Tee Time Special: the very best timepieces from Baselworld 2014
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION VOTED THE REGION’S NO 1 GOLF MAGAZINE
HKGOLFER.COM MAY 2014
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AM: Play Muirfield, a renowned host to major championships and one of the oldest clubs in the world. PM: Chauffeur to Glenkinchie Distillery where you will enjoy a private tour through the whisky distilling process followed by a wee dram. EVENING: Dinner at Kyloe, Edinburgh’s finest gourmet steak restaurant.
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AM: Play Renaissance, known as one of the most prestigious and exclusive clubs in Scotland. PM: Enjoy an afternoon of comedy and culture at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. EVENING: Dinner at the Honours in Edinburgh, Martin Wishart’s Michelin-starred restaurant.
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AM: Met by your concierge, begin your ‘Royal Edinburgh Experience’ with a private tour of Holyrood Palace, HRH The Queen’s official residence in Scotland. PM: Champagne reception in your private quarters on board The Royal Yacht Britannia. EVENING: VIP experience at the world famous, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This amazing outdoor spectacle is host to an array of international performers, military and civilian, all set against the incredible backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
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HK Golfer Issue 88
46 On the Cover:
On the Cover: Bubba Watson claimed his second Green Jacket with an unmatchable performance at last month’s Masters Tournament. Photo by AFP
46 | A Major Month
31 | Tee Time
A look back at a sensational month on the international stage, with Team Asia rallying superbly to share the spoils with Europe at the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur. By Julian Tutt
A review of the best from Baselworld, the world’s biggest watch show. By Evan Rast
52 | Bubba Joins the Augusta Greats
Our wine and travel expert takes in the delights of the Rhône Valley. By Julien Yung Mameaux
We reflect on the brilliance of Bubba Watson at last month’s Masters Tournament, a win that capitulated the unpredictable American into the company of a select group of golfers. By Paul Prendergast
60 | Future Champions Children hailing from Hong Kong and China impressed most at Augusta National’s inaugural event – the Drive, Chip, Putt – which ushered in a new era for junior golf in the United States. By The Editors
72 | Opening Doors In light of a recent announcement that may pave the way to allow women members of the R&A, our correspondent takes a look at the continuing saga of single-sex clubs on the Open Championship rota. By Lewine Mair
76 | Pure Indulgence We check out the foremost places in the Asia-Pacific region where you can combine world-class golf with the best in spa. By Alex Jenkins
90 | Final Shot
HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
With Mike Kerr. The CEO of the Asian Tour talks about his introduction to the game at the age of five, his love of the links at Royal Portrush and who would make his dream fourball. By Alex Jenkins
40 | Liquid Assets
49 | By Design Our architecture correspondent looks at the brilliant work of Dr Alister MacKenzie and asks why so many of today’s courses feature as many bunkers as they do. By Paul Jansen
62 | Numbers Game A numerical look at how the Masters Tournament played out. By Alex Jenkins
70 | Dominant Duo April’s Hong Kong Junior Close Championship was highlighted by fine performances by two youngsters nearing the peak of their game. By The Editors
83 | Check In Guangzhou’s Dragon Lake Golf Club unveils its seen-tobe-believed King Hotel. By The Editors
84 | Property The founder of Complete RPI discusses the issues that investors need to consider when investing in UK property. By Rupert Smith HKGOLFER.COM
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION MAY 2014 • Issue 88
Editor: Alex Jenkins email: email@example.com Editorial Assistant: Cindy Kwok Playing Editor: Jean Van de Velde Senior Editor: Roy Kinnear Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Contributing Editors: Lewine Mair, Robert Lynam, Evan Rast, Ben Oliver, Julian Tutt Published by:
TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION Times International Creation Limited 10A Lockhart Centre 301-307 Lockhart Road Hong Kong Phone: +852 3590-4153 Fax: +852 3590-4533
76 D E PA R T M E N T S 16 Mailbag 18 Divots 24 Asia Focus 26 Global Focus 28 Major Focus
Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Art Director: Derek Hannah Assistant Designer: Mimi Cheng Office Manager: Moira Moran Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org For purchasing information contact: email@example.com For subscription information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Phone (General): +852 2504-8659 Fax: +852 2845-1553 Phone (Handicaps): +852 2504-8197 Fax: +852 2504-8198 Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org In association with: www.thymedesign.hk
31 Clubhouse 64 Around the HKGA 64 From the President 66 HKGA News 88 Crossword
HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 10A Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2012 by Times International Creation. Published in Hong Kong. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. PRINTED IN HONG KONG. 14
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HK Golfer Mailbag An Idea to End Slow Play I felt compelled to write my first ever letter to an editor of any publication after playing a round of golf yesterday. Hong Kong golfers you are ruining the game! A round of golf should not take 5 hours and 20 minutes to complete. Greens should not look like the surface of the moon. Bunkers should not resemble Shek O beach after a long sunny day. The latter are easily resolved through basic course etiquette. Repair your pitch marks and use that long metal pole with the plastic spikes on the end to rake the bunkers! I almost forgot the un-filled divots on every fairway (not that I hit that many!). The problem of slow play is a worldwide issue but here’s an easy solution for those courses willing to take up the challenge. Employ your course marshalls to do their job and monitor the pace of play – what a unique thought! At Hong Kong’s busiest facility, Kau Sai Chau, with its booking and paying system, this could easily be enforced. Like in tournament play, a group out of position receives a warning that they need to make up time. Perhaps (generously) a second warning if they fail to heed the first or re-offend. A third warning results in that group being red-flagged and unable to book a tee time for a month. I’m sure any loss of custom would not be missed (as anyone who has tried securing a time will agree). In any case, the joy of 4 hour 20 minute rounds or less would see more golfers flocking to the course. Come on HK Golfer, take up the cause. Otherwise current and future generations will drift down to Shek O beach instead of playing our wonderful game. Tim Gilmore Via email
Lok-lin Eating Crow? I have just read Mak Lok-lin’s article on gamesmanship on the HK Golfer website [which was taken from an article in the February 2010 issue], and specifically his slight against Bubba Watson. Given Bubba has won two Masters and other championships since, where is Lok-lin’s reaction? Rob McPeek Via email Editor’s reply: Thanks for taking the time to read the article, especially as it is now over four years old. We at HK Golfer don’t necessarily agree with Lok-lin but we did manage to track him down, and he issued this typically forthright response: “Four years on and it’s true that Bubba has been far more successful than expected. That said, the old volatile Bubba is still there. His tee shot into the trees in 2012 play-off was an appalling shot that he was lucky to find, much less have a clear line out (pictured above). Similarly, his tee shot on 13 this year was a wild slice that he clearly thought was a goner until the roar of the crowd told him that he had somehow got out of jail again. Finally, his second shot on 15 was a quite ridiculously risky effort that could easily have cost him the Green Jacket. You can take the boy out of Bagdad but you can’t take the Bagdad out of the boy! I’m still not a buyer.” We Want to Hear from You!
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Have something to say about an article in HK Golfer or a topic affecting golf in our area? Send your thoughts and comments to letters@hkgolfer. com. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter (the first one that appears on the page) will receive a bottle of Champagne Deutz courtesy of Montrose Fine Wines.
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Larrazábal Receives Stinging Reception in KL
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They were three times the size of bees ... I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I started running like a crazy guy ... it was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I’ve never been so scared.
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As a non-contact sport, golf is generally considered a lot safer than many others. But Pablo Larrazábal learned firsthand about one of its unique hazards during the Maybank Malaysian Open last month. While trying to negotiate the fifth hole at the Kuala Lumpur Country Club during the second round, the Spaniard was set upon by a swarm of hornets, who seemingly took exception to him. As he tried to manfully bat off the giant wasps to no avail, the 30-year-old was left with no alternative to but to take a jump into a nearby lake. “They were three times the size of bees,” said Larrazábal, who won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship earlier in the season. “They were huge and 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. “I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I started running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake. “I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped in the water. It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I’ve never been so scared.” Thankfully, after receiving injections from European Tour medical staff for upwards of 20 stings, Larrazábal was able to continue. Gathering his thoughts, he popped on a new short and remarkably birdied the hole thanks to a well judged putt. He would end up shooting a 68 to comfortably make the cut. The Malaysian Open was won by Lee Westwood, who cantered to a sevenshot victory, his first title in nearly two years. Remarkably, Larrazábal wound up finishing the event in eighth spot, earning him a €46,872 pay day, after firing a 67 in the final round. HKGOLFER.COM
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Wie Notches Third LPGA Victory
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Michelle Wie claimed her first LPGA Tour title and her first in over three and a half years with victory in her home state of Hawaii last month. A five-under-par 67 in the final round of the Lotte Championship helped the American finish two shots ahead of her compatriot Angela Standford, who registered a disappointing 73, and three clear of world number one Inbee Park. It was 24-year-old Wie’s first title since winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open in August 2010, with her only other success coming in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November 2009. Much was expected of Wie when she finished ninth on her major debut when only 13, and then almost made the halfway cut at the Sony Open, a PGA Tour event.
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Dawson Set to Retire in 2015
Peter Dawson is set to retire as chief executive of the R&A and secretary of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, it was announced last month. Dawson will step down in September 2015 after 16 years leading the body which organises the Open Championship and governs the sport worldwide in conjunction with the United States Golf Association. A key figure in securing golf’s return to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, Dawson was also appointed president of the International Golf Federation in 2010, a post he is likely to retain until after the Olympics.
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HK Open Champ Jiménez Wins Again
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Reigning Hong Kong Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez held off Bernhard Langer to win his first Champions Tout event at the Greater Gwinnett Championship late last month, becoming only the third player to lead from start to finish in his debut on the 50-and-over tour. Jiménez, who was coming off a fourth-place finish in the Masters, closed with a 67 to finish two strokes ahead of Langer. The Spaniard finished the tournament with 32 consecutive holes without a bogey at TPC Sugarloaf in Georgia. Jiménez said he can’t make a commitment to the Champions Tour this year because his goal is making the European Ryder Cup team. “To me it’s not about money,” Jiménez said. “It’s about some different goals to make me feel proud of myself. To me I would feel nice to play on the Ryder Cup once more.” Jiménez insisted the win wasn’t easy. “When you hit the ball straight and you put the ball close to the hole it looks easy, but nothing is easy,” he said. “You need to keep calm yourself ... I like to feel the pressure and ... the people that are coming behind bite me.”
Levy Victorious at 20th Volvo China Open Frenchman Alexander Levy won the first professional tournament of his fledging career late last month, holding off a spirited charge from England's Tommy Fleetwood in the US$3.2 million Volvo China Open, which was held at Genzon Golf Club across the border in Shenzhen. The 23-year-old finished with a 19-under-par total to claim the winner's cheque of US$530,000. It's a very nice feeling and I'm very happy," said Levy, who was showered in champagne on the 18th green by several of his compatriots. "I didn't feel a lot of pressure on the golf course because I was confident." The 20th edition of China's national championship was co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia. HKGOLFER.COM
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Asia Focus Clash of the Continents Thongchai Jaidee, captain of Team Asia, jokes with Miguel Angel Jiménez, skipper of the European Team, upon conclusion of the inaugural EurAsia Cup, which was staged at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur in late March. The event, which featured prize money of US$4 million, went down to the wire, with Asia producing a brilliant comeback in the final day singles matches to tie a very strong European side 10-10. “I’m very proud of my team,” said Jaidee, who saw his side lose all five of their opening fourball matches on day one. “It is one of the best moments of my career.” Photo by Asian Tour
Global Focus Trump Turnberry? Flamboyant property tycoon – and single handicap golfer – Donald Trump confirmed his purchase of the Turnberry Resort, a four-time host of the Open Championship, late last month. Trump said he was not specifically looking to buy the famed venue, scene of Tom Watson’s “Duel in the Sun” victory over Jack Nicklaus in 1977, but claimed he couldn’t pass it up after an inquiry revealed it might be on the market. “It was an opportunity, as far as I was concerned,” Trump said. “Turnberry is considered one of the greatest courses in the world. It is a special place. It’s an important place.” The sale price is rumoured to be in the region of £35 million (HK$456 million). Photo by David Cannon
Major Focus Lexi Makes a Splash Lexi Thompson, the 19-year-old LPGA phenom, celebrated her first major championship victory in the time-honoured way after cruising to a threeshot win over Michelle Wie at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California last month. Thompson, her caddie and members of her family made the leap into Poppy’s Pond, a tradition for tournament winners at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, before declaring: “It was everything I imagined.” Thompson, who turned professional at the age of 15, showed few signs of nerves on the final day, firing a four-under-par 68, the joint low round of the day. “It was an amazing day,” Thompson added. “It’s such a huge honour to win this tournament.” Photo by AFP / Getty Images
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Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME
THE BEST OF BASEL EVAN RAST SHARES THE FANTASTIC FINDS FROM THIS YEAR’S EDITION OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST WATCH SHOW.
