a relatively good time to begin a new romance. Those in a relationship may want to consider raising it to the next level, including marriage. Since this is an Earth year, those people born in a Metal year will generally fare better than others of their animal sign, while those born in a Water year are likely to do worse than those born in Wood, Fire, and Earth years. Health issues vary not only by sign, but Find Your Sign also by individual. Your best bet is to visit Rat 1900 1912 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 a Chinese doctor to have your balances Ox 1901 1913 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 checked and get personalized advice for Tiger 1902 1914 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 the coming year. It is an Earth year, so one thing we can say in general is to get Rabbit 1903 1915 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 enough exercise and be on the alert for Dragon 1904 1916 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 unwanted weight gains. Inactivity could Snake 1905 1917 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 lead to problems. Horse 1906 1918 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 In closing, 2008 will be a year of Sheep 1907 1919 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 possibilities, a time of progress -- although Monkey 1908 1920 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 not very spectacular. Those who take Rooster 1909 1921 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 the biggest risks could be disappointed. Dog 1910 1922 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 Everyone should, nevertheless, add something new to their life during this year Pig 1911 1923 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 of fruitful new beginnings. Note: The Chinese year ends on the first new moon of the following year. Be careful when determining your sign if you are born in January and February. It To see how your sign fares during the is recommended that you use the Chinese Sign Finder on www.astrology.com. year of the Rat, continue on. 20
Ratings 59% (8 favorable, 1 neutral and 3 unfavorable months)
Ratings 52% (6 favorable and 6 unfavorable months)
Ratings 42% (4 favorable, 1 neutral and 7 unfavorable months)
The Rat year may not be as good to you as the kindly Pig year, especially since it is an Earth year and Earth drains your Rat luck. Making favorable deals, for example, will be more challenging. It should still be a good year for you, as you have eight good months ahead of you. If you avoid risk and rely on hard work to get ahead, you most likely will. You may get off to a slow start, but the latter part of the year will present more and better opportunities -- so be patient.
52% favorable may not look that great, but it does represent an improvement over last year. You should have as many opportunities as disappointments. Take care to exercise good judgment, and you will do fine. Unfortunately, it is an Earth year and the Earth drains Ox luck. This is not the time to take risks, especially those that are unnecessary or can be avoided. Hard work is more your style any way. The first six months are likely to be the most challenging, so be patient.
The Rat year is likely to present more challenges than the Pig year, for you. Do not be surprised if you occasionally find you cannot get your way this year. In fact there are likely to be many of clashes of wills. The better you can keep your emotions under control, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. The Rat is comfortable with logic, not passion. You will have to carefully pick your battles, as you probably will not be blessed with many, good opportunities.
Career This is the year of your namesake Chinese animal sign. If you are seeking career advancement, the time could be perfect. On the other hand, if you feel that your present job has grown stale and you yearn for a different flavor of cheese, it may also be the time to move on. Presentation of new ideas or projects, mixed with your enthusiastic and conscientious style, should impress upper management.
Career In the year of the Earth Rat, there could be opportunities for you to advance your career. However, advancement will likely come with a catch. It seems that you might have to change your tactics because your rock steady and workman-like effort on the job will most probably go unnoticed. If you wish to be promoted, especially to a position of authority, you may have to make a bold move, advocate your ideas and augment your skills so that higher-ups will notice the kind of quality work that you have been putting in.
Career In the year of the Earth Rat, you could feel like you are treading water or running in place and your progress up the chain of command could be hampered. The plans you put into motion this year could be met with obstacles and delays. The same emotion and courage that hastened your way up the ranks could prove to be your undoing. Focusing on additional training, letting go of the reins or learning to work in groups may be a better option for you this year.
Relationships Transitioning from career to your relationships, this year’s Earth element is in agreement with your Oxen personality of steadiness and conservatism. Your strength as a shoulder to cry on and moral support could win you new friends this year. However, that same characteristic could see you used or even worse betrayed in your relationships under the inﬂuence of the cunning Rat year. One bright spot may lay in your family relationships, as they might offer you a measure of unconditional love.
Relationships Although your career sector could be in an unfavorable position, your social life may make up for the turmoil. Your best option this year socially is to get together with people who share your same interests or hobbies. Social networking events and organized groups are a good way to meet new people. You should be able to garner much love and support from your family and friends. The only bump in the road may come in your relationships, as your aggressive approach may not find favor in the conservative Earth element year.
Relationships In your personal relationships, there seems to be a tendency towards growth and expansion of your social circle. There is a chance that a recent acquaintance or a newly formed friendship could develop into a serious love affair. There is also a good possibility that you will be able to get plenty of enjoyment from both your family and social life this year. Try to make it a point to accept as many invitations as you can, especially to weddings. This is also a very auspicious time to marry, if you are so inclined. Health This year should be smooth sailing for your health as the Earth element brings stability to your overall physical well-being. One caveat though, as you will most likely be feeling stronger, you might try and push yourself a little too hard in one of you many schemes or money-making projects. This could result in you getting sick or having an accident, especially if you are doing any manual labor. Be vigilant when traveling, especially out of the country. Wealth Rats may need to stay on their toes in order not to miss opportunities to expand their bank accounts. These possible opportunities might reveal themselves in the form of conservative investments. As the Earth element favors practicality and conservatism, your long-term savings and retirement investments could also show gains. However, you might be hit with some costly home repairs or improvements, so it would be a good idea to stick to your budgets.
Health Your relationships could have a direct bearing on your health this year. As with your relationships, your health could be on a roller-coaster ride. If you become stressed-out from work or your personal life, your mind and body could be weakened. In addition, if you are not open to change, your stubbornness could deplete your immune system, allowing a minor snifﬂe to turn into a full blown cold. Wealth Although your health could be rather unstable, your money matters should be more solid and promising. If you own your own business, chances are high that you could see an increase in sales or a decrease in debt. If you have stuck to a conservative budget or investment strategy, you might see your disciplined efforts bring forth financial fruit. In addition, you might encounter good fortune with found money, as an unexpected bonus, court award or monetary winnings.
Health As your social life fares well, there seems to be a very high likelihood that your emotional health could follow the same path. On the other hand, those Tigers that hunger to conquer more things than your body can handle could find themselves susceptible to sickness or injury. In addition, too much work and non-physical activity could have your Tiger physique resembling that of the Pig. Wealth Although your health could improve from extra activity, your wealth could suffer from too much risk. Keep a careful eye on your budget, and watch expenses, as over-extending yourself could result painful shortfalls at the end of each month. It is a good idea to review your long-term financial plan, or to write out a financial plan if you do not have one.
Ratings 43% (3 favorable, 3 neutral and 6 unfavorable months)
Ratings 75% (11 favorable and 1 neutral month)
Ratings 69% (10 favorable, 1 neutral and 1 unfavorable month)
The scratchy Rat often takes the Rabbit out of its comfort zone. So, this year is likely to be a lot more challenging than last year, especially since the Fire Pig year is one of your most favorable. The middle months of the year are likely to be the toughest. Although you want to avoid risk throughout the year, it is especially important during those months. You will best be able to take advantage of the good times if you can keep your emotions under control, especially when things don’t go your way.
Hopefully the Pig showered blessings on you last year. If not, don’t worry. This year promises to be even better with your good friend the Rat in charge. You could enjoy success but this is still not the best of years, as Earth does not favor your luck. This is a year for avoiding risk. As a Dragon, you could be something of a dreamer. If so, this is the perfect year for you, since Earth promotes practicality. This means you have a good chance of realizing one of your big dreams.
This year promises to be a vast improvement over the last one. You are likely, for example, to experience exciting mental stimulation. If you use your brains you can produce some very good results in most areas of your life. Almost every month will provide opportunities, although you might want to take it easy right after the Chinese New Year. Next year should be even better, so you should take time to make plans and begin projects to be completed then.
Career This year of the Earth Rat may see a mixed bag for you career-wise. Your job could be frustrating, as the Rat’s energy could cause delays and mix-ups for you. However, some progress and expansion is possible, as the Earth element promotes growth for the Wood element, which is native to your Rabbit sign. There may also be opportunities for those who seek a change in careers. Relationships with your co-workers could also pose a problem, especially if you get involved in office politics and gossip.
Career The year of the Rat seems to smile on your career. Chances for advancement may be there for the taking if you can come up with something imaginative that will breathe life into your ideas. If you are open to change, your willing spirit and adaptive style could win you big points with those in authority. A certain co-worker could become unexpected ally so be sure to stay alert to the work of those around you and find ways to get other people involved in your projects.
Career The fast paced energy given off by the year of the Rat creates a dynamic career environment for the Snake. This spark of energy could inspire the Snake with new and creative ideas resulting in many opportunities. However, in order to take advantage of such opportunities, you may have to take some quick and decisive action. If you are bored with your present work situation, this is a good time to seek greener pastures.
Relationships While life at work might prove to be somewhat unfavorable for you, your domestic situation could well make up for turmoil on the job front. Your time is best spent with loved ones engaging in your favorite activities or just plain relaxing. In times of stress, your loved ones could prove to be your best ally. You are likely to find a new romantic interest, but try to take things slowly to avoid any disappointments in love -- especially if you are not single! Friends might not be able to hold up their end of the bargain. Be emotionally prepared just in case.
Relationships The good-will of the Rat towards your career sector will likely overﬂow into your relationships. If you are able to come down from your lofty perch and express your emotions and love to your friends and family, many happy moments will likely follow. The Earth element of this year favors family, humble actions and heart-felt gestures. Your social life should be rather active. Single Dragons could find their soul mate, or at least a little romance, as this is a very auspicious year for love.
Health The optimistic outlook from your relationships does not seem to carry over to your health. The fast-paced action from the Rat year could play havoc with your delicate Rabbit constitution. Your jangled nerves may cause you to be more accident-prone than normal. You may want to take more precautions, like being a little more alert and conscious of your environment. It is a good idea to bolster your immune system by getting plenty of exercise.
Health You may feel like you are getting a double shot of espresso with the combined energies of your very active social life and the high-octane fuel that is derived from the year of the Rat. One word of caution: Although you may feel like a superhero, you are definitely not one. Take the same precautions that a normal human being would.
Health All the energy spent in your career and relationships could have a negative impact on your health. Your best bet to stay healthy could be to get in plenty of exercise and engage in some of your favorite leisure activities. You may also be able to further reduce your stress levels and increase your health levels if you are a little bit less secretative with your family members and friends.
Wealth Although your health is in very good shape, your financial fitness may not quite be at the same level, as the Earth element favors conservative actions over risky ones this year. If you are considering making a major purchase for you home, this seems to be a very favorable time to proceed with such actions. Striving to improve your financial contacts and networks could be profitable. Try not to overlook financial planning and savings.
Wealth Your finances seem to be on track to make some healthy improvements. If you have suffered some financial setbacks, you may be able to make a monetary comeback of sorts in the year of the ever-resourceful Rat. Attempt to steer well clear of expensive purchases, especially impulse buys. You will most likely suffer from buyers remorse right after making a large purchase. Under the Earth element, conservative investments may show some profits.
Wealth Along the same lines as your health, your wealth situation may have a dim outlook. Be vigilant in this year of the Rat, as you could be an easy target for swindlers and con men. When taking financial advice from others, it would be best to stick to people with whom you had a previous relationship with and can trust. The bright spot of the year is that long term investment such as a purchase for your home will bring you a good return.
Relationships The good vibrations that the year of the Rat gave off to your career sector should overﬂow into your relationships. Your most memorable moments this year will be the intimate ones shared with family and friends. An active social life should be fueled by the almost endless energy of the fast-talking and highly social Rat year. Single Snakes have a wonderful chance to find love and romance, or maybe just one great ﬂing.
Ratings 32% (3 neutral and 9 unfavorable months)
Ratings 42% (5 favorable and 7 unfavorable months)
Ratings 76% (11 favorable and 1 neutral month)
Alas, the Horse is the sign that fares least well in the year of the Rat. Still, the year will not be without opportunities. The trick will be to force yourself to rely more on your head than your heart. That is contrary to the Horse nature, so it won’t be easy. The first month of the year could be your best one. Given this, it’s important for you to make smart moves as soon as the New Year’s partying is over. A quick start is especially important, as the last three months could be very challenging.
After what was probably a very favorable, Pig, year this year might seem like a disaster. It is important, however, for you to understand that you are still looking at five, favorable months. There will thus be plenty of opportunities if you do not get down and let negative emotions get the best of you. Your natural inclination is most likely to follow your heart, but you will do much better this year if you can let your head dictate your actions.
The Monkey, of the 12 signs, is the one most likely to have the best year. Fortune smiles upon you with your big Rat friend in charge. If you are a typical, mentally quick and multi-talented Monkey, opportunities there will be aplenty. There is only one, major concern: The Achilles heal of both the Monkey and Rat is overconfidence. This could make you forget that the Tiger rules the first month and won’t do you any favors. As good as the year is, therefore, a slow start is advisable.
Career Your difficult year will probably extend into your career as well. You will find that projects will become a bit more difficult and delays could be the norm. The Year of the Earth Rat is better suited for planning as opposed to doing, so you should keep your focus on the long term and look forward to the latter portion of the year. While you typically favor your independence, this is a good year for you to really take a step back and allow yourself to rely on the group for support. While you may experience some bumps in the road, you have many opportunities to learn. Consider furthering your work-related knowledge.
Career Your management may be pressuring you this year to work even more. You can find spots for advancement and make progress on your work if you stay diligent with the tasks at hand. The biggest drawback to your year is the pressure on you, and your inclination to say yes and take on more work than you can handle. Be rational about your workload and don’t be scared to say no if the load is too much to bear.
