Clubhouse: Kiwi wine, Rolex at Baselworld, new Porsche 911 Targa
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION VOTED THE REGION’S NO 1 GOLF MAGAZINE
HKGOLFER.COM JUNE 2014
HK SENIORS CLOSE CHAMPS IN REVIEW
STATE OF THE GAME R&A CHIEF SEES MANASSERO AS THE FUTURE
DISPLAY UNTIL 15 JUL
PLUS: THE TOP PAR-3s IN THE BRITISH ISLES
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HK Golfer Issue 89
46 On the Cover:
Matteo Manassero, the young Italian, was tipped by R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson as one of the game’s true future stars at the recent HSBC Golf Forum in Abu Dhabi. Photo by AFP
48 | Cover Story / State of the Game
27 | Tee Time
The HSBC Golf Forum discussed all manner of topics affecting golf today. But the one that garnered almost universal agreement: the lack of charisma among the world’s best players. By Lewine Mair
Baselworld Review: Rolex unveils an impressive new watch design, stylish updates and a groundbreaking movement. By Evan Rast
56 | The Winning Ways Continue
We get behind the wheel of the Targa 4S, the latest model in Porsche’s 911 range. By Ben Oliver
Doug Williams shakes off a difficult start to canter to his second Hong Kong Seniors Close Amateur Championship title. By Alex Jenkins
60 | A Path Less Travelled This month sees not one but two US Opens taking place over a radically remodelled Pinehurst No 2. We take a look at the changes and examine the USGA’s new strategy when it comes to America’s national championship. By Paul Prendergast
66 | Short, But Sweet USGA (Pinehurst); Asian Tour (Aphibarnrat)
What are the most fun par-3s in the British Isles? Our welltravelled correspondent selects his favourites. By Andrew Marshall
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
36 | Liquid Assets Special A look at an exciting selection of wines from Central Otago’s award-winning Akarua winery that are now available in Hong Kong. By Robin Lynam
42 | Tales from the Box Buoyed by a cup of Tuen Mun’s finest coffee, our correspondent shares his latest musings on professional golf over the past month. By Julian Tutt
46 | By Design
A profile of the long-hitting Scott Hend, who has been making waves on both sides of the Pacific over the past 12 months. By Paul Myers
Our contributing architecture editor casts his eye over Donald Ross’s classic creation at Pinehurst, which promises to provide a unique canvas for the world’s best this month. By Paul Jansen
82 | Final Shot
76 | Property Special
75 | The Ultimate Traveller
34 | Driving Range
With Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Asian Tour’s reigning Order of Merit champion talks to us about his experience of playing in the inaugural EurAsia Cup. By Alex Jenkins
The founder of Complete RPI discusses letting agents, furnishing and insurance in his latest column on UK property investment. By Rupert Smith HKGOLFER.COM
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION JUN 2014 • Issue 89
Editor: Alex Jenkins email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
66 D E PA R T M E N T S 14 Mailbag 16 Divots 22 Asia Focus 24 Global Focus 27 Clubhouse
Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Art Director: Derek Hannah Assistant Designer: Mimi Cheng Office Manager: Moira Moran Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: email@example.com For purchasing information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org For subscription information contact: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com In association with: www.thymedesign.hk
54 Around the HKGA 58 Events 72 Travel Special 80 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. 12
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
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HK Golfer Mailbag New Date for HK Open Congratulations to the organisers of the Hong Kong Open on setting a new date (16-19 October) for the championship. The European Tour’s new ‘Final Series’ makes playing the event in November almost impossible, while a December date (at effectively the beginning of a new season) is less attractive to top touring professionals, the majority of whom prefer to spend the last month of the year at home. For me, this October date is the right move. Not only will our immediate region host two great events in a row (the Macau Open is scheduled to be played the following week – 23-26 October), the chances of securing a strong field of international stars would appear to be greater. My hope is that the weather cooperates and the rains stay away. Fanling is always at its best when it plays firm; in such conditions, it’s a shining example of how a shorter, more traditional course can still test the world’s best thanks to its intelligent yet subtle design. Name and address withheld
Bye Bye, Ocean Dunes Regarding the best walking courses in our part of the world (which has become something of a recurring theme among letter writers to HK Golfer), I was disappointed to hear about the closure of Ocean Dunes, the Nick Faldo-designed course located in Phan Thiet, some four hours north of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. While the club had been in something of a decline over the past few years (the lack of money spent on maintaining the playing surfaces started to become clear for all to see), it provided one of the most enjoyable golfing strolls you could want. A gently undulating layout situated adjacent to the South China Sea, Ocean Dunes boasted a fine array of flora (and fauna) and those in the know would eschew a golf cart and walk down its agreeable treelined fairways and take in the views. I believe the property will now be converted into a luxury gated community. What a shame! David Saunders Via email Editor’s reply: I agree, David. While Ocean Dunes struggled in its latter days, it was always a great deal of fun to play so it’s undoubtedly sad to see it go. However, Vietnam has a number of fine
walking courses, with Dalat Palace Golf Club in the cool south-central highlands (an exhilarating four-hour drive from Phan Thiet) being one of the very best in the region. Dalat itself is a charming place and in recent times a couple of new courses have come online. It’s going to be exciting to see how the place develops.
Way to Go, Tiffany! How pleasing it is to read about Tiffany Chan’s continuing success at college in the United States. Over the years Hong Kong has produced a number of very good golfers, but given the size of our city and the relative lack of golfing facilities, it hasn’t been a surprise that we’ve yet to see one who has gone on to compete at the very highest level. Maybe Tiffany will change all that. From what I’ve seen and read about her, Tiffany not only has a great golf swing but she also has the demeanour to succeed. It’s really great to see and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all Hong Kong golfers in wishing her the best. Good luck, Tiffany! Melanie Chan Mid-Levels Editor’s reply: Thanks, Melanie. You’re absolutely right about Tiffany. Turn to page 54 to read about her latest success. We Want to Hear from You!
We’re delighted to announce that HK Golfer can now be downloaded on all Android and Apple devices. The HK Golfer iPad application continues to be available on Newsstand, while Android and iPhone users can now read the latest issue through Magzter, a global mobile magazine store. Simply download the Magzter app from either Google Play or the App Store. For more information write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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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HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
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Scott Marries in Secret
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Shortly after Scott’s surprise announcement, Twitter was abuzz with the news as women across the world bemoaned his newlywed status.
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The golf world’s most eligible bachelor is off the market after Adam Scott (pictured) revealed at last month’s Players Championship that he secretly married girlfriend Marie Kojzar on 17 April. “It’s official: I am a settled-down man and very happy,” Scott, 33, told reporters at Sawgrass. “It was just our family and a few friends … there are a lot of people we would have liked to have had there who weren’t but … we decided to have a very low-key affair. We’ve known each other long enough, let’s go and jump right in at the deep end.” It is believed only Scott’s parents were aware of the real reason for the gettogether held in the back garden of his Bahamas home when invitations were sent out to a select group of people – including friend and fellow pro Justin Rose – ahead of time. Rose, thinking it was just a “party” declined the invitation. Shortly after Scott’s surprise announcement, Twitter was abuzz with the news as women across the world bemoaned his newlywed status. Scott first met Kojzar, a Swedish architect, when she was working as a nanny for the family of Thomas Bjorn in 2001. They were together for seven years before splitting briefly. They reunited shortly before he won the Masters last year. Scott’s previous girlfriends include tennis star Ana Ivanovic and actress Kate Hudson.
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HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
Victory is Sweet for 50-year-old Jiménez
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HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
Reigning Hong Kong Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez (pictured) became the first player over the age of 50 to win a European Tour event after beating Thomas Pieters and Richard Green in a three-way play-off at the Spanish Open late last month. The Spaniard, who claimed his 21st victory on the European Tour, shot a two-over 73 in the final round for a total of 284, forcing sudden death against 22-year-old Pieters (75) and Australian Green (72). The 50-year-old Jiménez, who has conquered Fanling on no less than four occasions, held his nerve as the trio went back down the 18th hole and with Pieters and Green spraying their tee shots, the Spaniard, ranked number 34 in the world, tapped in for par to seal his first victory in 27 attempts at his national Open. “I’ve played so many times in the Spanish Open, it’s great to finally win it. It’s amazing to win the national Open of my country,” said Jiménez, his trademark cigar in hand. “Every title is special, and you don’t like to say one is better than the other, but to win the Spanish Open is very, very important to me.”
Woods Uncertain on Comeback Date Tiger Woods, fighting to recover top form after back surgery in late March, said that he has no timetable for a comeback and still cannot fully swing a club. Woods, who made the statement in late April, just hours after being dethroned by Adam Scott as the world’s number one golfer, said: “As of right now I can chip and putt. At least I have something. “I don’t know how much longer it will take before I can do more. As far as full swings and the timing on that, I don’t know.” Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the record 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus, underwent the microdiscectomy operation on 31 March to ease a pinched nerve, forcing him to miss the Masters Tournament for the first time. HKGOLFER.COM
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Prodigy Li Makes US Women’s Open Qualifying History
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HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
The latest name to wow the golfing world is 11-year-old Lucy Li (pictured), who made her own slice of history last month by becoming the youngest player to qualify for the US Women’s Open after securing her place at an event in her home state of California. Li, who hails from Redwood Shores but whose family originates from Hong Kong, shot rounds of 74 and 68 at Half Moon Bay Golf Club to beat the field by seven shots and book her place at Pinehurst. She beat the previous mark held by Lexi Thompson, who qualified for the 2007 edition aged 12. But Li won’t be the youngest to compete at the tournament – that honour is held by Beverley Klass, who competed in 1967 aged just 10 without having to qualify. Li already has a victory at the world-famous Augusta National under her belt, having won the inaugural Drive, Chip, Putt event at the Masters venue in April.
Record Prize Fund for Venetian Macau Open
This year’s Macau Open, which will be played between 23-26 October, a week after the Hong Kong Open, will the boast the highest prize purse in the storied history of the event. Sponsored by the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel for the third year in succession, the field will compete for US$900,000, a 12.5% increase on last year’s purse. Big-hitting Australian Scott Hend has confirmed he will defend the title he won in such emphatic fashion last year. “The Venetian Macau Open was probably the highlight [of my season] as I managed to hold off Ernie Els and a good field to win by three shots,” said Hend, who finished second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit behind Kiradech Aphibarnrat. “I started terribly with a 74 but came back strongly with three low rounds to win it.” HKGOLFER.COM
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Asia Focus Felipe’s Fast Finish Felipe Aguilar produced a stunning finish last month to claim The Championship, an Asian and European Tour co-sanctioned event played at Laguna National in Singapore. The Chilean holed out at the final hole for eagle from 142 yards with a pitching wedge to complete the back nine in just 28 strokes. Aguilar closed with a 10-under 62 to finish a shot ahead of Anders Hansen of Denmark and American David Lipsky. “I told my caddie the way I was hitting the ball I could well make a two (at the last) and I did. It’s very, very special,” he said. Photo by Asian Tour
Global Focus Kaymer Keeps His Cool Martin Kaymer held his nerve with a monster putt at the famous 17th hole at Sawgrass on his way to winning the Players Championship last month, his first tour triumph since 2011. The German had earlier seen his three-shot lead whittled down to just one after a double bogey at the 15th hole in the final round, but bounced back with one of the most important putts of his career to edge Jim Furyk into second place. Kaymer had led golf’s “fifth major” all week having carded a record-equalling 63 in the first round. “I made a couple of wrong decisions (in the round) but what a putt on 17!” said Kaymer. Photo by AFP
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HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
olex had a long list of achievements to announce at Baselworld this year. Apart from the usual aesthetic and functional improvements to favourites like the GMT-Master II and the Milgauss, the company presented a new line of dress watches under its Cellini collection. Diving aficionados will be happy to learn of the revival of one of the brand’s more prominent timepieces, the Sea-Dweller, and, perhaps the most important fact to take note of this year is that Rolex has begun to integrate silicon hairsprings into its movements, and is among the first batch of luxury watchmakers to do so. It seems that Rolex has covered all the bases with an extensive range of interesting and enviable novelties on offer for men and women.