The Oyster Perpetual Milgauss from Rolex
HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
only making the pieces more appealing, but also stronger and less vulnerable to scratches. We’ll be bringing these watches to you in parcels over the next months, but for now, and since we are, after all, a sporty bunch (at least I’d like to think so), I thought it apt to present a few of the pieces that would suit our active lifestyles. There were quite a few, in fact, ranging from those rugged, intentionally worn-out, vintagelooking pieces to those that were all about robustness. Rolex, for one, came out with a number of these watches, such as the latest version of the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, which this time has been fitted with a two-colour Cerachrom bezel insert in red and blue, but just the same stays faithful to the codes of the original 1955 model. This unique Cerachrom bezel insert – first introduced in 2005 – was made using a process developed and patented by Rolex. While this special bezel certainly makes the watch more handsome, it also An action-packed serves a more noble purpose week of previews of making it virtually scratchresistant, highly corrosionand launches resistant, and keeping the colours usually equals intact in spite the ultraviolet rays. The piece’s 40mm case – whose an avalanche of mid-section is made from a solid information, block of 18K white gold – is built but this yearly for depths of up to 100 meters, while its winding crown has rendezvous is sheer enjoyment. been fitted with a Triplock triple waterproof system. And at the heart of this remarkable piece is the COSC-certified, self-winding Calibre 3186, which enables the watch’s second time zone, date and perpetual calendar. Another head-turner from arguably the most popular and recognised watch brand today, is here’s no such thing as down time the latest iteration of the Oyster Perpetual Milgauss, when it comes to Baselworld. An whose green sapphire crystal first wowed the action-packed week of previews watch world in 2007. This time around, this and launches usually equals an green sapphire crystal looms mightily over an avalanche of information, but to electric blue dial, giving it quite an astounding any watch aficionado, this yearly shade of blue. Rolex first launched the Milgauss rendezvous is sheer enjoyment. in 1956, designed primarily for professionals N ow, i f it w as ab o u t min d - b en din g who are constantly exposed to magnetic fields, innovation, I can’t say this year’s spread was which as we all know enemy number one for entirely impressive. Many of the pieces presented precision timekeeping. Way ahead of its time, the this time around comprised of improvements ground-breaking piece was built to withstand and variations of existing models, which of interferences of up to 1,000 gauss (thus the name, course, is also not entirely bad; innovations, after mille, being French for thousand) while keeping all – real ones, at least – take time. This year’s the accuracy of the watch. This noteworthy pieces do score good points on aesthetics, with piece stands at 40mm, and is waterproof up to many brands going as far as introducing new, 100 metres. Comfort was likewise ensured, many groundbreaking materials for their watches, not thanks to an “Easylink rapid extension system”
The latest version of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, which has been fitted with a two-colour Cerachrom bezel insert in red and blue 32
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With the Speedmaster Mark II (top left), Omega revisits the original Speedmaster 45 years after it equipped humans to land on the surface of the moon; Omega’s Speedmaster Professional Appolo 11 45th Anniversary Limited Edition (top right) 34
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that allows the wearer to adjust the bracelet to to the watch’s tachymeter, which thanks to his or her desired length. If a journey to the centre Superluminova, can be read even in very poor of the earth were possible, this watch sounds like lighting. The 2014 version was also given an it would be your most qualified companion. automatic movement, the Co-Axial Calibre 3330, Omega likewise had its fair featuring a Si14 silicon balance share of testosterone-filled spring and a column-wheel watches, which are, much to chronograph mechanism. The Omega had its the delight of the nostalgic watch is available in a matte black fair share of a n d s p a ce d r e a m e r s o u t or ash grey dial, with the latter testosteronethere, commemorative pieces featuring a fluorescent orange celebrating man’s achievements central chronograph seconds and filled watches – in space. With the Speedmaster minute track. commemorative Mark II, Omega revisits the Another commemorative pieces original Speedmaster 45 years piece paying homage to af ter it equipped the first celebrating man’s N e i l A r m s t r o n g a n d B u z z humans to land on the surface Aldrin’s historical lunar walk, achievements of the moon. The brand came and the Omega watch that in space out with the Speedmaster accomp anie d them, is the Mark II in the same year, with a Speedmaster Professional Apollo more stylish case but features 11 45th Aniversary Limited Edition the same movement found in the original wristwatch, with only 1,969 pieces up for grabs. moon watches. This year, Omega resurrects this Echoing the colours of the moon and the Apollo piece, which while made more contemporary 11 lunar and command modules used, this piece and efficient, kept many of the original’s details. comes in a 42mm gray, titanium case that’s been Improvements were introduced; for instance, completely brushed, and for that added touch HKGOLFER.COM
HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
The Heritage Black Bay from Tudor
given a dash of gold. Blending perfectly well with this rugged-looking case is a black PVD dial, whose 30-minute and 12-hour recorders and small seconds display were made using a special laser, while the indices and hour, minute, seconds and sub-dial hands were superbly crafted from 18K red gold, and its central chronograph hand, plated in red gold. Its 18K Sedna gold bezel was also further enhanced by a matt black ceramic ring with, of course, a tachymeter scale, which as many of the Speedmaster aficionados out there know, is a vital part of this model. These lavish details against the robustness of titanium and covertness of black PVD, matched with a decidedly rugged NATO-inspired fabric strap, I have to say, render quite an impact. When talking enigmatic and rugged, bordering on reckless, one would be hardpressed not to add to the roster, Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay, with which the brand once again shows how remarkably it can meld iconic details with modern designs. The form and very distinguishable domed crystal of the piece remain faithful to Tudor’s first divers’ piece, the Submariner reference 7922 – first introduced HKGOLFER.COM
Zenith’s Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 GMT 1903
HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
The Boeing Model 1 from Bremont (top), part of the brand’s new Boeing watch range; Arnold & Son’s Time Pyramid, a deserving addition to the brand’s immaculate Instrument Collection 38
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in 1954 – so do its iconic angular hands, or “Snowflakes,” which were mainstays from 1969 to the early 1980s. Updating the piece is its strong, 41mm steel case, a coloured, anodized aluminium crown tube, and interchangeable bracelets. This second iteration (its debut piece introduced in 2012) comes out sharper and dare I say, more dead serious, than the first, thanks to the striking contrast of the watch’s silver hour markers with white luminescent material, against a jet black dial, all encased in a stainless steel case. Toning down this “harshness” is a midnight-blue bezel, which matches the colour of the crown tube. This touch of blue was also meant to keep things as authentic as possible, as in the second half of the 20th century, the Tudor diver watches
that donned the wrists of the French Marines were mostly blue. If I may take you well above sea level for a moment, I’d like to introduce another of Zenith’s homages to flight. With the Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT 1903, Zenith would, once again, take us back to that golden era of flight, when the limits of aeronautic engineering were tested and surpassed by remarkable, highly courageous individuals, to whom we owe many of the advances of modern aeronautics. The Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT 1903 honours siblings Wilbur and Orville Wright, who built a glider, which after countless improvements transformed into a twin-propeller aircraft named “Flyer,” that was later flown in the Kitty Hawk beaches of North Carolina on December 17, 1903. For this piece, Zenith uses the classic Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20, a watch that was placed in aircrafts used by the French Air Force. The piece, which comes with a second time zone indicator, was modernized with a black DLCcoated titanium case, which also makes the piece lightweight despite hefty 48mm size. Keeping to the vintage feel are its big, Arabic numerals that have been given a worn-out effect, which were also covered with Superluminova for increased legibility. An important thing to remember when making your Baselworld itinerary is that this fair is not only about the big brands whose booths tower over you in Hall 1 – not at the very least. Interestingly enough, it would be in the humbler halls such as The Palace where you are bound to be knocked off your feet with pieces that are just quite simply, impeccably produced, and bolder in character, created by small watch makers who have the luxury of time and the recklessness of youth that most big, long established manufactures don’t have. Bremont is one of those fairly smaller watchmakers; it has been slowly but surely, building a good, reputable name for itself. And since we are in the topic of flight, this UK brand just segues perfectly as it launched at Basel a new Boeing watch range, which comprises of two new models: the Bremont Boeing Model 1 and the Bremont Boeing Model 247. Bremont has in the past incorporated actual parts of a ship, historical artefacts and planes into their watches – a task that could very easily go awry, but Bremont has so far done very skilfully and beautifully. Giles and Nick English brothers impress us again, this time, incorporating actual Boeing airplane materials into the watch. The Boeing Model 1, named after the first aircraft built by Boeing, the B&W, comes in two HKGOLFER.COM
versions, one manufactured from “Custom Perhaps unknown to many, Arnold & Son has 465 Stainless Steel,” a double vacuum-melted roots that stem back to 200 years ago, when alloy developed for the aerospace industry, father and son, John and Arnold Roger, first characterized for their strength, hardness ventured into regulator watches. The duo worked and corrosion resistance. A second version, tirelessly at their La Chaux-de-Fonds workshop, meanwhile, has a case made from Boeing perfecting what they’ve learned about precision aviation-grade Ti-64. Both pieces feature timekeeping, and innovating in areas they saw Bremont’s very own Trip-Tick case construction the need and opportunity. A piece that certainly with integrated crown guard, shows the culmination of these and their BE-36AE movements Arnold & Son has efforts is the Time Pyramid, a suspended in Boeing blue deserving addition to the brand’s roots that stem decorated steel and rubber antiimmaculate Instrument Collection. back to 200 years This watch presents the handshock mounts. The Bremont Boeing Model 247, meanwhile, finished A&S1615 caliber treated ago, when John is a chronograph named after in NAC grey, which was built in and Arnold Roger a highly unique skeletonized and inspired by the first Boeing first ventured into pyramid-shaped struc ture, twin-engine commercial aircraft, as seen in the two ‘twin-like’ regulator watches with the movement appearing sub dials. The piece likewise to be suspended bet ween comes in two versions: the t wo sapphire cr ystals. The first made from custom 465 stainless steel, workmanship and intricacy of the movement and the second manufactured from Boeing can – as it should be – appreciated from the front aviation-grade titanium. and back of its 44.6mm case. The Time Pyramid, And as I am just about wrap up this review, as expected of any piece that comes out of this do permit me to go slightly off course from our manufacture, has been decorated, chamfered rugged and robust theme, and finish off with and polished by hand, and if I may say so myself, a refined piece of haute horlogerie, as I feel it the piece is quite a sight to behold. worthy to highlight another watchmaker whose Certainly, there are still a lot more to cover and watches were what I had in mind when I said, present from the show, which we will try to do in “impeccably made.” the months to come. Stay tuned! HKGOLFER.COM
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CLUBHOUSE | LIQUID ASSETS
RHÔNE – A FRENCH PARADISE WINE AND TRAVEL EXPERT JULIEN YUNG MAMEAUX OF THE EXPERIENCE COMPANY TAKES US ON A HEAVENLY JOURNEY THROUGH SOUTHERN FRANCE.
aving lived part of my life in Rhône, I feel committed to bring you to this beautiful part of France. The way to the famous wines grown in the area has been paved over centuries by the Roman emperors and Christian popes. Rhône is actually better described not as one but an aggregation of iconic terroirs, along the Rhône River, one of Europe’s major waterways, which rises in Switzerland, runs through the southeast of France before flowing out into the Mediterranean Sea.
A pilgrimage to this part of France must include the iconic Chateauneuf-du-Pape
NORTHERN RHÔNE – FROM LYON TO HERMITAGE Any journey to Rhône is bound to start or end in Lyon, one hour from the Burgundy wine county, or two hours from EvianLes-Bains, the golf and spa mecca, home of the LPGA’s fifth major championship. Reputed the world over for its authentic gastronomy, architectural legacies and intriguing alleys and courtyards, Lyon hosts uncountable cellars and fantastic wines that are jealously kept within the French borders. Nearby is the most praised historical AOC: Tain l’Hermitage. The vines, mostly Syrah and first planted on the hills by the Romans long time ago, were some of the first ones classified as World Heritage by UNESCO and are a must-see. Familiar names are all derived from long-established families combining winemaking and wine trading: Chapoutier, producing some of the best Hermitage wines, also known for using traditional winemaking methods and inventing braille labels for blind people; Jaboulet Ainé, which includes famed wines from Condrieu, Saint-Joseph or Saint-Péray; Guigal known for its Côte-Rôtie and recently for releasing the most expensive Rhône wine, single vineyard “La La” 2003. Beyond the big names, there are hundreds of boutique wineries driven by passion such as Domaine Courbis (Cornas Champelrose is spicy and savoury) or Fayolle (Clos Les Cornirets, Vieilles Vignes, has chocolatey notes with fine tannins) to name a few.
