ISSUE COVER STORY
J U LY 2 0 1 5
The Asian Golf spotlight this month falls on the growing golf tourism market in Asia in general and Southeast Asia in particular. Already said to be worth between US$2 to US$3 billion in revenues annually, the sector is expected to grow exponentially in the years ahead.
SPECIAL FEATURES 18 APGS 2015: Club Management Oracle Advocates Guerilla Tactics! Gregg Patterson, arguably the most dynamic speaker in the club management profession anywhere in the world, is on a mission again - this time, he is calling for guerilla-like warfare to battle the challenges facing clubs in general. Read about his thoughts and book your seat to listen to him “live” at the 2015 Asia Pacific Golf Summit.
22 The 2015 Presidents Cup: South Korea Prepares For Battle! The Presidents Cup will be played on Asian soil for the first time this October and the host country, South Korea is going all out to make it a major sporting spectacle. The Presidents Cup started over twenty years ago as a team competition between an International Team of non-Europeans and an American team. Asian Golf commissioned its international roving editor James Graham Prusa, assisted by Kim Jin to produce a preview on how Korea is preparing for this historic battle. The following is their report.
28 Porpiang – A Child Wonder! Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet many youngsters who have not only impressed me but have demonstrated that they had the type of game to become champions.
6 Asian Golf Editorial Team
Many became champions in their own countries but none have moved on to become stars in their own right. One such youngster is Malaysia’s Gavin Green who has since turned professional on the Asian Tour. This is a boy who showed tremendous promise and went on to attain a highly illustrious record on the U.S. college circuit. There are more like Gavin out there in Asia and this report is about one of those talented young kids.
32 Exciting Development Programmes For ASEAN Junior Golfers It has finally happened! Juniors who want a quality academic education and to be proficient in the game of golf no longer need to look beyond the shores of Asia. What once used to be a challenge is now a dream come true for juniors and their parents alike. The ASB-IPGA Academy has arrived!
52 Under Armour – The New Force Of Performance! Since Jordan Spieth’s historic win at the 2015 U.S. Masters and the U.S. Open, the Under Armour logo has become very apparent on the PGA Tour. Asian Golf sat down with the burgeoning brand’s Ryan Kuehl, vice president for Sports Marketing for an insight to what UA has in store for golf.
56 Asian Club Management Profession Gains Recognition Professional recognition for the club management profession has come to Asia. The Club Management Association of Asia in conjunction with the CMA-A e-University has bestowed upon a pioneer group of general managers the Honorary Asian Certified Club Managers certification (ACCM).
38 Fit Your Putter for Success.
58 The Open – A Nostalgic Journey Back Into Time
Virtually all golfers are familiar with or have heard of club fitting. But what about “putter fitting”? Aficionados of the game reckon putter fitting is an absolute no-brainer. An analogy to put this matter in perspective is like competing in the high jump from a ditch! To make sense of putter fitting, Asian Golf is proud to present the thoughts of John K. Solheim, PING’s Vice President of Engineering.
2015 Open Championship - The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has reported that more than £2 million has been invested on spectator enhancements for the upcoming Open Championship, including the installation of LED scoreboards on 17 holes and free Wi-Fi access around the course, enabling spectators to use the Open app. Asian Golf goes back in time to trace how The Open has evolved over the last 155 years.
8 Shared Thoughts From Publisher
68 Next Issue
EQUIPMENT FOCUS 42 Miura – Clubs Handcrafted By Divine Hands How would you like to wield a set of golf clubs made by “the hands of god”? Well, you don’t have to dream about this – you can become the proud owner of what is arguably the best hand-crafted forged irons in the world – irons made by Miura Golf of Japan. Asian Golf had a fascinating experience being fitted with a set of Miura clubs and our writer swears by the company’s continued quest for excellence.
46 Titleist 915 - Fitted, Tried And Tested If you want to play a better game of golf and enjoy the game, there’s only one solution. Get custom-fitted! Asian Golf took up the offer to get custom-fitted and we share our tester’s experience on that special “eureka” moment that he experienced with Titleist’s master club fitter.
48 Passion + Dedication = Precision (aka The Vokey Miracle!) 2015 marks Bob Vokey’s 75th birthday and nearly forty years of work as a master craftsman which began in 1976 when he started “Bob’s Custom Golf Shop”. In this period, Vokey has established numerous milestones and continues to do so in a profession where he is regarded both as a “treasure” and a “legend”. In celebration of Vokey’s monumental contributions to the golf industry, Asian Golf is dedicating the following editorial coverage as a special tribute to Bob Vokey.
41 Feel The New “Cool”! Playing 18 holes of golf in the tropics just got better. Adidas, the name behind the stay-dry Climacool technology has just launched Adidas Golf Climacool shoes.
GAME-IMPROVEMENT 62 Black Hat Tips: Rain, Rain Go Away! 64 Pro Tour Golf College: The 101 On How To Narrow Your Golf Score Performance Gap
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SHARED THOUGHTS From The Publisher
arlier this month, a statement from the European Tour flashed up on my computer screen. On first reading, albeit cursory, the contents of the statement seemed innocuous. But subsequent readings revealed that something was brewing – an apparent sinister plot designed to help the turf-hungry European Tour to snuggle up real close to the Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You see, the European Tour seems to have devised an ingenuous scheme where they partner with select golf clubs to become “exclusive members of the European Tour Properties network”. Obviously masterminded by the outgoing CEO of the tour, this exclusive membership is said to benefit Saujana Golf and Country Club from European Tour Properties’ focused, year-long sales, marketing and operational support. Interesting? It now seems the European Tour has become a broker for golf tourism? The European Tour first came around with 8
9 ASIAN GOLF
this “lollipop” offering earlier this year when it hopped into bed with the award-winning Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand. Strangely, both Black Mountain and Saujana are venues for high profile professional golf tournaments. One wonders if this gives the European Tour the inside track to stage tournaments at these “member” courses, thereby completing cutting out the Asian Tour and perhaps even the other Asianbased tour – OneAsia? We’d like to think so because if the intention was to collaborate and work with the Asian Tour as co-sanctioned partners, that intent would have been declared. In fact, David MacLaren, the European Tour’s director of property and venue development, sort of let the cat out of the bag when he said: “We have a long-standing relationship with the owners of Saujana Golf & Country Club and one which is very important to the European Tour.” In direct response, the chairman of the company behind the Malaysian club, Tan Sri Mohd Razali Abdul Rahman said, “We are
proud to be promoters of European Tour sanctioned events.” Come on guys at the Asian Tour and OneAsia – you are not going to lie down and let the chaps from the European Tour just walk in and take control of what is rightfully your turf. This can only be construed as a blatant slap in the face for the Asian Tour and OneAsia. This is obviously only the beginning of a carefully planned strategy to suck up to the best staging venues in Asia and to engage these clubs as “exclusive members” of the European Tour. It’s a crying shame that this should be allowed to happen because before one can say Bob’s your uncle, more clubs will be courted, romanced and bedded! We hope that there’s a silver lining to all of this and perhaps this can ultimately lead to the creation of a “global tour” with the European Tour leading the thrust to form a tour with muscle and clout to match the PGA Tour. Who knows? Meantime, looks like the Asianbased professional tours will be marginalised and be cast as supporting acts- sigh!
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hat is most heartening is the fact that there are some bright promoters and equally smart and savvy golf course operators who have begun to sit up and start paying serious attention to the growth of golf tourism in the region. These are the folks who get it but unfortunately, they are in the minority. What needs to be done is for all stakeholders in golf tourism to unite and work towards tapping the full potential of what this sector of the tourism industry can do for golf in Asia.
What you are about to read is a report that pulls no punches and tells it like it is, warts and all! So, here goes! To start with, Asian Golf turned to the pioneer of golf tourism in Asia, the man who many consider to be the guru of the trade â€“ Mark Siegel, founder and managing director of GolfAsian, the #1 golf experts on Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia & Indonesia! Being the go-to-guy, we wanted him to set the tone for this report and he graciously obliged with this statement which is like sort of a reality check: â€œClub owners who are in the elite category should continue to do as they have been doing by investing in their overall operations and keeping the standard
of play at the highest level possible.â€? This is absolutely imperative if golf tourism is to grow and Siegel is spot on! While he lays on the kudos for the elite clubs, he would like the others to step-up to the plate. And this is how he feels: â€œThe others (vast majority) should start to focus on how they can upgrade themselves and provide better golfing experiences to international golf visitors.â€? Bang! â€Ś. Siegel has hit the nail on the head with this observation â€“ it is all about providing a â€œbetter golfing experience to international golf visitorsâ€? so that they are enticed to keep coming back. Itâ€™s a no-brainer and every golf course owner, operator and
Club owners who are in the elite category should continue to do as they have been doing by investing in their overall operations and keeping the standard of play at the highest level possible.â€? â€“ Mark Siegel
Golf Tourism general manager in the region should buy into this so that they can enjoy a piece of the revenue pie. It’s not rocket science – it’s just plain, good business logic! Now, is there a buy-in from golf clubs? Apparently not so at the beginning when most golf clubs viewed golf tourism as an afterthought, something that was good for their business but not critical. With the market said to be worth between US$2 and US$3 billion dollars to Southeast Asia, has this lackadaisical mentality changed? “Yes, it is exactly the opposite,” according to Siegel who points out that clubs who “get it”“seek out golf tourists because of their substantially higher level of spending as opposed to local members and their guests - in fact besides green fees, golf tourists tend to spend more on food and beverage and merchandise at the golf clubs.”
THAT’S A CLEAR STRIKE FOR GOLF TOURISM! Bring on the tourists, serve up quality golf experiences and see the cash
registers ring up healthy profits! How about national tourist organisations (NTOs)? Is there a government buy-in? The switched-on NTOs have got the message and surprisingly, most of the others are beginning to wake up from a deep slumber. “Tourist boards seem to favour golf tourism as a high yield segment and often throw money on advertising, promotions, tournaments, and other gimmicks to raise the visibility of golf in the country they represent,” Siegel revealed.
THAT’S ANOTHER STRIKE FOR GOLF TOURISM! However, there is a downside that is attributable to the fact that while some NTOs are liberal with their promotion bucks, these organisations need to explore how they can work together with golf clubs to invest in improving product quality. It’s good money being flushed down the drain if clubs don’t measure up to the promotional messages and oftentimes this is the case because many clubs in the region leave a lot to be desired in terms of being up to scratch. Take Malaysia for example – in 2014, the country was voted as the “best golf destination in Asia”. Whoever was responsible for this performed a great injustice and disservice to golf tourism. While Malaysia has a rich and long heritage in golf, the state of most of
What needs to be done is for all stake-holders in golf tourism to unite and work towards tapping the full potential of what this sector of the tourism industry can do for golf in Asia.”