Career Go with your heart and follow your instincts with your projects at hand. It is likely that your ideas will be rewarded this year so do your best to see each idea through in its entirety. Be careful to avoid hopping around with too many ideas, as lack of focus will derail even the best laid plans. You will see rewards when working closely with coworkers who exhibit similar ideas. Don’t be afraid to trust their instincts as well.
Relationships For the single Sheep, the Year of the Earth Rat could lead to the blossoming of true love. You may find that temptation to date more than one person falls on you in more than one instance. However, existing relationships could be problematic. Be careful not to be overly trusting or you’ll wind up hurt later. At the same time, be wary of rumors and gossip, as they will lead to unnecessary arguments.
Relationships Your social life should be very active this year. If you’re married, you’ll find yourself, more than ever, wanting to be with your spouse in a more active, social environment. This enhanced activity could lead to an addition in the family so if you’re not ready, be careful! The single Monkey should expect to find an abundance of opportunities. This could be the year to play more so than settle down. Networking is at a peak so look for new groups to join where you can build both your knowledge and your network.
Relationships Tough times at work might cause you to seek solitude. Again, letting your guard down, especially with those who love you, is one way you will find happiness. Family time will be the most rewarding part of the year for you, so you should go out of your way to include them in your activities. Relationships may cause you some distress, especially if your loved one is also of the Rat, Monkey or Dragon groups. Do not despair though, you will be best served by exercising patience and understanding the needs of your partner. Health Be sure to stay on top of your health. You may experience some signs of decreased energy, especially during the last three months of the year. While you may feel the need to put in extra hours at work, it is important that you do not overdo it and factor in some extra sleep time to allow your body to recuperate. While diet is always important, it’s even more so this year. Stick with natural, healthy foods that will help neutralize the periods of low chi. Wealth: This is definitely not the time for risk taking. You should think twice about expenditures and avoid them if possible. Saving this year should put you in a better position for more opportunistic times ahead. Be wary of anyone asking you for a loan. Small loans are ok if you are comfortable with the chance they might not be repaid.
Health Work could be the drain on you, and the more you are inclined to overwork yourself, the more likely you will be to experience increased stress levels and exposure to illness. While this advice is always good, it is even more so this year under the inﬂuence of the Earth element. Do your best to not get down on yourself when things don’t go your way. Overall, the year should be one of good health if you take the typical steps towards proper maintenance. Wealth Your finances should be looking up this year. Earth years are good years for saving and planning which bodes well for those that keep a conservative mindset. You may be due for a surprise during one of your down months that could turn out to be unpleasant. Make sure you’ve tucked away enough to cover the costs associated with an unexpected accident or maintenance.
Health Your chi levels should be persistently higher throughout the course of the year. This means a year of generally good health. You should see progress on any existing long-term illness as well. Take this as an opportunity to increase your care and further your progress. With increased activity and social life, just make sure you get some rest along the way and do not get too caught up in the party scene! Wealth Finances should be generally good this year. Expect to see positive changes from 2007, as the year of the Earth Rat should be more stable for you. Keep in mind, though, it is not a great year for speculative investment so stick with what you know best and be ready to grind out some good work. This is one of those years that bodes well for savings and those savings could pay off big in the years to come.
Ratings 37% (2 favorable, 1 neutral and 9 unfavorable months)
Ratings 58% (8 favorable and 4 unfavorable months)
Ratings 68% (11 favorable and 1 unfavorable month)
In general, none of the Roosterâ€™s traits appeal to, or are well tolerated by the Rat. After the Horse, the Rooster is the sign most likely to have a challenging year. There will, nevertheless, be a few opportunities. A cooperative attitude, and winning allies. are likely to be keys to your success. On the other hand, if you succumb to the Rooster propensity for arguing and quarrels, you could have a very difficult time. It is up to you to minimize the damage by displaying the right attitude.
This year may be a bit more challenging than the last, but it still has the potential to be very favorable. The Dog is more comfortable with the Pig, which symbolizes endings, rather than the Rat, which is associated with new beginnings. If you are willing to leave your comfort zone, you can make significant progress towards your objectives and also achieve one or more notable successes. As with most things, your attitude is likely to determine just how well you do.
Major improvement is likely to be in store for you this year. Itâ€™s ironic that the environment is likely to be more unsettling, while simultaneously providing more opportunities for success. A mental adjustment is required to maximize your potential. Although the Pig tends to look to the future, even to retirement, your focus should be squarely on the present. The future is now. Be alert for favorable situations and make the most of them.
Career Progress may be a little slow on the career front this year. Do not dismay when plans go astray and be especially careful not to over-react to your coworkers when they do. Take time to understand the roots of your problems and use your sharp mind, not your tongue, to resolve them. If you wish to be successful in a more challenging year, you will need the support of your co-workers and your superiors. This is definitely not a year to go it alone. Mental stimulation is high this year, so be sure to seek out training opportunities.
Career If you have been considering a change in occupation, this could be the year to try something different. This is a time for action, not delay, so be decisive whether it is change you seek, or simply advancement in your current role. Spend time promoting yourself and your skills and make sure that those above you on the company ladder are able to recognize the good things you are doing this year. Your coworkers will be more valuable than ever this year, so pay close attention to what they have to say to you.
Relationships The energies of the year are not as conducive to relationship success for you. The single Rooster needs to take care not to rush into anything new this year, as things may not always be quite what they seem. Your social life will be fun, although you must be careful not to do anything too crazy and get yourself caught up in a situation you do not want to be in. The Rooster in a relationship needs to take care and avoid missteps, as small problems have the potential to erupt into larger, uncontrollable ones this year. Health As it is not the best year for relationships, you must be particularly careful when the added stressed caused from relationship problems could be detrimental to your health. The best thing for you to do this year is stay active and use the physical activities to reduce the added stress levels you are experiencing. Remember, the mindset of the Rat can be particularly aggravating to a Rooster, so take care of yourself. Wealth If you have not already created a budget for the year, now is the time to do it. When you do, make sure to plan for the unexpected as heavy expense may occur and have you dipping into your hard earned savings. Take care when shopping and spending, as the temptation for something new could come back to bite you down the road.
Relationships You will find the most comfort in your family relationships this year, be it with you parents, children or loved one. There is a chance someone in your immediate circle will need a good friend and you will need to find the time to step up and take care of them. The single Dog will find good fun and mental stimulation this year. You should have plenty of chances to meet new friends and explore new love interests. Health Be alert for signs of increased stress or burnout. This will be an active year for you, which means you are at an increased risk for physical injury. Always be sure to exercise proper caution when out and about and you should be just fine. Your health, in general, should be good as long as you avoid stress related issues. Wealth You should see a significant improvement in your financial situation this year. There is a good chance that the Year of the Earth Rat will be favorable towards your new savings plans and investment decisions. Your tendency to trust those around you too much might get you in trouble, this year. The wisest thing to do when considering a financial decision involving someone you trust is to get a second opinion.
Career Be wary of changes on the job this year. As you are likely to see increased success, your best bet on the job is to stay focused on the projects you have been working on and make sure you drive them to completion. When you begin new projects, be sure to get the support of your co-workers and management. They will be instrumental to your success on the job. You will find that the work environment is more comfortable this year and that the people around you will appreciate your experience and talent. Relationships Family time will be precious this year. You will find yourself wanting to do more with your significant other, and patch up any conďŹ‚icts created last year. Your social life will be active and fun, whether you are hanging out on the single front or relaxing with your loved one. The single Pig will find plenty of opportunities during the Year of the Earth Rat. If you are single, set aside a little more time for your social life and accept a few more offers to go out. You may find that love is in the air -- along with a new career connection or two. Health Changes in your life may be a bit unsettling for you. The pace of the year also poses some risk to your health and well-being. Be sure to avoid any risky physical activity as this is probably not the year to attempt your first mountain climb or deep-sea dive. You should take a slow, cautious approach to your daily life. Your general energy level will be positive this year and you should have no problem maintaining your health. Wealth The second half of the Year of the Rat should be much better for you than the first. Exercise caution with your spending and make it a point to think twice about any potential purchases. You will be best served to maintain a budget this year and stick to it. You could have real problems with money if you are not careful and become tempted by the slick sales person type with offers that are not sound.
DRAGON DANCES AND DICE
CHINESE NEW YEAR LAS VEGAS STYLE By Randi N. Belisomo
dragon dance photo courtesy of wynn las vegas; photo on bottom courtesy of bellagio las vegas
t’s a fresh start for revelers, and that means a new opportunity to test their luck. Increasingly, Las Vegas is becoming the destination of choice for Asians and Asian Americans alike to ring in the Chinese New Year, and the city’s resorts and casinos are always ready to roll out the red carpet to welcome the celebration. “I don’t think it’s in the blood, but the culture encourages taking chances,” says Vegas veteran Thomas Lim, an Asian marketing specialist, who says gambling is an integral component of all things Chinese. And this year’s 15-day holiday might have been the opportune time to do just that. In Chinese astrology, 2008 is a year dedicated to the rat—an ancient symbol of prosperity. February 7 marked day one of the new lunar calendar. “If somebody didn’t do well last year, they can forget about it,” says V.J. Tong, president of the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute. Prior to the holiday, Tong says Chinese families often clean their houses as well as pay off old debts, wiping the slate clean for new fortune to flourish. Similarly, the Chinese collect from people who owe—padding the pocket just in time for a Vegas arrival. David Huang, owner of Chinese Hosts tour company, says he anticipates handling more than 1,000 guests for this year’s holiday on the Strip, a two-week period when the entire area seemingly turns Chinese. “Coming to Vegas fits the Chinese lifestyle of having fun,” says Huang. His business has long profited from international visitors, but Huang says he has recently enjoyed an increasing
A dragon dance at the Wynn Las Vegas’ annual Chinese New Year dinner.
amount of Asian American traffic as well. “Win or lose, it’s all fun. They have the money to spend and Vegas fits that.” And the city tries to fit them. Insiders say Las Vegas and its casino resorts have been aggressively recruiting the Asian market since the early 1970s, providing high-quality service and amenities, as well as upping the numbers of Asian staff. The marketing tactics have worked. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that Asian Americans currently make up about four percent of all visitors to the city. While the organization does not keep figures of Asian tourists during the Chinese New Year, Erica Pope of the Visitors Authority calls it “a very significant audience.” That’s because of the revenue that audience brings. “The Asian market has become very important because the Asian has a higher gaming profile generally speaking,” says Lim, of the risk-taking cultural tendencies. Bill Eadington, of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno agrees. “Chinese and ChineseAmericans are very enthusiastic gamblers,” he says. “Culturally, gambling among Chinese in general does not carry much of a moral stigma, and those Chinese who gamble do so with intensity of purpose and considerable superstition.” One of those superstitions: a bet on red during a game of roulette, because red represents fortune. And if one is betting on the numbers, eight is a good pick, Tong says, because in Cantonese, the number sounds similar to “getting rich.” The number six is
used in betting as well, and casino table games garner serious business from the Chinese clientele. So what’s there to do after the new year’s fortune has been won? Las Vegas will be lit up with all things Chinese. Many resort casinos host dragon and lion dances, traditionally performed to ward off evil spirits, and others offer special events and meals tailored to the celebration. Here are some suggestions to get your Year of the Rat rolling right. BEST BET: Chinese New Year truly does take on a life of its own at the Bellagio Las Vegas: a plant life. The Bellagio’s 35,000-squarefoot conservatory is transformed into an Asian wonderland beginning the second week of January.
One of many displays at the Bellagio Las Vegas’ conservatory during Chinese New Year.
The Bellagio Las Vegas’ conservatory during Chinese New Year.
ALSO IN THE CARDS: No Chinese New Year would be complete without a traditional meal, served up at Wing Lei in Wynn Las Vegas. This year for $198 a reveler could dine and enjoy a set menu of braised shark’s fin, steamed goby, braised sea moss and crispy chicken. For $398 a person, the haute cuisine included foie gras salad, osetra caviar, lobster with court bouillon and steamed fresh spotted grouper. Executive Chef Richard Chen mixes Cantonese, Shanghai and Szechwan styles. For reservations, call 888-352-DINE. The Las Vegas Chinatown Plaza once again hosted its Chinese New Year Celebration and Asian Food Festival on Feb. 17. Over five thousand people enjoyed the Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese cuisine that the festival featured. Performances included: a lion dance, a dragon dance and Chinese acrobats. Admission was $3 for adults and $1 dollar for kids ages 6–12. Children 5 and younger were free.
Test Your Luck on the Links T
Hole No. 16 at the Bali Hai Golf Club.
By Randi N. Belisomo
ourists tee off in Las Vegas 365 days a year, but perhaps the luck of a brand new one will bring you more birdies. The weather couldn’t be better, and the desert surroundings are sure to provide some fresh, brisk air after a long night at the casino. “The people that do come to Vegas typically look for things to do that they would not do back home,” says Michael Levine of Walters Golf, a company that owns three courses in the Las Vegas area. “The courses here are themed so we offer golfers a chance to experience courses around the world.” So where to tee it up? Here are “fore” to try: The Bali Hai Golf Club is located just a quarter mile south of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. The 7,002-yard, par-71 track boasts views of the Las Vegas Strip through more than 4,000 trees. The Indonesian-inspired design is sure to excite the imagination. 888-427-6678.
photo on top: courtesy of las vegas news bureau; on bottom: courtesy of Bali Hai Golf Club
The display’s designers say they’re hoping it will satisfy the most discriminating of tastes. “We’re just wanting our guests to be overwhelmed when they see our ideas and the things that we do,” says Audra Banzak, executive director of Horticulture at the Bellagio. The 18-foot tall textile god of fortune gets the exhibit off to that kind of start, and a special addition for 2008 was sure to do the same: a towering Topiary Rat overlooked visitors from a branch. The casino contracts feng shui consultants to ensure the botanical balance, so be sure to look for bonsai trees, orchids, and winding rivers hosting fish in multiples of lucky numbers. “They get it, and that’s what is cool about it,” says Banzak of visitors to the symbol-laden exhibit. For the Western-minded, explanations are found on the surrounding walls. “It’s a fun show to design because it’s mysterious,” says Banzak. This year’s display ran through March 15.