[Credit] Julien Yung Mameaux
SOUTHERN RHÔNE – FROM CHATEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE TO PROVENCE The journey goes on with the temperatures warming up as we reach stunning landscapes near the legendary town of Orange and the Pont d’Avignon, at the edge of Provence, with a greater variety of wines. On top of fruity and spicy Grenachebased reds produced in the vineyards of Gigondas, Vacqueyras or Rasteau, two delightful originalities stand out: appealing pinkish and refreshing rosé wines from the areas of Tavel, by Les Vignerons de Tavel for instance, or from Lirac; and goldish, fragrant and sweet Muscat wines from the pretty village of Beaumes-de-Venise such as Domaine de la Ferme Saint-Martin or Domaine des Bernardins. A Rhône pilgrimage must include the iconic Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Spotted in 1308 by Pope Clement V, the area was so compelling that the Pope moved his headquarters from Rome to Avignon, renaming the neighborhood “the Pope’s new 40
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castle”. Since then religious leaders have been involved in great viticulture and wine growing progress. Today these wines are made up from up to 13 different grapes and are thus highly complex and delicious. Vieux Télégraphe is probably Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s most famous wine (notably its grandest cru, La Crau) but you can count on a wide range going from Clos des Papes Paul Avril, which regularly tops rankings, to local jewels like Domaine Chante Cigale. Try Rhône wines at this year’s Le French May in Hong Kong – and of course get the most of it by visiting that part of France. Rhône Valley’s 6,000 friendly wine growing properties and its gorgeous landscapes are the new paradise of wine lovers and travellers alike. Rhône is close to Provence, Evian and the French Riviera, and as such it makes a perfect holiday destination. Win a free bottle of wine by enquiring at The Experience Company (www.TheExCo.com), Asia’s travel concierge specialized on fine wine and gastronomy holidays, at +852 2179 3307 or Contact@TheExCo.com. Quote “HKGolfer” to enter the lucky draw to win the bottle of wine. HKGOLFER.COM
UK Budget Changes to Pensions and QROPS
ecent announcements have outlined major changes to the UK pension system from April 2015. These will mark a huge change in the way people with UK pensions can access their money when they reach retirement age CURRENT PENSION SYSTEM From retirement age, pensioners can usually withdraw 25% of their pension pot tax free. The rest of the money must be used to provide and income for life. Pension income is taxed in UK whether you are resident or not. Income drawdown or more commonly, purchasing an annuity are ways of receiving your pension A significant fall in annuity rates since 90’s has led to much lower pension income. With a basic annuity, the income stream stops when the pensioner dies, meaning there is not potential residual value left for family members or loved ones WHAT’S CHANGING Some minor changes have come into place from April 2014, however the main changes will be from April 2015. From next year anyone age 55 or above will be allowed to take all of the money from their combined pension pots in one go, without having to guarantee an income from it, so no income drawdown or annuities required IMPACT OF CHANGES Whilst, on initial consideration, it might seem like an obvious choice to cash in your pension money, there are some issues to be aware of. The first 25% of the withdrawal will continue to be tax free. The remainder of the money withdrawn will be taxed as income. Taking an example of a modest pension pot of £200,000, excluding other earned income, after the 25% tax free withdrawal, the remaining £150,000 would be deemed income and subject to up to 45% tax. The cash withdrawn will now form
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part of the pensioner’s estate and be subject to a further 40% inheritance tax upon death, subject to IHT limits WHAT IF I USE INCOME DRAWDOWN RATHER THAN CASHING IN MY PENSION 25% can still be withdrawn as tax free cash from the pension pot. The amount of income withdrawn from the remaining pot is set by UK Government Actuaries. These are known as GAD rates and published on the GOV.uk website. Using this method could allow a residual value to be left in the pension pot at time of death. Regardless of tax residency, the residual value is taxed at 55% and can be taxed as high as 82%. USING QROPS AS AN ALTERNATIVE Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions Schemes (QROPS) legislation allow anyone with a pension who has left or intends to leave the UK, to transfer their money to a QROPS without deduction of tax. Many individuals believe that their UK pensions are frozen. It is now a simple process to transfer UK pensions to an offshore QROPS TYPICAL BENEFITS INCLUDE: Consolidation of UK pensions in an offshore structure • Larger Cash lump sum to when retire • Payment of residual value of fund without 55% deduction • Pension income paid without deduction of income tax* • Multi Currency Options • Tax Planning • Diverse investment choice • Crystalisation of benefit avoiding future reductions in UK Lifetime allowances *depending on country of residence •
SHOULD I WAIT TO DO A QROPS All public sector transfers, such as NHS and Civil Service, will be banned from April 2015.
There is a currently a consultations which may lead to Final Salary transfers also being banned QROPS - THE IDEAL INCOME AND SUCCESSION PLANNING TOOL Most people only think of their pension in terms of retirement income, due to legacy issues with life annuities and the rigid framework of many products. However, the flexible structure of QROPS regarding the investment content, benefit type and the way any assets remaining in the scheme can be distributed brings a new dimension to their use in financial planning. The ability to control structured income payments and distribution provides members with a new dimension for succession and estate planning. QROPS typically have no cap on contributions, and distributions of assets are currently not subject to UK IHT. This makes QROPS an efficient vehicle for providing income and passing on assets to dependents without IHT or death duty SUMMARY With so many changes and new options open to UK pension holders, now is the perfect time to consider your options. There are a number of substantial benefits in transferring a pension to an offshore QROPS and care should be taken to ensure that appropriate advise is obtained For Further information and a free pension review, email QROPS@hkgolfer.com HKGOLFER.COM
| TALES FROM THE BOX
Julian Tutt reflects on a period which saw Asia tie with Europe in the inaugural EurAsia Cup and Bubba collect a second green jacket.
AFP, Asian Tour
Bubba Watson (right) splashes out during the final round of the Masters Tournament on his way to collecting his second Green Jacket; Anirban Lahiri celebrates with captain Thongchai Jaidee at the inaugural EurAsia Cup, which saw Asia stage a remarkable comeback to tie a strong European side skippered by Miguel Angel Jiménez 46
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he Masters: it was all utterly predictable. I always knew that Bubba Watson was the man to beat … But who would be a pundit? Of the thirteen former players, commentators and respected journalists – including Paul Azinger, Peter Alliss and Ken Brown – who were asked for their Masters’ preview opinions on the BBC Website, four went for Sergio Garcia (missed cut), three for the injured Jason Day (T21) and surprisingly only two for Rory McIlroy (T8). Of the twenty names that got a mention, Matt Kuchar (T5), McIlroy and Henrik Stenson (T14) were the only players to finish in the top twenty. Bear in mind this was the British Broadcasting Corporation; there wasn’t one mention of Lee Westwood (T7), Justin Rose (T14) or Ian Poulter (T20), and only Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports plumped for Luke Donald (MC) as the winner. Amazingly the in-form defending champion Adam Scott (T14) was also totally overlooked. All of which goes to prove that whilst it’s mildly entertaining to speculate who might do what, even the experts haven’t got a clue! However, race-going punters will know that considerations such as current form, and course and distance history are all relevant, and that applies particularly to somewhere like Augusta.
Witness the performances of the likes of Fred Couples (T20) and Bernhard Langer (T8). It’s slightly baffling, therefore, why Garcia should feature so strongly amongst the tipsters [I picked him too – Ed]. OK, he was in good form going into the tournament, but his record there is pretty average with only two top ten finishes in fourteen attempts and a best of T4 back in 2004. He just doesn’t like the place and has been incredibly negative about his chances there in the past. Mind you, he is not unique in that regard. There are plenty of players who don’t particularly enjoy the Masters experience, although not many HKGOLFER.COM
will publicly admit to it, for fear the embossed invitation to play might not drop through the letterbox next year! Nick Price never felt at home there, despite being a joint course record holder (63), while Colin Montgomerie probably enjoys commentating there much more than he ever enjoyed playing. (Supposition on my part, but I know he always battled mentally). There are others who have been so passionate about the place and the title that they became almost too obsessed with winning a Green Jacket. Greg Norman and Ernie Els fall into that category, and sadly it looks highly unlikely that either will ever win one now. Only a couple of weeks previously, at the inaugural EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Pablo Larrazábal had predicted that his good friend and fellow-countryman, Miguel Angel Jiménez, would win the Masters, after his brilliant showing as playing captain of the European Team. How close he came too, and then followed up brilliantly with a debut wire-to-wire win on the Champions Tour the week after. As I write, he’s now only one place out of an automatic Ryder Cup berth. He’ll look good in tartan trews. (He’ll enjoy the Gleneagles Hotel wine cellar too!) Talking of the new Asia versus Europe contest, it’ll be a big surprise if there’s a bigger surprise this year than that result. A European Team well staffed with light-heavyweights, plus a sprinkling of super-heavyweights was surely always going to be too strong for a talented but largely inexperienced Asian Team that included a “compulsory” Malaysian, Nicholas Fung, who didn’t even qualify as a featherweight. The whitewash of the first day’s fourballs merely confirmed that widely held belief: if major championship golf is unpredictable though, what about team match play? The commentary team of Dougie Donnelly, Warren Humphreys, Dominique Boulet and yours truly enjoyed a pleasantly heated debate over dinner on the second night, after Asia’s brilliant fightback in the foursomes. Europe were still strong favourites, needing only three and a half points from the ten singles matches, so it was obvious that both captains had to “top load” the singles running order with their best, in-form players. Thongchai Jaidee correctly assumed that Jiménez would lead from the front as he had on the first two days. Thongchai took the intriguing decision of apparently “gifting” Europe a point by putting Nicholas Fung out first. He argued that Jiménez would probably HKGOLFER.COM
It’s slightly baffling, therefore, why Garcia should feature so strongly amongst the tipsters. OK, he was in good form going into the tournament, but his record there is pretty average with only two top ten finishes in fourteen attempts. beat anybody in his current form, while Fung would most likely lose to whoever he played. It was cunning psychology, with the added merit that if Fung put up a good fight it would inspire the rest of the Asian Team. In the event he did better than that. Had his birdie putt dropped on the 18th, he would have stolen at least a half point (possibly even a win) that would ultimately have given Asia a most improbable victory. Messieurs Donnelly and Boulet argued that it was a masterstroke by the Asian skipper. If most matches went the distance would you want Fung in a possible cup-deciding pressure match near the end? Humphreys and Tutt thought it was madness to “gift” a point early on, leaving only two and a half more points for Europe’s name to go on the Trophy. I don’t believe any of us really believed Asia had much of a chance, but of course Donnelly and Boulet (I hate them!) were spot on as we witnessed a truly enthralling Saturday, where the result was in suspense-filled doubt right up to the last putt of the last match. Brilliant. So the trophy was shared. The tournament committee had been anxious to avoid any sort of tie-breaker, where the captains or their nominated deputies would face immense pressure in a sudden-death shoot-out. So the rules stated that (and I paraphrase), “In the first year, in the event of a tie, the trophy will be shared between the two teams. In subsequent competitions, in the event of a tie, the trophy would be retained by the previous winners”. It strikes me there’s a fatal flaw in that ruling! What happens when they tie next time?! With the Ryder Cup now more than just on the horizon, allow me to continue my reminiscences of the competition over the last twenty five years. Following on from the thrills of Kiawah Island in 1991, the Americans brought a strong team to The Belfry in 1993, under the captaincy of Tom Watson. His picks were two battle-hardened warriors in Lanny Wadkins and Ray Floyd, at fifty-one the oldest man to play in the Ryder Cup. It was to be their last Ryder Cup, as it was for Tom Kite, another formidable opponent. The Belfry had been carved out of flat potato fields. A not inconsiderable number of folk felt that it had served mankind better in its previous incarnation. It’s since been extensively nipped and tucked and has matured into an interesting HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
Tom Watson, this year’s US Ryder Cup captain, first led the Americans at the 1993 match which was staged at The Belfry and testing challenge, but then it was pretty ordinary, save for two great match play holes; the 10th, a driveable par-4 to a tiny green well guarded by tall trees and water, and the par-4 18th, with both drive and second shots over water. Both holes were potential game-changers and so it proved on many an occasion. Covering a relatively small acreage, echoing roars from all parts of the course produced tremendous excitement. But with autumn setting in, the competition took awhile to get going. The first morning the course was enveloped in a thick layer of fog. By the time it had cleared enough for play to start there must have been well over ten thousand people lining the first fairway in an eerie stillness. Rookie Davis Love III confessed he was too nervous to drive at the first. It was a particularly intimidating environment. Over two and a half days Europe built a lead and held it deep into the singles, but two rookies trembled at a crucial stage. Barry Lane and Costantino Rocca led their matches with a few holes to go, but both succumbed at the last. It turned the tide and it was left to the steely veteran Floyd to claim the winning point. It was to be the last time that America retained the cup, and the last time that they’ve won it on European soil. Tom Watson, of course, has been recalled to the colours to try and rectify that situation at Gleneagles this September. It should be worth watching …
Twice unsuccessful as captain of Europe, Bernard Gallacher was given a third outing in charge at Oak Hill in 1995. The first morning was a seriously soggy affair, and back then the team only had one set of clothes per day. At lunchtime the cashmere sweaters were wet through. It meant a frenetic and often hilarious hour for the backroom staff that had all hands on deck with hairdryers, trying to restore the precious wool to its former glory. I was once again commentating for BBC Radio, and was joined that year by Helen Alfredsson, who much later was to captain Europe’s women in the Solheim Cup. She is irrepressible and uncontrollable at the best of times. At Oak Hill she was in awe of the whole Ryder Cup experience and was just brilliant fun to have around. Our team dinners were certainly much more lively affairs thanks to her. 48
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By then Seve Ballesteros was arguably past his sell-by date, but the Ryder Cup was in the great man’s DNA. He simply couldn’t contemplate failure. Helen and I were sent out with him for the first singles match against Tom Lehman. Seve’s opening drive missed the fairway by fifty yards, but with a series of brilliant, almost miraculous saves he kept the match alive for long enough to inspire those following behind. When he finally succumbed, we were re-deployed to follow a struggling Nick Faldo who was battling an equally out of form Curtis Strange. It was a dour encounter, but fascinating to watch nonetheless, with Faldo emerging slightly the less awful. George Bailey (he of the flat cap and obdurate hairpiece) and Alan Green (primarily a football commentator) were our two radio “stars”, and they were constantly trying to outdo each other. Both had an eye for the archives, and when the contest was nearing its climax they’d be waxing lyrical in case that putt, or this chip might turn out to be the winning shot. As early as the 14th I remember George going into full “mark this moment, 2.20pm on Sunday 24th September 1995, the minute when Bernard Gallacher’s band of heroes brought the old golden chalice back to Blighty”. (Or words to that effect!) The putt missed and eventually, of course, it went all the way to the end with Philip Walton’s nerveless 5-wood to the raised 18th green providing the decisive thrust of the dagger. Mayhem broke out on the green. Grown men, who in other circumstances struggled to converse, threw themselves into each other’s arms. Seve hugged Faldo. Faldo smiled. There was even a tear or two. It was all almost too much to comprehend. Times like that though are a real buzz for the radio reporter. I was right there in amongst it, shouting on talkback to the producer; “Come to me, I’ve got Seve. “G et A la n to ha nd to me , I ’m w it h Mickelson” etc etc. It’s funny though how inconsequentialities can stick in the mind in amongst all the adrenalin and excitement. There were dozens of photographers in the melee and back then they still used film. They’d be whipping through roll after roll of the stuff, carelessly discarding the little plastic containers that were no longer needed. I felt so sorry for the head green-keeper as said detritus got trampled into the once pristine surface. Europe had just regained the Ryder Cup on American soil for heaven’s sake, concentrate man! Seve’s Ryder Cup playing days were over, but two years later he had the great honour of leading the European Team against Tom Kite’s Americans on his native soil at Valderrama. Now that was special … HKGOLFER.COM
| BY DESIGN
Award-winning architect Paul Jansen looks at the brilliant work of Dr Alister MacKenzie and asks why so many of today’s courses feature as many bunkers as they do.