A NEW LINE The three families of the Cellini collection (from left to right): Cellini Time, Cellini Date and Cellini Dual Time 28
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
Twelve models comprise the new Cellini range, the brand’s modern take on the classic dress watch. Named after Benvenuto Cellini, one of the most admired artists during the Italian Renaissance and goldsmith and sculptor to the
popes, the collection highlights design codes of that era – grandiose but with clean lines. The watch features a double bezel, one domed and one fluted, combined with a lacquered dial or one that is embellished with a black or silver-plated rayon flammé de la gloire guilloche motifs. The layout of the dial is based on the watch’s different functions. There are three families, each with four models. The basic hours and minutes watch is the Cellini Time, while Cellini Date features a small sub-dial at 3 o’clock. The third family, Cellini Dual Time, features a second time zone with day/night indicator at 6 o’clock. All the watches have round, 39mm cases in 18k white or Everose gold, and are equipped with automatic, certified chronometer movements, all produced in-house.
THE SYLOXI MOVEMENT
Rolex has announced that it has begun use of silicon hairsprings, particularly in the new Calibre 2236, a movement designed for women’s HKGOLFER.COM
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models. This is a great step toward the next generation of watchmaking, as silicon renders the hairspring friction-free and can be produced uniformly, quickly and in much larger quantities than its metal counterparts. According to Rolex, through “new, innovative and patented solutions” the company has been able to The Syloxi silicon make the most of a hairspring's design technology that it has been developing for has allowed for more than a decade. an increased T h e Sy l o x i s i l i c o n power reserve hairspring’s optimised design has allowed for an increased power reserve of 55 hours, or 6 hour more than the traditional hairspring. The company plans to use Syloxi movements in many of its women’s models, while keeping the Parachrom paramagnetic hairspring – released in 2000 – for its men’s range. Like all Rolex movements, Calibre 2236 is a COSC-certified chronometer. The automatic Firm favourites: the Oyster movement is used for the first time in the new Perpetual and the Milgauss 30
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
gem-set Oyster Perpetual Datejust Pearlmaster 34, which comes in three versions: 18k yellow gold with baguette-cut pink sapphires on the bezel; 18k white gold with blue sapphires, and 18k Everose gold with brilliant-cut diamonds. All of the watch dials are paved with 455 diamonds and feature a date window at 3 o’clock.
Definitely eye-catching, the GMT-Master II now features a red and blue Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel insert. Apart from the material offering extreme scratch and corrosion resistance, what’s awesome about this piece is that the twocolour bezel insert was created as a single piece, through a process that Rolex has since patented. Instead of applying colour to the ceramic, Rolex created a red ceramic disc and modified the chemical composition of each grain to change that red into blue on half of the insert, which sounds extremely difficult but in effect renders the watch unaffected by scratches and UV rays. The watch is fitted with a self-winding movement with second time zone function and date, featured on a black lacquer dial with HKGOLFER.COM
Clockwise from top: the Sky-Dweller; the Cosmograph Daytona; the Sea-Dweller; the Oyster Perpetual Datejust Pearlmaster 34; the new clasp on the Sea-Dweller 32
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
Chromalight appliques. The 40mm case comes initially launched in 2012. The new versions in 18k white gold and is water-resistant to come in 42mm 18k Everose, yellow and white 100 metres. gold cases with Sundust, silver and black Rolex also presented a new version of the dials respectively. A classic watch for frequent Milgauss, a design from the 1950s with extreme travellers; the Sky-Dweller combines a dual paramagnetic features, originally designed for time zone display and annual calendar that engineers and scientists. The new automatically displays the model features a ‘Z blue’ or electric correct date throughout the Rolex has added blue dial meant to complement year – needing only one three new the iconic lightning bolt-shaped a djus tm ent on 1 March . seconds hand, and it is seen Function setting is easily versions of the through the watch’s unique green carried out via a rotating Ring Sky-Dweller, sapphire crystal. Command bezel, by turning it a collection Fitted with the self-winding to the corresponding position calibre 3131, the Milgauss features to adjust the local time, the first launched an escape wheel made of reference time or the date, in 2012 nickel-phosphorus alloy and a and then using the crown to Parachrom hairspring that makes perform the settings. the movement insensitive to magnetic fields. If you’re looking for something to catch the The 40mm stainless steel case offers water light, the Cosmograph Daytona now comes resistance up to 100 metres. in 950 platinum, its 40mm case set with 36 The company has also added three new baguette-cut diamonds. The dial is also entirely versions of the Sky-Dweller this year, a collection paved with diamonds, except for the ice-blue HKGOLFER.COM
chronograph counters, which is a rare colour Rolex reserves for its platinum models.
MADE FOR DIVERS
First created in 1967, the Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller was designed for the pioneers of deep-sea diving, and became an integral tool for underwater engineering firm Compagnie Maritime d ’E xp er tises . Tak ing f rom it s predecessor’s known reliability, legibility and performance at extreme depths, the new SeaDweller 4000 is waterproof to a depth of 1,220 metres (4,000 feet) and features a 60-minute graduated, unidirectional Cerachrom bezel that enables divers to precisely and safely monitor their dive and compression times. A 40mm stainless steel case houses the self-winding calibre 3135 with date display, shown on a black satin-finished dial with white gold hour markers applied with Chromalight, which offer longlasting luminescence. The watch also features Rolex’s helium escape valve. HKGOLFER.COM
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
CLUBHOUSE | DRIVING RANGE
BACK TO ITS ROOTS BEN OLIVER GETS BEHIND THE WHEEL OF THE TARGA 4S, THE LATEST MODEL IN PORSCHE’S 911 RANGE.
orsche is a relentlessly modern carmaker. Founder Ferdinand Porsche But for the latest Targa Porsche echoes that would be astonished at the range of cars it now makes, from its Macan original design, with a fabric center section that baby SUV to its silent plug-in hybrids. It’s a brand entirely in step with retreats electrically under the lovely, pillarless the modern world: its sales in China leapt 20 per cent last year. China is rear glass in 19 seconds. And that metallic rollnow its second-biggest global market, and the biggest for its sedans bar makes a welcome return, this time with very and SUVs. The sports car market in China is clever pop-out flaps that allow the growing fast, and Porsche is the market leader. roof section to pass through it. All The four-wheel But for its latest model, Porsche has returned to its roots, seem to agree that this is now easily drive showed its and its customers in both its traditional and emerging markets the best-looking car in the 911 range. will love it. ‘Targa’ is Porsche’s second-oldest nameplate, after But does it drive as well as it looks? worth through Carrera. Both names come from racing. The Targa Florio was I collected one in southern Italy and patches of standing drove to Sicily to make the first lap of a crazy event in which full-blown circuit racing cars would water: all of this will the old Targa circuit in the new model take to the twisty mountain roads of northern Sicily for ten laps of a 70km public-road circuit. It was an extraordinary which bears its name. A colossal be of interest and spectacle, but it was finally deemed too dangerous to be a on the way down proved relevance to Hong rainstorm major international race in 1973. By then, Porsche had won it the water-tightness provided by that Kong drivers. more often than any other manufacturer – including Ferrari fabric roof section: there was literally and Alfa Romeo, to their considerable chagrin. no difference to the insulation I’d have In 1965 Porsche adopted the Targa name for a ‘semi-open’ version of its iconic enjoyed in the standard Carrera which I use as my 911 with a lift-out centre roof section and a very safe, very distinctive steel roll-bar. daily road car. And the four-wheel drive which is There’s been a Targa in the 911 range ever since: most recently using a huge glass standard on the Targa showed its worth through section that slid back behind the driver. patches of standing water: all of this will be of
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
SCORECARD How much? TBA Engine:
7-speed PDK twin-clutch automated manual
0-100km/h in 4.6secs, 294km/h
How heavy? 1,575kgs
interest and relevance to Hong Kong drivers. On the circuit itself, the Targa was the perfect companion, but for surprising reasons. Yes, it’s hugely fast with its 400hp 3.8-litre ‘S’ engine (there’s a standard 350hp version too). Its 4.6sec 0-100km/h time is as fast as those original Targa race cars, and they didn’t benefit from Porsche’s amazing PDK paddle-shift seven-speed gearbox. Equipped with the sports exhaust, the new Targa sound as good as they did too. The only criticism is that I could feel the Targa’s additional 90kgs by comparison with my own car. A driver new to 911s wouldn’t notice. But the Targa’s big advantage through the steeply-angled mountain-village streets, and over the open mountain roads which are now in very poor condition, was its usability. It has strong brakes, decent ground-clearance and feels bullet-proof in a way that more extreme (Italian) supercars don’t: leaving me free to retract the roof, soak up the sun and enjoy taking the Targa back to its roots. HKGOLFER.COM
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
LIQUID ASSETS | SPECIAL
SOUTHERN SPECIALS ROBIN LYNAM REVIEWS A SELECTION OF WINES FROM CENTRAL OTAGO'S AWARD-WINNING AKARUA WINERY THAT ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN HONG KONG.