Gaming Exec Dealt Winning Hand By Randi N. Belisomo
photo on top: courtesy of wilson ning; on bottom: courtesy of royal links golf club
Wilson Ning, vice president of domestic Asian Marketing at the Rio, Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s and Imperial Palace hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.
or Wilson Ning, it seems like life is a game, and he is always winning. Following 10 years in the Las Vegas hotel and casino industry, the 42-year-old Hong Kong native has worked his way into his current position as vice president of domestic Asian Marketing for the Rio, Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s and Imperial Palace hotels and casinos. Ning’s recent promotion into this role is a testament to the many years of hard work and thousands of hours he has dedicated to his career in marketing. “The best part of my job is to work with a lot of people and meet many different guests from a variety of industries,” says Ning, who started his career as an Asian executive host. The Sacramento State University graduate says the lure of Lake Tahoe longlingered on his mind in post-college years before he took a chance and moved, and he was dealt his first gaming gig at Harveys Lake Tahoe Casino and Resort. His fluency in Cantonese and Mandarin helped him get hired, but Ning says his upbringing was his trump card. “I think my Asian heritage really helped
me to perhaps have a high value in work ethic, integrity and performance,” he says. Whatever it was, it put him on the fast track to the payoff. Before long, Ning was moving to Reno as an executive host at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino. In 1998, he went all-in and landed in Las Vegas, where he began work with Harrah’s Entertainment. It has been nothing but up in the company ever since, for this former player recruiter who now sits in a new executive office. “Wilson truly deserves anything and everything he receives,” says friend and co-worker Lu Tsai, assistant director for Harrah’s multicultural marketing. “He’s able to cross between Asian customers and non-Asian customers, and that really broadens his reach in the industry.” Likewise, it is an industry that has broadened his interests. While Ning gambles recreationally, he says his real fun comes on the golf course. The now 18-handicap golfer picked up the game after moving to Sin City. “I started because of my job,” Ning admits. “It’s such a great networking tool for meeting potential clients.” Those clients
are V.I.P. clients, Ning says, many of whom spend an average of one million dollars per casino visit. Ning averages about two rounds a month, or two dozen each year in Nevada’s golf-friendly conditions. Whether playing his company’s Rio Secco Golf Club, Angel Park Golf Club or Bear’s Best Las Vegas, Ning is always appreciative of everything his city has to offer. “It’s extremely exciting,” Ning says. “But the fabulous part about living here is that you can step out and live a regular lifestyle.” Ning says he is happy to fold at the end of each day, leaving the Strip to return home to his wife, Sarah, and their two dogs. Next in the cards for Ning is a trip to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, followed by a visit to Macau. While Ning aims to eventually work with his company on a project in China’s gaming capital, Tsai says that will be only one of many. “He’s done great things for our industry and Asian Americans in our industry,” Tsai says. “He’s just scratching the surface.”
Also situated on the Strip is the Wynn Golf Club, designed by Tom Fazio and resort developer Steve Wynn himself. The par-70 course offers a 37-foot waterfall on the 18th green, perfect for a photo op after a round in paradise. The club opened in 2005, and it is located on the site of the former Desert Inn Golf Club, a longtime PGA Tour stop. 888-320-7122. Jack Nicklaus nuts, take notice. Bear’s Best Las Vegas offers replicas of 18 of the Golden Bear’s most famous hole designs, including those from PGA West, Desert Mountain and Castle Pines. 702-804-8500. Is “Hell’s Bunker” your idea of Heaven? Check out the Royal Links Golf Club and make the British Open come to life in the midst of America’s West. The links-style course features 18 of the most famous holes in the Open’s rotation. Forecaddies are highly recommended. 888-427-6678. Hole No. 18, “Hell’s Bunker,” at the Royal Links Golf Club.
Getting Loud on the Golf Course By David Gialanella
Style: Buzzz-A Price: $89.95
Founder Scott Woodworth, sporting the Loudmouth look.
full-time endeavor for him; he has only two clients left to support his graphic design work. “I’ve been saying for the last seven years that I haven’t quit my day job yet,” he says. “The handwriting is on the wall.” Like most good innovations, Woodworth’s idea is not completely original, he says. The “retro” look touches all areas of fashion, it appears, including golf attire. Woodworth recalls coming across a photo of comedian Bob Hope—wearing golf slacks with biplanes printed on them—while dreaming up Loudmouth. “I couldn’t believe it, but these are the types of things they were wearing already” in the 1960s, Woodworth says. “Essentially, this is nothing completely new.” The Providence, R.I. native also was inspired by the flashy pastels and plaids worn by the upper crust of Long Island and New England during the summer months. Luckily, you won’t need a Bentley and a trust fund to be able to afford a pair of these slacks. While some golf khakis can go for $140 or more, Woodworth offers his product for about $85 per pair, “a small price to pay,” Woodworth says. “We could probably charge $200.”
photos courtesy of loudmouth golf
t probably comes as no surprise, but the Loudmouth Golf Pants company is rooted in mischievousness. San Francisco-based graphic designer Scott Woodworth launched the company seven years ago after one seemingly innocent mid-week golf game with friends. The guilty pleasure of skipping a day of work to hit the links and go to a baseball game got Woodworth thinking that he needed to do something to commemorate the occasion. “I just didn’t think throwing on a pair of Dockers did our plan justice,” Woodworth says. At the very least, he wanted to sport a pair of bright red pants. He might even have settled for a pair of gleaming white trousers. Back then, there weren’t many wardrobe options for the flashy golfer—just plain old golf khakis. That’s when Woodworth went shopping and found powder-blue fabric with drawings of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and all the other Looney Tunes characters riding golf carts. He bought a few yards of the gaudy stuff, brought it to a tailor and had a pair of trousers made. “The guys freaked out,” the 47-year-old father of two says. “People in the next fairway freaked out.” An Internet business was born. The first hundred pairs he had manufactured took three months to sell. Seven years, $500,000 in sales and nearly 10,000 pairs later, Loudmouth Golf now supplies its products to 30 retailers. Fabric now is imported from India, while production has been moved to China. Last year alone, the company did about a quarter of million dollars in sales, Woodworth says. Soon, Loudmouth will be a
Never mind the price tag; the reactions he and his customers get out on the course are truly invaluable, he says. “You get guys who walk by you and chuckle,” Woodworth says. “You get guys who say they’re fantastic. You get other guys who avert their eyes downward. They won’t look at you because they don’t know what to do.” These threads don’t just raise eyebrows on the course, according to one loyal customer. Hunter Bendall of Richmond, Va., says he, like Woodworth, was simply looking for some different-looking golf pants two years ago when he came upon loudmouthgolf.com. Now he owns a dozen pairs of longs, a dozen pairs of shorts and several other items. Though he plays 40 to 50 rounds a year, these products shouldn’t be relegated to golf outings, he says. “I go to college football games and wear them,” says the 54-year-old advertising sales manager. “I’ll wear a pair of the wild red ones on Valentine’s Day. I’ll wear a pair of the green ones on St. Patrick’s Day. The long
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and short of it is, it’s just fun.” Bendall might be helping set a trend, but there’s a long way to go Visit www.aagolf.com to enter before “critical mass,” Woodworth says, before golfers can see his products on every course in the world. Still, things are moving in the right direction: Loudmouth recently received an order for 5,000 pairs of pants. Woodworth now has several employees and two partners, David Suzuki and Larry Jackson. Plus, he has clients in Dubai, Japan, South Africa, the Philippines, Europe, and elsewhere, he says. Escaping everyday responsibilities for an afternoon of golf is revitalizing in itself, but a new look never hurts, Woodworth says. If golfers want to make their all-toorare leisure time memorable, he would say the best way to do it is with a really, really loud pair of pants. “I love golf,” Woodworth says. “Maybe when someone buys this business—for a lot of money—I’ll get to play every day.” David Gialanella is a journalist working in the Chicago area.
Two partners of Loudmouth Golf, David Suzuki (left) and Larry Jackson (right) strike a pose in their Loudmouth Golf attire. Suzuki helps with the international expansion and manufacturing at Loudmouth Golf. He has spent most of his career in venture capital and has been an avid golfer since childhood. Suzuki has lived in Japan and makes it a point to check out the local golf scene when he travels throughout Asia, working closely with Silicon Valley start-ups. Jackson is responsobile for sales and marketing at Loudmouth Golf. He has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the Silicon Valley-based telecommunications and networking equipment field. Jackson has lived and worked internationally both in Tokyo and London. He enjoys golfing around the world, both for business and pleasure, and is currently a member at both Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. and Lake Merced Country Club in San Francisco, Calif.
Style: Disco Balls Black-A Price: $89.95
Simpac Golf Squares Off with Golf’s Heavy Hitters By Erin Golden
n 2001, a group of Korean engineers created something revolutionary in the world of golf: square drivers designed to boost distance and accuracy for any golfer. Nearly eight years later, the driver’s designer, Simpac, (short for “square impact”) has gone stateside, with a U.S. patent, USGA approval and a major launch at last year’s PGA merchandise show. The Irvine, Calif.-based company has already released a seventh-generation version of the driver and is getting more attention than ever from pros and amateurs alike. “I’m sure we can lead the market,” says Gong Jin Choi, the company’s owner. “We’ve had very good reports from a lot of golfers who love the clubs.” From the start, Choi and his team knew they faced an uphill battle. With an unusual-looking product and a small business in a sea of multibillion dollar companies, selling the Simpac product required more than a little hard work. In April 2004—well before major companies like Nike and Callaway introduced their own square drivers— Simpac received approval for a patent for its square-headed drivers. (Today Nike, Callaway and other companies produce their squares with different materials, avoiding patent infringements.) The new clubs were designed to distribute the weight of the club head more efficiently, to help add power to the swing and broaden the size of the sweet spot. And because of its unique 30
shape, many testers found the club easier to align with the ball—meaning greater accuracy and higher distance. “The technology, the larger shape can increase momentum and inertia from the center of gravity,” Choi says. “You can be more consistent when you hit the ball and there is greater forgiveness if you go off-center. The ball will have a tendency to go straight.” Though some players were skeptical about the square clubs, Choi says many were hooked after just one swing. “We’ve had some good testimony from the Korean pros, who love the square driver, love the style of the club,” he says. “And then K.J. Choi won the Chrysler Classic in 2006, and was testing a square driver…a lot of golfers are interested.” In addition to major tournament players, Simpac has been testing its product with golfers of all skill levels. Sungwoo Park, a Simpac pro, said he’s seen his scores improve dramatically since he started using the new clubs. “My average drive was 280 before, but after I changed to the square driver, I got more distance—an average of 295 to 300,” he says. “The one big thing I got was an increase on the fairway, by about 70 to 80 percent. It’s amazing—after I change the driver, I get good scores.” At Simpac headquarters in California—and at its manufacturing facilities in Korea and China—the focus is now on spreading the word about the product and making it even better.
Last March, the company debuted its first hybrid club, which combines the technology of Simpac’s square drivers with more traditional clubs. Three months later, Simpac received official USGA approval for the clubs. The company now sells square titanium drivers and a fairway wood series, which are available on the company’s website (www.simpac.com) and at a growing number of regional and national golf retailers. By next year, Choi, the company’s owner, says he hopes to have a putter in the Simpac lineup. Shaun Smith, Simpac’s director of public relations and marketing, says the small company is making a big push to compete with the market heavyweights. “It’s really a David and Goliath story—at first, we were basically laughed out the door, because the big companies don’t make room for anybody,” he says. “But from where we started two years ago, our product is selling like hotcakes. But we believe in our product and the clubs speak for themselves—they work.” Choi says he’s proud to have seen the company grow so fast and produce stateof-the-art golf equipment without a big budget or major fanfare. “We’re growing, and even if we have to compete with some big, giant company, we’re confident we can get there,” Choi says. “We’ve got good people and a good product—it’s just a good family here.” Erin Golden writes from Bend, Ore.