Clockwise from top: Tiger Woods plays from one of Royal Melbourne’s splendidly designed bunkers; the famous par5 13th at Augusta National as seen today; the 13th as it appeared shortly after the club’s opening 50
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ugusta National is just about the most recognizable golf course on the planet. Each year, in April, the world’s best golfers congregate on this Dr Alister MacKenzie / Bobby Jones layout located in the town of Augusta, Georgia. Built on a fruit plantation on land characterized by steep undulations “the Good Doctor” was able to carve out a golf course high in strategy and memorability. Dr MacKenzie is for many the model architect. His golf courses have stood the test of time and many are regarded as the best of the best. His list of work is most impressive and includes other timeless classics such as Cypress Point, Crystal Downs and Kingston Heath – to name but a few. It’s no secret that Dr MacKenzie had a particular fondness for Augusta – perhaps the one golf course that totally embodied his design ideals. This is evident in the book, The Spirit of St Andrews, where he wrote: “I doubt if even in a hundred years’ time a course will be made which has such interesting strategic problems and which creates such enduring and increasing pleasurable excitement and varied shots.” If the routing allowed Dr MacKenzie the opportunity to unlock the property it was how he used the land that gives the golf course its personality. Rather than bombard the play areas with senseless features, that offer little to the golf experience, he let the lay of the land dictate the play. The way he used the existing ground contours, to go with those he created, is a testament to this and a lesson to any budding golf architect. It thus comes as no surprise that when open, in 1933, it had fewer than 30 bunkers in play (today there are 43). Eighty years on and we live in very different world. Today our golf courses are riddled with the very features that Dr MacKenzie opposed all those years ago. In particular one such feature – the bunker – has been used at mass with the result
being that so many of our golf landscapes are dominated by sand. Golden Age Golf Architect Albert Tillinghast coined the term “Bunkeritis” which he described as “the mad desire to have men groping around eighteen holes in sand, straining their glazed and agonizing eyes for a bit of fairway” – and how true that rings today. Don’t get me wrong: the design for bunkering a golf course is tremendously important. Only I believe this exercise needs to be tempered, sensible and in balance with the landscape. In fact I would go as far as saying that many golf courses would be equally interesting with half the number of bunkers in play. This is the case for Laguna Phuket in Thailand, a golf course I am currently redesigning. At Laguna Phuket we have reduced the bunker numbers by half – instead we have focused on existing ground contours and features for inspiration and interest. Together this has helped considerably reduce construction and maintenance costs whilst allowing us the opportunity to enhance the golf in a much more sustainable fashion. Bunker construction and maintenance can be an expensive endeavor, particularly if the golf course has not been laid out over natural sand. HKGOLFER.COM
The cost of bunker lining, drainage and sand would scare anyone, so it’s important we build and position our bunkers such that they have the greatest impact on play. As if to justify his work at Augusta, Dr MacKenzie continued in his important tome, The Spirit of St Andrews, “The moral is few bunkers placed in interesting positions” – and one would find it hard to argue this today particularly in the economic climate we live in. Bunkers are absolutely an integral part of the game, so it’s hard to fathom why so many golf courses are riddled with them – particularly in out of play areas or to the sides of the fairways where they have little effect. Almost always these bunkers are positioned according to some pattern making the entire scene look very unnatural. Even worse is the idea of bunkering for art’s sake, which has become a popular art. It’s my experience that the best golf courses maximize the need for a lot of bunkers by having them positioned where they will dictate the play. Moving forward, it’s time we re-think our design template to include other features that offer as much visual and strategic interest as bunkers. I am certainly not advocating we do away with bunkers altogether; rather that our golf courses should offer a variety of features, that blend into their surrounds, instead of being fed the same old score. For instance I am particularly fond of the ground game and believe in utilizing existing ground contours (or creating new ones) that can offer as much strategic interest as a bunker at a fraction the cost. This is the case at Augusta National as well as at most of the great links golf HKGOLFER.COM
Today our golf courses are riddled with the very features that Dr Mackenzie opposed all those years ago. In particular one such feature – the bunker – has been used at mass with the result being that so many of our golf landscapes are dominated by sand.
courses in Great Britain and Ireland. Dr Alister MacKenzie was years ahead of his time. His design work is legendary and his writing almost as good. No other architect has designed such impressive looking bunkers and few have used them as sparingly as he did, to such great effect. The “Good Doctor” understood that bunkers are an essential design element but wise enough to know that when overdone they offer little to the golf experience. There is a lesson in this … Paul Jansen is the principal architect for Jansen Golf Design. For more information visit his website at jansengolfdesign.com HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
MASTERS TOURNAMENT | IN REVIEW
Paul Prendergast reflects on the brilliance of Bubba Watson at last month’s Masters Tournament, a win that catapulted the unpredictable American into the company of a select group of golfers.
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Bubba Watson’s shot-making genius – and a hot putter – landed him a second Masters title in three years HKGOLFER.COM
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of golf that was more clinical than the cavalier approach we’ve come to expect. “I just kept ... hard work, even though it doesn’t look like I practice that much,” Watson said moments after donning his second green jacket, the tears never far away. “Hard work, my wife’s dedication. We worked out schedules how I can practice at a high level, if it’s just 30 minutes, just an hour, then come back and be a dad and a husband.” Scoffing at any suggestion this comeback win validates his status as an elite player, Watson was more realistic in assessing his achievement. “No. I got lucky enough to have two green jackets but I’m just trying to win my tour card every year and if people say that I’m a good player, that’s great. But I’m not. I’m not trying to play golf for everybody to tell me how great I am or I’m one of the greats of the game.” Scoff he may but he would have to concede even privately that he played brilliantly during the week and especially so on Sunday, winning his second Masters title at the age 35 to join Horton Smith, Jimmy Demaret and Arnold Palmer as two-time champions in six starts or less.
Jordan Spieth (top) raced into the lead early on Sunday before becoming unglued with back-to-back bogeys at the eighth and ninth holes; four-time Hong Kong Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez (opposite) shot himself into title contention with a brilliant third-round 66
ubba Watson’s approach to golf straddles the fine line that exists between the sublime and the ridiculous. A homespun golf swing, heart-on-sleeve oncourse personality, aggressive shot-making and that garish pink driver have helped establish the public persona of Watson, a unique entity in the game with as much natural talent as anyone. Juggling his new responsibilities as a Masters champion following his 2012 triumph, just days after becoming a parent for the first time, provided new challenges for the emotionally charged Watson to contend with. Trying to be all things to an expectant golfing public and press while trying to be the best father and husband he could took its toll, and at times that was reflected in his demeanour on the golf course and in the public eye. But credit to the man: Watson’s respect for the game and its heritage never wavered and through hard work, self analysis and a greater balance in life, he has re-invented himself, winning the Masters Tournament with a display
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Watson’s three-under-par 69 playing in the final group gave him a 72-hole score of eightunder 280, three strokes better than playing partner Jordan Spieth who had shared the overnight lead with him heading into Sunday. Over the first seven holes of the final round, 20year old Spieth was looking near untouchable in his bid to become the youngest Masters winner and only the second to win on debut, with early birdies tempered only by a bogey on five. When Watson hit close, Spieth either hit it closer or came up with something dramatic, like holing a bunker shot on the demanding fourth, to maintain the edge over his older opponent. The mind raced back to 2011 when a 21-year old Rory McIlroy lead the field into the back nine only to implode in spectacular fashion to shoot 80. How would 2014’s young gun fare on the back nine, as the childhood dream of being in this moment becomes a glaring reality? We cou ld on ly contemplate t h i s a s, unfortunately, Spieth began to unravel before the back nine even started. An untidy pitch and three-putt bogey at the par-5 eighth was followed by the commitment of the cardinal sin in coming up short with his approach at the ninth for a second consecutive dropped shot. The two Spieth bogeys were countered by two birdies from Watson, a four-stroke swing and the turning point in the respective mindsets of both players. Spieth had a minor win with a scrambling par to Watson’s bogey at the 10th but compounded his earlier errors by finding the bank on 12 and spinning back into Rae’s Creek on his way to another bogey. From there on, Spieth had his work cut out to regroup mentally. The outcome of the tournament was in Watson’s hands and specifically, when he had the driver in hand. When Watson is ‘on’ with his biggest stick in the bag, the rest of the field must feel like they’re wading knee deep in mud trying to keep up. It was especially true on this Sunday, which Watson – a left-hander with the most powerful of power fades – conceded fits his eye perfectly. February’s ice storms may have destroyed Ike’s Tree and thinned out many others in its wake but they were Watson’s ally this week. The champion noted there was more room “at the top of some trees” than previously which helped him feel more comfortable with the tee shots on seven, 11 and 18 [holes that for him traditionally require a draw] where he has notoriously struggled. Pe r h a p s o n l y a p l ay e r o f Wa t s o n ’s flamboyance and ball striking prowess could identify an advantage to be had in having less foliage in the upper reaches of mature pines. Nowhere else than Augusta National do the corridors of trees framing each hole, coupled HKGOLFER.COM
Since his first green jacket in 2012, Watson has re-invented himself, winning the Masters Tournament with a display of golf that was more clinical than the cavalier approach we’ve come to expect. with the undulation and shape of the fairways, suit Watson more from the tee. Tempering his normal aggression, Watson took apart the golf course by hitting his ‘slice’ driver with regularity, sliding the ball between the trees and taking advantage of the right-to-left cant of the fairways. A golf course long regarded as favouring the right-handed drawer of the ball has now yielded its sixth left-handed winner – following Phil Mickelson in 2004, 2006 and 2010 and Mike Weir in 2003 – in the past 12 editions of the tournament. Although his 2012 win is fondly remembered for the miracle play-off escape from deep in the trees at the 10th, it should be remembered Watson drove the ball superbly in that final HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
Nowhere else than Augusta National do the corridors of trees framing each hole, coupled with the undulation and shape of the fairways, suit Watson more from the tee.
round and he repeated the dose in 2014, providing opportunities to hit shorter irons to greens that were noticeably more firmer – and as a result, more fearsome – than in recent years. Practice rounds on Monday were cancelled due to inclement weather yet the greens still had an ominous brown tinge to them as early as Wednesday. The absence of the traditional birdie and eagle barrage we so enjoy on the back nine on Sunday is a testament as to how hard and fast they had become. The cacophonous cheers and a seismic atmosphere reverberating through the pines was absent for the first time in years as players battled more to survive than to prosper. Watson took a two-stroke lead into the back nine and was able to advance his winning margin, despite only shooting level par on the inward nine. Historically, shooting level down the stretch at Augusta is a sure-fire way of losing ground on the field.
In these conditions, Watson led the field for the week in driving distance, was 13th in greens in regulation and 12th in putts per green in regulation. The only time the driver threatened to derail him during the final round was when he cut off more of the par-five 13th hole than he was anticipating. He was a relieved man when the cheers of the crowd indicated his ball has found fairway over 360 yards away, leaving a mere gap wedge to the green. How do you compete with that? “His drive on 13, I’ll never forget,” Spieth said in the aftermath. “I thought it was out of bounds 70 yards left, and it was perfect. He knew that, too. “It [losing] stings right now,” he continued. “The only thing I’m thinking about is when I’m getting back next year. I’ll have more chances, but it’s a stinger. I had it in my hands and could have gone forward with it. “Whether my face showed it on the back nine, I was really having a good time,” he added. “I’m not as good at holding my emotions.” Outside of Watson, the round of the day belonged to Dutchman Joost Luiten (67) with
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Stewart Cink (68) also posting a low number among the early starters. Fif t y-si x-yea r old , t wo -t i me Masters champion Bernhard Langer and Rory McIlroy shot 69s to tie for eighth at level par, while reigning Hong Kong Open title holder Miguel Angel Jiménez was around in 70 to claim fourth on his own, a week ahead of his Champions Tour debut. Langer, Jiménez and Fred Couples may have flown the veteran’s flag with pride during the week week but the most unassuming performance must surely go to Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, who was trying to “Do an Adam” by becoming the first player from his country to win the first major of the year. Blixt was making his Masters debut and just his third start in a major but has already shown his class by finishing tied fourth at last year’s US PGA Championship. His four subpar rounds, only the second debutant in history to achieve the feat behind 1979 champion Fuzzy Zoeller, allowed him to tie Spieth for second at five-under as he grimly kept in touch on the final day. “Anytime you shoot under-par at Augusta HKGOLFER.COM
National on a Sunday, you should be pretty happy,” said Blixt, “Bubba Watson played better. I got beat and he deserves to win.” No argument there. Watson admitted he “kind of lucked into” the first win but this one he earned, one he got to savour with wife Angie and son Caleb on hand this time behind the final green. Between his 2012 win and the return to the winner’s circle in Los Angeles earlier this year, Watson never really fell too far, never lower than 30th in the world rankings, but his appearance on leader boards were few and far between. Missing the Presidents Cup team last year definitely hurt too after being a staple of the past few American sides. Now he’s back in a green jacket, has risen back to number four in the world, is a certainty for the Ryder Cup and has another run at cashing in on his talent as many thought would be his destiny two years ago. “A guy named Bubba from a small town; born in Pensacola, raised in Bagdad [Florida], now has two green jackets,” Watson said. “Why me? “I play golf because I love it. I love the game. The game has brought me everything that I’ve ever owned in my life.”