he South Island of New Zealand’s Central Otago region grows not just the most southerly grapes in the country, but also in the world. The climate is in many ways comparable to that of continental Northern Europe – a fact reflected in the grapes which do best there. The herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc wines with which New Zealand established its international profile now tend to be dismissed as generic and one-dimensional, but as they have fallen in critical esteem, the country’s Pinot Noirs have risen. Because New Zealand now particularly excels at Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, comparisons are often made between the country and Burgundy – although conditions in the North Island are closer to those of Bordeaux, and Cabernet Sauvignon thrives there. In the South Island, particularly in Central Otago, conditions are more Burgundy like, and this is where some of the country’s best Pinot Noirs are made. There are also points of similarity with conditions in the Champagne region, and while good sparkling wines are made in Australia, those of the South Island are sometimes said to be closer in style to the sparkling wines of France. Be that as it may, as is the case with all New World wine regions, after a certain point Old World comparison becomes unhelpful. The regions must forge identities of their own. Akarua in the Bannockburn sub-region is one of Central Otago’s most reputable producers, particularly of Pinot Noir which accounts for the planting of 70% of its 50 hectare vineyard area. The balance is Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and a small amount of Riesling. A small group of wine lovers gathered recently in the HK Golfer offices to put a few of the wines through their paces. One of the sparkling wines seemed a good place to start, and the Akarua Brut Non Vintage went down very well with everybody present. A high “guzzle factor” was one apt, if non-technical assessment of a wine made from a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend, which offered both a creamy mouthfeel and a well balanced acidity. It is not of course directly comparable to very top-end champagne, but then at HK$185 it isn’t priced like one, and is far better balanced than some of the viciously acidic “grower champagnes” now flooding the market. Serve well chilled, and let it develop as it warms up in the glass. The Akarua Rosé Brut N.V. has slightly more Pinot Noir and slightly less Chardonnay, and oddly isn’t particularly pink. It does however have the hint of strawberries desirable in that style. If I had to find a point of international comparison it would be not with champagne but with some of the increasingly good rosé sparkling wines now being made in Southern England. But at HK$185 (specially discounted price to HK Golfer readers) it’s cheaper than those as well. That got the “guzzle factor” endorsement too. On to the Riesling from the 2012 vintage. Riesling is one of the great divisive grapes in Old World/New World debate. Burgundy lovers can generally enjoy New Zealand Pinot Nor and Chardonnay. Fans of German or Alsace Riesling seldom like to stray from northern continental Europe. 36
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Akarua is one of Central Otago's most reputable producers
My own inclinations are more along Teutonic lines, but the 2012 (HK$158) had the refreshing citrus acidity the New World Riesling fan seeks, and would be a good match for a lot of spicy Asian cuisine. The Pinot Noirs were the point though. We sampled the 2011 and 2012 vintages, both of which warranted pleasurable leisurely contemplation. These are both 100% Pinot Noir, and the 2011 (HK$158) still has the fresh berry flavours of a young wine, and a pleasant hint of spice. It is drinking very agreeably now, but probably warrants cellaring for another couple of years or so. This one picked up a gold medal at the 2012 New Zealand International Wine Show. The 2012 (HK$238), which picked up a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge 2014, has the potential to emerge as the better of the two vintages. Well balanced and with the intensity more characteristic of New World than Old World Pinot Noir, this is also drinking very well right now, but it's still well worth putting a few bottles aside for future enjoyment. For further information please refer to the opposite advertisement or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Orders can be made directly through the HK Golfer store at HKGolfer.com HKGOLFER.COM
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FIFTY SHADES OF ROSÉ WINE EXPLORER JULIEN YUNG MAMEAUX OF THE EXPERIENCE COMPANY HAS SCOUTED THE WORLD TO FIND THE MOST AROUSING ROSÉ WINES. Chateau La Coste in near Aix-en-Provence
or many, the wine world is made up of red or white wines. But just like there is grey between black and white, rosé wines come in multiple and exciting shades, tastes and styles. Looking at a glass of such wine, rosé is rarely the colour used by professionals to describe its hues; it can vary between melon, peach or grapefruit, Barbie doll-pink, salmon, the pale to intense pigments of an onion’s skin, or orangey like the fruit or even a Buddhist monk’s civara. In short, a delight to the eye.
Julien Yung Mameaux
UNDERSTANDING ROSÉ WINE Rosé’s colours, aromas and flavours are deeply imparted by the chosen method of production. Blending of juices from white and black grapes is the most obvious – but this must not be misinterpreted with the disgraceful blending of white and red wines that have already been fermented. The art and skills of a rosé winemaker are best shown in the technique called “skin contact”, where the white juice gradually turns to rosé according to how long the dark skin of the grapes has been macerating in it. Imagine what is required to keep consistency across gallons of wine, year after year. On the opposite, for red grape juice, the saignée (“bleeding” in French) method requires removing a portion of the red wine to contain the colour development. While rosé wine may not – and is not intended to – have the depth of the finest classified growths, they certainly bring surprising enjoyment and a different character to any drinking occasion. A rosé wine is meant to have maximum fruitiness and freshness and therefore comes with a unique mouthfeel. They come from grapes as various as Pinot Noir, Grenache, Merlot among others for French rosés, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah for Australian ones; Tempranillo for a Spanish rosado wine, Sangiovese for an Italian rosato, or Zinfandel for an American eponymous wine. PLEASURE OF THE SENSES There is an undeniable charm that comes with a bottle of rosé, going well beyond the sexy-shaped containers they are sometimes housed. Your date night will start 38
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with a sparkling rosé – be it rosé champagne like the deliciously famous Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé or the well-crafted JB Janisson-Barradon boutique rosé champagne. For salad or tapas, a slightly sweet or lightly sparkling rosé wine, like Ameztoi of Txakolina in northern Spain, will go along well. With grilled or barbecued meat, a wide variety of French rosés from Provence, like Chateau de Pibarnon near Bandol, Chateau La Coste near Aix-enProvence, Ollier-Taillefer of Languedoc-Roussillon, or those of Tavel will stimulate your senses. Beyond France, dry ones from Italy will also stir emotions. And a powerful dry rosé from South Africa like Mulderbush or Pine Ridge of Napa Valley will make you melt over desert. The rosé wine world is gifted with both proficiency and glamour, and men are invited into what may look like a women’s universe. Today’s most trendy rosé winery owners are undoubtedly Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, whose Provencal estate produces the delectable Miravel rosé, but there are countless and affordable choices for the summer … or all year-round, as the southern Europeans favour. Enquire and enter a lucky draw to win a free bottle of wine! Contact your travel and events concierge The Experience Company (www.TheExCo.com) at +852 3488 9565 or Contact@TheExCo.com and quote “HKGolfer”. HKGOLFER.COM
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| TALES FROM THE BOX
Emotions Buoyed by a cup of Tuen Mun’s finest coffee, Julian Tutt shares his latest musings on professional golf over the past month.
Daniel Wong (Tutt); AFP
Four-time Hong Kong Open champion Miguel Angel Jiménez just gets better with age – his Spanish Open victory last month was his first win at his home Open 42
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’ve just had my most expensive mug of coffee ever, in the most improbable of settings. The Tutt swing is undergoing its 97th modification since your correspondent turned pro as a wildly optimistic and embarrassingly erratic two-handicapper at the age of 49. The latest variation is courtesy of my friend and colleague Dominique Boulet who knows a thing or two about how to hit a golf ball. When the new, revised and updated model is executed according to the Boulet philosophy the ball flies straight, long and true, with a dependable trajectory; a most unfamiliar sensation which has got the golfing juices flowing again. To ingrain this welcome change into the armoury, I have been visiting my local range in Tuen Mun; a double-decker facility, where booking is often required and the balls are even more inconsistent than my swing. On the day in question, however, the range was deserted. As a half-price OAP I was thrilled to discover that I was booked on from 1-2pm. As it was only 12.30, I was impressed with such rare largesse. With a glad heart I strode to my allotted bay (number 2), only to be accosted by a cleaner, who obviously wanted me to move as she appeared to want to clean my bay. I moved to the other end of the, still deserted, range. She promptly followed me, gesticulating wildly and saying “five more minutes”. I returned to bay number 2 as it was now looking spotless, thinking I would at least just loosen up. But the harridan came too. This charade repeated itself a few times with yours truly getting
increasingly irritated, not least because the range was immaculate and her occasional swish with a mop was clearly having no significant impact. By about 12.50 I realised (I catch on quickly you know) that what she really meant was that the range was closed for maintenance until 1pm. At that point I finally gave up and headed to the restaurant for a coffee, only to be met by all the maintenance workers coming out from lunch! Sadly the restaurant is not a patch on a Dickensian soup kitchen and the coffee not a match for the ersatz variety served up to POWs in Colditz. Deflated and depressed I did what all golfers do; retreat to the Pro Shop. To my amazement John and Vivien proved to be wonderful hosts who would have loved to serve me a steaming latte had they been allowed to. The delicious smell emanating from the back office was for their use only. However, if I made a purchase they would be happy to throw in a cup of Columbia’s finest. One HK$280 Nike white leather belt later and I was the proud possessor of a lovely mug of proper coffee. Not only that, they very kindly said I could keep the rather nice “golfer’s” mug too. Such business “nous” deserves encouragement. It’s regrettable that the purchase of said white belt hadn’t happened two weeks earlier, prior to my arrival at The Championship at Laguna National in Singapore. After four days of sweatsoaked course-walking my trusty old brown leather belt gave up most of its dye to leave HKGOLFER.COM
a rather inelegant brown stain around the waistband of my recently acquired and rather elegant beige linen shorts. The new white belt would have been perfect. Sartorial disasters aside the tournament was memorable for the way the champion, Felipe Aguilar, negotiated the final nine holes in 28 strokes, with five “2’s” on his card, including a 2/2 finish, against a par of 3/4. My colleague Warren Humphreys has a golfing database that is the envy of the western world, but even he has only started keeping detailed hole-by-hole scores of every round played throughout the season over the last couple of years, so we can’t be sure if five “2’s” on a course with only four par-3s has ever been achieved before. It seems highly unlikely. We can be certain, however, that no one on the European Tour has ever eagled a par-4 closer to win a tournament. Either way the charming Chilean, only recently back after breaking his wrist mountain biking, now has enough loot to invest in a bike with bumpers. On a very sad note, it was tragic to read of the demise of a true gent of the fairways, 52-yearold Zimbabwean Ian “Mac” MacGregor, whilst caddying for Alastair Forsyth in the Madeira Islands Open. The European Tour, in consultation with the players, decided that the “show must go on”. It must have been a difficult decision, and one just wonders if it would have been the same verdict had it been a player that died. If not, the old caste system still applies. Regardless, Mac will be sadly missed; he was a very good bloke. In better news, it was lovely to see Martin Kaymer right back to top form at The Players Championship, where there were six European Ryder Cup players in the top 10; a most encouraging week for Paul McGinley’s men. Europe’s captain at Gleneagles in September must be delighted with that showing, and particularly the dramatic return to winning ways by the German, whose nerves of steel provided the coup de grâce in such spectacular fashion at Medinah last time. Back in 1997 Miguel Angel Jiménez was Seve’s vice-captain at Valderrama in Southern Spain, and he got used to being woken up at all hours by his captain who wished urgently to convey his latest ingenious plan for upending the “enemy”. Jiménez is carded to perform a similar role at Gleneagles, but after his most recent bout of brilliance in winning the Spanish Open (at his 27th attempt!) and thereby breaking HKGOLFER.COM
After Jiménez’s most recent bout of brilliance in winning the Spanish Open (at his 27th attempt!) and thereby breaking his own record as the oldest winner on the European Tour, the odds are shortening rapidly on him making the Ryder Cup team as a player. his own record, achieved at the last Hong Kong Open, as the oldest winner on the European Tour, the odds are shortening rapidly on him making the team as a player. Back then Seve’s Team emerged triumphant, but many involved felt it was in spite of, rather than because of the great man. A lot of the organisation was chaotic, and Seve was just such a brilliant player and Ryder Cup enthusiast that he wanted to play every shot himself. Working for BBC Radio, I was following Thomas Bjorn’s singles match on the final day. He was four down after four holes to Justin Leonard, at which point Seve appeared on Bjorn’s shoulder eager to help him play. Politeness forbids a verbatim account of Thomas’s reply, but suffice it to say that Seve was made aware that his energies would be better deployed elsewhere. Bjorn eventually halved his match. He too looks like being back in the players’ locker room at Gleneagles, 12 years after his last appearance. I have fond memories of that week in ‘97. The Radio team was staying up a nearby hillside track in a wonderfully corroded old colonial-style farmhouse on an estate where they harvested cork and reared bulls. Somehow a “Cork and Bull” farm seemed a most appropriate hostelry for a bunch of radio commentators. It was unbelievably wet that year, and conditions outside the ropes resembled the production phase of a Cadburys chocolate factory. Our studios were located in two metal containers stacked vertically, and on the first morning the rain having thoroughly soaked the top floor, then made its way into the bottom container. Hi-tech electronic equipment and gallons of water don’t make a happy union. The course though stood up to it remarkably well. Valderrama was the late Jaimie Ortiz-Patino’s pride and joy and nothing happened there without his approval. I was out early on that first morning to check conditions while it was still pitch black. There, showing a bunch of green-keepers how to properly rake a sodden bunker was “Jimmy” Patino. An extraordinary man who was a great friend of the European Tour and who deserved so much more than life ultimately gave him, as his fanatical motorracing son squandered his legacy. Now where’s that cheap coffee … HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
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Dramatic landscapes and sensational East Sea vistas await you, at the Banyan Tree Lăng Cô, Central Vietnam. Tee off at the Sir Nick Faldo 18-hole championship golf course - a new interesting way to see the country, for golf enthusiasts! As the course meanders through rice paddies and trickling streams, admire the staggering mountain backdrop framed by a soft sandy beach blending out to sparkling blue waters. PineCreek Golf Property Holdings Ltd in partnership with Banyan Tree Residences Lăng Cô, Central Vietnam and Asia Bankers Club would like to invite you and your partner for a complimentary two nights' stay. We are organising this trip exclusively for loyal readers of HK Golfers in conjunction with the launch of Banyan Tree and Angsana Residences. Enjoy a guided tour around the resort and a few rounds of golf, and be one of the first to own an attractive property here.