Cruise the Course in Style with Segway Two-Wheeled Transportation for the Golf Course By Kristen Brockmeyer
adget-loving golfers can now forgo the traditional golf cart, and instead tool around the fairways in a style that seems more suited to Silicon Valley. Segway Inc., makers of the world’s first two-wheeled, self-balancing “human transporter,” is revolutionizing golf course transportation with the innovative Segway x2 Golf. Segway’s creator, Dean Kamen, became interested in personal transporter technology after witnessing a young man struggling to maneuver his wheelchair over a curb. Soon after, he assembled a team of technicians and created the Independence IBOT™ Mobility System: a self-balancing mobility device designed to give persons with disabilities greater stability on surfaces that are hard to navigate in wheelchairs. Sand, rocks and even stairs were no longer a problem for IBOT™ users who were previously restricted by wheelchair limitations. After experiencing success with these initial efforts, Kamen then began to focus on expanding his products to serve people without mobility difficulties. In 2001, Segway released the Personal Transporter (PT), which provides users a way to get around quickly and easily—with the added bonus of a fun ride. Kamen hoped that his Segway, which was designed with 11 times the energy efficiency of a standard American car, would someday be a widely available, environmentally friendly mode of transportation. However, design and development of such an unusual and innovative product hasn’t been easy; Segway experienced some setbacks in the form of recalls in both 2003 and 2006, but the company managed to bounce back with improved safety features and an expanded product line. Overall, Segway has experienced dramatic growth since its inception and currently operates 250 retail points in more than 70 locations worldwide. Those seeing the Segway in action
for the first time are led to wonder how in the world its users manage to stay upright, but the device is a masterpiece of efficiency, technology and function that seems to defy gravity. Despite its precarious appearance, the Segway is safe and easy to operate. Users stand on the footboard, and thanks to the Segway’s intuitive software, need only to lean in the direction they want to go—slightly forward, backward, right or left—to operate the transporter. The applications of the Segway have evolved into areas beyond recreational use, and today, Segway riders can be seen zipping around crowded urban streets during their morning commutes, browsing through shopping malls on two wheels, traversing busy airports, navigating through office buildings, delivering mail, patrolling police beats and, of course, playing a round of golf. The Segway has begun to experience a growing popularity on the golf course in the form of the high-tech x2 Golf. The x2 Golf operates much the same way as the original Segway; however, it offers several features specifically designed to appeal to golfers, including: Low-Pressure Tires: According to independent reports, the x2 Golf ’s oversized, low-pressure tires are much more turf-friendly than those of traditional golf carts. LeanSteer™ Technology: Specialized steering software allows the x2 Golf to differentiate between a rider’s steering commands and the natural shifting that occurs on rough ground. In addition, its higher clearance and wider base allow for safe and stable navigation on tough terrain. InfoKey™ Controller: The InfoKey™ controller is a combination key and alarm system. It also allows the x2 Golf ’s user to monitor speed, battery levels and trip mileage, and fits easily into the user’s pocket. Improved Distance: The x2 Golf operates on lithium-ion batteries and has a
range of up to 12 miles, or approximately 36 holes, from one battery charge. Golfer-Oriented Extras: The x2 Golf is equipped with both a scorecard holder and a rack that carries clubs at an accessible level and automatically lifts them into an upright position when the unit is parked. The x2 Golf is a fun and unusual transportation method, but some may consider its cost a significant drawback: the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is currently $6,175. However, as many other golfers have discovered, the novelty and convenience of this specialized Segway are hard to resist. According to Jim Norrod, CEO of Segway Inc., “The x2 Golf [is] a must-have for serious players as well as innovative golf courses.” Two California courses, the Santa Theresa Golf Club and the San Jose Municipal Golf Course in San Jose, Calif., have already hopped on board, each employing a fleet of 20 x2 Golfs for their visitors and members. Several other courses across the country already use older versions of the Segway Golf. It may look like something out of a science fiction movie, but the Segway is rapidly becoming a popular way to get around. With its turf-friendly tires, terrain capabilities, ease of use and high fun factor, the x2 Golf might soon provide the golf cart with some serious competition on the green. For more information about the Segway PT or the x2 Golf, visit www.segway.com or call 1-866-4SEGWAY. Kristen Brockmeyer is a freelance writer based in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Ji Yai Shin
South Koreaâ€™s Secret Weapon
Ji Yai Shin celebrates a par putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2008 MFS Australian Open.
Photo by brandon malone/ÂŠaction images limited
By Eric Fleming
he top 10 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings LPGA star Cristie Kerr by two shots and take the trophy. features familiar names like LPGA stars Lorena Ochoa Her career was off and running. and Annika Sorenstam. But one name on the list may be Her consistency in her rookie year was astonishing. She virtually unknown to many Western fans: Ji Yai Shin, who finished in the top 10 in 14 of 15 events, winning three has been dominating the Korean LPGA since 2006, while times. She was both the Rookie of the Year and Player of the also producing great finishes in international competitions. Year. Her season money total shattered the all-time record Born in 1988, the year South Korea hosted the Olympic (formerly held by Pak) for most money made in a season, as Summer Games, Shin’s foray into professional golf has been she became the first to make more than KRW 300 million marked by a rapid rise to success. Like many other women (about $320,000 USD) in one year. Her 69.72 stroke scoring of her generation, Shin was inspired to take up the game average was also the first sub-70 scoring average in league by Korean superstar Se Ri Pak. When Pak won the U.S. history. In just one year, Shin had established herself as the Women’s Open and became a national hero, Shin was 10 strongest candidate yet to become “the next Se Ri Pak.” years old. The successes of her 2006 season, In just one year, Shin faced special challenges in however, would be dwarfed by her becoming a top golfer. Due to her accomplishments in 2007. Even before Shin had established short-but-powerful physique, she herself as the strongest the KLPGA season started, Shin teamed was forced to adopt special training candidate yet to become with Young Kim to finish third at the methods—the same ones used by her Women’s World Cup in South Africa, “the next Se Ri Pak.” idol, Pak—to build her lower body made two top fives in Australian events strength. Thanks to this regimen, and won the Thailand Ladies Open by Shin would become one of the longest drivers in Korea. 10 shots. In three months, she had played events on three In addition, Shin came from a family of modest means. continents and achieved top five finishes in all of them. “(My) father is a minister, or pastor, and since Korean golf When the KLPGA season started in April, Shin faced is quite expensive, it is hard on a minister’s payroll to play serious competition for the title of Best Player from two golf,” she told us through a translator at the 2007 Lexus other golfers, and early in the season she was even ranked Cup, where she played for the Asian team. Despite these third on the money list. True champions find a way to obstacles, after a few years of hard work she was well on respond to challenges, and Shin did just that. She won three her way to becoming a star. straight events on tour starting in June, becoming the first And then, disaster struck. In 2003, Shin’s mother, younger player to achieve that since Mi Hyun Kim in the late 1990s. brother and sister were involved in a devastating car Riding that winning streak, Shin next played in the U.S. accident. Her mother was killed and her siblings were both Women’s Open. During an event fraught with rain delays and hospitalized for a year. Suddenly, at the age of 15, Shin was tough conditions, the name at the top of the leaderboard as thrust into the role of surrogate mother. darkness fell on Saturday night was hers. On the final day, Shin had to play nearly two full rounds of golf, and in the With the financial aid of friends and relatives, Shin was end, she made a few too many mistakes to claim the crown. able to continue playing while also tending to her siblings, basically moving into the hospital to better help them. “After But she still finished sixth in just her second major. my mother passed away, I didn’t really think about giving She then returned to Korea, where her next goal was her up. I thought that continuing to play golf would be what my fifth season win to tie Ok Hee Ku’s 20-year-old KLPGA mother would want me to do, so I just kept trying to do what record for most wins in a year. It wouldn’t be easy. She took I was best at.” Ever since the accident, Shin has dedicated all the lead after the first day, but a gaffe by officials would her success to the memory of her mother. eventually nullify the round. In an instant, Shin fell from holding the lead to a four shot deficit. Despite this bizarre Shin won her first KLPGA event in 2005 while still incident, Shin persevered and shot a 65 in the final round a high school student. In 2006, she joined the KLPGA to collect the record tying fifth win. The very next week, full time. After finishing third in her first two events, she Shin easily won her sixth title. She would go on to win grabbed her first win in sensational style at the biggest a staggering nine times (out of 18 events played) on the tournament of the year, the Korean Women’s Open. Shin KLPGA tour in 2007. shot a blistering 7-under 65 in the final round to edge
orphans, children with whom she could relate after what had happened with her mother. “(What my sponsor did was) bring in a lot of small kids, or orphans, into their (party), and I noticed what they were doing and asked to be a part of it,” she said. The big question that swirls around her now: When will she go to the United States to play on the LPGA Tour? She feels that she is still too young and green, and wants to stay in Korea for at least another year. But she will be playing in KLPGA events again next year, and if the arc of her career continues its current trend, she won’t remain a secret in the West for long. Eric Fleming is the editor of SeoulSisters.com, a website about the Korean women golfers on the LPGA Tour.
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Photo by Howard burditt/©action images limited
Ji Yai Shin chips out from a bunker for an eagle on the 5th green during the final round of the 2008 Women’s World Cup of Golf.
In 2006, Shin became the first woman to exceed KRW 300 million (over $300,000 USD) in winnings for one season. In 2007, she earned more than double that amount. She recently established the record for all-time career earnings on the KLPGA, breaking Pak’s mark. Her KLPGA total of 13 wins since joining the tour is already more than Pak or Mi Hyun Kim, and she has said that she is determined to break the all-time KLPGA record of 20 career wins. The days when the Shin family struggled to make ends meet are long in the past, and now Shin is starting to give back. “I’m not involved with any charities yet, but I’m doing it more on a pastoral level. My father is really into building a Christian school, and I help out with that as well,” she said. Last year, she participated in a Christmas party for
Sudoku Easy 8 4 5 3 1
6 6 9 3 4 4 1 9 8 7 4 1 2 3 2 5 8 1 2 5 6
Fill in the grid so that the symbols ‘1’ through ‘9’ occur exactly once in every row, every column and every 3x3 box Solutions can be found on page 43.
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© 2005-2006 www.sudoku-pro.com
Time for Tadd The fan favorite discusses life as a pro, media pressure and what really makes him angry. By Jeff Ritter
t’s tough being a teenager. Even tougher being a teenager faced with big choices. Many 16 year olds immerse themselves in driver’s education and start scouring the classifieds for that first set of wheels. The more ambitious might start thinking about college. Most struggle with far simpler decisions, like Captain Crunch or Fruit Loops. For Hawaiian teenager Tadd Fujikawa, the past 12 months have been nothing short of a whirlwind, but along the way he managed to nail down one major life decision: What to be when he grows up. And because he is right now in the early stages of that career, it could be argued that in the past 12 months, Tadd Fujikawa, professional golfer, in fact grew up. Eat that, Toucan Sam. It was just over a year ago when Fujikawa, 16 years old and virtually unknown everywhere outside of Hawaii, exploded onto the pro golf scene at the 2007 Sony Open by becoming the youngest player to make a cut in a PGA Tour event. Playing in front of adoring hometown galleries, Fujikawa didn’t steal the show—he flat out pilfered it. The young Hawaiian stayed in contention through the weekend, eventually finishing in a tie for 20th place. Flash forward to last summer and Tadd made news again, this time for the surprising—some might say disconcerting— decision to turn professional. The 5-foot-1inch bundle of energy remains a fan favorite in every tournament he enters, but success so far has been hard to come by; he has yet to make a cut when playing for a paycheck. Fujikawa’s plan for 2008 is to play in seven PGA Tour events via sponsor’s exemptions, the maximum allowed for non-tour players. He also stands to rack up some frequent flyer miles en route to several European Tour events (he’s an affiliate member) and Japan Golf Tour stops. At the end of the year, he’ll make his first trip to PGA Qualifying School and attempt to earn a Tour card. AAGolf caught up with Tadd, now 17 and a high school junior, in January just after he competed in his second consecutive Sony Open.
Photo by stan badz/us Pga tour
Tadd Fujikawa waves to the gallery at the 18th green during the second round of the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii held at Waialee Country Club.
Tadd Fujikawa at the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club.
AAG: Did you enjoy being the fan favorite? TF: It was really cool. I didn’t expect that many people to come out and watch me, especially the second day after I didn’t do so well the first day. It was really nice to see that. It definitely gives me an energy boost. I’m not sure why, but I feed off the adrenaline and it makes me play better. AAG: You carry yourself with a ton of energy and enthusiasm on the course. Does anything make you angry? TF: The thing that makes me the most angry is not doing as well as I know I can. It’s more that I’m angry with myself. I’ve been working hard lately, and I know I can do it. I’m just trying a little too hard. Also, for some reason, when my mom tries to tell me what to do, I get really angry. She’s always right for some reason. AAG: That’s a mom for you. TF: I should always just listen to her from the beginning.
AAG: Let’s back up about seven months. What factors finally led you to decide to turn professional? TF: The main thing was that I wanted to improve my game. I wanted to play at the next level. Another thing that helped me make my decision was financially with my parents. I wouldn’t have been able to travel to play tournaments on the mainland. I would’ve played in a few, but not all that I wanted to. I made the right decision; it just takes a while to settle in and get experience, and I’m getting that right now. I’m having a lot of fun. AAG: Any regrets? TF: No, no. Absolutely none. Getting out there and seeing what it’s like to compete at that level is really helping me a lot. Even though I haven’t made a cut yet, I still think it’s the right decision. AAG: How is competing as a pro different from teeing it up as an amateur? TF: It’s a little different. I feel more comfortable around the players and the people. I think it’s just because I’ve gotten more experience playing against them. The players have been really supportive, and they are happy to answer my questions. AAG: Does anyone in particular make more of an effort to help you out? TF: One of them is Fred Funk. He said I could call him anytime. Also, Jerry Kelly has been really supportive of my
Photo by stan badz/us pga tour
AAGolf: What was it like returning to the Sony? Tadd Fujikawa: It was actually a lot fun. It was nice to be back at a place where I had a lot of success last year. Unfortunately, I didn’t play as well as I would’ve liked to. I just made a couple of mental errors and that cost me a few strokes. But I’m working really hard to get ready for the AT&T [National Pro-Am]. (Ed note: At the AT&T, his second PGA Tour event of 2008, Fujikawa shot 72-81-75 to miss the cut by 12 shots.)