15 ASIAN GOLF
its golf course leaves a lot to be desired in terms of agronomical and facility maintenance, service standards and the general inability to deliver a golf experience befitting the expectations of international tourists. The country needs to get its golf act together because it has so much potential that can be converted to good, hard cash. We hope that Tourism Malaysia and golf courses in the country don’t take this negatively. The nation already has a fine infrastructure to make golf tourism work and all that is required is to spruce up most of the courses, train manpower to deliver a proper experience and maintain high standards at all points in time. It’s all about a quality experience which will get golf tourists coming back repeatedly! The promotional support from NTOs is a welcome initiative but some quality control is required on how a nation’s golf attractions are promoted. The golf industry has a rating system for golf courses and like most rating services, clubs are graded in tiers with the upper most tier representing the best. That said, NTOs should exercise discretion (or discrimination), work with qualified local golf tour promoters to promote only golf courses that appeal to foreign visitors. Sadly, often NTOs play it safe by acting neutral and promoting all golf destinations in a country regardless of service and quality. This is a grave mistake and should be avoided at all costs. Just promote the best because this is what’s going to help keep the cash register humming! Reflecting on how golf tourism has grown in the region, Siegel is pleased with how countries like Thailand have identified a single-point contact for all golf tourism promotions with others like Indonesia and Malaysia following suit with their own initiatives and strategies designed to get a share of the market. “This is good for golf tourism,” Siegel pointed out. Given the change that is taking place in how NTOs now perceive the value of golf tourism, Siegel feels that the time is right for these agencies to consult regularly with
respective local golf tour operators to get additional co-funding and support. “This co-funding approach will make sure all parties have skin in the game and provide optimum value for their investments,” Siegel explained. He also feels strongly about the need to be focused on the promotion of golf destinations and courses that appeal to foreigners, rather than diluting the effort to promote all destinations and courses which are unsuitable for foreign visitors. This action will be a tough one to grapple with but if golf tourism is going to be given a fair chance to keep growing, then some hard decisions have to be taken to be very quality conscious and selective. As the market expands, it will bring with it new challenges and problems and one such threat is pricing. With the pot of golf expanding, will golf tourism attract nonspecialist players and price cutting? The answer is affirmative! Every travel agent will want to jump into the act and this is where the soup can go awfully awry. What does Siegel think: “The ubiquitous nature of the Internet being what it is, we find copycat companies trying to mimic our success by resorting to shenanigans like stealing our original content to promote their own companies, making fraudulent claims about themselves, and even resorting to using names so similar to Golfasian that golfers will book with other companies by mistake.” According to him, these copycats seem to come and go and are a nuisance to the real
players in the golf tourism industry. A price war is also something that needs to be averted if golf tourism is to be kept viable and growing. While prices are being kept in check at most golf courses, this is being done by cutting corners on service, operations, and quality. This obviously has a negative impact on golf tourism, especially at older courses that are in decline. “The 7580% of the courses who think lower price is the way to go should ask themselves how they can get into the elite course category. By investing in training, education, quality, operations, professional (outside) management, etc. they will be able to improve the overall golfing experience, appeal to many more golf visitors, and raise their revenues/ profits,” is Siegel’s take on price cutting as it relates to the growth of golf tourism. Like in any growth industry, there will always be challenges. However, in the case of the golf tourism industry, many of the challenges can be neutralized if governments and promoters continue to work together to grow the sector. There’s full realization of the value of golf tourism and this in itself should be a powerful motivating factor to up the ante, get golf course owners to take pride in their product and service and put on a brilliant shine to transform the region into the best in the world. It’s all there and all that is required is total commitment and resolve by all of the stake-holders to work in unison. That should not be too hard?
There’s full realization of the value of golf tourism and this in itself should be a powerful motivating factor to up the ante, get golf course owners to take pride in their product and service and put on a brilliant shine to transform the region into the best in the world.”
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SPECIAL FEATURE APGS 2015 Update
You know what’s strange about the golf industry? While it clings on to the sacred belief of traditions and values of by-gone eras, it shows a sort of disdain for change. This is evident in the course and actions taken by the game’s gatekeepers – mostly associations that govern over the sport. Year in and year out, they continue to talk about the same issues at meetings, conferences and trade shows.
hat these associations and organisations fail to realise is that they have the power to introduce change and help the game of golf evolve and stay relevant in rapidly changing times. At no time in the history of the game has golf been challenged as it is today in the 21st Century. Golf courses are closing; there’s very little growth in the number of new golfers; rounds are down; and the majority of golf equipment and accessories manufacturers are taking a beating on the bottom-line. Need we say more? It would almost be criminal for industry gatherings to ignore these game debilitating trends and continue to hold on to age-old testaments that no longer apply in an age where change is a major CONSTANT? This dreadful “same-same” mentality has to be thrown out before it truly and really flat-lines the golf industry. This is why the 2015 Asia Pacific Golf Summit stands out as a lone lighthouse to serve as a guiding beacon to help the golf industry to change, be different and to stay relevant in a tumultuous era marked by change! So far, every speaker who has been booked for APGS 2015 is a change agent driven towards helping the industry find solutions to problems confronting the golf industry, especially the club management profession. 18
19 ASIAN GOLF
Club Management Oracle Advocates Guerilla Tactics! Gregg Patterson, arguably the most dynamic speaker in the club management profession anywhere in the world, is on a mission again - this time, he is calling for guerilla-like warfare to battle the challenges facing clubs in general. Often called the “club sage” and sometimes, the “club oracle”, this charismatic club manager, a futurist in his own right, will be setting the tone at the 2015 Asia Pacific Golf Summit to be held in Singapore on October 14-15. Not a man known to pull his punches, Gregg is not someone who will walk away from a fight. He is a living, breathing warchest of brilliant management solutions to virtually every challenge in the club industry and at APGS 2015, he will tackle the battle of addressing today’s multigenerational demographics and provide a road-map on how to make clubs relevant to the differing needs and priorities of a diverse population. The long-time general manager of The Beach Club in California, he is going to storm the stage and “generate heat by going guerilla!” As he puts it, today, people want more “buzz,” more memories, more experiences per minute invested and dollar spent. “People are drawn to leisure pursuits that are quicker to master and less challenging to enjoy …. lives are filled with “more” and schedules are packed to overflowing. Time is precious,” he says. “Family is Job One and when decisions are made, kids come first. Wives are more vocal, emotionally stronger, better educated, business savvy and confident, partners in decision making, wanting a say before time is spent or dollars invested. Parents are looking for places that allow the entire family “time together” while still satisfying the need to “do one’s own thing,” is how Gregg sees today’s club market. The outspoken club management guru who packs more passion than the word passion itself continues: “Conspicuous consumption is out and conspicuous virtue is in. The younger generation “don’t need
no stinkin’ badge” and are turning from “club” to find status in other things in other places. And the competition “out there” in the marketplace has become meaner, more aggressive, niche oriented, ubercompetitive and fast to react to changes in the marketplace.” And this is why Gregg advocates the need to “generate HEAT” by resorting to using guerilla tactics. The call to battle is essentially based on being and doing things “different”.
Going Guerilla! This is Gregg’s attack strategy: “If you as a manager, developer or investor want to make the Big Bucks, if you want to bruise and injure the competition, if you want to go on the offensive in this dog-eat-dog world of competitive clubdom, you’ll need to smack ‘em down with a sucker punch.
You’ll want to “Go Guerilla”. Like a general preparing to go to war, Gregg exhorts: “If you want to “Go Guerilla”, just do what insurgents do - hit and run, bite and hold, in the shadows, out of sight-out of mind.” In sizing up the opponents, Gregg commands that “You’ll need to Think like they don’t. You’ll need to go where they ain’t ….. this is how you can GENERATE HEAT!” No one knows how to push for results in the club industry better than Gregg. Being Idiosyncratic is central to Gregg’s attack strategy! “Do it different. Avoid doing stuff you’ve seen elsewhere. Stand out, be different, embrace the unusual,” is his battle-cry. Amongst the key touch-points of Gregg’s GENERATE HEAT onslaught are the following game-changers:
9,;96 Return to a simpler time when “fun” was low key, casual, funky and inexpensive. When “getting it done” meant doing it yourself.
SPECIAL FEATURE APGS 2015 Update
-<5 Fill the clubhouse with laughter. Have the management laugh, the staff laugh and the members laugh - publically, often, without constraint.
7(::065(;, Hold nothing back. Let it out. Show enthusiasm. Forget reserved, sober and serious and wear your emotions on your sleeves - upbeat, enthusiastic and emotional.
(-(403@966456;(30=05.9664 Forget building a palace and decorating it like the Ritz. Focus on comfortable. Where kids and grandmas feel good just “kicking back”, sitting down, settling in. Easy to get used to. Unpretentious. Inviting.
=(3<,690,5;,+ Right priced - cheap enough to use frequently and good enough to make the “knowing” glow. Maximize the number of “memorable moments” for the dollars invested.
9,3(;065:/07+90=,5(5+*644<50;@*,5;90* PBS - People Before Stuff. Invest in relationships and community. In an age of affluence, stuff won’t impress but relationships will. First names for kids, grandmas and mamas. Lots of waving and hugging and air kissing.
*6440;;,,-90,5+3@Have lots of committees and look for more. Standing. Ad Hoc. More contact, more controversy, more substantive conversation, more input, more ideas.
*65;,5;>0;/:;<--;/(;»:¸.66+ ,56<./¹ Not the best furniture available - but good enough. Not the finest carpet to be found - but good enough. Not the newest technology - but good enough. Not “keeping up with the Joneses,” but close enough to let them know you’re “in the game”, saving the bucks, keeping your appetites in check.
A(5@(5+>(*26 Free the “animal spirits” and let the imagination run wild. Try the unexpected, the outrageous, the things 20
21 ASIAN GOLF
that are truly different, unconventional and controversial. Push the envelop.
-(403@-90,5+3@(5+20+*,5;90* Family friendly - something for everyone, inviting to the kids, the teens, the college crowd, to mama and papa, to grandma and grandpa, to couch potatoes and stud boys. Kid centric - you’ll need to hire Pied Pipers and Dancing Monkeys to entertain and amuse The Little People. You’ll need a manager who loves the kids and lets the love be known and you’ll need a staff who follows her lead by making the kids laugh and want to come back.
302,;/,5,0./)69/66+9,:;(<9(5;Your club dining room will need to feel like a bistro, with great food, comfortable surroundings, casual atmosphere, familiar staff, a chef members know by name, reasonably priced, where families feel the warm embrace when they arrive, while they dine and when they exit. A neighborhood place that’s easy, safe, fun, good and cheap to eat at a couple times a week.
/0./;6<*/Lots of hugs. Lots of tossing kids in the air. Lots of personalized notes, e-mails and birthday cards. Lots of high fives, handshakes, shaking of the shoulders. ,?7,904,5;(3 Trying lots of new ideas, cheap and dirty. Prototype Thinking. Proof of concept. Organic not linear. Forget the strategic plan. Simply ask “will it work now?” and give it a go. No guts, no glory! -6*<:,+65;90)(34(.0* Great clubs are bonded in a special way - through ritual, through unique practices, through recurring events, through gestures and actions that shout “This is Us and we’re special
and different and proud of it!” Club is about relationships and community and a magical something that cements it members together into one. A tribe, distinct and magical. If you want to generate The Heat in an age when clubs have become cold as ice - you’ll need to Think Guerilla, Act Guerilla and Measure using Guerilla Metrics!
4HYJOVY+PL A different drummer’s drumming these days. “Times are changing. Clubs are responding and change is in the air. Clubs are becoming more quirky, experimental, more offensive and less defensive. From “we could never do that stuff here” to “let’s give it a try. Guerilla tactics are “in” and the Maginot Mindset is “out,” says Gregg. This is advice that only Gregg is dare to offer: “Clubs can learn from each other. Golf from beach. Beach from yacht. Yacht from city. And beach from country. What’s the norm in one is guerilla in the other. Steal the best, then leave the rest.” As a final parting shot before he arrives in Singapore to deliver his traditionshattering key-note address, Gregg states with great emphasis: “You need to “Know Who You Are” and be loyal to your club’s DNA, but loosen up a bit, give things a try, accept a little “smack down” from your old line members. Clubs need to “Go Guerilla,” try new tactics, “hit ‘em where they ain’t,” change with the times. For a twentieth century club, Guerilla Warfare is radical stuff. But not for a 21st Century Club. You’ll take some knocks. Get lost in the woods. Win some. Lose some. Like guerrillas everywhere.”