Rookie Jonas Blixt (top) put in an impressive performance on debut, firing four under-par rounds to finish tied second with Spieth; 12 months after Watson eased Adam Scott into the Green Jacket, the Australian returned the compliment HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
AUGUSTA MEMBER MAKES HIS MARK
Prior to the Masters, Jeff Knox was not a golfer that even die-hard fans would be familiar with. But that all changed during the third round, when he went out in the company of former Hong Kong Open champion Rory McIlroy. Knox, an Augusta National member, served as a non-competing marker with
McIlroy because an odd number of players made the cut. And he showed the Northern Irishman a thing or two about one of golf’s famed courses, shooting a two-under 70 that actually bested McIlroy’s score by one stroke. “He obviously knows this place so well and gets it around,” McIlroy said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone putt the greens as well as he does around here. He was really impressive. I was thinking of maybe getting him to read a few of my putts out there.” McIlroy birdied three of the final four holes in his third round for a 71. Knox bogeyed the 18th for the 70. “I thought he was going to be nice and threeputt the last and we would have a half, but he beat me by one,” McIlroy said. Knox’s success at Augusta National is no surprise. He holds the member course record there with a 61. But Saturday’s round came from the championship tees and the course set up for a major. Markers are required in golf when the field has an odd number after the cut. The host course determines whether the marker will play with the single professional or just keep his score.
GOSS EARNS LOW AMATEUR HONOURS
Oliver Goss became the first Australian to win the Silver Cup as low amateur at the Masters. The 20-year-old from Freemantle, Western Australia was assured of the position on Friday afternoon as the only amateur to make the cut but officially finished his tournament with a three-over 75 to be 10-over for the week, finishing 49th. Some of the game’s greatest names in golf, including Jack Nicklaus and Tiger
Woods, have claimed low amateur at Augusta National. China’s Guan Tianlang received the Silver Cup in 2013 after finishing at 12-over in 58th spot. “I can’t believe it, to be honest with you,” Goss said. “To be the first Australian is really quite unbelievable. What an amazing week, this is such a life-changing event and I will remember it for rest of my life.” Goss, who plays college golf at the University of Tennessee, seemingly has a long professional career ahead of him, such is his power and precision. But before any thoughts of turning pro, Goss will attempt to win the low amateur title at the US Open at Pinehurst. He admitted stepping up to the big stage was an eye-opener. “I’m absolutely exhausted. You’ve got to play your best golf every single day, it just amazes me and I can definitely tell I’m going to get back home and hit the cardio a little harder,” he said. “I really respect these guys for what they do. The second round I played really well and the other days I just played just a little average. “But I managed to play fairly average the whole week and still make the cut so it makes me realise that I can get there, but I still have a lot to learn, though.”
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THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR THONGCHAI Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee capped a memorable week when he signed off with a one-over-par 73 to finish in a share of 37th place at the year’s opening major. The 13-time Asian Tour winner, who led Team Asia to a stunning fightback draw against Europe at the EurAsia Cup in March, made the cut at Augusta National for the first time in three appearances and completed a week to remember with a four-day total of seven-over-par 295. Compatriots Sukree Onsham, Thaworn Wiratchant and Prayad Marksaeng are the other Thais who have played at the Masters, but it is Thongchai who now holds the distinction of being the first Thai to feature in all four rounds at the Masters Tournament after carding rounds of 73, 74, 75 and 73. Asian Tour honorary member Vijay Singh of Fiji also took a share of 37th place alongside Thongchai after closing with a 75 while Korean ace KJ Choi signed for a final 71 to take a share of 34th place on 294.
NOT JUST THE JACKET
69 68 74 69
70 71 71 71
71 70 70 72
Miguel Angel Jimenez
71 76 66 71
71 75 67 73
73 71 68 74
73 71 70 73
72 74 73 69
70 72 76 70
71 77 71 69
72 68 75 73
70 73 72 73
73 68 73 74
14= Stewart Cink
73 72 76 68
73 70 76 70
73 72 74 70
69 72 76 72
76 70 69 74
74 68 72 75
20= Bill Haas
68 78 74 70
75 72 71 72
75 73 70 72
76 70 70 74
71 71 73 75
69 75 75 72
Bubba took home a lot more than just his second Green Jacket following his victory. In addition to a cheque for US$1,620,000 (HK$12,560,000), Watson received a sterling silver replica of the Masters winning trophy (itself a depiction of the club’s famed colonial-era clubhouse), a winner’s medal, a crystal vase for having the lowest round on Friday and a pair of crystal highball glasses for his eagle on the second hole.
Clockwise from top: Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee made the cut on his third appearance at Augusta; Oliver Goss receives the Silver Cup from Augusta Chairman Billy Payne for finishing as low amateur; Rory McIlroy talks to his third-round marker, Augusta member Jeff Knox, who pipped him by a shot
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MASTERS TOURNAMENT | DRIVE, CHIP, PUTT
Champions Children hailing from Hong Kong and China impressed most at Augusta National’s inaugural event – the Drive, Chip, Putt – which ushered in a new era for junior golf in the United States.
hinese-American children won the first four titles in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, which was played prior to the Masters Tournament, one of them handed his trophy by reigning Masters champion Adam Scott. Kelly Xu, a nine-year-old Californian, won the 9-10 girls crown to become the first female champion at the famed home of the Masters, an all-male club until 20 months ago. “This is the best day of my life,” Xu said. Xu, a fourth-grader whose favorite things about school are lunch and spelling, said being the first female champion at Augusta National was special. “Winning this and seeing the reward for all the hard work I put in is most of what I’m feeling good about,” Xu said. In all, four boys and four girls from 7-15 won age-group titles after scoring points in driving, chipping and putting contests. Leo Cheng, an 11-year-old from California whose father is a stunt coordinator with Jackie Chan, sank a 20-foot putt on the 18th green to capture the 10-11 boys crown. The putt was from the area where Scott sank his 20-foot birdie on the 72nd hole in last year’s Masters on his way to beating Angel Cabrera in a playoff to become the first Australian to win the Masters.
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“I felt like Adam Scott when I was putting that,” Cheng said. Minutes later, Cheng was greeted by Scott in a surprise at the trophy presentation. “I thought the ceremonial duties would mean a lot in my career,” Scott said. It meant a lot for Cheng as well. “He told me, ’Great job,’ and ’You should be really proud of what you have accomplished,” Cheng said. “I didn’t expect him to be signing autographs with me. I thought he would be out there playing with Vijay Singh and somebody.” Cheng, whose family is from Beijing and Hong Kong, placed fourth in the driving distance contest that opened the competition in each of four age groups for boys and girls ages 7-15. HKGOLFER.COM
“I felt like my heart stopped for a second,” Cheng said. After he won the chipping contest and sank his winning putt, complete with a right fist pump, Cheng was given a green jacket by his parents, one his mother bought during a family vacation to China after he had qualified to play at Augusta National. While it lacks the official colour and logo of Augusta National’s Masters champions jackets, it capped a day that brought a big smile to Cheng’s face. “This was really a crazy experience,” he said. Xu, who cited Augusta National co-founder and amateur legend Bobby Jones as her favorite golfer, said she felt the tension of playing at Augusta. I was extremely nerve-wracked,” she said. “But when I went to hit the ball I was extremely comfortable, like I had been doing this for a long time.” Xu, whose grandparents live in China, has dreams of a green jacket as well. “The trophy is pretty nice,” she said. “Next year they should make it green jackets.” Treed Huang, the 7-9 boys winner whose parents came from Guangdong to America in 1998, was impressed with Augusta National. “It’s beautiful,” the nine-year-old Texan said. HKGOLFER.COM
It was a dream for Lucy Li, the 10-11 girls winner from California who last year became the youngest qualifier in US Women’s Amateur history at age 10. “It’s much more than I ever expected.” His father, Yufu Huang, was shocked to see his son holding the winner’s prize. “We didn’t expect to win,” he said. “To win the Masters, that’s not even a dream right now.” It was a dream for Lucy Li, the 10-11 girls winner from California who last year became the youngest qualifier in US Women’s Amateur history at age 10. “It’s unbelievable,” said Li, whose family is from Hong Kong. “I was more nervous today because the US Amateur is just the US Amateur. “I guess because of the Masters. It means a lot to be here where all the great players have won. It’s really amazing.” The event, aimed at boosting golf’s decline in popularity in recent years, will add a third qualifying level next year and open to more than 50,000 players, triple the number who took part in qualifying rounds for this year’s competition. “You have already achieved what every golfer dreams,” Augusta National chairman Billy Payne told competitors. “You have earned the right to compete at Augusta National.”
Clockwise from top: Lucy Li, whose family hails from Hong Kong, receives her trophy for winning her age division; the 11-year-old eyes a putt on Augusta’s 18th green; all the winners from the event – “You have earned the right to compete at Augusta National,” Chairman Billy Payne told them HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
MASTERS TOURNAMENT | NUMBERS GAME
Masters in Review Compiled by Alex Jenkins
The stroke average of Augusta National’s par4 11th hole during the tournament, making it the hardest of the week. The 11th gave up only 10 birdies in four days, while the field also recorded 17 double bogeys and three dreaded “others” at the 505-yarder.
It has been this many years since a European player won the Masters. José María Olazábal was the last to taste success, in 1999. T hank s to his vic tor y, Bubba Watson is now one of this many players to have more than one Masters title to his credit. Jack Nicklaus
leads the way with six victories at Augusta, with Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods ranked second with four titles apiece.
Australia’s John Senden had this many birdies over the four rounds, the most of any player in the field. Jimmy Walker and Miguel Angel Jiménez shared second place in this particular category with 17. Bubba Watson totalled 15.
Ryan Moore’s winning score at the Masters Par 3 Contest. Eleven players have managed to win the
The number of eagles made at the risk-reward 13th. This reachable par-5 played to an average of 4.70, ranking it the easiest on the course. But it still caused problems for many, including Rory McIlroy
who made two bogeys there – on Friday and Sunday. McIlroy played all four par-5s at Augusta in level par; Bubba Watson, by contrast, played them in eight under.
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Par 3 and the Masters itself, although not a single one of them has managed to win both events in the same year.
The age of Miguel Angel Jiménez, the reigning Hong Kong Open champion, who had dreams of becoming golf’s oldest major champion after starting the final round just two shots behind co-leaders Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth. Jiménez would card a 71 on Sunday to finish in solo fourth. 55-year-old Bernhard Langer (tied eighth) and 54-yearold Fred Couples (tied 20th) rounded out a great week for senior players.
The number of players who made the half-way cut. Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els and last year’s runner-up, Angel Cabrera, were among the notable names to miss out on the weekend action.
Best ball-striking of the week honours went to Jordan Spieth, the joint runner-up, who found this percentage of greens in regulation, the highest of the field. Spieth, 20, was also accurate off the tee, finding over 70% of the fairways. Miguel Angel Jiménez was the king of this category – the Spaniard found the cut grass 85.71% of the time.
Was the highest score of the tournament – t wo -time c h a m p i o n B e n C r e n s h a w ’s second round of 13-over included a triple bogey at the first and three double bogeys. He has since announced that the 2015 edition of the event will be his last.
Was Bubba W a t s o n ’ s average driving
distance, in yards, during the week, making him the longest hitter at Augusta this year. Larry Mize, with 258.62 yards, was the shortest driver of those who made the cut.
Bubba Watson’s winning share, in US dollars, of the tournament’s US$9 million prize purse, which was US$180,000 more than Adam Scott received in 2013. Inaugural Masters Tournament winner Horton Smith received US$1,000 for his win in 1934.
Clockwise from top: Two-time champion Ben Crenshaw; the demanding 11th hole; Australia’s John Senden; the long-hitting Bubba Watson; 55-yearold Bernhard Langer; José María Olazábal, the last European winner; the par-5 13th yielded eight eagles
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From the President My 12-month tenure as president of t he Hong Kong Golf A ssociation will end at the beginning of June and I would like to take this opportunity to discuss a productive and successful past year, one that saw Tom Phillips join the HKGA as CEO following the retirement of Iain Valentine last July. The development of junior golf in Hong Kong has long been a n i mpor ta nt issue for t h e H KG A a nd t h e continuing success of our young players is testament to that. Many of them have, on the back of their local and international tournament results, earned golf scholarships to a number of highly regarded universities, particularly in the United States, which is further proof that the effort both staff and players have put into this development is reaping rewards. Brad Schadewitz, the national coach, is excited by the number of talented young players coming through the system, which bodes extremely well for the future. Much of this ongoing success is down to the generosity
of our supporters, especially Mercedes-Benz, our newlyappointed Exclusive Car Partner, and EFG Bank, the lead sponsor of the Junior Development Programme. Their support has enabled us to provide more training and tournament participation opportunities for the territory’s junior golfers. This has been extremely important and is greatly appreciated by all of us who have seen Hong Kong players blossom on the international stage. My thanks must also go to the golf clubs of Hong Kong for their cooperation with the HKGA. Whether it’s the use of the clubs’ practice facilities or being able to secure tee times for national team training, their help and understanding has proved invaluable, as has the support of all the volunteers and staff at the HKGA. Last December witnessed another thrilling edition of the Hong Kong Open, which was won by Miguel Angel Jiménez with a record-equalling performance. The Spaniard joined Taiwan’s Hsieh Yung-yo as one of only two players in the championship’s long history to triumph at Fanling on four separate occasions. Finally, I would like to extend my best wishes to Ning Li as the incoming president. I wish him every success in presiding over the HKGA in what promises to be another exciting year ahead. William Chung President
Guangdong Rally to Win Interport Match Team Guangdong staged a final-day comeback to win the fifth Hong Kong-Guangdong Interport Junior Team Match on the New Course at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling late March. Hong Kong led by a point after a tight opening day of foursomes and fourballs but the home side could not contain Guangdong in the singles. The visitors from mainland China won eight of the 12 singles matches to claim the Staunton Cup for the third year running with a final score of 14-10. Hugh Staunton (pictured with the winning side), a threetime President of the Hong Kong Golf Association, after whom the cup is named, commented: “The Guangdong team were too strong in the singles but, importantly, everyone benefited from the experience of match-play and both sides played in a great spirit.” 64
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HKGA | NEWS
Bonallack Trophy: An Experience to Savour Shinichi Mizuno and National Coach Brad Schadewitz (pictured) wrote their own piece of golfing history last month by becoming the first Hong Kong representatives at the Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy, the biennial amateur team match play event contested between Europe and Asia-Pacific. Held at the Karnataka Golf Club in Bangalore, India, Europe held off a strong final-day push from the Asia-Pacific side to retain the trophy, but for Schadewitz, who was selected as non-playing vice-captain, the experience was one to savour. “It hurts being on the losing side, of course, but both Shinichi and I have great memories of Bangalore,” said Schadewitz. “It looked like we had a chance in the singles on the final day but the quality of golf from both sides was incredible. Shinichi didn’t play his best golf but he was a fantastic teammate and he’ll gain a great deal from the experience.”