Cover Story decision to turn pro and has been giving me great advice. And, Tim Petrovic. I didn’t really know him (before turning professional), but I had seen him around. At the Sony we had a chance to talk. AAG: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given so far? TF: I’ve gotten so much advice from so many pros, it’s hard to choose. The best might be to just go out and have fun. If it doesn’t work out, you’re still OK. Don’t think of it like a business, because it’ll stop being fun. You can’t put that extra pressure on yourself. Luckily, I’ve been getting a lot of sponsor’s exemptions to play in tournaments, and it’s nice to see that they have a belief in my ability. AAG: Have you met Tiger? TF: No. Hopefully I will. If I play well, maybe we can meet on Sunday. (Laughs.) That’s a big dream of mine. AAG: What’s been the hardest thing about life as a pro golfer? TF: I think it’s the media... AAG: Hey, thanks. TF: (laughs) Not the exposure, just the questions about the decision to turn
pro. You have to experience what it’s like to be in Hawaii and have to travel to tournaments and go through all of that to really understand. AAG: A lot of people—and I’m referring to media in particular—like to quickly compare you to Michelle Wie, who is also Hawaiian and turned pro as a teenager. Do you feel you have been treated fairly, or did Michelle’s struggles from last season create more skepticism toward you? TF: I think in the beginning, it was a big comparison, and I expected that. I think because everyone is always watching her, her story comes into my story. I think now people are realizing that we’re different; we’re playing on two different levels of golf, and we have different stories. What Michelle has done and what I’m doing are totally different. What she did last year hurt her a little bit, obviously, but if she gets some confidence back from playing well, she should come back from it. AAG: You’re still enrolled in high school. What’s a typical weekday like for you? TF: I go to school in the morning, finish
school at 12:30 p.m., then I go straight to the golf course or home for a workout. From the course I get home around 6:30 or 7 p.m. I work out a little more if I have time, then do homework, then go to bed. Pretty much every day is almost the same. AAG: You were born, raised and continue to live in Honolulu. Will you stay on the islands or eventually relocate? TF: I’m not sure. I really, really like Hawaii. I like the people, you can golf all year and it’s a nice place to live. For now, I’m going to stay here. After I graduate everything is still up in the air. Hopefully, I can do well and play full time. AAG: Where do Hawaiians go on vacation, anyway? Detroit? TF: (laughs) Most go to Las Vegas. The younger kids probably go to Disneyland. Like I said, it’s a nice place to live. AAG: What are your goals for this season and beyond? TF: I’d like to get my Tour card and play full time within the next five years. Once I get out of school, I can focus on golf full time. I want to focus my life on golf.
A TADD MORE... Favorite course he’s played: Pebble Beach Favorite course yet to play: Augusta National. “Someone offered me tickets to go there and watch last year. I turned them down. I want to go there to play.” Lucky Club: 7-iron
Photo by paul childs ©Action Images
Most-visited Website: “Anything that has to do with golf.” Favorite movie: “I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry. I actually got to play with Kevin James at a pro-am. He’s hilarious.” Favorite Class: Science Role Model: His mom, Lori. Lucky Number: 7 Tadd Fujikawa celebrates his double eagle/albatross at the 2007 Omega European Masters.
Want even more on Tadd? Visit www.aagolf.com to read about his struggle to find the right putter. aagolf.com
Want to Caddy for K.J. Choi?
Auction winner Paul Vogt caddies for K.J. Choi at the 2007 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
Who: What: Where: When: Why:
YOU can be a caddy for K.J. Choi! World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational Akron, Ohio July 28, 2008 Caddy For A Cure is striving to offer you the ultimate in golf experiences – the opportunity to caddy for a Tour Professional during a practice round of an official Tour event. Placing you “inside the ropes” with the best players in the world, experiencing first hand their practice regimen. Experience club selection and shot execution to perfection. Spending a day on a world-famous golf course with your favorite Tour player, while helping a worthy cause at the same time.... What could be better? This is your chance to experience what it feels like to walk one of the most recognizable courses in golf during an official event. Experience the crowd, the conditions, the shots, the players.
How: Bid online! Vist www.caddyforacure.com for more details and to view other PGA Tour players you can caddy for a cure!
Caddy for a Cure
By Erin Golden
Vijay Singh poses with Christian and Calen Collins. Christian (middle) is the national spokesman for Caddy for a Cure. Both brothers are Fanconi anemia patients.
Photos courtesy of caddy for a cure
ver had a dream where you’re walking the course alongside your favorite player—K.J. Choi or Padraig Harrington, or perhaps Ernie Els or Vijay Singh—and the two of you are chatting like old friends, exchanging tips and waving to the crowd? As it turns out, that scenario might be more real than you’d think, thanks to the brainchild of longtime PGA Tour caddie Russ Holden. After the son of a family friend was born with Fanconi anemia, an inherited condition that typically results in bone marrow failure, leukemia and other types of cancers, Holden decided he needed to do something to help. “When I held him for the first time that really impacted me,” he says. “It really pulls at your heart. I set out 14 years ago with the thought that somehow, somewhere, some way in my lifetime, I want to have some impact on Fanconi anemia.” The idea finally came to him on the golf course, when he was working with two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer. “I was walking down the fairways with tens of thousands of people watching, people thinking, ‘I’d love to try this for a day, being inside the ropes, having this great experience,’” he says. “So I had this idea, which had been done before, but I guess I was the first one to really make a good business presentation out of it to the PGA Tour.”
Caddy for a Cure winner John Harmon (right) watches Phil Mickelson hit a shot at the practice round of the 2008 FBR Open. Caddy for a Cure offers a one-of-a-kind professional sports fantasy while contributing to genetic disease research and education.
In 2003, Holden approached Tour officials with the idea: auctioning off the chance to caddie for players in the practice round of tournaments, with the proceeds going to Fanconi anemia research and a variety of other charities, including one selected by the participating player. After several conversations, Tour officials said yes. That year, Holden began building the organization, auctioning off the chance to caddie at five events and working to raise awareness of the group among the golf community. He set up an account on the online auction site eBay, where all of the players and their available tournament dates were listed for bidding. By 2005, Caddy for a Cure participants were showing up at major tournaments across the country. In Milwaukee, Wis., businessman and self-described “golf addict” Scott Sanders heard about the organization from a friend. As a father of a child with autism, Sanders says he’d always been interested in charitable giving for worthwhile causes. The chance to give back by caddying for a major golfer was just too good of a chance to pass up. “I read about the cause and thought very highly of it,” Sanders says. “I caddied for Padraig Harrington at Firestone in Akron, Ohio, for the World Golf Championship. It was a fantastic day—to this day I still keep in contact with Padraig and his caddie.” aagolf.com
Though he had previously played in a number of pro-am tournaments, Sanders said the chance to caddie for a player allowed him to get closer than he’d ever imagined. “When you play in a pro-am, you don’t get exposure to the pro, but when you caddie for him, you see every shot, every club selection, you get to see what he’s thinking,” he says. “If you are a golf addict, there is no other day you could experience that would be on the same level as Caddy for a Cure.” Sanders was so moved by the experience that he kept in touch with Holden, who later invited him to join the organization’s board. Holden also introduced Sanders to 14-year-old Christian Collins, the boy with Fanconi anemia who had inspired the entire project and is now its honorary spokesman. That meeting, Sanders says, was just as important as his time on the course with Harrington. “Christian and I talk or text every day, and I can tell you I love the little guy,” Sanders says. “He’s one of the most special people I’ve met in my life. He’s changed my life, and he’s why I have so much passion for Caddy for a Cure.” In just three years, Caddy for a Cure has donated approximately $100,000 to charities, including the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund. Slowly but surely, the increased attention and donations are helping to make a difference,
says Christian’s father, Chris Collins. Along with Christian, the family has a 9-year-old son, Calen, who also suffers from the condition. “Christian and Calen’s life expectancy with the mutation they have is about four and a half years, but they’re 14 and 9 now,” Collins says. “They’ve both undergone bone marrow transplants, and both are going well right now. My wife and I firmly believe there’s a reason they’re still here. We want to do everything we can for them to deliver their message, whatever that might be, and to try to make the best of it.” Holden has high hopes for the 2008 season and has already signed on a number of players, including Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Boo Weekley and John Daly. He hopes that this year more players and participants will hear about the organization and sign on to help out for a unique cause and an unparalleled golf experience.” “Imagine shooting free throws with Shaq, or riding in the passenger side of Jeff Gordon’s car as he warms up for the Daytona 500—it’s never going to happen,” he says. “But golf is such a unique game that allows us this opportunity to do something like this. We have a real good thing going.” For more information about Caddy for a Cure, Fanconi anemia and how you can participate, visit www.caddyforacure.com. Erin Golden writes from Bend, Ore.
11 Caddy for a Cure winner Stuart Lestch watches Angel Cabrera hit a shot at the practice round of the 2008 World Golf Championships - CA Championship.
Christian Collins poses with Zach Johnson on the putting green.
Tiger Woods poses with Christian Collins, the 42 aagolf.com SPRING 2008 national spokesman for Caddy for a Cure.
Photos courtesy of caddy for a cure
Caddy for a Cure winner Fred Keel watches Adam Scott hit a drive during the practice round of the 2007 AT&T National.
Caddy for a Cure Winner Stephanie Boyles with Retief Goosen at the 2006 Zurich Classic
Vijay Singh walking with Caddy for a Cure winner Michael Brown during a practice round at the 2008 FBR Open.
Spot Golfer’s Elbow Before It’s Too Late By Dr. Paul Rhyu
t’s happened to all of us: You step onto the fairway, swing your iron and take a deep divot. The poor shot may do more than hurt your score. It may injure your elbow, too. Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is pain and inflammation on the inner side of the elbow, where the tendons of the forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of the elbow (medial epicondyle). The pain stems from damage to the muscles and tendons that control the wrist and fingers—typically it’s related to excess or repetitive stress, especially forceful wrist and finger motions. Sometimes golfer’s elbow begins after a sudden force to the elbow or wrist (One bad shot.). Other times the damage can build up gradually. The pain from golfer’s elbow commonly extends along the inner side of the forearm and wrist. Your elbow may feel stiff, and it may hurt to make a fist. You may have weakness in your hands and wrists. Sodoku Solutions (from page 35): Easy:
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It’s also not limited to golfers. Tennis players and other athletes who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers can develop golfer’s elbow. (Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are similar, but tennis variety is usually concentrated on the outside of the elbow.) Golfer’s elbow pain may get worse when you: • Swing a golf club or racket • Squeeze or pitch a ball • Shake hands • Turn a doorknob • Pick up something with your palm down • Flex your wrist toward your forearm Many activities can lead to golfer’s elbow, including: • Golf. Gripping or swinging the clubs incorrectly can take a toll on your muscles and tendons. • Racket sports. Excessive topspin can hurt your elbow. Using a racket that’s too small, heavy or tightly strung also can lead to injury. • Throwing sports. Improper pitching technique in baseball or softball can be another culprit. • Other activities. Painting, raking, hammering, chopping wood, typing and other repetitive wrist, hand or arm movements can result in golfer’s elbow as well. Golfer’s elbow is most common in men ages 20 to 49 but the condition can affect anyone who repetitively stresses the wrists or fingers. Seek immediate care if: • Your elbow is hot and inflamed, and you have a fever • You can’t bend your elbow • Your elbow looks deformed • You suspect you’ve broken a bone The pain of golfer’s elbow doesn’t have to keep you off the course or away from your favorite activities. With rest and appropriate treatment, you can get back into the swing of things. Consult your doctor if rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers don’t ease your elbow pain and tenderness. Dr. Paul Rhyu is a chiropractic physician in Fairfax, Va. To find out more about his clinic, visit www.drpaulclinic.com aagolf.com
The Game of Love Online dating mixes a passion for golf with a little romance By Hilary Masell Oswald
’m very happily married to a guy who loves to golf. And while we didn’t meet at a golf course—we met at our middle school lockers when we were 12 years old—if I had met him at the course, I would have fallen for him all the same. He’s patient when he golfs. Funny. Helpful. He puts up well with my fierce competitive spirit (and he doesn’t rub it in when he beats me—every time). So it makes perfect sense to me that single guys and girls who are searching for love might want to check out potential dates on the golf course. You can learn a lot about a person during 18 holes. (And if he’s still cute after he makes an impossible putt on the 18th green to win, he’s probably worth a second date.) Several golf-loving entrepreneurs agree, and in the last few years, dating websites for golfers have joined the ever-expanding online dating scene. The rationale: The game gives two golfers an immediate shared passion and plenty to discuss: great shots, favorite courses, beloved pros and such. And if the sparks don’t fly as far as the ball, daters know that after nine or 18 holes, the date will be over—a finality that helps daters avoid that 44
awkward is-it-over-or-not moment that marks most first dates. “Golf is really one of the only sports that men and women can play together,” says Scott Kroeger, founder of golfmates.com, which launched in May 2004. “And it’s a great first-date option: It’s outdoors, it’s safe and it’s casual. Even if people don’t hit it off, at least they spent the afternoon doing something they like to do.” A married father of three small children and a self-described “software guy,” Omaha-based Kroeger got the idea for golfmates.com when he was driving to meet a single buddy—and fellow avid golfer—for lunch one day in 2004. “I was trying to come up with an idea for an Internet business in general,” he says. Among the few real survivors of the dot-com bust were online dating sites. “I thought, ‘How great would it be for single guys like my friend to find women who like to golf, too?’” Today, golfmates.com has nearly 20,000 profiles, and about 600 new members sign up each month. There is no charge to create a profile or to receive messages from paid members, but if you want to send a message to another member, you must pay a small
subscription fee, which depends on how much you want to pay up-front. If you’re willing to commit for a year, your payment is $9.99 a month; if you’re more hesitant and just want to check it out for a month, that 30-day membership will cost you $19.99. Curious visitors—and journalists— can browse profiles without registering, so in the interest of thorough research, I searched for men in Colorado (where I live) who were between the ages of 25 and 40. (I would recommend conducting such searches in the privacy of your own home instead of, say, in the middle of a coffee shop on a busy Sunday afternoon, where I spent a good 20 minutes reading profiles before I realized the man next to me was staring alternately at my computer and my wedding ring. “I’m researching,” I wanted to tell him, though I was pretty sure he wouldn’t buy it.) My search yielded 75 guys—not bad for Colorado, where we only get to play about half of the year; a similar search in Florida yielded 322 profiles. Most of the men’s profiles seemed pretty casual, and some were even witty. (One guy just wants to find a woman who doesn’t use an eraser on her scorecard.)
photo courtesy of Barbara and Chuck McGregor
Barbara and Chuck McGregor (right) with their family on their wedding day. Barbara and Chuck met on Golfmates.com in spring 2005 and were married on May 27, 2006, at the country club where they play.