APGS 2015 Footnote: Now you can understand why APGS is different from all other golf industry events. It dares to challenge the convention. It does not fear stepping into the unknown. It is bold enough to engage in contrarian thinking in an industry that has become seemingly comatose! So as Gregg Patterson would advise: “So begin the march - And Enjoy the journey!”
SPECIAL FEATURE 2015 Presidents Cup
23 ASIAN GOLF
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SPECIAL FEATURE 2015 Presidents Cup
.J. Choi, unarguably the greatest golfer to thus far emerge from Asia, personally likens the capturing of this year’s Presidents Cup venue for Korea and Asia as “a miracle.” Miracle or honour well earned, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club of Korea (JNGCK), Incheon City, Korea, will play host and be on golf’s world stage from October 8 - 11 placing a magnified focus on Korea’s success as the apex of sports for a week. Choi, the vice-captain to the International team led by veteran champion Nick Price, is of the opinion that Presidents Cup will not only spur the growth of golf in South Korea but that it will encourage other Asian nations to bring the tournament to their shores and boost the popularity of golf throughout the region. “The Korean golf community will embrace the tournament and hopefully more young kids will start dreaming about playing
Hosting the Presidents Cup in Korea will lift golf even higher and promote the golf business – and I have great confidence that this will resonate throughout all of Asia.” – K.J. Choi golf and reaching the top,” he noted. Choi is emphatic in explaining how golf he thinks golf will be boosted in Asia. As he describes it, “I have two Chinese friends
who had no experience at golf, but they watched me on the PGA Tour several years ago and after I won a major and saw the benefits to Asia, they went out and invested
With slightly over three months to go, the following players are the most likely to make the International team.
THONGCHAI JAIDEE LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN
25 ASIAN GOLF
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA JASON DAY
a large sum in USA broadcasting for golf. These occurrences, such as an Asian winning a championship or the Presidents Cup, create an immediate connection and desire for Asian people to be involved with golf and having the Presidents Cup in Korea is a miracle for Asia.” “Hosting the Presidents Cup in Korea will lift golf even higher and promote the golf business – and I have great confidence that this will resonate throughout all of Asia. The Presidents Cup is a historical first for all of Asia. We’re proud that Korea got it – even Japan did not get the honour of being the host venue for the Presidents Cup for all of Asia and as a result, Korea is now widely perceived as the centre of golf in Asia,” Choi declared with pride. The 45-year old super star added in staging the Presidents Cup, the Korean people must remember the nation’s deep traditions of ‘pummashi’ which in Korean
culture symbolises a sharing of communal labour and helping neighbours for the common good during important events such as planting and harvesting times. As a buildup towards the Presidents Cup, Choi emphatically states, “We really need to bring back traditional pummashi for growing the game and business of golf in Korea.” The tradition will see Korean pummashi volunteers at many levels including support from some thirty (30) golf course staff professionals who will assist the JNGCK Golf Course Superintendent, Yoon Kyung Ho. In setting up the golf course for the Presidents Cup, course superintendent Yoon is working closely with Jay Sporl, a senior PGA Tour Agronomist, who is well experienced with preparing previous Presidents Cup courses and hundreds of PGA Tour events. Yoon confesses that the most difficult aspect of preparing the course is in dealing with the wear and tear on the course. “Heavy rounds
of play every day is customary in Korea and it’s the number one challenge to deal with. We have to address the wear on the playing surfaces and it’s also difficult to get the necessary work done in between all the rounds of golf played,” he explained. According to him, the demands of the Presidents Cup requires a great deal of advance work “due to the world’s television and media focus which will necessitate zero tolerance for any blemishes on the golf course.” For Yoon, he now faces the ’60-days of hell’ – the period beginning in July when the southwestern monsoon sweeps in bringing with it tropical heat and nonstop rain. But as Sporl observes, “One of Yoon’s great strengths is his ability to use a microscope that he keeps in his office to immediately diagnose any turfgrass disease without any delays. This allows him to instantly implement appropriate treatments and it will help him get the course through
World Class Asian Stars In The Mix Since this is the ﬁrst time that the President’s Cup is being held in Asia, it would serve as a big boost to golf in Asia if Nick Price, captain of the International Team included a good balance of Asian players on his team. For the ﬁrst time, there are world class Asian players available to pick from and playing on Asian soil, this may serve as a powerful impetus to play their hearts out to score a win! BYEONG-HUN AN ADAM SCOTT
SPECIAL FEATURE 2015 Presidents Cup
the difficult rainy season in Korea.” Reacting to his professional approach to course care, Yoon said, “What I do shows the progress and achievement by golf course superintendents in Korea in particular and Asia in general and by bringing events like the President Cup here it is clear that the PGA Tour is confident that Asia has demonstrated world-class resources to produce the highest level of golf course championship playing conditions. “ In the run-up to the tournament, some courses changes and re-contouring of greens were undertaken. According to Sporl, “Many of the greens had their contours softly adjusted, but we placed the grass sod back in the exact same pattern and orientation where removed. We also made many landscaping changes with some 200 trees changed, replaced or eliminated. There was a substantial net reduction of two hectares of cultivated turfgrass and some 20,000 shrubs were removed all resulting in reinforcing a traditional open appearance for this links golf course.” Fairways which were 40-50 yards wide have been adjusted but are still wider than the usual width for PGA Tour events of 25-27 yards. Two new tees have been added to lengthen the course to over 7,400 yards. “The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club of Korea course is designed in a links fashion. It’s wide and open with great views all around, but when playing there are many optional strategies. You have to think about how to avoid the difficulties before you. Just like in life. Good thinking and controlled golf shot management is required with every stroke,” Choi said. He went on to add, “The Presidents Cup players will need to make good, high shots and they must be able to stop the ball on the top of firm greens. If they can’t do this, then the ball will bounce off the green because the course is located adjacent to the sea, and at that time of year the condi26
27 ASIAN GOLF
The Presidents Cup helps us to gain more experience for everyone and to promote a good image for the game of golf and the golf industry and we can all be proud of a job well done,” – K.J. Choi tions will be dry and the greens will be firm. That’s why the players will need to consider a high shot approach strategy to control and stop the ball.” In a nutshell, Choi is pleased with the arrangements being made for Korea to put its best golf foot forward. “The Presidents Cup helps us to gain more experience for everyone and to promote a good image for the game of golf and the golf industry and we can all be proud of a job well done,” he concluded. Like a rare planetary alignment, many of the top men and women golfers in the world along with international sports me-
dia, sponsors and the leading golf organizations will briefly converge and cross paths this October in Korea. The PGA Tour players attending the Presidents Cup will be departing Korea just as the LPGA Tour players arrive for their regular tour stop. The week immediately following the Presidents Cup will see the best women golfers in action for the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship at the Nicklaus Design, SKY72 Ocean Course. October 2015 is shaping up to be nothing short of an international golf extravaganza placing Korea centre stage in Asia. It just doesn’t create more attention for golf than this!
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SPECIAL FEATURE Junior Golf
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet many youngsters who have not only impressed me but have demonstrated that they had the type of game to become champions. Many became champions in their own countries but none have moved on to become stars in their own right. One such youngster is Malaysiaâ€™s Gavin Green who has since turned professional on the Asian Tour. This is a boy who showed tremendous promise and went on to attain a highly illustrious record on the U.S. college circuit. There are more like Gavin out there in Asia and this report is about one of those talented young kids.
29 ASIAN GOLF
was recently in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand and our man-on-theon-the-spot Tony Meechai just could not stop babbling about a new child wonder that he had “discovered”. Based on his description of the prowess of this junior player, I could only conclude that he was something very special. I agreed to go and visit the child who lives in a villa within the compound of the Green Valley Golf and Country Club. We were driven to the house and as a super car fan, I was amazed with the collection of super cars parked in the drive-way. These were not the kid’s cars but that of his parents. One car in particular caught my eye – the BMW i8 which is the latest acquisition and addition to the super car collection. The father of the child, Suvit Wimuttanon, obviously very wealthy, greeted us and walked us up to an upper floor of the villa. So typical of Thai hospitality, his lovely wife, Sasina, a former beauty queen and currently, a well-known newsreader on local television, had laid out a sumptuous lunch for us. While the lunch was most appreciated, I was more interested in meeting this wonder child and there was no indication that the meeting was to take place. We had lunch, and I was then told that the wonder child was at school and would not be back until later that afternoon. I could not wait for him and the father was most gracious to agree to set up an appointment for me to meet with him the next day. While I am in a story-telling mood, let me share a small detail about this family of three. Suvit invited me to visit his “museum” of porcelain collectibles from the famous house of Lladro. This was both a visual treat and an eye-popping experience – I asked if it was amongst the largest private collections of Lladro figurines in Thailand and Suvit responded, “No, it is the largest in the world!” The natural follow-up question had to do with the value of this incredible private collection to which he said, “Eighty million U.S. dollars!” What can you say about this family of three – they own successful businesses, a garage full of super cars and figurines worth a pot of gold. The next day, I returned and there was still no sign of the child wonder. I sat down and as I began drinking my coffee, Sasina, the boy’s mother, walked him into the room. He is a slight little fellow and checks in at 1.37 metres tall. “I am going to grow,” he said with emphasis. One can’t help but admire this young boy. He is eleven years old and
SPECIAL FEATURE Junior Golf is highly disciplined, well-mannered and speaks perfect English. He sat next to me on a couch and looked extremely comfortable in the classic lotus position normally used in meditation. I asked him whether he meditated and he came right back: “Yes, my father meditates and he taught me how to do it and I meditate everyday”. “Meditation gives me a tremendous sense of control especially when I play golf because it helps me to shut out everything and just be totally focused on my game.” I could not help but think of Tiger Woods at this stage of the discussion. This youngster could perhaps teach the one-time ace on how he can block out all his disturbing thoughts and be one hundred percent in his game. So, when did you take up golf? “You see my mother is a keen golfer and she tried to introduce golf to me but I was not interested at all,” said the youngster. ”But then all of sudden when I turned eight years old, the golf bug bit me – for the past one and a half years, I just want to play golf all the time.” Why? I asked and like any kid, his eyes lit up and he fired back with a very honest answer, “I just like golf!” Both his parents are now totally com-
mitted to Porpiang which is his name. “He is so happy when he is playing golf – it does not matter if he is on the course, the driving range or hitting balls at a simulator. He just loves the game,” said Sasina. Suvit added, “He is so happy when he can play golf – wherever we go in the world, he is not interested in the local attractions – he just wants to go and visit golf courses and play golf.” He turned to golf only one and a half years ago and what’s his game like? “I have a single-digit handicap and yesterday, I played with a group of adults (noisy Thai media representatives) and I scored 37 on the front nine and the game was washed out by rain.” To shoot 37 and remain focused in a flight of cussing, swearing and boisterous Thai journalists is a fantastic achievement for an eleven year old. “I just concentrated on my game and this is where frequent meditation helps with my game,” Porpiang explained. You can’t help but be impressed with this boy’s calm and collected demeanour – it simply belies his tender age! This is one kid who has everything he needs to be good in what he does and does not take it for granted. He has a practice area complete with a putting green and sand bunkers that many golf clubs would kill for. He also has a swimming pool for stamina-building exercises, a fully equipped gymnasium, launch monitor studio and a slew of other practice aids all built into a special annex to the villa.