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| BY DESIGN
A Little Piece of Scotland Award-winning architect Paul Jansen casts his eye over Donald Ross’s classic creation at Pinehurst, which promises to provide a unique canvas for the world’s best this month.
Courtesy of the USGA
The irrigated areas at Pinehurst No 2 have been greatly reduced resulting in less water usage and maintenance requirements – it has become a sustainable model (opposite top); the legendary Donald Ross (opposite bottom) tackles the ninth hole on what is arguably the most famous course he ever designed 46
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
inehurst Resort is unquestionably one of America’s greatest golfing beacons. The longtime home of famed golf course architect Donald Ross, it was the gathering place of the first meeting of North American course designers in 1947. The resort, consisting of eight layouts, is best known for its No 2 course, the work of its able resident. Ross, originally from the seaside village of Dornoch in the northern reaches of Scotland, worked on four of the golf courses at Pinehurst, yet it’s his No 2 course that gets most of the press – and for good reason. Of all the golf courses Ross designed, and he designed hundreds throughout North America, Pinehurst No 2 was his favorite and his best volume of work. In the book Golf Has Never Failed Me – The lost commentaries of legendary golf architect Donald J Ross, he said this of No 2: “I am firmly of the opinion that the leading professionals and golfers of every caliber, for many years to come, will find in the No 2 course the fairest yet most exacting test of their game, and yet a test from which they will always derive the maximum amount of pleasure” … and he was right. No 2 has indeed stood the test of time and thanks to a 2011 restoration it now looks and plays similar to how it did during the days Ross resided on the property, where he would pass in 1948 at the age of 75. Pinehurst represents the type of golf course I enjoy. It has links-like characteristics including the ability to play hard and fast (thanks in part to a sand-base), it is strategically strong, its greens offer great defense and it is playable for every level of golfer. To go further – and this is largely due to its
recent restoration – it is also a sustainable model given that irrigated areas have been greatly reduced resulting in less water usage and maintenance requirements. When the course hosts both the men’s and women’s US Open this month, golfers will be subjected to a very different course setup than what they’ve come used to. America’s national championship is most always characterised by narrow fairways and long rough, yet at Pinehurst golfers will experience wide fairways and no grass rough. Sand, wire grass and pine needles will dominate the non-mown areas and much like you experience in the British Isles, the ground contours can (and will) dictate some of the play. I’m an advocate for wide fairways – but only where they offer strategic interest. As is the case at Pinehurst, just like at St Andrews, players are rewarded by positioning their ball to a particular side of the fairway so as best to attack the length or grade of the green and surrounds. Of course the best golfers still need to put a premium on accuracy – this is essentially what narrow fairways do – but the rest of us are still in the game even if we should find ourselves attacking (or defending) from the wrong side of the hole. Grass that is tightly mowed as fairway has obvious benefits as well – it allows the opportunity to highlight existing or built-in contours close to the green. In this particular case golfers needs to negotiate these exposed “humps and bumps” with great skill and creativity using a putter, sand-wedge, 7-iron or whatever club deemed necessary. This is “pure” golf and requires great imagination and skill. Rough grass areas have great value as well, and whilst we will see little of it during the weeks of the US Opens, it can test the best and of course HKGOLFER.COM
the worst golfers. In fact, one would argue that its value is more important today than it ever was because of the way golf courses have been designed and maintained. Around the world, courses are set up to be soft and receptive thanks in part to extensive irrigation systems and their capacity to throw a lot of water onto the playing surfaces. Hard, fast and dry has unfortunately become a foreign language as golfers seek out (and at times demand) green and lush conditions. The result of this being that golf has become very much a “target game” with little interest in the ground. This is not helped by the fact that many courses are designed to be played in the air – golfers are forced to hit over bunkers or water to reach an intended target. Having said that, rough grass has the ability to negate the aerial game, and here’s why: When a golfer finds the equator of the ball below the grass line (ie in rough) it is almost impossible to predict what the ball is going to do upon landing. In this case those creative golfers amongst us will start to survey the fairway and green surrounds to see how they can use the slopes to positively propel their ball towards the target. Golfers are no longer focused on a small target; rather they are “forced” to look at the big picture and in doing so start to harvest some creative thought. “Can I use that bump to propel my ball forward towards the target? What if I get a negative bounce off that slope? What if I over hit that ridge line?” According to legendary Golden Age course architect Max Behr, the object of golf architecture “is to give an intelligent purpose to striking the ball” and it’s obvious under different conditions HKGOLFER.COM
The object of golf architecture “is to give an intelligent purpose to striking the ball” and it’s obvious under different conditions that both rough and short grass has the ability to achieve this end – so neither should be ignored nor scorned.
that both rough and short grass has the ability to achieve this end – so neither should be ignored nor scorned. Donald Ross grew up in Scotland and apprenticed under Old Tom Morris before moving to the United States at the turn of the 20th century, where he would reside at Pinehurst for the better part of his life. In No 2, he designed a little piece of Scotland, as if to remind him of home – how could he forget those creative ground shots he would hit at the links at Dornoch and St Andrews? Now, one hundred years on, it will be interesting to see if the best golfers are able to replicate some of the shots Mr Ross would have played all those years ago and in so doing prepare themselves for the next “Open” held in July. Paul Jansen is the principal architect for Jansen Golf Design. For more information visit his website at jansengolfdesign.com HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
The HSBC Golf Business Forum, which took place in the United Arab Emirates in late April, discussed all manner of topics affecting golf today. The one which garnered almost universal agreement: the lack of charisma among the world's best players. Lewine Mair reports.
To Smith, the various psychologists, nutritionists and trainers stand guilty of “squeezing the joy and expression” out of their charges’ play. Everything was becoming too scientific. “Too much analysis,” he cautioned, “is a killer. A professional, regardless of his sport, needs to feel more like an amateur and love what he is doing.” Smith knew, because he had at one point been a victim of the overzealous approach. In 2000, he did everything the "experts" asked of him and proceeded to have one of the worst seasons of his cricketing life. Three years later, when he set out to combine his cricket with a more balanced lifestyle, the results, as you will have guessed, were at the opposite end of the spectrum. The first question Smith put to Manassero was whether he saw golf as an art or a science. “I’d much rather be recognised as an artist,” said the 21-year-old Italian, to all-round relief. Before too long, he and Smith arrived at the conclusion that children should grow up with their natural talent and not be exposed to too much science until the day came when they wanted to fine-tune their play. (Manassero has only recently started seeing Jean-Jacques Rivet, the renowned biochemist who works with Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar and the top French players.) Dana Garmany, the Chairman and CEO of Troon Golf who was attending the conference, would almost certainly have excluded Manassero
portsmen have become too focused on themselves. That was arguably the most striking point to have been made at the recent HSBC Golf Business Forum in Abu Dhabi. It is too soon to say whether those golfers who lose their identities as they disappear into the so-called “zone” are responsible for the dip in spectator figures at the 2013 Open and this year’s Masters Tournament. But the alarm bells are sounding just the same. Peter Dawson, the CEO of the R&A until September of next year, said that the game needed some stars to bring back a touch of the spark it had enjoyed in Tiger Woods’s heyday. Dawson’s definition of a star was a "multiple winner" and someone who had a touch of the ‘X’ factor besides. Italy’s Matteo Manassero, he thought, had what it takes to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros and Tiger were he to become the world number one. “He could definitely be a serious star,” said the CEO, before recalling how Manassero, at just 16, had made a riveting address to the International Olympic Committee on the subject of golf’s return to the Summer Games. In Abu Dhabi, Manassero shared a Q&A session with Ed Smith, the former England cricketer and an author whose specialist subject of the moment concerns the way sport is heading.
HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
Matteo Manassero, who R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson believes could follow in the footsteps of the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman, says golf is more art than science
HK GOLFERăƒťJUN 2014
"The modern player plays more from logic and less from passion than in the past and this makes for a dull watch for television viewers. Even Tiger seems to be “toned down” as far as showing emotion goes."