Tam Enjoys Solid Queen Sirikit Cup Outing Hong Kong – represented by Mimi Ho, Michelle Cheung and Kitty Tam – finished in 11th place at last month’s Asia-Pacific Ladies’ Invitational Golf Team Championship – the long-running Queen Sirikit Cup – which was held over the demanding Bunga Raya Course at Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur. The team (pictured) ended the three-round event 34 strokes behind Korea, who won the title by six shots from China in second. The Philippines placed third. The pick of the Hong Kong players was Tam, whose nine-over-par total of 225 gave her a share of 16th (out of 39 competitors) in the individual competition.
Faldo Series Asia Grand Final Recap Mimi Ho and Michael Regan Wong were Hong Kong’s standout performers at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, which took place at Mission Hills Golf Club in Guangdong province in early March. Ho (pictured) improved with every round over the challenging Faldo Course at the world’s biggest club, firing 78, 77 and 76 to finish in fifth spot in the Girls’ Under 21 division. She fined nine shots ahead of her international teammate Kitty Tam, whose three successive rounds of 80 earned her 10th spot. Wong also impressed. The in-form youngster closed with a solid 73 to end the prestigious and long-running tournament in a tie for sixth (Boys’ 16 and under category).
Nerveless Nimmo Claims DWB Championship Donald Nimmo held his nerve to win the Hong Kong Golf Club’s Deep Water Bay Championship in fine style in early April. Buoyed by a hot putter and a dialed-in iron game, five-handicapper Nimmo (seen here receiving the coveted silverware from Mrs Sidney Cheng) was consistency personified over the par58 course, shooting consecutive rounds of 62 for a total of 124 and a three-shot margin of victory. Terry Collins, with a total 127, earned second place on count back from Arnold Wong and Kelvin Inge.
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HKGA | NEWS
Making it in America Hong Kong female golfers are shining on the US college circuit. Tiffany Chan has been in redhot form on the college circuit in the US
[Credit] Daniel Wong, Courtesy of Mission Hills
“Tiffany’s success is a strong endorsement of the HKGA’s junior development programme and great news for all those who support it, including our sponsors and other stakeholders.”
Michelle Cheung has earned her place on a very strong University of Wisconsin team in only her first year
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Tiffany Chan of Hong Kong won her third individual title in a row and has risen to a record high of 55 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR). This stunning performance by the 20-year-old is one of several success stories for female Hong Kong golfers who are making their mark on the college golf scene in America. Described as a “freshman sensation”, Chan has made headlines in the US with a hat-trick of wins for Daytona State, including the UNF Invitational, the JMU Eagle Landing Invitational and the MSU Spring Invitational. Chan’s most recent victory – at Juliette Falls Golf Club in Ocala, Florida – was her best performance of the season, finishing on 10 under par over three rounds to win by seven. The Tuen Mun-born student, who will join the number one ladies’ team at University of Southern California for her final two years, is one of several Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA) graduates who are paving the way for Hong Kong girls’ golf in the US. Eighteen-year-old Isabella Leung – who in March accepted an invitation from the HKGA to play in her first professional golf event, the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship in Haikou, China – has led the University of Hawaii in every tournament this season and is the team’s clear number one player. Elsewhere, Michelle Cheung, 18, has earned her place on a very strong University of Wisconsin golf team in only her first year; 18-year-old Mimi Ho has signed a letter of intent to join Fresno State University in a move that her coach describes as a “game changer for the Bulldogs”; and Kitty Tam, 17, has verbally accepted an offer of a full golf scholarship from San Diego State University. Brad Schadewitz, the HKGA’s national coach commented: “Tiffany’s success is a strong endorsement of the HKGA’s junior development programme and great news for all those who support it, including our sponsors and other stakeholders. Tiffany, along with our other girls who are doing so well in the US, is also a great role model for the next generation of golfers in Hong Kong, including those who aspire to combine golf with education.”
HKGA | JUNIOR CLOSE CHAMPIONSHIP
April’s Hong Kong Junior Close Championship was highlighted by fine performances by two youngsters nearing the peak of their game. Photography by Kimi Tai
Kitty Tam and Lucas Lam receive their silverware from the HKGA’s Ning Li
ucas Lam and Kitty Tam were the big winners at the Hong Kong Junior Close Championship, which was held at Fanling late last month. Lam, 17, fired a one-over-par 71 over the New Course in gusty conditions to reel in overnight leader Justin Lok and take the boys’ title for the first time. The International Christian School student’s two-day total of 141 (one-over) was good enough for a fourstroke victory over Lok, the 2013 champion, who had to settle for second place. Isaac Lam and Michael Regan Wong shared third spot, a further shot adrift. “I’ve been hitting the ball really well and my short game has been good,” said Lam, who won last year’s Hong Kong Junior Open by an impressive 10 shots. “It feels great to have both titles and it’s reward for all the practice I’ve been putting in. I had my putter to thank out there. I kept holing putts which kept my momentum going.” In the girls’ division, 17-year-old Tam continued her recent domination in local events by romping to a 14-stroke victory. A stellar two-under-par 70 on day one preceded a rollercoaster 75 – a round which included an eagle, three birdies and a triple bogey – as Tam followed up her win in February’s Hong Kong Ladies’ Close Amateur Championship in style. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in my game right now, which allowed me to play without any pressure,” said the Diocesan Girls’ School student, who has verbally accepted an offer of a full golf scholarship from San Diego State University. Sisters Emily Vickie and Estee Vivian Leung finished in second and third place respectively.
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BOYS’ DIVISION RESULTS 1 Lucas Lam
2 Justin Lok
3= Isaac Lam
5 Tan Lou
6 Yue Yin-ho
7= Chris Mun
10= Max Ting
Michael Regan Wong
GIRLS’ DIVISION RESULTS 1 Kitty Tam
2 Emily Vickie Leung
3 Estee Vivian Leung
4= DeeDee Wong
Tiana Gwenn Lau
7= Gabrielle Desombre
9 Cheryl Man
10 Shanice Lam
11 Hu Jing
Defending champion Justin Lok
Lucas Lam tackles the par-3 13th
Michael Regan Wong in full flow
Kitty Tam plays a delicate splash from the greenside bunker on 18
Hugs for the champion
All the winners HKGOLFER.COM
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STATE OF THE GAME | OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
In light of a recent announcement that may pave the way to allow women members of the R&A, Lewine Mair takes a look at the continuing saga of single-sex clubs on the Open Championship rota. 72
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he late Sir Henry Cotton would have given a hearty cheer at the news which emanated from the R&A in March. Namely, that R&A hierarchy were recommending their members to vote to allow women to join their ranks. Way back in 1946, it was Cotton who set the ball rolling – if ever so slowly – to make Royal Liverpool (otherwise known as Hoylake) the happily and wholly mixed club that it is in time for this 2014 Open Championship. The occasion was the 1946 News of the World Match Play championship where he would defeat a fellow Ryder Cup player in Jimmy Adams in the final. When Cotton had arrived at the start of the week and was advised that his wife, Toots, would not be allowed to use the clubhouse, he said that in such circumstances he would not be using it either. Instead, he went straight from his hotel to the first tee every day. People were intrigued by such goings-on and, as the already two-time Open champion survived one round after another, so the Secretary had no option but to face the press. HKGOLFER.COM
That was when he uttered the never-to-be forgotten words. “No woman ever has entered the clubhouse and, praise God, no woman ever will.” In the wake of the tournament, women were allowed to access a portion of the building, but it was only in 2012 that the final pieces of the jigsaw were slotted into place, with all the women elevated to full membership status.
“The R&A’s seat at golf’s top table is secured by one thing – our reputation.” Yet for Audrey Briggs, a longstanding member of this famous club, there was no more telling moment than when she realised that her days of trying to explain to the junior girls that they could not join the boys in the main room were over. “Even five years ago,” she said, “I would have to sit the girls down and tell them that it was just one of the club rules, but they didn’t get it.” This former GB&I international golfer says that she was not even vaguely surprised by their mingled astonishment and disbelief.
The R&A Clubhouse at St Andrews during the 2007 Women’s British Open (opposite); Muirfield (above), which hosted last year’s Open Championship, has yet to make an announcement regarding the possibility of permitting female members (top) HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
Such influential Scottish professionals as Stephen Gallacher and Andrew Coltart are both convinced that “common sense will prevail” and that Muirfield will make the necessary changes to its constitution
AFP, Charles McLaughlin
Peter Dawson, the R&A’s CEO, admitted at the March conference that the scale of the newspaper attacks on Muirfield prior to last year’s Open had played its part in encouraging the various R&A committees to push for the same mixed membership as that at Hoylake, Lytham, Birkdale and Turnberry. The hostile publicity had been as awkward for them as it was for Muirfield, for the Open, of course, is owned by the R&A. Nothing, perhaps, was more poignant than the green-keepers’ plight. The men had prepared a course par excellence yet they scarcely got a mention. (In fairness, though, if any of the writers had been dispatching glowing reports about the greens while their competitors were grabbing headlines with their equality stories, they would have been out of a job.) 74
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The R&A were in no position to suggest that Muirfield should think about changing its allmale ways, largely because their own situation did not sit well with the world at large. However hard they tried to explain that their governance wing had the odd woman on board and that their all-male membership wing was something entirely different, outsiders were never going to get to grips with so complex a state of affairs. Wilson Sibbet, the R&A’s current captain, acknowledged all of the above in a letter sent to members ahead of the March conference: “It is true to say that the R&A Golf Club and the R&A remain widely perceived as a single organisation, despite extensive efforts to publicise our new structure. “Our seat at golf’s top table,” he continued elsewhere in his epistle, “is secured by one thing – our reputation. It is our great asset and it is a primary duty of the General Committee and indeed, of all members, to ensure that it is maintained and enhanced. “In recent years, however, the General Committee has noted with growing concern that in the modern era, the exclusion of women from membership of the Royal and HKGOLFER.COM
Ancient Golf club is becoming increasingly damaging to our reputation as a club and as a governing body.” Dawson insisted that the R&A are not trying to put pressure on the remaining all-male clubs to follow their lead. Yet Royal St George’s, Muirfield and Royal Troon were hardly going to ignore the R&A’s very public intentions. Royal St George’s and Muirfield have since confirmed that they are continuing to review their membership arrangements, though neither club has pinned down a date for a vote. Some think that St George’s may yet seize their hosting of this summer’s Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship as a natural springboard to a new order but, at least so far, the club is denying as much. Muirfield members, meantime, were advised around Christmas that it might be two or even three years before they were asked to make up their minds. After the historic news from St Andrews, a club spokesman explained the lack of urgency this way: “We will be taking time to ensure that the plans we adopt will stand us in good stead for the next 270 years of our great club”. On the one hand, there are those Muirfield diehards who do not care if an on-going allmale membership policy could cost them the Open. On the other, there are those who cannot so much as contemplate departing the Open rota. They see Muirfield and the Open as synonymous and suggest that the seeming minority who want to stay with the status quo will notice a few women rather less than they will miss their week with the stars. Such influential Scottish professionals as Stephen Gallacher and Andrew Coltart are both convinced that “common sense will prevail” and that the club will make the necessary changes to its constitution. Neither man believes that Muirfield’s exceedingly impressive Open history – no Open venue has a finer list of champions to its name – could suddenly come to a full stop. Troon, who is staging the 2016 Open, is currently not budging from its present position. It is an all-male club which sees no reason to change at the moment. In a statement which will have had the tabloid press pricking up their ears anew, David Brown, the club Secretary, claims that their situation is different from that at Royal St George’s and Muirfield in that they have a ladies’ course and a clubhouse on their land. (This is roughly akin to the All England Club saying, which they never would, that their lady members were free to use the lodge and the outside courts. In fact, it is the lady members at Wimbledon who are called upon to ‘open’ the Centre Court and Court No 1 on the Saturday before Wimbledon.) The only Open Championship course not HKGOLFER.COM
mentioned about is Carnoustie. Up there, they are as St Andrews in having a number of private clubs around a public course, only in their case those all-male clubs hauled themselves into the 21st century some years ago. Today, only one club in the town remains single-sex – and that, would you believe, is Carnoustie Ladies’. Founded in 1875, it is the oldest functioning ladies’ club in the world and is far and away the most picturesque of Carnoustie’s links-side buildings. Indeed, the façade has never changed since the day the club opened its doors. There is no question of the women having decided to give the men a dose of the treatment which was meted out to them for the first hundred years and more. “To be honest,” laughs Pat Sawers, the first woman Chairman of Carnoustie Links, “I don’t think that we have had any male applicants. What we offer doesn’t really suit the men. We don’t do soup and rolls and we can’t offer a pint at the end of a round.” How Cotton, who won at Carnoustie in 1937, would have revelled in putting himself forward as the Ladies Club’s first man …
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was one of the first two women to be admitted as members of Augusta National Golf Club in 2012 (top); Peter Dawson, the CEO of the R&A, said that the scale of newspaper attacks on Muirfield prior to last year’s Open had played its part in encouraging the various R&A committees to push for mixed membership HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
Richard Castka / Sportspixgolf.com
GOLF ATRAVEL Player’s Guide
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Indulgence Alex Jenkins checks out the foremost places in the Asia-Pacific region where you can combine world-class golf with the best in spa and wellness treatments.