As I was not going to have a chance to play with him, I requested that he put on a display for me in his practice studio. He turned on the launch monitor and hit a series of shots with his driver that approached 200 yards in distance – each shot’s trajectory was like the flight of a dart headed for a bull’s eye on the board. It was straight over and over again. He did the same with his irons and his wedge play is a sight to behold. This kid’s got control and he can only get better with his short game. Talking about control, I asked him if he could handle trick shots and without warning, he started bouncing the ball on the face of his wedge and went through a series of flips and gymnastic moves without dropping the ball (see video). This was darn impressive! By this time, I had seen enough to feel very fortunate that I was in the presence of a special child – a child so talented and so free and happy that he can and will go all the way with his game. “I want to be number one in the world,” was his parting words to me. And both Suvit and Sasina pitched in, “We will give him all the opportunities he wants and so long as he is happy playing golf, we will be there for him.” Porpiang is now a full time student at the newly launched American School of Bangkok’s International Preparatory Golf Academy. Watch out for this name – Porpiang Wimuttanon!
He is so happy when he is playing golf – it does not matter if he is on the course, the driving range or hitting balls at a simulator. He just loves the game” – Sasina
31 ASIAN GOLF
LONG THANH GOLF RESORT, HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
NOVEMBER 1 & 2, 2015
Come and Be Part of the Region’s Only Total Family Golf Event ... The 2015 Asia Paciﬁc Father and Son Golf Tournament! Asia Paciﬁc Father and Son Golf Tournament is back again. Fathers and sons or direct related members of a family will do battle to see who emerges as the best of the best in the region. This prestigious tournament will be staged on November 1 & 2, 2015 and the host venue is the award winning Long Thanh Golf Resort in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The tournament is open to any combination of family members – father, daughter, uncle/aunty and nephew/niece. This arrangement provides for a wider family involvement and participation. The winning team will walk away with the Asia Paciﬁc Father and Son Trophy presented by Vietnamese philanthropist Le Van Kiem.
Entry fee is set at US$450 per player and this will include Daily two-way transfer from the Sheraton Saigon Hotel to the golf course. Lunch, refreshment and dinner on both days. Prizes and goodie bags. One practice round on October 31.
DOWNLOAD PDF – RULES & REGULATIONS: http://tinyurl.com/fsgt-rr2015
For any enquiries, please contact Alice Ho: email@example.com or call +65-63232800
ONLINE Registration is open at: http://tinyurl.com/fsgt2015
The Father and Son Tournament is designed to promote greater family involvement in golf and clubs are encouraged to enter club teams to participate in what promises to be a fun tournament!
SPECIAL FEATURE Junior Golf Development
EXCITING DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES FOR
0[ 0[OHZÄUHSS`OHWWLULK1\UPVYNVSMLYZ ^ ^OV^HU[HX\HSP[`HJHKLTPJLK\JH[PVUHUK[VILWYVÄJPLU[H[[OLNHTL [ V VMNVSMUVSVUNLYULLK[VSVVRIL`VUK [[OLZOVYLZVM(ZPH>OH[VUJL\ZLK[V I ILHJOHSSLUNLPZUV^HKYLHTJVTL [[Y\LMVYQ\UPVYNVSMLYZHUK[OLPYWHYL LU[ZHSPRL
he famed American School of Bangkok (ASB) has established the International Preparatory Golf Academy (IPGA) in collaboration with Tony Meechai, President of TMG Asia Group. The ASB-IPGA is located in the heart of the city of Bangkok, Thailand. “We have pushed to provide the best academic school combined with the best junior golf academy environment that is designed to help junior golfers to reach their true potential,” said Mrs. Lakhana Didyasarin Tavedikul, founder 32
33 ASIAN GOLF
and director of The American School in Bangkok. The central thrust of the IPGA at ASB is to offer students a holistic golf programme that is structured to prepare students both academically and athletically so that they have every opportunity to be successful. “Students learning to balance the demands of academics and golf, play the game they love while meeting their educational responsibilities,” she said. “We have designed our curriculum in manner that will allow our students to
We have h designed our curriculum in manner o that will allow our students to attend regular academic classes in the morning and train in golf in the afternoon.” .” – Tony Meechai
SPECIAL FEATURE Junior Golf Development
attend regular academic classes in the morning and train in golf in the afternoon,” explained Meechai. The ASB-IPGA operates a world-class facility, which includes a professionally managed dormitory, a purpose built shortgame practice facility that is complete with putting and chipping/pitching greens, bunkers and an indoor swing studio with the latest technologies. “This is accompanied with PGA of America Certified Golf Professionals who are equipped with indoor golf simulators that includes Trackman, Sam Putt Lab and K-Vest to name a few of the training and analysis technologies,” said Meechai. He went on to add. “All of our students will have access to play at the Green Valley Golf Club, which is adjacent to the ASB campus. The professionally designed and constructed practice facility has re34
35 ASIAN GOLF
ceived tremendous support from the Asian Junior Golf Foundation, which has presented twenty complete junior golf sets to the IPGA programme. All facilities will be maintained at a 5-Star level of condition and it will be known as the best outdoor short-game training facility and a technologically advanced indoor swing analysis facility in Asia. Accommodation on campus is one of the highlights of the ASB-IPGA and as Mrs. Lakhana puts it, “Our dormitory facilities are like home and we provide our students with a safe, caring and nurturing environment, which is what we have been doing on our two campuses for decades.” Meechai chipped in, “Housing is one of the most important elements of attending a junior golf academy for the foreign students, as students interact closely with fellow students and the house-parents allow
for a fun yet focused and family-oriented environment.” The academic teaching faculty is made up of a large team of international professionals. “For years, the American School of Bangkok has been graduating scholars who were readily accepted into universities in the United States of America and we expect to continue this proud tradition with our students enrolled in the IPGA,” emphasized Mrs. Lakhana. The declared objective of the ASB-IPGA is to be world-class in all of its undertakings as it relates to academic development and the prowess in playing the game of golf. “Our goal is to create a junior golf academy environment that is inspiring and motivating, providing the structure and tools required for our students to excel at the highest level of competition,” declared Meechai.
For years, the American School of Bangkok has been graduating scholars who were readily accepted into universities in the United States of America and we expect to continue this proud tradition with our students enrolled in the IPGA.â€? â€“ Mrs. Lakhana Didyasarin Tavedikul
EQUIPMENT FOCUS PING’s Point Of View
Virtually all golfers are familiar with or have heard of club Ä[[PUN)\[^OH[HIV\[¸W\[[LYÄ[[PUN¹&(ÄJPVUHKVZVM[OL NHTLYLJRVUW\[[LYÄ[[PUNPZHUHIZVS\[LUVIYHPULY(U HUHSVN`[VW\[[OPZTH[[LYPUWLYZWLJ[P]LPZSPRLJVTWL[PUN PU[OLOPNOQ\TWMYVTHKP[JO;VTHRLZLUZLVMW\[[LY Ä[[PUN(ZPHU.VSMPZWYV\K[VWYLZLU[[OL[OV\NO[ZVM BY JOHN K. SOLHEIM PING VICE PRESIDENT OF ENGINEERING
39 ASIAN GOLF
John K. Solheim705.»Z=PJL7YLZPKLU[VM,UNPULLYPUN
frequently meet golfers who question the value of club fitting, and in particular putter fitting. With fullswing clubs the player feels the thrill of launching the ball farther and straighter. The more subtle nuances of putting, however, make ke golfers wonder how much difference a fitted putter can make. I’ve seen enough evidence to tell you that putter fitting makess profound improvement possible. And I’m talking alking about more than length, lie, and loft.. At PING we’ve done many studies quantifying the benefits of a fitted putter. Yet it has been reported that over 95% of amateur golfers have never had a putter fitting. So to help spread the messagee that putter fitting is valuable, we partnered d with MyGolfSpy. com to conduct testing at PING that revealed quite clearly that any golfer playing a non-fitted putter is almost ost certainly relying on the wrong putter. You u can read the full results at http://bit.ly/PING_MGSLabs. NG_MGSLabs.
Accuracy from Long Range For the test, we recruited d 20 golfers with no ties to PING or any otherr golf company. We gave each a VIP putter fitting, tting, adjusting the stroke type, length, gth, loft, lie and head weight as needed. ded. The fitting revealed that 14 of the 20 participants required three ree adjustments, five players needed eeded two, and only one playerr needed none. This shows ws the large majority of golfers would leave a fitting with a putter tter that gives them a much better er chance to succeed on the greens. s. How did the non-fitted and fitted d putters perform? One of our most revealing ealing tests measured dispersion (proximity roximity to the hole) on 25-foot putts and found that golfers were a little
w w w. p i n g . c o m more than 25% more consistent with the fitted PING putter. Not only will you make more long-range putts, your misses will be much closer to the hole and you’ll have fewer three-putts.
Fitting for Stroke Type Stroke consistency, another critical benchmark to better putting, was measured utilizing our iPING Putter App. PING’s extensive testing shows that matching the putter balance to fit a golfer’s stroke type improves consistency. Our study with MyGolfSpy found that only 4 of the 20 golfers had a putter that matched his or her stroke type (straight, slight arc, or strong arc). What happened when the test group played with a PING putter fit for their stroke type? Players averaged the consistency of a 4.3-handicap golfer, compared to an 8.1-handicap golfer with their non-fitted putter. PING’s True-Roll Technology grooves in the face of the putter also were instrumental in raising the consistency numbers. TR grooves vary in depth and width from the center of the face. In testing, these
grooves improve ball-speed consistency nearly 50%. Here again, the golfers’ “gamer” putters were effectively working against them. More than half (55%) of the golfers arrived with face-balanced (straight stroke) putters in their bags. But post-fitting, straight-stroke models accounted for only 15% of the putters. The iPING Putter App is a great tool for identifying stroke type, which is determined by how much the golfer opens and closes the face during the backswing and the downswing. The app is a free download from the iTunes App Store; it works in conjunction with a PING cradle that attaches to the putter shaft.
Fitting for Tempo Tempo is another key variable measured by iPING, and we know that putter head weight plays an important role in improving stroke tempo, or rhythm. Our MyGolfSpy study found that 64% of golfers with inconsistent tempo improved
EQUIPMENT FOCUS PING’s Point Of View
when fit with a properly weighted putter, 22% stayed the same, and only 14% were less consistent. PING’s new Cadence TR putters advance putter fitting by utilizing different-weight face inserts to fit a golfer’s stroke tempo and feel preference. Traditional-weight models feature an aluminum insert (blue in color) and typically fit mid-to-faster tempos. Heavy-version inserts (black) are made of steel, adding approximately 25 grams to fit slower tempos. Tempo is defined as the ratio of backswing time to downswing time. For example, a player with a backswing time of 2 seconds and a downswing time of 1 second would have a tempo of 2.0. One tempo isn’t better than another; faster tempos and more-deliberate strokes perform equally well. Putter fitting might not have the immediate gratification of crushing a fitted PING driver 15 yards farther down the fairway. But the importance of consistency in putting can’t be overstated – it is the #1 key to holing more putts. A golfer can expect to save at least one stroke per round with a properly fit putter, which can mean the difference between shooting 80 and shooting 79, for example. And nobody would question the value of doing that.