Arnold Palmer, considered one of the great characters in professional golf history, used to fly himself from tournament to tournament on the PGA Tour 50
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from his observation to the media that golfers needed to hone their social skills. Garmany did not follow Smith in mentioning the mind men and the way they were encouraging the players to go about their business. His view was that the golfers needed to take a long, hard look at themselves. “There are very few charismatic characters around now,” he said. “Too many are too zombielike and do not engage. For the most part, they are a bunch of clones. “Bubba Watson is a bit different and Ian Poulter tries to be different, but even he is not exactly an Arnold Palmer.” Garmany recalled how, years ago, he had been introduced to Palmer for the first time and spoken with him for no more than a couple of minutes. Yet when they met for a second time some 12 months later, Palmer had greeted him with a, “Good to see you again, Dana”. “I’d love it if that kind of approach were to make a comeback,” said Garmany. “The trouble with today’s players is that they don’t feel the need
to interact with spectators. Unlike Palmer, they don’t appreciate just how much they owe to the fans.” What Garmany had to say struck a chord with one saddened spectator who said subsequently that he had been following golf for 30 years – and that there had been little to keep him amused since Tiger first took the game by storm with his Masters’ win of 1997. “The modern player,” said the disillusioned one, “plays more from logic and less from passion than in the past and this makes for a dull watch for television viewers. Even Tiger seems to be “toned down” as far as showing emotion goes. “Like others, I look to players such as Bubba and Poulter to see a little emotional life on the links but I am not holding my breath for any sparking repartee from these two. “Even the golf swing,” he added, “has become an imitation of 'Iron Byron'. I remember the varied swings of the older players on the old Senior Tour; Arnie's corkscrew follow-through, Jack's back-breaking "Reverse C", and Trevino's "Figure 8", now used by Jim Furyk.” Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC, said that for someone like himself who looks at golf with a commercial eye, characters are a must. “If I were a manager,” said Morgan, “I would be working on the players’ demeanour, fostering HKGOLFER.COM
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“Bubba Watson is a bit different and Ian Poulter tries to be different, but even he is not exactly an Arnold Palmer ... for the most part, they're a bunch of clones." the things which make them stand out. The thousand-yard cowboy stare into the distance isn’t what people want to see.” Morgan cited Phil Mickelson as one who knows what is good for him and good for golf. Besides winning the HSBC Champions in Shanghai a couple of times, Mickelson had never failed to hang back each day to sign autographs for every budding golfer in the land. Was it a coincidence that he currently has a series of course design projects on the go on the Chinese mainland? Morgan thought not. In much the same breath, the Hong Kongbased Morgan talked about the 2014 HSBC Women’s Champions and Paula Creamer’s winning 75ft putt. Fuelled by the excitement, the American skipped and tripped her way to the hole in a little cameo which has by all accounts attracted a million views and more. Photographers at the conference gave a knowing nod at that. Newspapers everywhere had used a Paula picture because, as they said, her reaction to winning the tournament had been altogether different to that of so many of the current winners on the professional scene. “As often as not,” said one, “you get a player who manages nothing other than a half-hearted raise of the arm as he plucks his ball from the hole. It’s almost as if it isn’t cool to win any more.” Mike Kerr, the CEO of the Asian Tour, shared in the general frustration. Kerr marvels at his cosmopolitan constellation of players, all of whom, rich and poor, have their own very individual stories to tell of how they have come so far in the game. Yet, as he says, the moment they disappear into their expression-free zones, they might as well be all the same. Recently, Kerr has picked out a dozen or so of his tour's players for special training and, with their approval, is putting them forward for every media opportunity on offer: “They ‘get’ it but I still have a few players out there who don’t.” It was the aforementioned “disillusioned one” who suspected there could be a light at the end of the tunnel and that all could come right with our royal and ancient game. “Maybe in time,” he hazarded, “new, well spoken, bright faces, with interesting things to say, will appear, and perhaps another ‘phenom’ like Tiger, abounding with enthusiasm and passion, will jump into the fray and Iron Byron will disappear back in the workshop.” 52
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Love him or loathe him, there's no doubting Ian Poulter's passion for the game
The late Seve Ballesteros shares a laugh with Gary Player during a practice round at the Masters Tournament
New-Look HKGA Website Unveiled The HKGA is pleased to announce the launch of its revamped website, which went live on 13 May. The site, which has been updated to include the HKGA’s new logo and brand identity, features a wealth of new material, specifically: a list of exclusive benefits for HKGA handicap cardholders, information on where to play, where to practice and what tournaments to enter; profiles on the national teams, details of junior and grass-roots initiatives in Hong Kong as well as the latest local golfing news and links to the HKGA’s social media sites. Visit hkga. com for further information.
Tiffany Crowned National Champion in America Hong Kong golfer Tiffany Chan has helped her Daytona State junior college team claim its seventh NJCAA Women’s Championship in the US by capturing the individual title late last month. Daytona State finished 20 shots ahead of Florida’s Seminole State at LPGA International Golf Club to win the team event for the second consecutive year. In her freshman year, 20-year-old Chan led wire-to-wire to finish as the leading individual on level par. Chan’s opening four-under 68 tied for the secondlowest individual round in NJCAA history and she is Daytona State’s first national champion since 2011.
HKGA Allows Use of Distance Measuring Devices The Executive Committee of the HKGA has announced that Distance Measuring Devices (DMDs) can now be used at all HKGA sanctioned tournaments, with the exception of the 6-12 age divisions at junior events. DMDs have been covered by an optional Local Rule, which has been available under the Rules of Golf since 2006. So what kind of DMD are allowed by Local Rule? A GPS or laser, any really; however, it is important that the device only measures distance. The use of a DMD that is designed to gauge or measure other conditions that might affect a player’s play, such as gradient or wind speed, is not permitted.
October Date Set for Hong Kong Open The HKGA is pleased to announce that the Hong Kong Open, which will be sanctioned by both the European and Asian Tours, will take place between 6-19 October. The Hong Kong Golf Club will for the 56th consecutive year host the event in Fanling, where 12 months ago Miguel Angel Jiménez defeated Stuart Manley and Prom Meesawat in a play-off to capture his record-equalling fourth Hong Kong Open title. Keith Williams, Hong Kong Golf Club General Manager, said: “As one of only two international sporting events to have been held in the region for more than 50 years, alongside the Grand Prix Macau, we are looking forward to another thrilling instalment of the Hong Kong Open. “Hong Kong Golf Club has hosted the event for the past 55 years, and the course has been constantly upgraded and improved to ensure it tests the best players in the game year after year. The Hong Kong Open has made history the past two seasons, thanks to the wins of Miguel Angel Jiménez, and the 56th edition will once again help to enhance the sporting heritage and prestige of the region.” 54
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HKGA | SENIORS CLOSE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
Williams shakes off a difficult start to canter to his second Seniors Close title, writes Alex Jenkins.
oug Williams successfully defended his title at last month’s weather-affected Hong Kong Seniors Close Amateur Championship, which saw the final round cancelled due to heavy rain.
Williams, 56, had earlier posted rounds of 71 and 70 for a one-over-par total of 141 over the scenic cliff-top course at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club to set up a nine-stroke margin of victory. Nicky Au and Chu Koon-ching tied for second on a two-day score of 150. This year’s tournament came with the added incentive of a place in the prestigious MercedesTrophy for the top four players. Williams, Au, Chu and fourth-placed Akiyoshi Kubota (152) qualified for the prestigious MercedesTrophy Hong Kong at Discovery Bay Golf Club on 23 May. Seven winners from that event will advance to the MercedesTrophy Asian Final on the Gold Coast in Australia and from there the highest scorer from Hong Kong will enjoy a once-ina-lifetime trip to the MercedesTrophy World Final in Stuttgart, Germany. “It’s a shame we couldn’t get out for the last round, but I’m happy with the way I played and it’s always nice to get a win,” said Williams, who has dominated the local senior scene since becoming eligible last year. “I didn’t lose a ball over the course of the two rounds, which is something of an achievement at Clearwater Bay.” Despite the convincing manner of his victory, the Hong Kong Golf Club member didn’t get off to the best of starts after making a triple bogey on the second hole of the tournament, which he then followed up with a bogey to stand at four-over-par in the early stages. But an excellent back-nine, which saw him come home in two-under 33, put his title ambitions back on track and saw him establish a lead that he would extend in the second round. “The rough was brutal and I learned pretty quickly not to hit driver,” said Williams, who came into the week full of confidence following a run of fine results overseas, which included a fifth place finish at last month’s Northern California Senior Championship. “So I had a bad start, but I gathered myself and was able to play pretty well after that. The key to the golf course is to keep it in the fairway, which enables you to avoid the big numbers.” The American, who won the 1982 Spanish Amateur Championship, was
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effusive in his praise of Clearwater Bay’s greenkeeping staff who, despite the adverse weather, presented the course in immaculate condition. “It was in incredibly good shape,” said Williams, who is hoping to make his debut at the British Seniors Amateur Championship at Ganton in August. “The greens were rolling perfectly and were a delight to putt on, so the club deserves a great deal of credit.”
OVERALL FINAL RESULTS 1 Doug Williams#
2= Nicky Au
4 Akiyoshi Kubota^
5 Joe Pethes
6 William Chung
7= Lee Kab-soo
10 Chan Yuen-kow
Notes: # denotes 55-59 age division winner * denotes 60-64 age division winner ^ denotes 65-69 age division winner Hau Wing-wah was crowned 70 & over division winner
Hong Kong Golf Club member Doug Williams has enjoyed a brilliant first 12 months on the senior amateur circuit
EVENTS | TURKISH AIRLINES WORLD GOLF CUP
TURKISH DELIGHT The 16th of April saw the inaugural Hong Kong qualifying leg of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup, a global series of amateur events, take place at Discovery Bay Golf Club. Under leaden skies, over fifty of the award-winning carrier’s clients took to the course with two places in November’s Grand Final, to be played in Belek in the popular tourism region of Antalya, at stake. With the fairways in fine shape and the greens running smooth, low scoring was the order of the day. In Division One, which included players in the 0-18 handicap range, Terence Lau made a mockery of his 17 handicap to record 43 stableford points and secure his (business class) seat on the plane to Turkey. Lau finished two points ahead of Wang Yingrong in second place, with Huang Wen-jian a further point back in third. It was just as close in Division Two (handicaps 19-30.4) with Freddy Yip joining Lau in the Grand Final following his 36-point haul. Yip edged past David Leung and Tim Hannan, in second and third spot respectively, by just a solitary point. A blistering back-nine earned Lawrence Pui the day’s low gross honours. The six-handicapper, a golf commentator for Now TV, roared home brilliantly, playing the closing stretch in three-under-par for a round of 75. His reward: a handsome trophy presented by Turkish Airlines’ Hong Kong General Manager Akin Carkci. For more information about the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup, which includes 50 qualifying events in 35 different countries, visit golf. turkishairlines.com
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US OPEN PREVIEW
Path Less Travelled This month sees not one but two US Opens taking place over a radically remodelled Pinehurst No 2. Paul Prendergast takes a look at the changes and examines the USGA’s new strategy when it comes to America’s national championships. Images courtesy of the USGA
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Sand and scrub, rather than thick rough, characterise the new-look No 2 course at Pinehurst
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The revered Donald Ross-designed layout that Stewart, Mickelson and a 23-year-old Tiger Woods (who finished tied for third) faced in 1999 was set up in typical USGA fashion: par-5s turned into lengthy par-4s and choking wallto-wall Bermuda rough made even more unplayable by the wet conditions.