The wonderfully manicured Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand, which is also home to impressive spa facilities HKGOLFER.COM
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C Courtesy of Nirwana Bali Golf Club
The memorable par-3 seventh hole at Nirwana Bali Golf Club (top), a fine Greg Norman design and one of the region’s premier courses; 36 strong holes await visitors to Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur (opposite) 78
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ombining golf with spa is not a new concept. While it is difficult to imagine the legendar y Scottish golfer of the 19th century, “Old” To m M o r r i s , h e a d i n g off down the quaint St Andrews streets in search of a post-round body wrap, his 1980s successors – men like Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros – understood that a relaxing treatment or two was a great way of recuperating from a particularly gruelling stretch of tournament rounds. Fast forward nearly 30 years and no self-respecting pro on any of the major golf tours around the world will go more than a few days without a good massage to alleviate the aches and pains that come with the near-constant swinging of a golf club. Recreational golfers may have been slower to incorporate spa visits into their post-round schedules – fully-fledged golf and spa resorts only really got going in the 1990s – but they have blossomed in recent years, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, where the trend has coincided with an increase in men visiting spas, and a growth in the number of women who have taken up golf.
Bali The Island of the Gods has been on the golfing traveller’s radar since the opening of one of southeast Asia’a best layouts – Nirwana Bali Golf Club – in 1997. This Greg Norman seaside design, which is attached to the five-star Pan Pacific Resort, gallops across rice paddies and through dense jungle. The crashing surf of the Indian Ocean comes into view on many of the holes, most memorably at the par-3 seventh, where a crisp mid-iron is required to carry waves and beach to a wellguarded green. To the left of the putting surface sits the island temple of Tanah Lot, where the devout wade out at sunset in their hundreds amid faintly orange, billowing clouds of incense. To add to the Zen-like atmosphere of the place, the resort offers an array of spa packages, i nclud i ng t rad it iona l Ba l i ne se hea l i ng therapies, although many golfers opt for the simply named Sport Massage, an invigorating treatment that promises to ease any muscle soreness in time for the next day’s round. nirwanabaligolf.com, panpacific.com
To say that Thailand is well prepared for the tourist who comes with their clubs in tow would be something of an understatement: with nearly 300 courses, the vast majority of which are open to visitors, the Land of Smiles is rightly known as the golf capital of Asia. Indeed, one recent report suggests that by 2016, Thailand will have overtaken Spain as the world’s most popular golf tourism destination. While Bangkok itself remains an allure, t hose i n t he k now head to t he coa sta l resor t town of Hua H in, a t wo-a nd-ahalf hour drive away, where a handful of the country’s top courses can be found. Ch ief a mong t hese is t he Swed ishowned Black Mountain, a challenging yet eminently enjoyable track that has become the winter base for several European and Asian Tour stars. Luxury is the name of the game here, which is evident by the club’s full-service spa, a fantastic spot to enjoy an aromatherapy massage in the most tranquil of surroundings.
Kuala Lumpur might not immediately strike you as a fully fledged golfing hotspot – the Malaysian capital, a buzzing city of some 1.6 million, is better known as the country’s main financial hub – but it only takes a short drive from the skyscraper-crammed central business district to reach a number of world-class c ourses and resorts. Arguably the most famous of these is Saujana Golf and Country Club, a 36-hole establishment that has tested the skills of some of the game’s greats. Built over the rolling hills of a former palm oil estate, the Palm Course at Saujana is the pick of the club’s two courses and is widely acknowledged as one of the toughest in the country, thanks to its narrow, palm-fringed fairways and fast, undulating greens. Nicknamed “The Cobra” by its members, the course was also the first in Asia to host a European Tour event, the Malaysian Open, and has entertained the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Vijay Singh and Colin Montgomerie. Such is the course’s stoutness that players habitually feel a little battered and bruised following their first encounter, but fortunately the tropical rainforest setting and treatments at the adjoining Club Saujana Resort’s spa provides a wonderful antidote to any post-round travail. It pays to visit with a partner – couples are best served by the spa’s signature beauty rituals and romantic bathing ceremonies.
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Singapore The Lion City, much like Hong Kong, has a long and proud golfing history – but it has been the recent development of the island resort of Sentosa that has really put the citystate on the game’s global map. The island, billed as Asia’s favourite playground, boasts a variety of top-rate spas – including CHI, the Shangri-La’s holistic heaven –that cater for golfers who a drawn to the resort because of Sentosa Golf Club, a terrific facility that features two contrasting courses. The Serapong Course, the home of the Singapore Open since 2005, just edges its older rival, the Tanjong, in terms of quality thanks to a 2007 renovation that focused on the re-contouring and conditioning of its playing surfaces. The results are impressive. The front nine here snakes through heavily wooded terrain while the second loop, which was built on reclaimed land overlooking the Singapore container port, is more open in character but features more in terms of water, while the bunkering is superb throughout. sentosagolf.com, sentosa.com.sg The Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore
Courtesy of Sentosa Golf Club, Courtesy of Kawana Resort Hotel, David Cannon
The Japanese tend to do things a little differently when it comes to golf – the traditional midround stop for lunch and a cooling beer being one of them – but a game in the Land of the Rising Sun is an experience to savour, especially if you find yourself at the Kawana Resort Hotel, a grand Art-Deco structure built in the Roaring Twenties, situated on the Izu Peninsula a couple hours’ south of Tokyo. Japan’s answer to Pebble Beach, the Fuji Course at Kawana is the most revered seaside layout in the country and was the work of Englishman Charles Hugh Alison, who along with his design partner Harry Colt, was responsible for some of the famous courses in the West during the early part of the 20th century. This cliff-top gem, which is perennially ranked inside the world’s top 100 courses, affords stunning views of both the ocean and the famous snow-capped peak it is named after. While the hotel features a traditional onsen in the locker room, those in search of further pampering need look no further than the nearby town of Ito, one of Japan’s top-three spa resorts, home to more than 700 facilities where visitors can relax in mixed-gender thermal hot springs. princehotels.com/en/kawana 80
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The stunning Fuji Course at the Kawana Resort Hotel, a Charles Alison design
New Zealand New Zealand golf is flourishing, and no more is this true than at the magnificent Farm at Cape Kidnappers, a luxuriously serene development in the wine-growing region of Hawke’s Bay, a 45-minute flight from Auckland. Owned by the American hedge fund billionaire Julian Robertson, Cape Kidnappers is everything the well-heeled golfer could possibly want. The course, designed by the highly regarded Tom Doak, has been laid out over several fingers of land that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, and provides one of the most memorable tests in the southern hemisphere, with sea views galore. You don’t have to stay at Cape Kidnappers to play it, but it’s certainly worth the splurge: the 22 lodge suites are reminiscent of some of the finer hotel accommodations you find in The Hamptons, while the award-winning spa offers a standard of treatment found only at the world’s best. The 80-minute Earth Stone Massage has achieved almost legendary status amongst its well-heeled visitors. Like Kauri Cliffs – Robertson’s other resort in New Zealand’s North Island – Cape Kidnappers is really in a class of its own. capekidnappers.com
The dramatic Cape Kidnappers has been laid out over several fingers of land that jut out into the Pacific Ocean
Australia For the purist, nowhere outside the British Isles, Ireland and the United States offers the kind of natural golfing experience that Australia provides. Melbourne’s Sandbelt region, location to half a dozen of the country’s most historic and respected courses – including Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath – is Australian golf’s spiritual home, while Tasmania’s golfing siblings, Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm, are widely considered two of the best courses to have opened anywhere in the last decade. Both Barnbougle and Lost Farm bring to mind the classic Scottish links thanks to their rugged, seaside nature – but the post-round amenities couldn’t be more different. Where the great British clubs often surprise visitors with their strict dress codes and somewhat meager dining options, Barnbougle and Lost Farm’s offerings of fine local cuisine and an amenity-packed spa provide the best of both worlds. The spa here is particularly m e m o r a b l e ; w it h it s f l o o r - t o - c e i l i n g windows one can enjoy the most generous of treatments – including Lost Farm’s speciality: vinotherapy renew, an anti-ageing indulgence – while gazing out at the surf. barnbougledunes.com, lostfarm.com.au HKGOLFER.COM
Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania is rightly considered one of the world’s best new courses
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Mexican Sunrise Golf Tour 23 July - 8 August 2014
Tour Inclusions: - 16 nights luxury accommodation including 7 nights all inclusive package with meals and beverages at the Melia Cabo Real - 8 rounds of premium resort golf inclusive of motorised cart - Internal ﬂights Los Cabos - Mazatlan - Mexico City - Cancun - Los Cabos Sunset Tour with dinner and open bar - La Noria village tour and Tequila factory visit - Day tours including Mexico’s Mayan Pyramid, Chichén Itzá, Guadalupe Shrine - Dinner and show in Mexico City - Fully escorted by Go Golﬁng’s experienced host - Expert English speaking local guide Golfer package from USD7,200 per person (twin share) Non golfer package from USD5,800 per person (twin share) Single supplement USD1,450
TRAVEL | CHECK IN
A RIGHT ROYAL STAY A LOOK AT THE NEW KING HOTEL AT DRAGON LAKE GOLF CLUB.
The exterior of the brand-new King Hotel
The splendid King Course at Dragon Lake
Courtesy of Dragon Lake Golf Club
ragon Lake Golf Club, situated to the north of Guangzhou, has made a name for itself over the past few years for hosting some of the region’s most significant golfing events. The original course at this 54-hole property, owned by Hong Kong Golden Horse Group, was chosen as the venue for Aaron Baddeley’s International Junior Championship on numerous occasions before staging the Asian Games in 2010. Then, on completion of the newer King’s Course, a dramatic mountainous layout designed by Steve Sheperdson, it was announced that the Royal Trophy, the annual team event played between Asia and Europe, would be making its way to the club at the end of 2013. The King’s Course produced a stunner, with Europe, captained by two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal, managing to pull off a brilliant final-day fightback to emerge victorious. To coincide with that event, Dragon Lake unveiled its latest off-course offering – the King Hotel, which like the rest of this seen-to-be-believed resort pays exuberant homage to the royal houses of northern European in its styling and décor. It certainly grabbed the attention of the Royal Trophy participants who attended the grand opening, with Olazábal and his team clearly taken in by the four-poster beds, marble fire places, wooden-beamed ceilings and crystal chandeliers that are a mainstay of the rooms. But a stay here is not replete without a visit to the hotel’s golf museum, which houses a plethora of artifacts, from hickory clubs, ancient apparel and trophies to art from around the world. Dragon Lake has built a hotel that is intertwined with golf – and for that they should be applauded.
The hotel’s golf museum Décor fit for a king!
Visit dragonlake.com.cn for more information. HKGOLFER.COM
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PROPERTY | SPECIAL
FEES, FEES, AND MORE FEES … TAKING A COMMERCIAL VIEW PAYS DIVIDENDS IN THE LONG TERM, WRITES RUPERT SMITH, FOUNDER OF COMPLETE RPI.
urther to my last article discussing the pitfalls of UK property ownership I promised to follow up on further topics such as fees, location, what to acquire, etc. For those readers who sadly didn't catch the last article please download last month’s issue of HK Golfer and inwardly digest. To get you up to speed my name is Rupert Smith, the founding director of Complete Residential Property Investments Ltd (hereinafter CRPI). We are a specialist property investment company offering a unique and results-orientated commercial approach to UK property investment.