Only 17 of the profiles included photos, which is too bad because most of the women I know want to see a snapshot of a potential date. When I searched for women in the same category in Colorado, only 13 profiles appeared, one with a photo. Kroeger says that more men than women belong to his site, which means the odds for women golfers are pretty good. Case in point: Barbara McGregor, who met her husband Chuck at golfmates.com in the spring of 2005. Barbara had been single for almost 15 years when she logged on to the site. “I saw Chuck’s profile and thought he was cute, so I quickly posted my profile,” she remembers. “Lo and behold, the next morning, I had a note from him.” It turns out that Barbara and Chuck lived only a few miles apart in the Woodlands, Texas. Their children were friends. They were both from New York. They had played some of the same courses, but they had never met.
The next weekend, they had a date at the course. “In four hours, you get to know somebody,” says Barbara, 53. “It just confirmed for me that he’s a good guy.” Eleven months from the day they met, Barbara and Chuck tied the knot. They’ll celebrate their second wedding anniversary in May this year. While the market is not flooded with dating sites, golfmates.com does have some competition from another site: dateagolfer.com. Launched by Gary Kelly and Mike Wyman in eastern Canada in 2005, the site doesn’t charge a fee for any of its services, though it seems to have fewer profiles. When I searched for men between the ages of 25 and 40 within 250 miles of my zip code, I got 26 profiles. Kelly says he and Wyman started the site after Kelly separated from his wife. “I’m not really a downtown kind of guy,” he says. “I started to wonder where I could meet nice women. I really like golf, so I started thinking about how great it would be to find a woman who shared that passion.” Even so, Kelly admits, he and
Wyman didn’t consider what he calls the “love aspect.” Dateagolfer.com began as a business venture, and Kelly only realized that he is a 21stcentury matchmaker when he started to hear from people who found love and companionship through his site. “It’s kind of cool, helping people find happiness,” he says. All this discussion about golf and love made me realize that a good game of golf and a good relationship are similar. Both require patience. Both evoke passion. And both can be tremendously rewarding. I’m no expert (no matter what the nosey guy in the coffee shop thinks), but I’m convinced that searching for a golf companion online is well worth the effort. After all, anyone who golfs knows a thing or two about the value of just giving it a shot. Hilary Masell Oswald recommends that you date a golfer. It worked well for her. Check out www.golfmates.com or www.aagolf.com to view the video of Robert Evans and Penny Chin Evans!
By Jeff Ritter
Looking for luxury, romance and some challenging golf all in one trip? Look no further than Hawaii’s Big Island, our pick as America’s top Romantic Golf Getaway for 2008.
hile there is no bad egg among the Hawaiian Islands, the island of Hawaii—more commonly called “the Big Island”—offers a unique experience, thanks to its distinct terrain (fewer palms and more stark, black lava rock), spacious landscape (fewer big cities means fewer traffic problems) and affordability (people actually purchase second homes here—although, yes, real estate can still get pricey). A few things to know going in: If you are fortunate enough to golf the Big Island, you’ll quickly need to come up with new terms to describe the views: incredible, gorgeous, stunning and awesome only get you so far. In the same vein, don’t try to compare head-to-head the four courses featured here; it would be like comparing a filet mignon, a prime rib, a porterhouse and a top sirloin. In the end, it just depends on your mood. Each stop is bound to satisfy.
Hualalai Golf Club, Four Seasons Resort
Par 72; 7,117 Yards $250 for hotel guests, $350 for non-guests (non-guests need a special invitation) Opened January 1996 808-325-8480 www.hualalairesort.com
You know you’re golfing in luxury when there’s an unmanned jar of complimentary freshly baked cookies waiting for you at the turn. Go ahead, dive right in. This is resort golf the way you always hoped it could be. The Golden Bear must have had a grand time designing Hualalai. Dramatic views abound and the lush fairways are nestled within the Big Island’s omnipresent black lava rock. The course itself proffers several hallmarks of a Nicklaus design, the first being playability. Even though it is a
tournament-worthy venue, its functional design can accommodate intermediate and even beginning players. Most of the trouble along the fairways and around the greens lurks on the left side—where expert players are more prone to miss—leaving areas along the right relatively trouble-free. Four sets of tee boxes also help make the course suitable for all abilities. Memorable holes include No. 4, a 526yard par-5, and No. 8, a 227-yard par-3, which together share an enormous, kidneyshaped green, no doubt in homage to Jack’s favorite links courses from across the pond. This mammoth green also boasts more undulations than those found on the rest of the course, which on the whole are fairly flat and roll purely. Also noteworthy is the service. In addition to that fully stocked cookie jar,
an old-timer named Brown Bear acts as the friendly starter. (Let’s face it—it always helps get the round going if the starter is in a chipper mood.) And Rich Lindsey serves up cocktails as one of the many on-course bartenders and will happily whip up for you one of his specialty drinks, dubbed “The Big Rich Special.” This diabolical treat helps a thirsty golfer either (a) finally loosen up that swing, or (b) forget about several of the previous holes altogether. Nicklaus knew exactly how to close this course in style, as the last two holes run along the sea, and the signature 17th, a 164-yard par-3, is is a scene straight from a postcard. Overall, the Hualalai experience is one that is relaxed, challenging and undeniably luxurious, making it a great play on any trip to the Big Island.
PHoto courtesy of the four seasons hotel & resorts
A view from the ocean of the 17th hole on the Jack Nicklaus signature Hualalai Golf Course.
Francis H. I’i Brown (North and South) North Course: Par 72, 6,913 yards South Course: Par 72, 6,938 yards Hotel guests $145, Non-guests $210 808-885-6677 www.maunalani.com
The South course’s breathtaking par-3 15th hole.
The North course’s par-3 17th hole.
Course gem is No. 17, a par-3 from an elevated tee to a lush green circumvented by sinister-yet-picturesque lava rock; the South Course boasts No. 15, a 196yarder right on the water that is hailed as one of the most photographed holes in the world. No. 7 on the South also runs along the ocean, and can play quite
differently if the breeze is blowing in from the ocean or—more rarely—out to sea. Regardless of its direction, the wind will be a factor, and coupled with slick, hilly greens it makes these 36 holes a fun, picturesque challenge.
Photos courtesy of mauna lani resort
Sweeping along the perimeter of the posh Mauna Lani Resort lies the Francis H. I’i Brown and its 36 exceptional holes. The course originally opened as a single 18-hole track and—no surprise— immediately drew critical acclaim. With unused land still available, another 18 holes were constructed. But rather than create a new course that would struggle to live up to its predecessor, designers opted to split the existing 18 into two 9s, splitting two signature par3s in the process, then added nine fresh holes to each. The result is not one but two visually stunning, challenging and award-winning 18-hole courses, dubbed the North and the South. Both courses have received prestigious Gold Awards from Golf Magazine. The South Course hosted an annual senior tour event, the Senior Skins Game, from 1990–2000. Markers are adorned with plaques commemorating the skins won on that hole, along with the year and total value. (We recommend that if you choose to make a friendly on-course wager, you keep the stakes lower than the Senior Skins, who played for several thousand dollars per hole.) Something else to look out for: humpback whales, which may be surfacing intermittently while you play along the sea, especially in November through March, prime whale season. Yes, life is pretty good out here. As for those two signature holes that were split between the 18s, the North
On the tee on the 16th hole of Hapuna Golf Course.
Hapuna Golf Course, Hapuna Prince Resort
Photo courtesy of haPuna Prince golf course
Par 72 6,875 Yards From $105 for hotel guests Opened September 1992 800-880-3000 www.princeresortshawaii.com
Arnold Palmer teamed up with his longtime design partner Ed Seay to create this championship course, one that features everything the man known as “The King” loves about course design. Namely, it’s a shot-maker’s course. The cynical—or less talented—player might bitterly dub Hapuna “target golf.” Call it what you will, but this links-style course is tough. There are plenty of long tee carries, slender fairways and semiblind approaches. Daring players can be rewarded with low scores if they are able to execute difficult shots in trying conditions; on many CAPTION HERE:
afternoons the wind kicks up to wreak havoc on your golf ball. The landscape at Hapuna is drastically different from that of most other Big Island courses—namely, the relative absence of exposed lava rock. “It was built on an older flow, and when it first opened, there were barely any trees,” says Len Tomosada, Hapuna’s golf operations director, “but now it’s all filled in.” Since that 1992 opening, Hapuna has blossomed with vegetation, leaving the rough and out-of-bounds areas covered with links-style hay that’s grown over the rocks. The snow-capped Mauna Kea, with a peak of 13,796 feet, looms to the Southeast, further adding to the visual experience. Arnie always loved a good riskreward par 5, so it should come as no surprise that Hapuna’s signature hole is exactly that: No. 3, a 545-yard monster from the elevated back tees. With water lurking along the left and
hay along the right, this hole promises to test the nerves on each shot— however many it takes. The resort itself has it all, from a posh sauna to at least five fine eateries (the clubhouse grill makes a mean marinated skirt steak) and 350 rooms with unbeatable ocean views. The pale sands on Hapuna’s crescent-shaped beach make it widely regarded as one of the best in the United States, and the hotel pool is massive and offers plenty of seats for anyone looking to lounge in the Hawaiian sun. Nightly hula shows are also a great way for guests to unwind. Considering these enticing options, it’s really no surprise Hapuna cracked Golf Digest’s most recent list of “Best Golf Resorts in North America.” Also worth noting, Tomosada says the property’s sister resort and second course, the Mauna Kea, which has been closed for more than a year for extensive renovations, is slated to re-open in November. aagolf.com
The clubhouse at Kona Country Club.
Ocean Course: Par 72, 6,748 yards Mountain Course: Par 72, 6,634 yards Ocean: $165, Mountain: $150 (Discounted rates available) 808-322-2595 www.konagolf.com
Although its name might sound like an exclusive, membersonly association, the Kona County Club is actually a posh course that’s completely open for public play. Located just six miles south of downtown Kona, the Big Island’s second-largest city, Kona CC’s original 18 holes (today’s Ocean Course) were designed by William Bell and completed in 1966. Bell later designed the Mountain Course’s front nine, and the rest of the job was completed in 1991 In 2000 and 2001 the Mountain Course hosted the LPGA’s Takefuji Classic. Lorie Kane and Tina Barrett still share the course record with matching 6-under 66s fired in the 2001 Classic. (Kane went on to win the tournament, finishing with an 11-under 205.) While you probably won’t break the scoring record, the course’s elevated terrain offers unbelievable views of the island’s hills and valleys throughout the round, so bring your camera. On the Ocean Course, the front side features the sterner holes, including two par-3s of 221 yards, the longest par-5 and the No.
1 handicap 4th hole, a 432-yard par-4. After making the turn, life gets a little easier, and our favorite hole was the 12th—a sweet little par-3 along the ocean. (Are you seeing the theme with Big Island par-3s? They tend to show up on a lot of postcards.) The first and 10th holes, which boast elevated tees that offer panoramic views of the neighboring towns, beaches and that turquoise ocean, are excellent ways to kick off each of the nines. Whether you play one of the 18s or squeeze in the full 36, don’t miss the Vista Restaurant, which offers a nice mix of American and traditional Hawaiian cuisine; it’s a great way to either start or finish a day at the club. The Hilo Side: Most of the Big Island’s best golf is found on the western, or “Kona” side of the Big Island, which—not coincidentally— averages the most sunlit hours in all of Hawaii. The east side may be rainier, but does boast the Big Island’s largest city, Hilo, and a couple of courses that will have your wallet thanking you. Naniloa Country Club 9 holes, Par 35; 2,875 yards From $30 808-935-3000 www.naniloa.com Hilo Municipal Golf Course 18 holes, Par 71; 6,325 yards From $25 808-959-7711
Photo courtesy of kona country club
Kona Country Club
EATS on the Big Island By Meredith Mazzotta
www.fairmont.com/orchid There are many perks to visiting the Hawaiian Islands—but the fresh seafood gracing menus across the isles is definitely one of the best. Located inside the swanky Fairmont Orchid Hotel, Norio’s serves up some of the Big Island ’s finest ocean fare, Japanese style. Enjoy a glass of wine or one of the restaurant’s tempting Chef Norio whips up many delicious dishes at his restaurant tropical libations, like frozen in the Fairmont Orchid Hotel mango madness. Master Sushi Chef Norio Yamamoto (the restaurant’s namesake) uses premium-grade seafood—flown in from Japan five times every week—to create some scintillating maki and nigiri selections. We recommend trying the
Kona Brewing Company www.konabrewingco.com
Baked Scallop Sushi with tobiko cream sauce and nori flakes—it’s served hot, fresh and has a little kick. Another crowd pleaser, The Original 69 Roll is Norio’s special take on the California Roll, comprised of warm, fresh water eel, sweet unagi sauce and tobiko. If sushi’s not your style, give the Tuna Tataki a whirl. The thin slices of seared tuna on a bed of Daikon, Maui onion and seaweed salad with ponzu sauce, aioli and sesame seeds is known as “everyone’s favorite.” From the main menu, the Seafood Papaya is an original combination that takes your taste buds on a vacation of their own—a split baked papaya filled with sautéed shrimp, scallops and Ali’i mushrooms. If you saved room for the sweet stuff, give the Warm Asian Pear Crumble with ginger ice cream, macadamia nuts and caramel a try. Other sweet concoctions include the unique Green Tea Cheesecake, and the Tropical Fruit Fondue with dark chocolate. After your meal, step off the oceanfront patio and stroll along the hotel’s beach while enjoying a phenomenal sunset.