Payne Stewart celebrates holing the winning putt at the 1999 US Open, an event which saw him triumph by a shot from Phil Mickelson 62
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n terms of course set-up, ‘rough’ immediately springs to mind when discussing the US Open. As such, it’s easy to conjure up images of corridorwidth fairways, callisthenic manoeuvres from the world’s best to advance the ball from the tall grass, and over-par scores on the leader boards. Even in recent times, which has seen the USGA add rather more elements of playability to proceedings, America’s national championship has been a battle of attrition. But wait! If your memory extends to the past two US Opens to have been played at Pinehurst’s venerable No 2 course, in 1999 and 2005, you won’t believe the transformation that has occurred for this year’s edition. In 1999, Payne Stewart holed an 18-footer on the final green for par to hold off Phil Mickelson to claim his second US Open by a single stroke. In drizzly final-round conditions, the victory was memorable in that the sartorially elegant Stewart decided to eschew fashion for practicality by tearing off the sleeves off his rain jacket. The image of Stewart, who would tragically lose his life just months later in a plane crash, celebrating the putt with a balletic fist-thrust, has appropriately since been captured in a statue by the clubhouse. The revered Donald Ross-designed layout that Stewart, Mickelson and a 23-year-old Tiger
Woods (who finished tied for third) faced that year was set up in typical USGA fashion: par-5s turned into lengthy par-4s and choking wall-towall Bermuda rough made even more unplayable by the wet conditions. A dearth of red numbers resulted, as players struggled to find the slivers of short grass and gulped in trepidation if anything strayed even marginally. Michael Campbell’s unlikely triumph in 2005 was much the same. But what a difference a decade makes! Not only has the course been remodelled by the illustrious pair of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, who is eloquently quoted as saying it was an honour to be entrusted with the opportunity to restore the layout to its early-day characteristics, but so too has the set-up philosophy of the USGA been transformed. The 12-month Coore and Crenshaw undertaking was completed in early 2011 and proved to be as significant as it had been dramatic. Not one hole was left unaffected. Every fairway was widened by as much as half and all the rough was removed, with just two heights of grass established – “greens and everything else”. Twenty-six acres of turf was removed to uncover the course’s original sandy base, natural wire grass areas were planted, while bunkers were either removed or restored based on aerial images of the HKGOLFER.COM
Stewart, who would die in a plane crash just months after his US Open triumph, is immortalised by this statue outside the Pinehurst clubhouse (top); Tiger Woods and Michael Campbell after the latter's win at Pinehurst in 2005 64
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course from over 70 years ago. Of course, with any modern renovation, new tees were added to stretch the championship length to a brawny 7,565 yards. Most interestingly, 650 irrigation sprinkler heads were removed and a centreline irrigation system was restored. The decision to only irrigate fairways and greens – i.e. the centre of the course – while leaving the surrounds to naturally adapt, has restored a rustic look that is in keeping with the surrounding sandy hillside terrain. Pinehurst’s appearance and playing characteristics underlines a strong message for the game in general, one that the USGA committed themselves to promoting four years ago. “It’s a throwback to the old days and the idea of ‘maintenance up the middle’,” Executive Director Mike Davis said at the USGA’s annual meeting in February. “This is a major focus of our Green Section. Maintain the middle of the golf course and spend less time and money on irrigation, fertilizer and fungicides in the roughs.” In 2010, the USGA announced its intentions to promote more natural-looking golf courses that rely less on artificial ‘modern’ irrigation and maintenance methods. “Go back to the way golf used to be played,” Davis continued. “You use less resources and you reduce the cost. You just hope around the world, people will look at this golf course and say, ‘It doesn’t have to be lush and green‘.” Davis emphasised, not for the first time, that, “Maintenance up the middle is a great message for the game,” and the 114th US Open at Pinehurst will be the USGA’s most high profile canvass for that message. It helps their cause too that this Open has historical significance written
all over it, as a now older (and wiser) Mickelson, with the career grand slam at stake, will be bidding for the one major title that has so far eluded him. The intrigue created by the new look to a masterpiece of United States golf, coupled with the prospect of America’s most popular golfer achieving a career-defining moment that will attract global attention, should be enough in most people’s assessment for the USGA to be more than content with this year. Not so. The USGA’s current innovative streak seem to hold no bounds as the eyes of the world will also be trained on not just one but two United States Open Championships in consecutive weeks. In a concept proposed, endorsed and announced in 2009, the USGA will host the Opens of the men’s and women’s game back-toback at Pinehurst No 2. “With any innovation there is always some risk,” Davis said recently. “But we thought there was more upside than potential downside. It would be an opportunity to showcase the best men and the best women in back-to-back weeks, and there is a secondary interest here in showcasing women’s golf. “I’m a big believer the women never get enough credit. They can really play. I have come to realize how very, very good they are. This will give them an opportunity showcase their skills, and I think playing the week after the men on the same golf course will draw some people to watch that wouldn’t otherwise.” Davis’ gushing praise for the quality of the women’s game did little to hose down the concerns expressed to him in no uncertain terms when he addressed players at the LPGA Founder’s HKGOLFER.COM
With any innovation there is always some risk,” Davis said recently. “But we thought there was more upside than potential downside. It would be an opportunity to showcase the best men and the best women in back-to-back weeks, and there is a secondary interest here in showcasing women’s golf.” Cup tournament in Phoenix this March. Although the dual-US Open announcement was made nearly five years ago, the reality of the situation seems to have set in only now – with course conditions being the focal point of player concerns, given the men will play their Open first. Davis has said the scheduling of the men’s Open first up was with agronomical logistics in mind, as the USGA wants the greens to play firmer for the men than the women and that it’s easier to soften the greens from one week to the next than the reverse. Green speeds during both weeks will measure around 11.5 on the Stimpmeter, slower than most Open setups but in keeping with the size and undulation of the green complexes at Pinehurst. The course will play nearly nine hundred yards shorter for the women. This set-up will ensure landing areas on most holes will be further down the fairway for the women than the men, which Davis suggests should alleviate the expressed concerns the women had of having to play from fairways riddled with divots from the men’s Open. “First of all, Bermuda grass divots are not as big an issue as with bent,” Davis said. “At other Opens, we’ve had the public playing Pebble Beach right up to the championship and there are divots HKGOLFER.COM
all over the place. In reality, they’re just a part of the game.” These US Opens will certainly be unique and absorbing viewing for those with an interest in golf course architecture and strategy, and from a pure theatrical perspective, the ‘MickelSlam’ opportunity alone provides great interest. This tantalising scenario was set up by the 43-year-old’s maiden Open Championship win at Muirfield last year and will justifiably dominate the event’s build-up, but what will this architectural masterpiece and radically different USGA setup throw up in terms of contenders this year? Defending champion Justin Rose won at a difficult, more typical set-up at Merion last time around, an event that placed a premium on all facets of his game, most notably his patience. The Merion test also identified challengers of the highest calibre in runners-up Mickelson and Australia’s Jason Day, with soon-to-be US PGA champion Jason Dufner and four-time major winner Ernie Els hot on their heels. Will this year’s more ‘open’ Open aid and abet the cream to rise to the top? Wider fairways may tempt more players into hitting drivers, but this also heightens the risk of bad or downright ugly lies from the waste areas and wire grass should the course play in a firm and fast manner as is hoped. It will be fascinating to see if the shortlist of potential winners will be expanded or contracted by the course setup and if the USGA’s time-honoured intention of identifying the best player will be affirmed or eroded by such a diversion from their norm. Pinehurst 2014 will be as far from ‘formulaic’ and in that sense, it’s significant that there was nothing formulaic about a Payne Stewart, nor a Phil Mickelson. Players we’ve been drawn to, admired, been exhilarated by and who brought a point of difference and charisma to the game. These two championships over a renewed classic in Pinehurst No 2 promise much of the same. We may not believe our eyes. HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
GOLF ATRAVEL Player’s Guide
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Andrew Marshall takes a look at what he deems to be the most fun par-3s in the British Isles.
The picturesque 14th at Doonbeg can play anywhere between a sand wedge and a 5-iron depending on the wind HKGOLFER.COM
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very golfer loves a great par3; there is something magical about hitting a crisp wedge close to the pin on a short hole or a towering hybrid to the green on a long one. Par-3s are often the most picturesque holes on a course and in many cases the most difficult ones. Whether it’s an elevated tee, a heart-pumping carry over a lake, a hidden green or one encircled by deep pot bunkers – making par is something to cherish. What follows, are a dozen memorable par-3s throughout the British Isles. Some have earned their reputation as classic and influential holes, while others are just waiting to be played on your next golf trip away.