AGENCY FEES Typically agents will charge in three ways to let and manage your property in the UK. A letting fee is typically 10% of the rental for the term of the tenancy and it is usually due upon commencement of the tenancy! BEWARE: this generally wipes out your first two months’ rent. For example, a rental at say £1500 per month x 12 = £18,000 x 10% = £1,800. Plus the dreaded VAT man at 20% totals £2,160, which is a large chunk of change. But wait, there is more! If like most investors you wish for the property to be managed you will be typically charged a further 5-7%. Most agencies will charge the additional 5-7% monthly, at source, when the rent is collected! NB: at CRPI we only charge the total monthly fee with no upfront costs! Cash flow is king and we certainly recognise that. Over and above this expect to be hit with an administration fee for the collation of the legal document (tenancy agreement). BUYER BEWARE: this varies tremendously, generally somewhere in the region of £200 paid upon the commencement of every new tenancy. Some agents even have the audacity of charging a fee equal to two weeks rental for the privilege. Note to self, you can generally negotiate this as essentially it is a pre-populated document which is edited with some minor data input and requires only the press of a button to collate. And yet there is more. "What, more fees?” I hear you cry. Yes indeed. There is the cost of an inventory; this is the collation of a document that reflects the schedule of condition and itinerary of furnishings. This is vital but quality varies tremendously. Most agents produce this internally – for an extra fee of course, However, I strongly urge you to make sure this document is produced by an independent inventory clerk. You are within your rights to stipulate this and clerks are in abundance. Utilise the services of a clerk who is a member of the A.I.I.C (Association of Independent Inventory Clerks). The rationale is that all AIIC members must draft documentation in line with strict guidelines and in the event of arbitration the documents will be used as evidence. If the document is not presented in the correct format (which is very common) your legal position becomes tenable. Needless to say, at CRPI this is standard practice. Generally the cost of producing this document is around £150 for a 2-bedroom apartment. The document also lists utility meter readings, keys, etc. But that’s not the end of it! The last fee should be for deposit registration. You have two options to hold deposits: one is the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) and the other DPS (Deposit Protection Service). Both will charge approximately £40 84
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Some investors are wooed by high yield, generally in the north of the UK where capital values are lower and capital growth less likely. It is wise to include higher yielding properties within any portfolio but be very careful as a high yield does not necessarily mean a good buy! a year for registration, albeit agents will try and charge you more despite the fact it is the tenant’s money. CRPI will not charge you for the benefit of this service. In summary, beware of the add-ons. You should not be paying more than 15% for a fullymanaged service.
WHERE AND WHAT TO BUY? If I knew the answer to this question I would be sipping cocktails on my private yacht somewhere in the Caribbean right now! That said, having worked through two recessions I have a pretty clear view on which locations have performed better than others. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is: why are you investing? How much can you realistically afford then ascertain whether you can obtain a buy-to-let mortgage. This can be done very easily and an “offer in principle” can be obtained from the lender. This will put you in a stronger negotiating position and you can hit the ground running once a suitable property is identified. Some investors are wooed by high yield, generally in the north of the UK where capital values are lower and capital growth less likely. It is wise to include higher yielding properties within any portfolio but be very careful as a high yield does not necessarily mean a good buy! I have HKGOLFER.COM
advised many investors over the years who were tempted by high-yielding student investment schemes which no one can argue weren’t producing excellent yields. BUT these could not be geared (finance raised to acquire) and more importantly were very hard to sell. Circumstances change and you need the asset to be liquid; selling a student room appeals to a very limited audience and are notoriously hard to fund, if at all. T here are b et ter options! Leasehold apartments can be acquired at a similar value as a student accommodation; CRPI recently acquired 24 apartments just outside Manchester city centre for £60,000 each, with a tenant under contract generating an 11% yield – very simple to raise mortgage finance and very saleable in the future. By way of example, mortgage funding was available at 70%, thus a capital injection of £18,000, borrowing at 4% left the balance costing £1,680 per annum with an income of nearly £6,000. Much more attractive than an 8% yield and tying up £50,000 in a student room which will be very hard to sell, don’t you think? The majority of portfolios (which can consist of just two properties) should, in my view, consist of a mixture of both capital growth and yielddriven investment. So where is the growth? Having been involved in the property industry for nearly 30 years I have seen consistent capital growth in central London (no surprise there then!) and indeed more so of late, commuter towns within a 45-minute commute of central London, such as Kingston upon Thames, Teddington and Addlestone. Key university towns and cities have also proven to be excellent performers, such as Cambridge, Oxford, Guildford, etc. In the immortal words of many a television pundit, it’s all about “Location, Location, Location”. So when you found the right location, what about the best development? Now this is a tough call: you really need a specialist adviser to assist with making that decision. I am sure that a dedicated adviser at CRPI could assist. In summary there is method in my madness and whilst I respect that the culture of acquiring an investment property off plan at a property exhibition exists, I fear that fingers will continue to get burnt if there is no clear strategy on the investor’s part from the outset. Remember that there are many options out there and acquiring property for investment must be viewed as a medium to long term strategy. You do not have to acquire from plan. Second-hand property is as good, if not a better bet. Like acquiring a brand new car, the moment you drive it off the forecourt HKGOLFER.COM
you lose money, paying a premium for new build can also apply, as investments do fall, as well as rise, as we all know. Acquiring a second hand property has many benefits, case history being a major factor from a rental prospective. Many investors exit their position in the market so why not acquire a property with a tenant in situ? No more speculation of whether you may or may not achieve what the “rental guide” price may be. Rest assured that the price achieved in this scenario is always lower! More often than not tenants are served notice to leave a rented property during the sale when they could have remained in occupancy, thus offering the vendor rental until the day of completion and the purchaser secure income. A common “no, no” is too make an emotive decision when acquiring property for investment. If I was given £1 for every time a prospective investor said “I can’t buy that because I wouldn’t live in it” I would be back on my boat sipping cocktails. Bottom line, Mr Investor, simply is you’re NOT going to live in it; you are making a commercial decision so please leave the emotion at the front door! Next month I shall be addressing other topical issues such as rental guarantee insurance and appointing agents and furnishing. Should you wish to get in contact please do visit us at www.completerpi.com
YOUR PROPERTY, OUR PRIORITY Let Complete RPI overview your UK property free of charge and answer the following questions: - Is your property under-let? We increased our rental income for client's by 7% last year, did your agent? - Have you contracted with the most up to date tenancy agreement? Changes in legislation occur daily. - We only charge monthly fees, are you paying up front? We charge a monthly Letting & Management Fee and no up-front fees, does your agent do the same? - We offer free rental guarantee insurance, does your agent? - Is your property inspected every three months by an independent inventory clerk? If not it should be and we pay the cost. Does your agent? - Do you have 24 hr access to your very own bespoke online property platform which allows you to view all aspects of your property including management statements, invoices, interim inspection reports, values, gearing ratios, etc ... at Complete RPI this is standard. The answers to these questions and many more could both save you money and increase the return on your capital invested. Please call us on +852-9307-0337 or write to email@example.com Why not visit us at www.completerpi.com ... “Your Property, Our Priority."
HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
CLUBHOUSE | TEE TIME SPECIAL
A NEW CHAPTER THE NEWLY INTRODUCED CALIBRE DE CARTIER DIVER IS AN UNMISTAKABLY MASCULINE WATCH FOR BOTH EVERYDAY WEAR AND EXTREME CONDITIONS. It is a brilliant combination of a diving watch and beautiful Cartier watchmaking
UNDER CLOSE SURVEILLANCE
A unidirectional bezel, water-resistant to 300 metres, hands and dive-time indicator in superluminova: the Calibre de Cartier Diver meets all the criteria for a diver’s watch as laid down in the international standard, entitling it to carry the engraving “Diver’s watch 300 m” on the case back.
ith its power ful lines, rugged case and original architecture, the Calibre de Cartier watch, launched in 2010, is the new symbol of confident masculinity. Its dial boldly reinterprets the Maison’s design codes, such as Roman numerals and a flanged bezel, that clearly identify it as a Cartier model. In 2014, this Manufacture watch opens a new chapter with a diving version: the Calibre de Cartier Diver.
[Caption] Clockwise from top: The Calibre de Cartier Diver, seen here in its pink gold livery, is water resistant to 300 metres; the all-steel version of this most masculine of watches; the superluminova hands and dive-time indicator; the 1904MC movement 86
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An unmistakeably masculine watch for both everyday wear and extreme conditions, it meets the challenge of combining Cartier style with the technical requirements of ISO 6425. This norm, which controls the “Diver’s Watch” label, lays down eight criteria of reliability and imposes a series of extremely rigorous tests.
Unidirectional Turning Bezel: To prevent any accidental rotation or alteration of the dive-time indication, the bezel turns in one direction only. It has been designed with 120 notches (40 teeth and 3 points) to enable adjustment to a half-minute, with a clear sound signal during its rotation. For greater visibility, the markers signalling each 5 minute period are clearly indicated. Display in the Dark: The Calibre de Cartier Diver can be clearly read deep below the surface due to the superluminova applied to its dive-time indicators, hour and minute hands, pre-selection device and small seconds counter. Water-resistant to 300 Metres: When underwater, diving watches can be subjected to very high pressures and extreme conditions (salt water, thermal shock, etc.). For protection, the Calibre de Cartier Diver is fitted with a thick crystal, a screw back, oversized seals and a screw-in crown that ensure water-resistance to 300 metres. The watch has demonstrated its resistance to salt water after immersion in a solution of sodium chloride (30g/ l) at 18°C - 25°C for 24 hours. Furthermore, after spending 50 hours at a depth of 30 centimetres at 18°C - 25°C, it continues to function perfectly under water. HKGOLFER.COM
REDUCING THE THICKNESS OF THE CASE: A TECHNICAL AND AESTHETIC CHALLENGE The Manufacture’s watchmakers are always careful to maintain a balance of dimensions. They have produced an authentic diver’s watch, without sacrificing everyday comfort on the wrist, in a balanced case measuring just 11 mm in thickness. It is a brilliant combination of a diving watch and beautiful Cartier watchmaking, with a striking contrast of satin and polished finishes, a turning bezel coated with ADLC and bordered with fluting that recalls the interior of the bezel of the Calibre de Cartier watch. This is a clear sign of its pedigree, just like the oversized, luminescent XII numeral. In the all-steel or pink gold versions on a black rubber strap, the Calibre de Cartier Diver shows all the characteristics of the very first Calibre de Cartier model created in 2010. It has the same powerful shape, robust case and Manufacture movement 1904 MC.
perfectly adjust its chronometry, guaranteeing that it runs with great precision. The rotor of the 1904 MC calibre is mounted on a central ceramic ball-bearing that gives it excellent shock-resistance and ensures its durability. An even more inventive development is a ratchet system of bidirectional winding that makes the watch quicker and more comfortable to wind.
THE MOVEMENT 1904MC: THE SPIRIT OF THE MANUFACTURE IN A MASCULINE ICON Introduced in 2010, the 1904 MC was the first self-winding movement to be developed and assembled by Cartier’s watchmakers. Its highly symbolic name recalls the pioneering spirit of Louis Cartier who, in 1904, created one of the very first modern wristwatches for his friend, the pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont. More than a century later, the 1904 MC movement is writing a new chapter in Cartier watchmaking. This 11 ½ ligne calibre has been designed to maintain perfect chronometric stability thanks to a double barrelthat guarantees excellent constancy of the mainspring torque over a long period. Fitted with a fine regulating system and a stop-second mechanism, it has been conceived to enable the Manufactureto HKGOLFER.COM
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CROSSWORD | PGA TOUR
Compiled by Dr Milton Wayne
THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Name of course (7)
6. (& 26D) Winner who jumped in the lake (5,4)
Host development (8)
(& 16A, 21A) Inaugural venue (7,7,4)
(& 14D) Signature feature is an infamous dance-floor
(& 22D) The visionary (5,5)
(& 7A) He holds scoring record (4,6)
14. See 25A
15. (& 18A) What event hopes to be (5,5)
10. See 24A
16. See 3D
11. (& 28A, 17D) Home community (5,5,5)
18. See 15A
12. See 18D
19. Course designer (4,3)
13. Second course at the TPC (6)
20. (& 21D) 2010 win is his only PGA victory (3,5)
14. See 8A
21. See 3D
17. See 11D
24. (& 10D) Inaugural winner and only 3-time champion
18. (& 12D) Maternal celebration for final round (7,3)
21. See 20A
25. (& 14A) Won playoff in 2008 (6,6)
22. See 4D
28. See 11D
23. (&2D) Defending champion (5,5)
29. First non-American and still only Scottish winner (4)
26. See 6A 27. (& 9D) “Be the right club, today” (3,6)
HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
WIN A SIGNED LEE WYBRANSKI POSTER! To enter, complete the crossword and send a scan or photo of the completed grid to Crossword@HKGolfer.com, with “May Crossword” as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and contact number. Entries close on 15 June. ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES. Congratulations to Jamee Wong who won the March crossword. MARCH ANSWERS Detail of Wybranski’s poster of The Road Hole at St Andrews
HK GOLFER・MAY 2014
Mike Kerr The CEO of the Asian Tour talks to Alex Jenkins about his introduction to the game at the age of five, his love of the links at Royal Portrush and who would make his dream fourball. When did you start playing – and where? I started playing golf at the tender age of five. My parents were the ones who got me started in the game back home in Ireland. When I first started, I had to learn both right-hand and left-hand golf. My father is a left-handed golfer and my mother is right-handed. I used to play very regularly and I obtained my single handicap about five years ago. How often do you play? I haven’t been playing enough lately, due to the lack of time. I used to play once a week before joining the Asian Tour in March, 2012. What’s been your best ever round? My best round of golf was at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club in Singapore where I scored a two-over-par 74 at the Masters course. That happened just before I joined the Asian Tour.
Do you have a favourite course? My favourite golf course is at the Royal Portrush Golf Club back in Northern Ireland. It has two links courses and that’s what I grew up with.
When I first started, I had to learn both right-handed and left-handed golf.
Best tournament you’ve ever witnessed? The best tournament that I have witnessed recently is definitely the inaugural EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM which took place in Malaysia at the end of March. It was a great event which showcased team golf at its best, especially with Europe taking a strong lead but the Asian Team making a fantastic comeback on the final day to tie the match. The other tournament would be the Ryder Cup in 2006 where the European Team won. Darren Clarke, one of my childhood heroes, was the one who made the biggest contribution to Europe’s win at The K Club in Ireland back then.
Who would be in your dream fourball? Darren Clarke (pictured) because he is one of my childhood heroes, Seve Ballesteros, one of the best players around who belongs to my generation and David Feherty, simply because I think he would be the most fun person to play with. David used to be a professional golfer from Northern Ireland. He is a golf commentator now.
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