41 ASIAN GOLF
FASHION TREND Adidas Shoes
Playing 18 holes of golf in the tropics just got better. Adidas, the name behind the staydry Climacool technology has just launched Adidas Golf Climacool shoes.
proprietary technology created some years ago by Adidas, it was first used by the company in its performance apparel and footwear. Essentially, the Climacool technology used in apparel features a highlybreathable fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin for quick evaporation, giving you superior moisture management. Now, this exciting feature is available in golf shoes. How does it work? According to Adidas, the new shoe features a lightweight mesh upper for excellent breathability. In fact, the shoes are designed with 360 degrees of climacool® ventilation to cool a golfer’s feet through an entire round of golf, allowing a player to stay dry and comfortable in hot and humid weather conditions. Built on the iconic Adidas Supernova running shoes which are noted for extreme comfort, the new sprint frame outsole of the Adidas Climacool golf shoe also features spikeless, puremotion technology for enhanced flexibility. So, if you want to play great golf and keep your feet dry and contented, the ideal golf shoe for you would be the adidas Golf climacool® shoes, probably the “coolest” golf shoes you ever owned.
SPECIAL FEATURE The Epiphany - Part 2
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When the greatest golfer who has ever lived picks up a unique, hand-crafted iron to hit a shot, it must be a special moment. It becomes an extraordinary moment when that great golfer strikes a hole in one on what is perhaps the greatest stage in golf – the par three, hole number four at Augusta National. This happened on April 8, a truly momentous moment for the 75-year old Jack Nicklaus and an epic achievement for [OL^VYSK»ZÄULZ[MVYNLKPYVUZ¶PYVUZMYVT[OL/V\ZLVM2H[Z\OPYV4P\YHHTHZ[LYVM his trade and a genius blessed with divine hands.
ith the knowledge of Jack’s hole-in-one fresh in my mind, I accepted an invitation from Miura Golf to mosey on down to their master fitter to get matched with a set of irons. Just imagine the sort of thoughts that flashed through my mind – I was visualizing pulling off a Nicklaus with my perfectly fitted irons. From what I have heard about Miura golf clubs, my hopes of playing better golf began to mount. I play a fairly decent game, but with advancing age, the shine is coming off. As I kept dreaming of better golfing days ahead, I soon came face to face with a master fitter who is held in high regard by the Miura clan. He is Stanley Kee who operates Torque Golf out of Singapore. He is a self-effacing sort of guy and
maintains a low-profile - a craftsman who does not indulge in the “pitch” so to speak. He is all about getting the best job done for a customer and that’s what he was all geared up for with me. He walked me out to the driving range, got me a bucket of range balls, handed me an iron, set up the Flightscope launch monitor and got me started. My usual shot shape is a draw, a banana ball that launches left and works its way to the right. Stanley kept monitoring each shot on his Apple i-pad, making frequent changes to heads and shafts. With every head and shaft change, he probed to find out how I felt hitting with each new configuration. All of a sudden, the term “feel” started to make sense to me. I really began to understand the difference each set up made and how it translated to my hitting the ball. From my usual draw trajectory, I began
noticing that the shots were beginning to go straighter and straighter and this was validated by the readings on the launch monitor. Goodness gracious – it was like an epiphany! After about 30 minutes, Stanley looked at me and said, “The set of irons that will be best suited for you is the Miura Passing Point 9003.” I paused, looked at him with beads of sweat streaming down my face and responded, “I thought I was here to be fitted with Miura’s latest, the Miura Series 1957 ‘limited edition’ - CB57 irons?” This is when Stanley shared with me the philosophy behind the “Passing Point 9003”. According to him, there is a passing point when you pass from acquaintance to friend, from novice to serious student and from casual golfer to committed competitor. Similarly, Stanley pointed out that golf clubs also have a passing point - a new
SPECIAL FEATURE The Epiphany - Part 2 level, where the clubs become more than just 14 tools in a bag. They become friends of the golfer in their own right. The Passing Point 9003 family of irons was designed by Shinei and Yoshitaka Miura - sons of company founder Katsuhiro Miura. Central to the design philosophy was the production of an iron that surpasses all existing standards relating to utility, ease of play, and yes - friendliness. “There are a lot of challenges in playing golf but I feel that the Passing Point 9003 is the perfect set for you – it is friendly and will help you play and enjoy your game,” Stanley explained. The calm and understated manner in which he concluded the session seemed to both confuse and at the same time inspire me. “I will have your new set fitted and customized to exactly your
Stanley observing Mr. Miura at work.
specifications and it will be ready in a few days for pick up.” As promised, I took delivery of my brand new Passing Point 9003 irons and they looked spectacular. Incredible quality and a superior, matching finish! Allow me to cut to the chase – I took the clubs out the next day for a work out on the fairways and this is the absolute truth. With each iron that I hit, the trajectory of the ball was straight – no more banana balls. It was a revelation alright and this has now inspired me to work on my grip and my swing dynamics so that I can take advantage of the straight shots that I have begun hitting! As promised, after twenty-five years of playing golf, I am now really learning to enjoy the game – thank you Miura! 44
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The Passing Point 9003, in Stanley’s words “is Miura’s way of reaching out to all golfers – it is the ticket to start a journey towards golf excellence.” This leads me to the Miura Series 1957 “limited edition” - CB57 irons, the newest addition to the sought after Miura family of the world’s finest forged irons – the irons I had originally come to check out. The new Limited Edition Series 1957 Cavity Back includes the famous Small (or “Baby”) Blade and the K-Grind wedges, a special class of Miura distinction, reserved for the most favoured designs of the company. While all Miura clubs are of the highest quality, those bearing the Series 1957 crest are considered benchmarks in the history of the company and the career of founder Katsuhiro Miura. He began his career in golf
and the best chance of a square face at impact. Miura Golf is all about quality, uncompromising quality perhaps would be a better term to describe the clubs that bear the Miura brand name. We left the last words for Bill Holowaty, executive vice president of Miura Golf Inc. who once told an interviewer in response to a question about the company’s commitment to quality, “The Miura manufacturing process does not lend its self to mass production. That comes down to the tolerances that each of our heads attains through the manufacturing process. When we say we deliver a clubhead at plus or minus 1/2 a gram, that speaks to the integrity of the manufacturing process. By not doing mass production that allows us through each step of the
There are a lot of challenges in playing golf but I feel that the Passing Point 9003 is the perfect set for you – it is friendly and will help you play and enjoy your game,” Stanley explained. The calm and understated manner in which he concluded the session seemed to both confuse and at the same time inspire me. “I will have your new set fitted and customized to exactly your specifications and it will be ready in a few days for pick up.” club building and design in 1957 at the age of 16, as an apprentice in central Japan. The CB57 head features a mediumsized cavity and a progressively sized weight bar to provide the benefits of perimeter weighting and solidity behind the hitting area. Still, the cavity is not so big as to interfere with the forged look and feel, especially from the address position. The weight bar keeps the centre of gravity low, and changes size club-to-club as needed to position the CG not just down, but exactly where it needs to be. The clean, narrow top line is Miura all the way. The sole of the club incorporates the decades of lessons Miura has learned from watching and talking to golfers, resulting in efficient, powerful turf interaction
14 step process to hit those targets with respect to the head weight.” He continued, “At the end of the process we are delivering exactly what we said. Every forged club is in the hands of individuals throughout the process, and essentially getting a hand made item. With respect to how it compares to our brethren within the industry, Mr.Miura and the Miura family have never concerned themselves with that . . . the good golfer will find us . . . concentrating on delivering the best product that we can. If they do that, we hope that ours is the forged club that all others will be measured against.” Well, if you want to check out a happy golfer, just take a look at the “smiley face” that I now wear on my face every time I play a round of golf!
GOLF EQUIPMENT Club Fitting
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There was quite a buzz when Titleist introduced itâ€™s 915 range of clubs and the one feature that caught everyoneâ€™s attention was what the company called an â€œActive Recoil Channelâ€? â€” itâ€™s an extremely wide, deep slot on the front of the club soles that extends across the entire clubface. According to Titleistâ€™s R&D vice president Dan :[VUL[OL(9*UV[VUS`SV^LYZZWPUI\[YHPZLZSH\UJOHUNSLHUKIHSSZWLLKVUVÉˆ JLU[YLOP[ZHZ^LSS;VĂ„UKV\[TVYLHIV\[OV^[OL ZWLYMVYT(ZPHU.VSMÂťZ3H^ YLUJL@V\UNNV[Ă„[[LK\WI`;P[SLPZ[HUK[VVR[OLJS\IZV\[MVYH[LZ[Y\U/PZYLWVY[!
o actually invest the time has always been a lingering question on many golfers minds when it comes to committing to a custom fitting session even though it will ultimately result in helping to play a better game of golf. The apprehension prior to a custom fitting exercise is only natural because it means that a golfer will be placed under the microscope to be analysed and scrutinized and where oneâ€™s techniques will be laid bare. This is a necessity and an absolute prerequisite if a golfer wants to have his game fixed. One just needs to bite the bullet and get it done because the end game is all about being fitted with the right equipment and to be able to play a better game of golf. I got the opportunity when Titliest Southeast Asia suggested that I get custom fitted for their metal woods. I went through the entire spectrum of human emotions â€“ excitement, trepidation, anxiety and fear. But what the heck â€“ the emotional pain that I had to go through had its rewards waiting. My experience started when I met up with Gene Saunders of Titliest and the manâ€™s congeniality immediately erased whatever anxiety and fear I had about the fitting experience. This man is the consummate professional and in flat 90 minutes he gave me a thorough grounding on what club fitting was all about. It was a revelation for me and I am glad that I flushed my mind clear of all the pre-fitting apprehensions I harboured. Now, letâ€™s check out the magic that Saunders created for the clubs I was being fitted for which included the 915 driver, 3-wood and the hybrid: Phase One - Saunders had me hitting my current set of clubs to assess my swing speed, spin rates, launch and loft angles, flight path and dispersion using Trackman, a high end professional monitor. Phase Two â€“ Saunders set out to determine the right specifications for all three clubs being fitted and these included the following elements:
â– LENGTH: This was ascertained by measuring the height and length of my arms. This provides consistency for correct posture and ensures proper balance throughout the swing process, pass impact and follow through. â– SHAFT FLEXIBILITY: A very important part of the fitting process and we spent a good deal of time on this as it represents the â€œengine roomâ€? of the club. When the shaft flex is synchronized with swing speed, it maximizes distance and minimizes the shot dispersion area. â– LOFT AND LAUNCH ANGLE: This is especially critical for the driver, as angles play a major part in spin rates, which in turn affects distance. Quite a bit of time was also spent in this area as it was important to determine the loft of the driver and the woods for the best launch angles, which in turn will translate to spin rates. â– GRIP SIZE: Club handle size affects the amount of hand rotation. Correct grip size allows squaring of the club face at impact. All of the aforementioned are critical especially as it relates to the person being fitted because understanding the process does impact the final outcome. In this regard, Saunders is again very thorough - he spent time explaining the whole process in stages, displayed tremendous patience and a professionalâ€™s commitment to delivering total customer satisfaction! The key to a proper club fitting exercise is to get it â€œdone professionallyâ€?. Titleist has the
total tool kit - the technical skills and knowhow, as well as being fully customer focused. For me, Saunders was a true magician! The impact and the result of the custom fitting session was immediate, as I literally witnessed my game improve which in turn, gave me new found confidence in the handling of my golf clubs. No more worries about slices or pulls or badly timed shots. I am a decent player with a handicap between 12 â€“ 14 and with the fitted clubs, I began playing at a level that astonished me! I think just going through the process of custom fitting was already a positive plus. Basically, custom fitting takes some of the â€œbothersâ€? out of the equation. It will help you work out the kinks in your game by correctly identifying the right specifications for your clubs, so that you now only need to focus on fewer issues, such as angle of attack, impact points, landing areas, as all other issues are addressed and taken care of by correct fitting. At Asian Golf, we are known to be blunt and to the point and we donâ€™t suck up. My personal experience after having had the opportunity to go through a thoroughly enjoyable custom fitting session done professionally is to just get it done! It will make a world of difference to your game of golf and you will never look back with regret as it is another step in oneâ€™s quest to be better!