The Fourth at Castle Stuart
Clockwise from top: the lovely fourth at Castle Stuart, a threetime host of the Scottish Open; the heavily bunkered sixth at Royal Portrush; the rather more modern London Golf Club and its 12th hole; Whinny Brae, the charming sixth at Royal Dornoch in the Scottish Highlands 68
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The recent home to the Scottish Open, Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness is the course where Phil Mickleson won an exciting sudden death play-off against South Africa’s Branden Grace to win last year’s title. This top-drawer layout with links characteristics that overlooks the Moray Firth is a delight to play, offering beautiful views and endless photo opportunities. You will be reaching for the camera rather than a club at the 191-yard fourth, played towards the beautiful Castle Stuart and the inspiration for the course name. It’s a really super short hole whose glorious location just gets better as you approach the green. castlestuartgolf.com HKGOLFER.COM
The Sixth at Royal Dornoch At 161 yards Whinny Brae isn’t the longest, but it’s probably the most difficult of the par-3s on the Royal Dornoch Championship Course. While the others are all raised plateau greens, the left hand side of the sixth has a steep hillside going up from the putting surface that is covered in whin bushes. With this being the narrowest green on the course, finding the target requires great control over distance and line as missing on either side exacts a severe penalty. Many who bail out to the right are faced with a steep uphill pitch of over 15 feet; getting up and down from there is no mean feat. The preferred option for many – admittedly older – members is to take a club less than required, and back yourself to pitch and putt from the front to save par. royaldornoch.com
The Seventh at Royal Porthcawl Consistently ranked as one of the top 100 golf courses in the world, the venue for the 2014 Senior British Open is as traditional a links course as you will find anywhere. The shortest hole on this demanding layout is the seventh (122 yards from the championship tees) and is Royal Porthcawl’s answer to Royal Troon’s more famous Postage Stamp. While the hole is undeniably short in stature, it is also treacherous with a narrow entrance to an equally shallow putting surface that is well guarded by small hillocks and a necklace of six pot bunkers. Land in one of these and making bogey, let alone par, will be far from easy. royalporthcawl.com
The Eleventh at Askernish Remote Askernish Old, on the Hebridean island of South Uist, is the kind of course where you can imagine following in the footsteps of the Scottish forefathers who strode the sheep-cropped turf with a few hickories and a pocketful of gutta perchas. First laid out by ‘Old’ Tom Morris in 1891, in recent years it has been unearthed and traditionally restored to its former glory. It’s thought that when ‘Old’ Tom came to Askernish, the 11th was designed as a par-4 with the green positioned out into the sea. Over the coming decades coastal erosion claimed the green leaving the hole as the challenging 197yard par-3 it is today. Played over a deep gully and directly into a sea wind, when you stand on the tee of Barra Sight, it looks like you are hitting straight into the Atlantic Ocean – too much of a slice and you are! askernishgolfclub.com HKGOLFER.COM
The Twelfth at the London Golf Club Two quality championship courses designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus make up the London Golf Club, which is located to the south of the English capital: the tougher parkland Heritage Course (that is reserved for members and their guests) and The International, an inland links that offers a good test for visitors. The course features several daunting shots over water, including the nerve-jangler from the elevated tee of the 190-yard par-3 12th. The hole plays over a lake onto an elongated slanted green held back with railroad ties. A deceptively tricky hole, this has claimed many a victim. londongolf.co.uk HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
Clockwise from top: the Camel Estuary forms an idyllic backdrop at St Enodoc's 15th hole; the 11th hole at remote Askernish; the links at Carne, situated on the west coast of Ireland, features some of the biggest dunes in the game – here at the 16th
The Thirteenth at Dunstanburgh Castle With the beautiful sweep of Embleton Bay and the ancient ruins of the 14th Century Dunstanburgh Castle always in view, no golfer could wish to play in better surroundings than this outstanding Northumberland links designed by James Braid in 1877. The best moment comes at the far end of the course on the 135-yard par-3 13th, aptly named Castle, where the ancient ruins of Dunstanburgh form an atmospheric backdrop, framed perfectly high up on a cliff teeming with birdlife. A sweetly struck 8 or 9-iron should do the trick here on what is surely one of the most evocative short holes in the British Isles. dunstanburgh.com 70
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The Fourteenth at Doonbeg Depending on the ocean breezes, it can require anything from a sand wedge to a 5-iron at Doonbeg’s picture-postcard hole, the spectacular 111-yard par-3 14th - arguably the most sensational short hole in Ireland, with an unforgettable view extending all the way to the far peninsula. The hole requires a precise strike with just the right club. Go right and you are down the bank – too far left and you are also in for a difficult, blind recovery shot to find the putting surface. The short 14th is just one of many standout holes on this superb Greg Norman design in County Clare. doonbeglodge.com HKGOLFER.COM
The Fourteenth at Royal Portrush There are plenty of great holes on this Harry Colt classic, which many feel should be on the Open Championship rota of courses, but there is one that will be etched in the memory long after you leave. This is the 210-yard par-3 14th known as Calamity, whose reputation has travelled far and wide. It calls for an accurate long iron or fairway metal shot that must not go right. To slice or push the ball will earn you an almost sure double bogey, because the links land falls away severely down a steep slope. Take plenty of club and hit to the back left of the green. Don’t be ashamed of taking a four at Calamity - threes are as rare as an unfriendly Irishman. royalportrushgolfclub.com
The Fifteenth at St Enodoc Many golfers will have heard of St Enodoc Golf Club in Cornwall, but not all will have been fortunate to make the pilgrimage to play this James Braid gem. Although there are many terrific holes at St Enodoc, the 168-yard 15th is up there with the best in the southwest, and the start of a strong finish. A deep ravine lies between the tee and the green on this beautiful downhill par-3, and anything slightly mishit or under-clubbed is destined to be in the bottom of it. The wonderful views of the Camel Estuary from the tee as you prepare to hit off is worth the green fee alone. st-enodoc.co.uk
The Sixteenth at Carne It may be a long way from anywhere, but that’s the special charm of Carne Golf Links on the west coast of the Ireland. Here, you enjoy a feeling of isolation because of the distinctly divided fairways that twist and turn through the hilly landscape, and the way the greens reveal themselves like emerald islands nestling among the dunes. Carne’s signature par-3 is Magarlín, the 154-yard 16th that drops steeply from an elevated tee to a green encircled by dunes. It’s a classic oneshot hole that typifies this wild and rugged layout and makes a lasting impression on all that play it. carnegolflinks.com
The Sixteenth at Old Head Built on a 220-acre diamond of land, jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Old Head has developed into one of the planet’s must plays. With the ever-changing sea breezes, and over 7,200 yards in length from the tips, the course provides a challenge for players of all HKGOLFER.COM
levels. Nine of the holes play along the cliff tops, and all eighteen holes provide stunning ocean views. The pick of the short holes is Coosgorm, a top notch 186yard par-3 set tight to the ocean. With the coast and water’s edge to the right, the left side is a popular choice, but not always a rewarding one. Wind always plays a key part in club selection here. oldhead.com
The Seventeenth at Halifax Situated near Haworth in Yorkshire’s Bronte country, Halifax Golf Club (also known as Ogden) boasts one of the finest moorland courses in the British Isles with a top-drawer par-3 to match. Created in the early 20th Century by fivetime Open champion James Braid, the first dozen holes present a steady climb up a valley, with the 13th through 16th holes sitting on a plateau affording spectacular views. After the 16th there is nowhere to go but down, and the par-3 17th, aptly named Bagott’s Leap, is Ogden’s most famous hole. Played from high up with a dramatic drop to the green, club selection is of paramount importance to negotiate its 176 yards. If you get it right, it’s a good birdie chance. Fun! halifaxgolfclub.co.uk HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
TRAVEL | SPECIAL
AN HISTORICAL STAY THE KING HOTEL AT DRAGON LAKE GOLF CLUB IS THE FIRST GOLF MUSEUM-THEMED HOTEL IN ASIA.
n many ways, the most high-profile golf clubs in China have taken golf the game new level. Take, for instance, Dragon Lake Golf Club, a fine 45-hole complex situated in Guangzhou's picturesque hinterland that hosted last year's Royal Trophy. The club's newly-opened King Hotel is the first golf museum-themed hotel in Asia. The hotel ,which consists of 61 guestrooms on four floors, is divided into four 'zones': the main exhibition area detailing the origins of the game and a golf-themed restaurant are located on the first floor, the second floor is home to a Ryder Cup gallery; the third floor is devoted to the Masters Tournament, while all things Open Championship take pride of place on the fourth. Four room types are available – junior suite, superior suite, villa suite and presidential suite. The museum displays thousands of golf antiques – from equipment to clothing, trophies, paintings and photos. But the questions remains: why? Golf museums can be found in the game's traditional heartlands of the British Isles and the United States, but China ... Well, says Dragon Lake, it's all about creating a unique experience and providing a deeper understanding of golf history to its visitors. The club wants its guests to enjoy its nicely manicured courses but also learn more about the origins and culture of the game, so "that they further love and respect the sport". For more information visit dragonlake.com.cn
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PLAYER PROFILE | SCOTT HEND
Paul Myers profiles the long-hitting Scott Hend, who has been making waves on both sides of the Pacific over the past 12 months.
m ong international professional golfers, Scott Hend may be the game’s ultimate traveller. The Florida-based Australian native, who was second on the Asian Tour’s money list last year, splits his time between his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, the Web.com and Asian tours and leading tournaments in Australia if time allows. In an era when many golf pros are reducing their travel to concentrate on only one tour, 40-year-old Hend gets on and off planes – economy class much of the time – to ply his wares across the globe. But there’s a clear goal behind his self-imposed gruelling travel schedule: to get back into the world’s top 100 players and, in the short term, to become eligible for the US PGA Championship in August. By the end of the 2014 season he hopes to have made enough money to qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals (a four-event series that follows the conclusion of the regular season), when 25 PGA Tour cards are on offer for the new season commencing in October. It would be familiar territory for the native of Townsville in North Queensland, who won almost US$1 million in prize money on the PGA Tour between 2004 and 2006 and has played the Asian Tour since 2007, when he was Rookie of the Year. He has played in three US Opens, finishing 32nd in 2006, and one Open Championship. Hend, a down-to-earth realist, believes he has a good chance of achieving his two major goals. With 10 professional wins under his belt, including three in Asia last year, he feels his game is again good enough to compete with the HKGOLFER.COM
world’s best. He puts his resurgence down to improved health after a thyroid operation in 2013. “It’s dietary and physical and getting the right chemical balance,” he explains. “I’ve worked hard at achieving this and feel my health and my game are now back to where I can perform well again.” W it h t h e 2 014 A s i a n To u r commencing in Kuala Lumpur in April, Hend made the 20-hour trip from Florida to Bangkok before heading to the Malaysian capital for the Maybank Malaysia Open, where he finished equal 18th in a highcalibre f ield behind the winner, Lee Westwood. Two weeks later he finished 24th in The Championship, played in Singapore. After several more weeks playing the Asian Tour, he’ll head back to his family in the US and rejoin the Web.com Tour. Even if he does become eligible for the PGA Tour next year or sometime down the track, Hend, officially the longest driver on the Asian Tour (where he averages over 307 yards), says he will always have an allegiance to the Asian Tour. “You have to show loyalty to the tours that enabled you to get where you are in golf,” he says. “I feel a strong loyalty to the Asian Tour, which is why I play as many tournaments in Asia as I can.” But he has doubts about the wisdom of the PGA Tour’s entry into China, where a dozen events are being played between March and December. “China used to have OneAsia Tour events; now it has gone to the PGA Tour. This is a threat to both the Asia and European tours. I think this shows how fragile these tours are,” he says. Hend, who along with 1985 Open and 1988 US Masters winner Sandy Lyle, is sponsored by Thai apparel company, Fenix Golf, and a Korean health food company, Bacchus. “Fenix makes really good golf clothing,” he says. “I’m very impressed with it. I think as a sports apparel company, it will go a long way. HK GOLFER・JUN 2014
PROPERTY | SPECIAL
VANITY OR SANITY RUPERT SMITH OF COMPLETE RPI TALKS LETTING AGENTS, FURNISHING AND INSURANCE IN HIS LATEST COLUMN ON UK PROPERTY INVESTMENT.
y 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.
HOW DO I APPOINT MY LETTING AGENT? Now there is the million dollar question! Whether appointing an agent for letting or sale typically this decision has been made purely based upon either location relative to the property itself or referral from the developer who sold the property. Word to the wise: neither option in my view is very strategic or standalone, nor does it offer the right amount of exposure from a marketing perspective. The estate agent closest to the property is handy for viewings and may well know his local market; however, it’s doubtful that they will be able to offer the property the exposure it rightly deserves from either a sales or letting perspective. I have attended many property exhibitions over the years and my mind continues to boggle when it comes to appointing an agent. Poor unsuspecting investors part with their hard earned cash and are herded in the direction of the “preferred” agent at the back of the room. I don’t care how good an agent thinks he is but if they are attempting to let, often in excess of 100 properties at a time in the same development, there will be trouble. Our approach at CRPI is fundamentally different. Why of course it is I hear you cry as I try to sell you you my wares but rest assured it really is and indeed it is proven more to the point. I took the view as an investor that when attempting to source a suitable tenant, exposure to the maximum audience is key. With the advent of the internet and many property portals there is no doubt that the marketing of property reaches a wider audience than it used too. However, good old fashioned completion really does work wonders. CRPI will firstly market the property to a global database of corporate employers whom we house already, then relocation agents and then we shall appoint multiple estate agents nationwide. The reality is in this day and age the tenant may well come from overseas and/or have relocated from another part of the UK. In essence we offer the property to the entire marketplace of which the net result is a better quality occupant paying an optimum rental. CRPI interface with all third parties therefore the client has a single point of contact at CRPI, rather than having to interface with multiple agents. Furthermore we consolidate our clients’ portfolio as we let and manage property anywhere in the UK. Most of our investors own more than one UK property (albeit we are happy to act for just the one) and the common statement of “dealing with estate agents is very taxing” continues to ring in my ears! The marketplace has changed dramatically as has indeed has the business of estate agency. My view from a letting’s perspective is to create as much marketing exposure as you can, especially in today’s market. By way of reference CRPI manage over 1,000 properties in the UK and we currently stand at 98% occupancy, not just because we are brilliant but market forces are unlike any I have experienced in nearly 30 years of being in the industry. When appointing an agent for sale you generally pay a reduced fee for exclusivity, circa 1.5 – 2% sole agency and 2.5 – 3% multiple agency; my point being this does
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It is highly recommended to obtain rental guarantee insurance, and here at CRPI this comes as standard and free to all clients in the first year of every new tenancy. not apply when appointing your agent to let, therefore why not maximise your exposure? By way of example, only this month we marketed a client’s fairly normal one-bedroom apartment in Surrey, which we had taken to the market and ended up having six estate agents bidding on. We made the decision to take the property to a “sealed bid” (we gave all interested parties a timeline to submit best and final offers) and the property was let for in excess of the asking price on very favourable terms – the full term rent was paid in advance, thank you very much! One final note on this topic. “The bigger the better ?” Not necessarily. It’s all well and good appointing an agent with national coverage, offices worldwide etc. But in my experience, in this industry the smaller agents are more hungry for the business. Always look out for accreditation; it is good practice like most professional organisations to have this. Look out to see if your agent is a member of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents), OFT (Office of Fair Trading), TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) DPS (Deposit Protection Service) and TPO (The Property Ombudsman).