FUN on the Big Island Captain Zodiac
PHotos courtesy of the fairmont orchid and big island visitor’s bureau
Outdoor seating at Kona Brewing Company
One of the island ’s most popular spots, located just around the corner from Kona’s main drag and serving up great food and fresh brews. Our favorites were the Longboard Island Lager (smooth & malty) and the Hula Hefeweizen (medium to full bodied with a hint of banana, available only on the islands). The traditional pub fare with a Hawaiian flare can’t be beat, but the 2,000-square-foot outdoor lanai makes the experience memorable, surrounded by tropical plants and tiki torches. The Brewing Company doesn’t miss an opportunity to offer souvenirs, as a shop with tshirts, pint glasses and other swag is on-site. The most unique offering is found just outside the main entrance: a “growler stand” that sells hand-made handles for $12, or fill ‘em up—that’s 64 ounces— for just $20.
Helicopter rides, volcano excursions, luaus—fun and excitement on the Big Island is easy to find. But one snorkeling adventure is not to be missed. The Captain Zodiac rafting expeditions give snorkelers an exciting (and bumpy!) ride to calm Kealakekua Bay. The secluded marine preserve boasts some of the finest snorkeling in the world, as well as a close-up view of Captain Cook Monument. The four-hour trip starts with a high-speed raft ride from Kona’s Honokohua Marina to the snorkel site, 14 miles south along the shoreline. Along the way, lucky riders could encounter various species of dolphins, rays and even whales. After a quick lesson on snorkel skills, riders are free to explore the coral gardens and beautiful tropical fish that call Kealakekua Bay home. Several types of eels, octopi and even sea turtles swim right along with you. Hop back on the boat for a tropical snack, and cruise along the old lava flow tubes while learning about the history of the Big Island from the funny and firey Zodiac captains. Time flies when you’re having fun, so be sure to bring an underwater disposable camera to capture the memories (below and above the surface) on film! aagolf.com
Tee it Up for Golf and Romance in
By James A. Stammer
othing beats a romantic weekend away with the two loves of my life, my wife and my set of golf clubs.
Living in Florida, I am blessed with an abundance of places to escape for a couple of days with my better half. One of my favorite spots is Naples, complete with its laid-back Gulf Coast vibe, easily accessible beaches and a reputation as one of the nation’s best spots to play a round. 52
Wanting to treat my wife to a special weekend, I chose a special place: The Inn on Fifth, an elegant boutique hotel, complete with its own spa, signature restaurants, fitness center and a dazzling pool. Judging from my wife’s wonderful mood, I chose well. Located in the heart of Old Naples, the Inn on Fifth isn’t close to everything; it’s the centerpiece of Naples’ swanky
Photos courtesy of the inn on fifth
N A P L E S
core. This lavish hotel was originally a bank built in the late 1940s. In 1998, the 50-year-old building became a hotel fashioned in the spirit of popular 1920s Palm Beach architect Addison Mizner. The Inn features Spanish archways, private terraces, lavish fountains and pineapple finials. Each of the 87 rooms offers an assortment of views from the sparkling pool and courtyard to fabulous Fifth Avenue, home to chic restaurants, upscale boutiques and celebrated art galleries. Guests can also choose oversized suites with walkout balconies, Jacuzzis, Italian marble baths and separate living rooms. The first night of our stay, we strolled the easy five blocks to Naples’ fabulous white sand beaches. After enjoying the sunset, we found a great place for an evening of casual food and lively entertainment: McCabe’s Irish Pub and Grill. Located on the first floor of the Inn, the pub’s woodwork was originally hand-crafted in Dublin, then shipped and reconstructed in Naples. McCabe’s offers great food, cold draft beers from around the world, live music and one-of-a-kind ambiance. Even the old bank vault was kept and incorporated into the bar. It is one of Fifth Avenue’s most popular spots for a fun evening.
Designed by PGA and Champions Tour star Peter Jacobsen and his partner, renowned designer Jim Hardy, Hammock Bay is truly a spectacular golf experience. The course features one of the highest golf course elevations in southwest Florida and was named one of the top 10 new private courses in the world when it opened in 2004. Golfers at Hammock Bay experience a series of challenges as the course winds through rolling terrain, natural dunes, native lakes, mangroves and beach-like areas. The course features five sets of tees, allowing golfers of all abilities to opt for the level of difficulty that suits their individual skills and mood. “We set out to create a memorable golf experience at Hammock Bay, and the finished product has frankly surpassed our own expectations,” Jacobsen says. I found the course immensely enjoyable. The SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum greens rolled fast and true. Jacobsen and Hardy’s design offers a constant variation in difficulty, taking
Photos courtesy of wci communities
The next morning, after taking care to see that the first
love of my life was being properly pampered by the Inn’s superb staff, it was time for me to play golf. The Inn on Fifth offers several golf packages that include many of the best courses in the Naples area. I was fortunate enough to play Hammock Bay Golf & Country Club, located midway between Old Naples and the beaches of Marco.
View of Hammock Bay’s par-3 17th from behind the green.
full advantage of the unique environment and forcing golfers to use nearly every club in their bag as they travel the course. The diverse visual experience brought on by the contrast between the white sand and shells, and the fairways and greens, along with the elevation changes and mangroves, provides a beautiful setting for great golf. Hammock Bay’s signature hole may be the shortest hole on the course. The par-3 11th is visually spectacular: Native grasses, shell rock and sand frame the elevated green. Depending on the wind and pin location, the hole can play as much as a 40-yard variance from one day to the next. There is even a short, tempting par-4 that begs you to play aggressively and drive the green. I succumbed to the temptation, but paid a hefty price as I missed the green and had to play my second shot from the shells and sand. The Inn on Fifth offers the best of both worlds: Beach and romance for couples looking for a relaxing getaway and plenty of golf options for a beautiful round in one of the country’s finest golfing towns. For more information, contact the Inn on Fifth at www.innonfifth.com, 888-403-8778. For additional information on Hammock Bay, visit www.hammockbaygcc.com, 239-259-1100.
PHotos courtesy of wci communities
A lifelong golfer, James Stammer not only writes about golf and travel, but this South Floridian also hosts a weekly golf radio show.
Top: The spectacular tee shot at Hammock Bay’s par-3 11th hole Middle: The 13th green at Hammock Bay Bottom: Hammock Bay’s par-4 14th hole
SCENES FROM THE PHILIPPINES By Jeff Ritter
aagolf.com SPRING Photograph by2008 Mark Edward Harris
photo: courtesy of jeff ritter photo of mass by Mark edward harris; photo of magellen’s cross by jeff ritter
ou probably didn’t come here looking for a history lesson, but there is one little gem of a story that is crucial to everything that follows. To fully understand and appreciate any visit to the Philippines—from the cuisine and architecture, to the culture, religion, and yes, even the golf—you must first take a brief trip back more than four centuries, to a time when Western civilization was in a heated race to explore and colonize the great uncharted beyond. In March 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, sailing on behalf of Spain and more than halfway through history’s first circumnavigation of the globe, became the first European to land in the Philippine Islands. The conquistador strode a few triumphant paces ashore, his loyal crew in tow, and thrust a holy cross into the sand, claiming another bountiful island for glorious Spain. With that a new language, religion and way of life were born in the archipelago, which today comprises 7,107 islands. American textbooks often credit Magellan as the first explorer to successfully circle the globe. However, often overlooked is one important little detail: The conquistador never completed his journey. After Magellan’s crew landed, they spent a few weeks performing Catholic baptisms on the island natives and congregating with friendly Filipino tribal leaders. Magellan, who is reported to have grown quite an ego by this time, accepted the natives’ pleas for the explorer to put down a rebellious chief called Lapu-Lapu. As luck would have it, the nuisance was lurking on the neighboring island of Mactan. On April 27, 1521, Magellan led his men onto the island and straight into a battle where they were severely outnumbered. Within minutes, the conquistador was no more. Magellan’s remaining crew shipped out and several months later completed the trip to Spain. Don’t pity Magellan—what most explorers really wanted was to be remembered. Today the Philippine people honor the man who, in their words, “discovered The 16th hole at Fairways & Bluewater Resort Golf & Country Club, Boracay Island, Philippines, boasts a 90-foot drop rom tee to green.
Parishioners enter evening mass in Cebu.
their country” and introduced Christianity in the process. On the island of Cebu, a giant crucifix stands on the site where Magellan claimed the land for Spain. In fact, it contains remnants of the original cross that he planted there in 1521. Despite Magellan’s premature demise, he launched a Spanish rule that lasted more than 300 years, until Spain relinquished the Philippines to the United States in a Spanish–American War treaty. Today, more than 80 percent of the Philippine population remains Catholic, a stark anomaly among Asian nations. Back on the island of Mactan, there is also a memorial honoring Lapu-Lapu as “The First Philippine Hero.” The chief’s gigantic likeness— shield in one hand, sword in the other—stares defiantly out to sea, daring any trespasser to try and conquer his island. The conflict between Magellan and Lapu-Lapu is one of the most significant stories in Philippine history, and it is interesting that today’s Filipinos embrace—even celebrate—both sides of that battle. The tribute to both a conquering Spaniard and a territorial warrior is but one example of a larger, more important point regarding Philippine people. It is one prevailing characteristic that makes the Filipinos so great. Quite simply, they are a people who wear joy as comfortably as a pair of sandals. It is virtually impossible to travel on any island
Magellan’s Cross in Cebu. aagolf.com
One of many friendly faces you will encounter in the Philippines.
If you are ever fortunate enough to visit the Philippines, do more than merely bring your golf clubs; prepare to leave your troubles back home. This is a nation that moves slowly and is completely content at that pace. It is well-deserving of its moniker, “Where Asia Smiles.” The Filipino ideal also manifests on the golf course in the form of exceptional, friendly service and a relaxed pace. Caddies are compulsory on most courses, and the loopers are chipper and eager to assist with any aspect of your game (even the mental game, should you need a pep talk). If rain rolls in and threatens your round, some courses offer “umbrella girls” for rental. Also impossibly friendly, these ladies do nothing more than hold a large golf umbrella over your head from the moment you leave your cart. This kind of pampering will be tough to live without when you return home. In fact, by the time your return flight is scheduled to depart, it’s highly likely that you won’t want to get on board—
but you will. (Remember, Magellan did not have this luxury.) In the meantime, here are a few of the many islands worth visiting, along with some enticing golf options that will quell your fix for Filipino fairways.
An umbrella girl at work at Alta Vista.
What’s a jeepney, and how did it get that name? After World War II, U.S. forces elected to leave behind hundreds of Army jeeps in Manila rather than ship them home. The locals, looking for a way to put the vehicles to use while also eliminating the painful memories of war, painted them ﬂashy colors and used them for public transportation. Today, anyone can hop into a jeepney for just a few pesos. The name “jeepney” is actually an abbreviation. While Americans might commonly call their significant other “hon,” short for “honey,” the Filipinos went the other way, dropping the first letters while keeping the “ney.” Its literal translation is “sweet jeep.” 58
Photos on toP by mark edward harris; jeePney Photo by regina banda
without being greeted by a smiling face. This does not apply only to tourists. Filipinos commonly grin and greet passersby in a fashion usually reserved in the United States for college campuses and the most rural of towns.
The capital city boasts some of the most gripping tales from World War II, as more than 80 percent of it was destroyed during the war. It’s near the site where U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur fled the surging Japanese in March 1942, vowing, “I shall return.” On October 20, 1944, he did, thus becoming one of the Philippines’ (and America’s), most hallowed war heroes. Today the city and sprawl comprise more than 10 million people, making it one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. The heart of the city is bursting with life, energy and yes, traffic. Efforts to develop a subway system have been hindered by the city’s close proximity to sea level, and the streets are clogged at most hours of the day. Culprits range from simple passenger cars and trucks to the ubiquitous, garish “jeepneys,” which at least provide something interesting to look at while crawling along during rush hour. Despite the congestion, the history and sheer uniqueness of this massive city makes it a must-see on any excursion to the Philippines.
PHoto on top by jeff ritter; on bottom by George tapan, courtesy of kahn travel communications
A view of the Manila Skyline.