EQUIPMENT FOCUS Vokey Wedges
Every day we are working to improve the performance and technology in our wedge designs. The key for all players, whether youâ€™re a tour player or amateur, is to be properly fit for your wedges so you can take full advantage of that performance and technology.â€? 48
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(aka THE VOKEY MIRACLE!) The best products in the world are the result of a somewhat mathematical equation being put to work. To be the best, passion, truckloads of it mixed in with dedication measured by the amount of blood, sweat and tears poured into a project, invariably delivers a product that will exceed all expectations. This is a tried and tested process that has withstood the test of time in itself and there are absolutely no short cuts to being the best and producing the best. In the golf equipment manufacturing industry, there are many who strive to aim for the stars but there are a select few who are driven to attain heights that assume inter-galactic proportions. To some, this may come across as hyperbole stretched to its limit but we believe otherwise. Meet the man who epitomises passion, dedication and precision all masterfully packaged into perhaps the greatest designer of golf wedges in the world â€“ Bob Vokey!
EQUIPMENT FOCUS Vokey Wedges
015 marks Vokey’s 75 birthday and nearly forty years of work as a master craftsman which began in 1976 when he started “Bob’s Custom Golf Shop”. In this period, Vokey has established numerous milestones and continues to do so in a profession where he is regarded both as a “treasure” and a “legend”. In celebration of Vokey’s monumental contributions to the golf industry, Asian Golf is dedicating the following editorial coverage as a special tribute to Bob Vokey. He granted us an opportunity to have a “fire-side” chat with him and Asian Golf is proud to now present excerpts from that session:
ASIAN GOLF: Looking at the physical characteristics of your clubs and the way they perform, one can only conclude that you spend a lot of time watching how players use your clubs and you obviously also do a lot of listening. Is this the case?
BOB VOKEY: Player feedback is the most important aspect of our product development process. I like to say I have the best R&D department in the world – the PGA Tour. But I’m always taking notes, whether I’m working with tour players, club professionals or amateur golfers. I go through a lot of notebooks. My team, starting with Aaron Dill on tour, is tremendous at listening to players and incorporating that feedback into our designs. We are always learning.
AG: The reason why I am starting the interview with this question is because I have sensed a very noticeable and KPZ[PUJ[KPɈLYLUJL^OLU0W\[H=VRL` to play - the feedback from the club to the player is quite phenomenal. In brief - it’s always good which means [OH[H=VRL`^LKNLMVYHSSPU[LU[ZHUK purposes is a perfect club. What do you reckon?
BV: It sounds like you have been properly fit for your wedges. I’ve been trying to build the perfect wedge for over 20 years and the one thing I’ve found is that it doesn’t exist. There is no one single wedge that will work for everyone, because golfers have such unique swing characteristics. That is why we offer a variety of loft, bounce and grind options in our SM5 wedges. Every day we are working to improve the performance and technology in our wedge designs. The key for all players, whether you’re a tour player or amateur, is to be properly fit for your wedges so you can take full advantage of that performance and technology. 50
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AG: When I started playing golf some 20 years ago, I had only two short game clubs - a sand wedge and a pitching wedge - that’s all changed with time. The sand wedge which used to be a get-out-of-jail club is now a scoring iron. The evolution process has been incredible to say the least. As an expert in short game irons, what has brought about this evolution from shot-savers to shot scorers?
choice to choose from. Does a golfer really need this range? Can’t lofts and distances be controlled by let’s say choking down on a club, opening or closing the face of the club or controlling the swing? Talk to this.
BV: We recommend that a player has around
elements to this change. First, the changes in iron lofts over the past 20 years have a lot to do with it. For example, a pitching wedge used to have 48º of loft. Now, we see pitching wedges with 46º, 45º and sometimes as strong as 44º of loft. This has created distance gaps in players’ wedge games. It has also increased the demand for 50º or 52º wedges. Second, players realized those gaps at the low end of their sets were costing them shots. We have one goal – to create scoring clubs that help players shoot their lowest scores. Helping players hit the golf ball the right distance with greater accuracy and giving them the tools to get the ball closer to the hole if they miss the green – those are the keys of our wedge designs.
4º of loft difference between their wedges. This provides 12 to 15 yards of distance gapping between each club. Some tour players or highly skilled amateurs will choose to have 6º of loft between certain wedges. Highly skilled players have the ability to hit the ball different distances by controlling the length of their swing, choking down on the club or manipulating the club face. But those shots are difficult for most golfers to execute consistently. With properly fit wedges, a player can appropriately fill in distance gaps and hit their target more often. We offer wedges from 46º to 62º with multiple bounce and grind offerings. In addition to distance, it is important for players to consider the types of shots they need to hit with their wedges, and the wedges that will help them hit those shots. We think SM5 offers the best mix of wedges to choose from, and a professional club fitter will make sure you are playing a setup that fits your game.
AG: Continuing on this tack, wedges
AG: Now that wedges have staked
BV: Great question. I think there are two key
seem to have come out into their own in terms of lofts - from what used to be a very limited selection of clubs, today’s golfer has quite a
their claim as scoring irons, especially amongst professionals, do you see more iterations emerging in terms of lofts as professionals and
There are a variety of factors that influence our wedge designs, most importantly, player feedback. We’re always looking to help players score better. And as we work on new designs, we know golfers will guide us in the right direction.” better players become physically stronger?
BV: There are a variety of factors that influence our wedge designs, most importantly, player feedback. We’re always looking to help players score better. And as we work on new designs, we know golfers will guide us in the right direction.
AG: Let’s switch to features - many club golfers are befuddled by [LJOUPJHS[LYTZ[OH[HYL]LY`ZWLJPÄJ to wedges - for example bounce, LɈLJ[P]LIV\UJLHUKIV\UJLHUNSL and grind - what are the functions of these features?
BV: Bounce and grind are critical features of a wedge. We stamp all Vokey wedges with their effective bounce. Effective bounce is often different from the measured bounce angle, and this is the result of the grind. For example, with our ‘M’ grind, we have relieved the heel, toe and trailing edge, which allows you to open the face of the wedge without the leading edge lifting from the ground too much. This creates a lot of shot making versatility that some players prefer. I like
to say, ‘Fit to the grind’ because the grind will provide the best indication of turf interaction and desired performance. When I’m conducting a fitting, once we’ve determined the proper distance gapping, I focus on the player’s swing characteristics to determine the grind that will fit their game the best. We have two 56º wedges with 10º of bounce, the ‘S’ grind and the ‘M’ grind. However, these wedges perform very differently. The ‘S’ grind has a relieved trailing edge and is designed for players that prefer to play most wedge shots with a square face. It will also be a more forgiving wedge out of the bunker. The ‘M’ grind has heel and toe relief for players that like to manipulate the face around the green and create a variety of shots. Similar effective bounce, but very different playing characteristics. This is why it is so important for a player to try all of the different grinds and be professionally fit for their wedges.
AG: As an authority on wedges, what HK]PJLJHU`V\VɈLY[V[OL^LLRLUK club golfer on how wedges should be selected and why wedges are so important especially at the scoring end of the game?
BV: The best advice I can give anyone is to go get properly fit for your wedges. I can’t stress this enough. Working with a professional fitter will help you minimize your weak shots and enhance your ‘go-to’ short game shots. It’s the fastest way to lower your scores.
FASHION TREND Focus On Under Armour
How about a brain teaser? What do Hunter Mahan, Andy Murray, Michael Phelps, Lindsey Vonn, Saúl “El Canelo” Álvarez and Stephen Curry II have in common? Reckon we’ve got you stumped – huh? These are all big names in professional sports and they all share a common thread (pun intended) that binds them together at the very highest level of their respective sporting careers. And what’s that common thread? It’s the up-start sports apparel and accessories brand that is setting a scorching pace in the trade. It is none other than Under Armour, a company started by a 23-year old go-getter called Kevin Plank back in 1996 working out of his grandmother’s garage. In nineteen years, Plank has built Under Armour into a multi-billion dollar global force in the world of sports apparel and accessories. The company is a work in progress and Asian Golf sits down for an exclusive discussion with the brand’s Ryan Kuehl, Vice President for Sports Marketing, and picks it up from Jordan Spieth’s historical win at the 2015 U.S. Masters.
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t was the best day I have had as a member of the Under Armour team …. from an Under Armour perspective, I knew his Masters win would catapult our golf business, but at that moment, it was more about watching a great kid live out his dream!” was how Kuehl captured that historic moment. In fact the 21 year old’s victory shifted Under Armour into top gear and the company just raced ahead to sign Spieth to a multi-year contract. “We have always seen something special in Jordan and we signed him as soon as he got his tour card and this January, ripped up his existing agreement with Under Armour and extended it to a 10-year partnership because we know the type of potential he has.” An elated Kuehl declared. Playing skills aside, Under Armour recognizes the fact that “Jordan is an exceptional person off the course”, precisely the type of athlete Under Armour wants to be associated with. Reiterating Under Armour’s confidence in Spieth, Kuehl said, “We always knew he had the ability to bring home a green jacket and he came so close in 2014 so it’s amazing to see his dream come true this year.” Besides Spieth, Under Armour already has under contract other top young stars in golf which includes Hunter Mahan and Gary Woodland. Under Armour has been in the golf
business for many years but in the words of its chief executive officer Kevin Plank, “Our brand grew up that day (Spieth’s U.S. Masters win).” Since Under Armour appeared on the global sports arena, it has expanded exponentially and has become a very pervasive brand that is involved in virtually every sport ranging from American football to mixed martial arts and motor racing. In fact, name any major international sport and don’t be surprised to find Under Armour in it! With the massive tour validation that Under Armour now has under its belt, the brand is well on its way to growing its stake in golf. “Our golf collection will continue to grow and expand into new categories but will always stay true to our core consumer, providing superior performance innovation to make all athletes better,” Kuehl explained. “We will continue to drive our bottoms business, incorporating style with function. Our colour palette will continue to mature in our polo collection offering wearable and innovative styles. You will also see the brand launch a women’s collection in 2016 as well as a new glove that Jordan is currently testing on Tour,” he revealed. And that’s not all! Under Armour is
FASHION TREND Focus On Under Armour
It really is amazing to see how the brand resonates with the younger generation. We always say that we are the brand of the NEXT generation of athlete and nothing proves that statement to be truer than watching a kid in a sporting goods store adamantly want your gear over s any of our competitors.” already in the thick of alread the ba battle for market share in g shoe category. According to the golf Kueh Under Armour launched a Masters Kuehl, limite edition golf shoe in April on its web site as a limited test and it was sold out in under two days. “In 2016 we will launch Under Armour Golf footwear on a wider scale and look forward to the same success. We want to be able to outfit the golfer from head to toe and footwear is an extremely important and specific part of that goal,” Kuehl pointed out. Does Under Armour have any plans for golf hard goods? Kuehl shot right back, “The brand does not have plans to develop an equipment line. We are going to continue to focus on apparel, footwear and accessories.” Under Amour may just be that saviour that golf needs – a brand that seems to be readily embraced and accepted by younger demographics – a brand that is perceived to have a disruptive influence that may be that elixir to help turn around what is generally a staid and conservative game that is in dire need of a kick up its pants. What does Under Armour think? “I would agree with your vision of our brand. We believe that if done correctly, a strong athletic, young brand like Under Armour can help grow this game and help make it more accessible and aspirational to larger groups of people.” Kuehl rationalized. He went on to add, “We can do this by showing the game in a different light; one that magnifies athleticism, character, innovation and passion; which are all traits of great golfers. Golf is a great game and our mission to drive this great game to a new generation of athletes will be our main goal for years to come.” 54
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si Golf would like to share this experience with its readers as sian it relates to Under Armour’s appeal to the young. This writer was in a store recently and I couldn’t help but be amazed when a father was ha having a hard time convincing his eight year old to select a Nike backpack and a pair of shoes. The kid was adamant and kicked up a stink in the store because he wanted Under Armour and nothing else would suffice. He got his way! This just goes to show the brand’s appeal to the young. And this is Under Armour’s reaction to this real-life retail situation from Kuehl: “It really is amazing to see how the brand resonates with the younger generation. We always say that we are the brand of the NEXT generation of athlete and nothing proves that statement to be truer than watching a kid in a sporting goods store adamantly want your gear over any of our competitors.” Under Armour’s vision for its role in the growth of golf is just as exciting as its appeal to the future generation. As a parting shot, Kuehl said, “We always have our eye on emerging talent in the golf space. We have recently signed two young talents in Matt Fitzpatrick and Cory Whitsett, who we are confident will become big names on tour in the next few years and additionally, our brand is extremely involved with the American Junior Golf Association.” Well, Asian Golf will keep Under Armour on its radar and we hope to see the brand make its presence felt in Asia which for all intents and purposes, is the future for virtually every endeavour of humankind, including golf!