I SHALL FURNISH YOU WITH SOME ADVICE It makes me weep every time I speak to a poor unsuspecting investor who has acquired a furnishing pack. Unlike the majority of Europe, the UK seems still intent of furnishing property to let; however, you really don’t receive a premium for the very expensive privilege! There is simply no need to provide a fork, spoon, ironing board and random wall art unless you, the person paying, is receiving a premium for doing so.
The best advice I can give you is buyer beware and use this contentious topic as a form of negotiation at the time a tenant has been identified. Furnishing can be installed with a few days’ notice and the price can vary tremendously. I am firmly of that the view that less is certainly more and invariably future tenants will want some furnishing removed or added to at some point which proves complicated. I agree that in the event a prospective tenant has the option of either a fully furnished property with all the bells and whistles versus an unfurnished property, then the former is more attractive. That said it does not mean you have to acquire the furnishing prior to letting! If the property is offered to the market on an either or basis this is without doubt a more cost effective and logical approach. In my experience a tenant will always want more than they actually need. Case study: we recently let a central London apartment for a client who was about to pay in excess of £6,000 for a very basic package on the advice of his agent (who dare I say it had an interest to declare, as referral for furnishing packages can be very lucrative!). We advised not to carry the upfront cost and wait until a tenant expressed an interest. When a tenant was found by CRPI they did require a sofa, bed, mattress and dining table, at which point we negotiated very favourable tenancy terms and 12 months’ rent up front. Had the furniture package already been installed with many items not required this negotiation could not have taken place. I rest my case. Furnishing lecture over.
INSURANCE MATTERS The last topic of this month’s article relates to insurance, both contents and rental guarantee. Contents to begin: it is highly recommended to put in place a contents and accidental damage insurance policy, which generally speaking cost somewhere in the region of £200 per annum for £10,000 worth of cover. Bear in mind that even if a property is unfurnished it is wise to have the cover as the general fabric of the property could be costly to repair or replace, such as windows, bathroom suits etc. This cover is taken in addition to any tenants’ deposit which is generally equal to six weeks rental. Why? Well in the event the tenant decides not to pay his last month’s rental then there simply may not be enough protection in place. “Belt and braces” yes, but wise in my experience. Do not mistake this insurance with buildings insurance which is normally paid through your service charge and merely protects the actual building itself against flood, fire, movement etc. Furthermore, content’s insurance for rental HKGOLFER.COM
property is specific as many insurers will not offer this. CRPI are able to introduce a numbers of insurers who can facilitate this. Rental guarantee insurance: whilst we have a stringent referencing process sometimes tenants fall into difficulty and are unable to meet there financial obligations. As we all know, circumstances can change. Again, it is highly recommended to obtain rental guarantee insurance and here at CRPI this comes as standard and free to all clients in the first year of every new tenancy. This insurance will cover loss of rental income and will pay out immediately upon the occupant falling a total of 60 days in arrears. So by way of example, if your tenant had signed a 12 month contract and fallen into arrears in month three you will receive the balance on rental due for the term of the agreement, 9 months. The typical cost of this premium is circa £160 per annum with no excess. CRPI have a bespoke product and can facilitate this for any tenancy, even if not under management, subject to references. Next month I shall be addressing topical issues such as gearing, rent levels, corporate tenancy and inventory / property inspection. Should you wish to get in touch or have any questions please do visit us at 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."
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CLUBHOUSE | STYLE SPECIAL
THE LOUIS CARTIER COLLECTION MASCULINE FINE LEATHER GOODS FROM THE LEGENDARY HOUSE OF CARTIER.
he Louis Car tier collection is named after that Parisian creator of genius, an artistic adventurer who was in touch with the world and its developments, but who also had a dreaming, fantastical and elegant side which paved the way for countless possibilities. A role model? Rather a source of inspiration thanks to his allure and his innate feeling for detail that was always up to date.
MANIFESTLY ELEGANT Louis Cartier, pictured here sailing on Lake Geneva in 1905 (top); the fine leather goods, including the Louis Cartier Bag and Briefcase, that bear his name (right) 78
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In the world of Cartier men’s accessories, skins and leather are materials that must be experienced, seen and touched. The Cartier signature marks every object it chooses, thus affirming content and form, spirit and material. With Cartier leathers, this signature is present
right from the conception of Fine Leather Goods. Elegant and understated, the bags in the collection of Fine Leather Goods for men celebrate the luxury of connoisseurs, perfect for here or elsewhere, always in search of both distant horizons and refined finishes that create a signature allure. These are objects of style with crisp lines adorned with an infinite number of details. Fine Leather Goods bear the patina of high standards of quality, crafted from excellent skins that are raw-edged and hot-threaded. The same standards also apply to comfort, with dimensions designed for living – to the point that they are almost forgotten. Always at the forefront is elegance – that of finishes so well traced that they are almost motifs.
THE ANATOMY OF A STYLE
A bag that is part luggage, to be carried in the hand and crafted from caramel-coloured full grain leather. From morning to evening, from one day to the next, this supple and generous duffel-style bag is ready to go. This workshopcrafted Fine Leather Goods creation is a feast for the eyes, displaying apparent minimalism in its raw edges, rigid handles, hand-sewn bar tack and saddle stitching.
Elegant and understated, the bags in the collection for men celebrate the luxury of connoisseurs The work of an aesthete, its intelligence lies in the originality of its gusseted sides, designed to open and provide more space. Could this be the legacy left to us by Louis Cartier, to reconcile the practical with the aesthetic for the ultimate expression of elegance? T h e h o r i zo nt al shap e is simp l e an d sumptuously set off by the matt aspect of the natural leather used throughout. Nothing to interrupt the sleek lines save a diamond-shaped signature, an openwork metal fastening and a gusset disguised as a crease, traced by two dotted lines of saddle stitching. Its creation required craftsmen to carry out a thousand and one actions, from making the pattern to cutting out the skins: exceptional leathers chosen for their great suppleness and their fine hand. Gluing, attaching, hammering, buffing and stitching all contribute to Fine Leather Goods in the great tradition of excellent craftsmanship dedicated to travel.
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CROSSWORD | US OPEN
Compiled by Dr Milton Wayne
US OPEN BACK-TO-BACK BRAINTEASER
1. 4. 5. 6. 7. 9. 13. 14. 17. 18. 20. 21. 22. 23. 26. 27. 28. 29.
1. 2. 3. 4. 8. 10. 11. 12. 15. 16. 17. 19. 24. 25.
Inter-continental contest held at this year’s US Open venue in 1951 (5,3) See 15D (& 19D) 2014 home state (5,8) See 20A (& 13A) Legend with most PGA Tour wins who declared, “Number 2 is my number one course” (3,5) (& 16D) Holed famous putt to win in 1999 (5,7) See 7A Resort (pictured) hosting this year’s US Open and US Women’s Open (9) See 4D See 24D (& 6A) Oldest champion, at 45, in 1990 (4, 5) Number of courses at the resort (5) (& 1D) Legendary designer of the Number 2 course (6,4) See 28A (& 3D) Reigning men’s champion (6,4) (& 25D) Lost out in 2005 (5,5) (& 23A) Youngest ever winner (6,9) Paternal day for final round (7)
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See 22A See 17D See 26A (& 17A) Had his first second-place finish (of six) here in 1999 (4,9) See 10D (& 8D) Only player to win three consecutive US Opens (6,8) Denny, winner here in the 1936 PGA Championship (5) Gentle Ben, one half of design team who remodelled the course (8) (& 4A) Reigning women’s champion (5,4) See 9A (& 2D) Kiwi winner here in 2005 (7,8) See 5A (&18A) Popular Scot with no major wins, but three runner-up finishes (5,11) See 27A
WIN A SIGNED LEE WYBRANSKI POSTER! To enter, complete the crossoword and send a scan or photo of the completed grid to Crossword@HKGolfer.com, with “June Crossword” as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and contact number. Entries close on 15 July. ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES. Congratulations to Aileen Lloyd who won the April crossword.
APRIL ANSWERS Detail of Wybranski’s poster of The Road Hole at St Andrews
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Kiradech Aphibarnrat The Asian Tour’s reigning Order of Merit champion shares how his ‘Team Kiradech’ fan shirt club came about, his experience of playing in the EurAsia Cup and where he gets his power from. What’s the most memorable moment of your career so far? It has to be the recent EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM (pictured)! Team Asia had a great comeback to tie with Team Europe on the final day. It was like a miracle! It was a really big event and I am happy to be part of it. I gained a lot of experience, which helps a lot in my game. What do you do to relax when you’re home? I love to hang out with my friends. We will usually go for karaoke sessions and watch movies. I also try to spend time with my family. The funniest thing a golfer or golf fan has said or done to you? When I was playing in a local event last year, I saw a fan wearing a specially designed shirt with a cartoon of myself on it! The shirt also has ‘Team Kiradech’ printed on it. I went up to him and asked if it’s me on his shirt and both of us laughed. Since then, it has become my fan club shirt! What’s your favourite club in the bag? My driver! What’s your favourite movie? The Fast and the Furious. The full series! Paul Lakatos / Asian Tour (Aphibarnrat); AFP (Phatlum)
Who is your favourite female golfer? This is a tough question! I know the Thai female golfers quite well, like Pornanong Phatlum (pictured). There are a lot of young and talented female golfers coming up in Thailand. What’s your favourite food on Tour? Most of the time I will be having rice! I believe it gives me power and the energy I need. One sentence to describe the Asian Tour? It is the Tour where I was born. Who’s your favourite superhero? If I had to choose, it would be Spiderman. 82
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What are your favourite sports apart from golf? I love all kinds of sports, especially soccer and car-racing. What’s better for you? A hole in one or loads of birdies? I will go for a hole-in-one because you may get a car sometimes! Who knows? If you cook, what’s the best dish you can make? I hardly cook but I can do it if I want to. My best dish is fried vegetables! HKGOLFER.COM
Available in Hong Kong through the HK Golfer Store.Â Visit hkgolfer.com