Plenty of golf options are waiting just outside the capital, but only one course is found within Manila proper, and it’s one of the most intriguing 18-hole tracks you’ll find anywhere. Inside an area of the city where the name literally means “within the walls,” Club Intramuros lies in the heart of historic old Manila, weaving its way around five-and-a-half foot walls that date to the late 1500s. Also within the walls is Fort Santiago, which served as the military headquarters of the Spanish, American and Japanese regimes. Intramuros was destroyed by U.S. forces as they liberated the nation in 1945, but later was restored and turned into the park it is today. The golf course isn’t especially long or winding—it checks in as a 4,300-yard, par-66—but it’s wellmaintained and offers an ambiance and overall sense of history that can’t be replicated. Also, the club stays open past dusk, offering night owls an opportunity to play 18 holes under the glow of stadium-style lights. Club Intramuros PHP 1400 (about $34 USD) for daytime, PHP 2200 (about $53 USD) for nighttime (63-2) 527-6613 Outside Manila, also try: The Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club From PHP 3,200 (about $76 USD) (63-46) 430-0260
The Bohol Bee Farm:
This 4.8-acre experience is the brainchild of Philippine native Vicki Wallace, who purchased the parcel of land butting up to the Mindanao Sea in 1991 for a measly 5 PHP (approximately $0.20 USD) per square meter. She lived off it herself for several years while slowly developing it into the buzzing enterprise it is today. “You reconnect with yourself inside, and you learn to appreciate everything,” Wallace says. “I started out gardening just to sustain us. Now it’s like a community.” Today the farm has more than 90 employees, and boasts 20 quaint rooms. With ocean side views and cuisine fit for royalty, (warning: heinous pun approaching) it might be the best “Bee and Bee” in all the Philippines.
There are no golf courses on Bohol, but that doesn’t mean you should skip this destination. For golf, simply take a 90minute ferry ride to the second-most populous Philippine island, Cebu.
Easily the most celebrated tourist destination on Bohol, and one of the top spots in all of the Philippines. The hills are said to number 1,268 and were formed by deposits of coral and limestone that eroded over several centuries. What remains is a series of independent, peculiar slopes, which, at the end of the dry season in March, turn brown to resemble a Hershey’s Kiss. It’s unclear if Hershey’s is collecting any royalties on tours here, but regardless, it’s a sight unlikely to be found anywhere else on Earth.
The Chocolate Hills.
A Bohol Bee Farm beekeeper.
Cruising the Loboc River.
On the tiny island of Panglao, which is connected to Bohol by two drivable bridges, lies the Panglao Island Nature Resort. It offers private bungalows that sidle up to the Bohol Strait. It’s tough to beat ocean-front views, and even tougher to beat the relaxation that follows. Panglao Island Nature Resort (63-38) 411-5875 www.panglaoisland.com
PHoto of boat on loboc river by mark edward harris; all other photos by jeff ritter
Tucked in the center of the Philippine Islands in a region known as The Visaya’s, lies Bohol, a throwback to quieter, simpler times. No jeepneys here; A Bohol tricycle. instead, the main mode of transportation is “tricycle,” which is actually a motorcycle with an attached roof and sidecar. Naturally, these contraptions are also brightly painted, and those found on Bohol are often adorned with religious images and messages. While kicking back on Bohol, here are a few ways to pass the day.
The Chocolate Hills:
Stay in Bohol
Philippines River Cruises: Picturesque Loboc River is another popular spot, and large pontoons can be seen humming up and down its gentle currents on many sunny afternoons. The bigger rigs offer onboard meals and live music—a blast for larger groups. If your tour happens to fall on a day when the local schools are out, you might also find groups of students singing and dancing on one of the docks along the bank. They put on quite a show, and it only adds to this unique experience.
See a Tarsier:
PHotos clockwise: by jeff ritter; by mark edward harris; courtesy of Panglao island nature resort
What’s a Tarsier, you ask? These fist-sized critters are a pretty good approximation of what it might look like to cross-breed a monkey with an alien. Maybe it’s their wiry hands with elongated middle fingers. Maybe it’s their heads that rotate 180 degrees in either direction. Maybe it’s their freakish ability to hop 10 feet from tree to tree. Whatever the case, when they open their huge, saucer eyes (which are actually larger than their brains) the best comparison might be a Koala Bear on hallucinogens. They are endangered, and while it’s virtually impossible to see them in the wild, special “viewing areas” are easy to find. Consider yourself warned: These creatures are creepy.
Bohol outriggers awating high tide.
The sinister Tarsier.
The shorefront Panglao Island Nature Resort. aagolf.com
Photo ops abound on White Beach.
Shop along the sands in Boracay.
PHoto on left: by jeff ritter; on right: by mark edward harris
Checking in at a mere seven-and-a-half kilometers long and two kilometers wide, Boracay may be diminutive in size, but it’s hailed in East Asia as an ultimate vacation destination. The island’s most renowned stretch is a glorious four-kilometer strip of sand along the island’s west side called White Beach. Here the main drag offers an array of restaurants, fitting for a destination attempting to cater to a worldwide audience. Would you like to try French crepes? Greek gyros? How about some Spanish tapas? It’s all here. Perhaps the best thing about White Beach is that there’s no pavement along the main strip—the sand simply continues all the way to the entrances, which sit about 100 feet from the ocean. Tourists saunter up and down the white sand—which doesn’t get hot, even in the midday sun—in sandals or even barefoot. This is paradise exactly how you imagined it would be.
PHoto by mark edward harris
There’s only one golf course on the island of Boracay, but it’s a beauty—probably what’s expected from a course that calls itself Fairways & Bluewater Resort Golf and Country Club. Originally a private club, Fairways opened its greens to the public a little more than a year ago, much to the appreciation of Boracay’s substantial tourist contingent. Each year Fairways hosts the RP Open on the Asia Golf Tour, and in 1997 it hosted the third round of the Johnnie Walker Super Tour, an international exhibition event that attracted many of the world’s top players (Sweden’s Jesper Parnevik shot a 68 that day). The front nine is fairly flat, with water hazards on many holes and several peeks at Boracay’s hills and jungle. The back nine is a slightly different scene, with bumpier fairways, more elevation changes and ocean views. Fairway’s bunkers are fluffy and fair, but lack the distinct pale hue found on the Boracay beach sands because those are a protected resource; bunker sand is imported from other islands. Many of the greens are multi-tiered, which aids drainage and can also make lag putting pretty interesting. Finer holes include no. 6, a right-dogleg 392-yard par-4 that serves as Fairway’s toughest handicap, and no. 14, a 525-yard par5. But the signature hole is unquestionably no. 16, a 143-yard par3 that boasts a 90-foot drop from the back tees down to the green. Standing atop that tee, it seems you can see most of Boracay and several miles out to sea. If you find yourself not wanting to leave, which is highly possible, Fairways has just the solution. Posh, Spanish-style villas are sprouting up along the course’s perimeter and start at $86,000 USD. Fairways & Bluewater Resort Golf and Country Club Weekdays from PHP 2,000 (about $48 USD), weekends from PHP 3,000 (about $71 USD) (63-36) 288-5595 www.fairwaysbluewater.com
Stay in Boracay
If you want to put yourself in the center of the action, the Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Convention Center holds the distinction as the largest Triple A (the highest rating in the Philippine system) hotel on White Beach, and sits just a few strides from the main drag. Rooms start at less than $150 USD per night. Tourists looking for a more tranquil escape should head to the northern part of the island, called Station 2. There lies Discovery Shores, one of the newest and finest hotels in the area. Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Convention Center (63-2) 523-8707 www.boracayregency.com Discovery Shores (63-2) 720-8888 www.discoveryshoresboracay.com
Less than an hour’s flying time due south from Manila lies the central island of Cebu. Its capital, Cebu City, is the second largest city in all of the Philippines. While this city hums with energy, it’s an entirely different scene from Manila. Architecture aficionados might notice the abundance of Cebu City’s art deco structures, evoking a vague resemblance to Miami. Among the city’s biggest exports are guitars, and private shops selling these gorgeous wooden instruments are found throughout the markets. There is also plenty of history here, as it is the site of Magellan’s landing in 1521 and home to memorials for both the conquistador and his foe, Lapu-Lapu. The Lapu-Lapu Memorial
Also Try: Club Filipino Inc. de Cebu From PHP 1,500 (about $36 USD) 63-32) 231-1666
Cebu Island might be the second most populous island in the archipelago, but it might be first when it comes to golf. One course that stands just above the rest is Alta Vista Golf and Country Club. Alta Vista comes hard right out of the box, as hole no. 1 demands about a 170-yard carry to the narrow fairway. Long carries of the tee are one of the commonalities here, but the most prominent theme is the constant elevation changes that result in stunning views. The best look might be found on no. 9, a par-5 from an elevated tee to a pencil-thin strip of fairway flanked by trees on each side. Not only one of the best views, the ninth is also without question the most intimidating tee shot at Alta Vista. Facilities are top-notch, from a spacious locker room and sauna to an excellent clubhouse bar and grill that serves both Filipino and American cuisine. While unwinding at the bar, don’t miss the opportunity to mingle with the local members, who are extremely friendly and enjoy treating outof-town guests to a round of drinks. Alta Vista Golf & Country Club From 2,500 PHP (About $60 USD) on weekdays, 4,000 PHP ($95 USD) on weekends (63-32) 272-7971 aagolf.com
Stay in Cebu
Cebu Country Club Weekdays from PHP 2,500 (about $60 USD); weekends from PHP 4,000 (about $95 USD) (63-32) 231-4096
Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort & Spa, just a short drive outside of Cebu City, offers luxury amenities, great restaurants and plenty of ways to relax along its sprawling property. It was named one of the world’s best resorts in 2007 by Zagat. Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort & Spa (63-32) 231-0288 www.shangri-la.com
PHotos from top to bottom: by mark edward harris; courtesy of Alta Vista gof & country club; courtesy of Shangri-La’s mactan island resort and spa
Here are a few U.S. institutions and their Filipino equivalents—always good to know these things when preparing for a trip to the islands.
Approximately 42 PHP (Philippine Pesos)
DON ON’TS TS Photo on toP courtesy of jeff ritter; on bottom by mark edward harris
Jeepney Willie Revillame
Crispy, delicious bacon
Crispy, delicious bacon
Pinoy Idol (Seriously)
Mangoes shipped to the supermarket three days ago
Mangoes cut from a tree three hours ago
Learn to speak Tagalog
DOO’SS • DO BOOK A GOLF TRIP TO THE PHILIPPINES BETWEEN FEBRUARY AND JUNE. THAT’S THE DRY SEASON ON MOST ISLANDS AND THE BEST TIME TO AVOID A RAINSHORTENED ROUND.
The Filipino language comes in several dialects, but Tagalog (pronounced “Ta-GAH-log”) is the national language and is simply called “Filipino” by the rest of the world. While English is also widely spoken—in fact, it’s the second national language—it’s always nice to charm your foursome with some simple phrases. Thank you Water Hazard Sand Trap How far? Nice playing with you Ball Good Shot
Salamat Jabong Boracay (this is slang and an homage to the island) Gaano Kalayo Salamat Sa Laro Bola Magandan Tira
BE AFRAID TO TIP
YOUR CADDIES AND UMBRELLA GIRLS.
San Miguel Judy Ann Santos
The Tarsier is the one on the left.
Budweiser Britney Spears
A REQUIREMENT HERE, THEY’LL STILL APPRECIATE A LITTLE EXTRA CASH.
Jeff and his Alta Vista caravan
Want More Scenes from the Philippines? Check out Jeff Ritter’s blogs at www.aagolf.com! aagolf.com
Seeing Green Nike IC: $159
Heavy Putter Deep Face series: $169
C2 - Deep Face Series
G3 - Deep Face Series
t seems like everyone is trying to “go green” these days, to the point where the expression is becoming tiresome. Leave it to the folks at Nike to come up with their own creative spin on this term. At Nike HQ in Beaverton, Ore., going green is perhaps the best—if not the only—way to describe the company’s new line of putters, dubbed IC. While wielding a putter that is solid green (including the grip) initially feels a bit odd, Nike is quick to explain its rationale. “We tried to create a putter that would enhance a player’s vision on the green,” says Gidge Moody, Nike’s product line manager for clubs. “We removed the visual noise, which meant removing all parts of the putter not directly related to lining up the putter face with the intended line to the hole.” While the putter’s hue won’t be a perfect color match for most greens, the idea was to create something neutral, which Nike is of course confident they’ve done. The putter itself is nicely balanced, comfortable and—we guess—not visually distracting, once you get used to it. It still remains to be seen if green clubs become a new trend, but regardless, the new IC line is a nice, splashy entry into a crowded market.
nother new putter has our attention for an entirely different reason. Specifically, we’re talking about weight. Heavy Putter Company doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not—it produces hefty flatsticks. Weights in both the head and grip end of the shaft create a balance point much closer to the hands—not to mention an 850-gram club that is roughly twice the weight of a typical putter. Pick one up the next time to you see them at a pro shop or demo day. Your reaction will probably fall in line with those of our testers: “Whoa.” “Man, this thing is HEAVY.” “I need to start working out just to carry it!” These responses are a bit over the top, of course. What follows the initial shock is most telling: a couple of practice strokes, then the realization that the wrists remain stable instead of a dreaded breakdown—the calling card of a nervous stroke. New for 2008 is Heavy Putter’s “Deep Face” series, available in five stylish models for men, plus two for women. Overall, the product is unique, bold and could be extremely effective for many players, particularly mid-tohigh handicappers.
photos courtesy of nike golf and heavy putter
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Our Grip and Glove technology is individually-sized grips with a glove combined to guarantee a perfect grip every time. Simply match the glove line to the grip line, glove thumbpad to grip thumbpad, align bottom hand fingers with the “V” on the grip, then swing away with the perfect grip. Approved for Play! Conforms with USGA Rules Per Decision 2007-450 “The PROPLAY FITTING SYSTEM is the best game improvement product I have ever seen. From a beginner to a Pro, the perfect grip position is the key to a better game. I am proud to be associated with such a revolutionary product.”
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The #1 Asian American golf magazine's Spring 2008 issue with Tadd Fujikawa on the cover. Other stories include Scenes from the Philippines,...
Published on Jun 5, 2008
The #1 Asian American golf magazine's Spring 2008 issue with Tadd Fujikawa on the cover. Other stories include Scenes from the Philippines,...