A G O L F B at t l e F I T F O R O N LY
THE BEST! We knew that this headline
would grab your attention! STEP 1:
REGISTER AS DELEGATES
TWO-MAN TEAM FROM EACH CLUB
144 SLOTS AVAILABLE First Come First Serve Basis
Finally club managers get to play and compete in a tournament all their own.
winning 27-hole golf course in Singapore that has played host to a variety of golf tournaments including The Asia Paciﬁc Golf Group in conjunction with the staging the Asian Tour. of the 2015 Asia Paciﬁc Golf Summit will be organizing the Inaugural Asia-Paciﬁc Inter-Club Challenge Tournament. There is no entry fee to participate in It will be played with two-man teams drawn from clubs this tournament. To qualify, players need to register as within the Asia Paciﬁc footprint for the coveted Le Van delegates to attend the Summit and there are 144 slots Kiem Inter-Club Trophy. available. This tournament is all about good, clean fun and more importantly, it is about networking. The tournament will be run on October 14. The venue will be the Orchid Country Club, an award-
Entry will be on a ﬁrst come ﬁrst served basis and a two-man team from each club can register on-line through APGS ofﬁcial website at www.golfconference.org or email Alice Ho at alice@asiapaciﬁcgolfgroup.com or call +65 63232800 for more details.
SPECIAL FEATURE Club Management
PROFESSION GAINS Southeast Asia which is home to nearly one thousand golf clubs ranks as one of the most dynamic geographic regions in the world for golf. It is about the only region where golf can be played virtually throughout the whole year because of its ideal weather conditions. 56
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nd like anywhere else on the planet where golf is played, there are people, men and women who work hard at leading teams to ensure that a great experience is delivered to members and their guests when it comes to services rendered. This ranges from everything including how members and guests are received and treated, how the golf course and club house is maintained and how a consistent standard of service is delivered all year round. The people who are responsible for the delivery of this experience are the general managers of golf clubs. Southeast Asia has a population of very dedicated, committed and passionate general managers. With the launch of the Club Managers Association of Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (CMA-A), the time has come to recognise a team of general managers who can serve as the “face of the profession” to the world. To honour them, the CMA-A in conjunction with the CMAA e-University has decided to bestow upon a pioneer group of general managers with the Honorary Asian Certified Club Managers certification (ACCM). The recipients have been selected on the basis of the following criteria:
Q Length of service in club management; Q Experience in club general management; Q Related management experience;
THE PROUD RECIPIENTS OF THE HONORARY ACCM CERTIFICATION ARE: Q TANG MENG LOON | Group general manager, Club Operations & Township, Gamuda Land (Malaysia) Q STACEY WALTON | managing director, GLS Asia Limited (Thailand) Q PETER GOH | general manager, Orchid Country Club & Resort and president, Club Managers Association of Singapore (Singapore) Q PG. ABDUL RAHMAN | golf club manager, The Empire Hotel & Country Club (Brunei) Q HARALD ELISSON | general manager, Black Mountain Golf Club (Thailand) Q PATRICK BOWERS | managing director & CEO, Laguna Hospitality, Laguna Golf & CC (Singapore) Q JOHN BLANCH | general manager, Thai Country Club (Thailand) Q CONRADO L. BENITEZ II | president & CEO, The Orchard Golf & Country Club, (Philippines) Q GEORGE CHANDRA | chief operating officer, Royale Jakarta Golf Club (Indonesia) Q JAMES GRAHAM PRUSA | Director, Golf Courses and Laboratory, SKY72 Golf (South Korea) The highly respected Stacey Walton, general manager and director of the award winning Banyan Golf Club in Hua Hin reacted by stating, “I feel honored to be awarded the ACCM certifications and will contribute in every way I can to help promote certified club management in Asia.”
RECIPIENTS OF THE HONORARY
ASIAN CERTIFIED CLUB MANAGERS CERTIFICATION
TANG MENG LOON
PG. ABDUL RAHMAN
CONRADO L. BENITEZ II
JAMES GRAHAM PRUSA
SPECIAL FOOTNOTE: The CMAA e-University is currently working to finalise an on-line learning programme to permit club general managers and senior management personnel in clubs to earn their ACCM. “This will be through a combination of credits granted for work experience and the successful completion of a selection number of learning modules based on specific areas of club management competencies,” revealed Mike Sebastian, president of the CMA-A. According to Sebastian, this programme should be ready for implementation by July 15, 2015. “The primary objective of our certification programme is to help create a level playing field for club management personnel so that they can obtain a professional certification that will recognise them for the job that they are doing,” Sebastian said, “The objective here is not to make busy people jump through hoops to gain professional training – we just want to provide them with learning instruments that will enhance their knowledge levels so that they can do a better job – it’s all about bringing quality education that they can handle at their own time and pace and something that is very affordable.” Another recipient of the Honorary ACCM is John Blanch, general manager of the famous Thai Country Club in Bangkok who said, “I am honoured to accept and thank you for thinking of me.” Tang Meng Loon, general manager of Kota Permai Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur and the Horizon Golf Club in the Malaysian state of Johor said, “I’m really honoured to be selected by CMAAAsia to receive this honorary title. I would like to extend my utmost gratitude for your great efforts in promoting the growth of the club manager certification programme for the Asian Club Industry. “ The recipients will be formally recognized during the staging of the 2015 Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Singapore on October 14-15.
SPECIAL FEATURE The 2015 Open
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TO M M O R
n the autumn of 1864, Old Tom Morris left his job as Keeper of the Green at Scotland’s Prestwick Golf Club to return to the golf course by which he was born and bred, the Old Course at St Andrews. 150 years later, plus a few months, we followed in the footsteps of golf’s original club professional. We embarked on a journey from one side of Scotland to the other - from Prestwick Golf Club, by the Firth of Clyde on the west coast, to St Andrews on the east - as Old Tom Morris did himself
150 years ago (plus five or six months or so). “I tend to warn visitors who don’t know the course,” starts Ken Goodwin, secretary at Prestwick Golf Club, “that when they stand on a tee, if they can see a flag ahead they are probably not facing in the right direction.” And therein lies the essence of this historic golf course. It is eccentric by modern standards, but when Old Tom Morris came here in 1851 to lay out the course, he set the standard for the design of links courses for generations to come.
SPECIAL FEATURE The 2015 Open
“Prestwick was the first course Tom laid out, and his approach to golf course design was to first find a good place for a green,” adds Goodwin. “Once he had identified that, he would find another good place for a green, and so it went on. If there happened to be a sand dune or a depression on the way to the green then it was up to the golfer to negotiate it, one way or another.” The fifth at Prestwick is a blind par three, on which golfer must plat over a mountainous sand dune. “You would never be allowed to build that hole today,” adds Goodwin. “Golf in the early days was all about negotiating obstacles like on our fifth hole.” As a young club and ball maker of St Andrews in Fife, not long married, Morris was so keen to broaden his experience that he made the bold decision to accept the job of ‘Keeper of the Green’ at Prestwick, a new club all the way on the opposite coastline 60
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I would love to know how Old Tom managed his time,” says David Fleming, who took up the baton at Prestwick as club professional in 2004 and is only the club’s eighth professional since 1851. “I honestly don’t know how he managed it all. To be such a great course designer, player, greenkeeper and club maker, Old Tom was incredibly gifted. He puts us all to shame today!” of Scotland. The 110-mile journey from St Andrews to Prestwick, east coast to west, was into the unknown in many ways. Morris’s move would ultimately be vindicated by the inauguration of the Open Championship, in 1860, upon the very links he created with his own hands. The members of Prestwick organised the first Open in the hope of proving that their man, Morris, was the best golfer of his day, but Musselburgh’s Willie Park – the great rival of Morris – refused to fall into line and won the Champion’s Belt for the first time. But that is another story. It was this job that established the role of the club professional. “I would love to know how Old Tom managed his time,” says David Fleming, who took up the baton at Prestwick as club professional in 2004 and is only the club’s eighth professional since 1851. “I honestly don’t know how he managed it all. To be
such a great course designer, player, greenkeeper and club maker, Old Tom was incredibly gifted. He puts us all to shame today!” From 1861, Morris won four of the next seven Open Championships, all at Prestwick, and he was such a success that the gentlemen members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club wanted him back in St Andrews. The offer of a £50 annual salary – a pay rise of nearly 40 percent - and a return home was too good to refuse. “In those days there were two distinct social classes,” adds Goodwin, “and for the gentlemen members of Prestwick Golf Club to hold a farewell dinner to honour Tom Morris before he left, that shows you how highly he was regarded.” For Morris and his young family, that journey back to the east coast of Scotland would have taken all day, picking up trains from Prestwick to Glasgow, Glasgow to Edinburgh, Edinburgh to Granton, and then
by train ferry to Bruntisland, and then up to Leuchars Junction and St Andrews. About as complicated as a 110-mile journey could be. The railways do not run those connections any more – what a pity – so to follow the footsteps of Morris from Prestwick to St Andrews we were kindly lent a brand new S-Class by Mercedes-Benz, patron of the Open Championship. Morris was nothing if not a progressive thinker, and we would like to think he would have approved in the advances in transport made over the last 150 years. He travelled by steam, we went via the six-cylinder diesel engine of the S 350 BlueTEC. The journey that would have taken Morris from dawn until dusk took us little more than two hours. A bit like comparing one of Morris’s handmade feathery balls to a Titleist Pro V1. As detailed in ‘Tom Morris of St Andrews, The Colossus of Golf’ by David Malcolm and Peter Crabtree, The Fifeshire Journal reported Tom’s return thus, on 24 November 1864: “Tom Morris has arrived to enter upon his duties as Conservator of the Links and we doubt not that his return amongst us will add more item to the popularity of the national game.” They got that right. Morris and his family moved into a house and shop on Golf Place in St Andrews and he officially began his new job on December 19, 1864, although Malcolm and Crabtree write that it was not until the New Year of 1865 that Morris was “presented with the tools of his office – a barrow, spade and shovel”. In 1866, the well established Morris became a property owner for the first time and moved the family to a bigger house, No. 6 Pilmour Links, and his
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andre ws reported more tha million has been inv n £2 ested on spectator en hancements for the Open Championship upcoming , including the instal lation of LED scoreb 17 holes and free Wi oards on -Fi access around the course, enabling spect to use the Open app. ators The Champion Golfe r of the Year will be cro in front of the largestwned ever arena in the Ch ampionship’s 155-yea tory with 10,000 sea r hists available around the 1st, 17th and 18th ho further 11,000 free gra les. A ndstand seats are av ailable around the co offering spectators vie urs e ws of play. Not bad for a course that begins ends in a town! and
business into a new shop on Th The Links Links. The ‘Tom Morris’ shop remains open to this day – owned by the St Andrews Links Trust - overlooking the 18th green of the Old Course, and just up from the MacDonald Rusacks Hotel, which is where our journey from Prestwick came to its end. Like the S-Class, MacDonald Rusacks offers a level of comfort and luxury that Old Tom simply could not have imagined, but also one that he would surely enjoy, given the chance. Nine years after Morris’s return to St Andrews, the Open was held on the Old
Course for the first time, in no small part ti e as ‘Conservator due to Morris’s expertise of the Links’. Without Morris the history of golf’s oldest major would be very different. The residents of St Andrews thought so, and after Morris died in 1908, the town’s golf clubs collaborated to commission a bronze of Morris, which was installed beneath the clock on the outside of the R&A clubhouse, in fitting isolation, overlooking the first tee of the Old Course. There are many tributes to Morris around St Andrews, but this one might just be the finest.
ì8PEUHOODú$'Hðnition: A hand held device that consists of a circular canopy of fabric on a collapsible frame supported by a central rod, used as protection against rain (and also used on the golf course for sun coverage).
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es, one of the greatest tools in your bag is the umbrella. It is often used in Thailand during the months from May through October, when the daily chance of rain is high. The umbrella plays a key role in keeping golfers dry during rain and to protect against the sun. In between shots you will see many golfers in Thailand and throughout Asia using their umbrella as they walk to the next shot to avoid the sun and to keep cool. Some golf courses in Thailand have “Umbrella Caddies”. Unfortunately, there are many golfers who neglect this important piece of equipment. The umbrella sits in the golf bag collecting dust or is just carried as a fashion statement promoting their favorite logo or golf brand. For this edition of “Black Hat Golf Tip”, I want to share with you a simple and fun way an umbrella can help improve your golf game! Do you know the umbrella can easily
improve your aim and distance control? Our certified instructors have been using the open umbrella as a small target as another successful practice tool. We all have umbrellas – so let’s use them as a cheap target. Turn the umbrella upside-down, set it out 15-20 yards from your hitting location and see how many balls you can chip or pitch into it. We call this “distance-to-the-target” practice. Many advanced players like to open their umbrella, lay it upside-down and chip balls into the umbrella from 15-30 yards. This is an enjoyable and fun way to improve distance control and gain consistency on your accuracy. Our students have also been successful using the umbrella to mimic the correct swinging motion of the golf club. This is my favorite way to use the umbrella with golfers who make their swing so complicated! “Swing the Club to the Target” - is the key thought that I have been preaching for many years. It simply works! An umbrella
(as your golf club) makes it easier for you to visualize this thought process.
STEP ONE: Take your normal stance as you would be when addressing the golf ball - holding an umbrella instead of a golf club - and point the tip of the umbrella to the ground or golf ball. STEP TWO: Now take a backswing and imagine pointing the umbrella at the target line as you start your back swing. STEP THREE: Next, swing the umbrella forward and towards the target. Focus your vision on the umbrella tip pointing at the target line as you swing towards the target. This drill, its understanding and proper use will allow you to make a natural swinging motion with positive “feel feedback” in your hands and “visual feedback” with your eyes. We have had years of success with the many uses of an umbrella and I am sure you will too! Keep it Simple and Make it Fun!
ABOUT TONY MEECHAI Born and brought up in the United States, Tony Meechai won his first golf tournament at the age of nine. He began working in the golf industry when aged 15 and competed in various Mini Tour and PGA Tour qualifiers after turning professional in 1994. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from New Mexico State University and a degree in Marketing and Professional Golf Management, he has made a name for himself in Asia over the past decade, during which time he has served as Director of Instruction at Thailand’s Heartland Golf Schools and Springfield Royal Country Club as well as presenting tips on numerous region-wide golf television shows. Recently, he founded the Tony Meechai Golf Academy that combines a curriculum including academics and golf education for aspiring Tour professionals. Programmes are in conjunction with international institutions throughout the world. For further information, please visit www.tmggroupasia.com or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
GAME IMPROVEMENT Pro Tour Golf College
You are not your golf performance, but you are your golf potential. Huh? What do I mean by this strange and ambiguous statement, and why is it important? I mean that you are not your golf score or your golf swing when you are having a bad day—or even a good day, it is something you do, it’s called the performance, and it is not who you are, and it’s not even close to describing your potential for continuously improving you golf score. David Milne (left) and Lawrie Montague (right).
t Pro Tour Golf College we are very fortunate to work with a lot of very good golfers who aspire to be top level amateur golfers or even professional golfers, and one of the things that we truly believe is that every golfer we work with has the potential to improve as long as they don’t define themselves by their current results. This is not easy to do as it sounds, but is essential for making progress with your golf. Your result on the day—the score you write on your score card is not who you are, and it’s not the barometer you should use to define your overall ability. You golf scores can improve because you can keep upgrading your ability. Remember this word “ability,” more about it later. Have a good look at Adam Scott’s golf score behavior (below) from one round to next on the PGA Tour in 2014. Does it look balanced and consistent to you? Far from it right?
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If Adam defined his overall potential by his bad rounds of golf he more than likely would have given up playing golf years ago. He knows that for every poor score he has he knows and believes that he has the potential to play a lot better.
The Only Ability that Matters is Score Bounce-Back Ability You can clearly see that Adam’s golf score behavior from round to round is erratic and inconsistent and moves up and down just
like a roller coaster with many highs and lows in it. But look closely at the score behavior and you will notice that his real ability is to keep bouncing his high scores to lower scores. Remember this. Can you see how many times over
the season he produced a high score and bounced back with a lower one? Thatâ€™s the reason his scoring behavior looks like it does, itâ€™s because of his consistent ability to produce lower scores after higher scores. The white line running through the
centre of his performance line is the par of the courses he played over the season. Notice the par line has less highs and lows, which makes sense because the par over a week generally stays the same, which makes the score behavior around it as I said look erratic and inconsistent.
Adam Scott played in 17 tournaments in 2014 and made the cut in all of them. His score average (actual) was 69.49. Adamâ€™s highest score for the year was a 5 over par 77 in the Tournament Players Championship and his lowest score for the year was a 10 under par 62 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The difference between his highest score and lowest score was 15 strokes.
GAME IMPROVEMENT Pro Tour Golf College The Golf Score Performance Gap
What is your golf shot ‘Achilles Heel’ during a round? Your golf score results from one round to Develop Your Back-Up Scoring Ability to the next is the one variable in the perforWhat was the stroke difference between Improve Your Bounce-Back mance mix that will continually change, no your highest score and lowest score over Work on lowering your high score avermatter how good you get. the whole season last year? age by building an effective back-up scorYour golf scores will always behave like Why is this important? ing ability because you need to understand a roller-coaster that travels up and down a Well, it’s important because it perfectly that the majority of your rounds are going track, as opposed to the way a train travels expresses the reality of playing competito be a struggle to score which means you along a relatively flat and level piece of tive golf, that performances, results or the won’t be hitting your tee-shots and aptrack. outcomes you produce from round to proach shots to your level of expectation so But the real key to interpreting this round will vary widely, and yet, you need you will need effective back-up skills that erratic score behavior is to understand that to continually remind yourself that there’s keep your scoring under control. in Adam’s case his scores operate within a always potential to improve by narrowing In Adam Scott’s case his tee to green 15 shot window. the gap between your high scores and your game was exceptional over the season but That is, his highest score for the season low scores. he still missed about 6 greens per round was a 77 and his lowest score was a 62, and Your best strategy for reducing the on average each round, however because all his golf score behavior operated within width of your golf score performance gap of his effective scrambling ability from 30 this 15 stroke window. is to analyse your higher scores and look yards and in, and his ability from the sand Now this might surprise you to learn for the types of shots you play during the and in the rough around the greens he was that there’s so much difference between round that tend to increase your score averable to convert potential bogeys into pars his highest score and his lowest score age on a hole thus leading to higher scores. 50 to 60 percent of the time. especially since he is one of the best golfFor example; many advanced and elite Adam Scott like many successful profesers in the world, but this is actually quite amateurs hit one or two wide tee-shots sional golfers had many low rounds over the normal with all professional golfers, and during a round that often lead to double course of his season, but he also had some even average amateur golfers. bogeys and worse. higher rounds. However because he works hard on developing and honing his Golf Score Behavior Golf Score Behavior back-up scoring skills to improve Function More like a Does Not Function Like a his bounce-back scoring ability his Rollercoaster on a Track Train on a Track roller-coaster of golf scores over a season adds up to a very low scoring average in tournaments. His scoring average (actual) over the 2014 season ended up at 69.49 and earned him more than 4 million GOLF SCORE VARIABILITY BEHAVES MORE LIKE A WAVE THAN A STRAIGHT LINE dollars in the process, and that is what ultimately counts in professional golf. So get to work on developing your bounce-back scoring ability by improving your back-up scoring skills so you can narrow the performance gap between your highest and lowest golf scores and we guarantee that you will start to score lower more often and get ever closer to your ultimate scoring goal.
Narrowing Your Golf Score Performance Gap
DEVELOP YOU BOUNCE-BACK ABILITY FROM HOLE TO HOLE AND ROUND TO ROUND
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Lawrie Montague and David Milne Pro Tour Golf College
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ASIAN GOLF ISSUE 179
EXCLUSIVE – UP CLOSE BOB PARSONS WITH PXG’S BOB PARSONS – DARE TO BE BOLD AND DIFFERENT! The golf industry, which is centuries old, is not given to change easily. Coupled with the fact that it is an industry that has encouraged “in-breeding”, this has spawned leaders and decision makers who are either reluctant to change or are slow in the process to bring about change. With the industry facing some of its severest challenges in years, its leaders and decision makers must show strength and display a willingness to rock the boat. The 2015 Asia Pacific Golf Summit is preparing to face-off with some of the more pressing challenges and to see if the Summit can come up with solutions to help wherever possible. All this and more in Asian Golf next month.
The gloves are off! Bob Parsons, the bold multi-billionaire entrepreneur who built and sold GoDaddy, is on a rampage to turn the golf equipment industry on its head. Parsons the newest kid on the golf block is doing things differently with PXG (Parsons Xtreme Golf ). “From tee to green, you’ve never played like this before,” said company founder Parsons. “With just one swing you can feel and see that PXG clubs are unlike anything else - and you can bet that our marketing is going to make some noise and shake-up the industry too.” Make sure you do not miss the PXG exclusive in the August edition of Asian Golf.
INDIA – THE NEXT CHINA IN GOLF? India is under-going a major shake-up under the leadership of its new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Analysts claim that the Indian economy will be amongst the fastest growing economies in the world, even outstripping China’s impressive economic growth. Asian Golf takes a probing look at the new-face of India and examines how it will impact the growth of golf on the giant sub-continent.
For all the latest news and views from the Asian golf scene, subscribe to Asian Golf – Asia’s most powerful golfing voice!
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2006 Winner: Thongchai Jaidee
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Thai Country Club www.thaicountryclub.com Tel: +66 (38) 570-234 firstname.lastname@example.org The Peninsula Bangkok www.peninsula.com Tel: +66 (2) 861-2888 email@example.com