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Clubhouse: The all-new Aston Martin DB10 – James Bond’s car of choice

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION VOTED THE REGION’S NO 1 GOLF MAGAZINE

ISSUE 96

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| CONTENTS

HK Golfer Issue 96

January 2015

38 On the Cover:

Jordan Spieth is one of several young guns looking to make a big impact in 2015. Photo by AFP

Features

Plus…

38 | Tales from the Box

25 | Tee Time

Will Tiger finally rediscover his Major-winning form? Can McIlroy seal his career grand slam? Our correspondent makes his predictions for the season ahead. By Julian Tutt

42 | Que Seeks Redemption

Angelo Que is hoping to go one better at this month’s Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship after his heartbreaking playoff loss at the 2014 Hong Kong Open. By Alex Jenkins

44 | Cover Story

An examination of the young players who appear destined to make a bid for stardom in 2015. By Lewine Mair

56 | New Year, New Gear

The new 915 line from Titleist – which includes drivers, fairway woods and hybrids – has been built for distance without compromise. By Alex Jenkins

58 | The Sultanate of Swing AFP (Woods); Daniel Wong (Tang)

Brunei might not be everyone’s first choice for a trip with clubs in tow. But if you’re looking for laid-back experience on first-rate courses, this tiny nation, a short flight from Hong Kong, certainly merits attention. By Duncan Forgan

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HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

62 | Driving Force

We talk to Commissioner Mike Whan, the man behind the LPGA Tour’s resurrection. By Paul Prendergast

A look at the revolutionary new Engineer II Magneto S from BALL Watch Company. By The Editors

28 | Tee Time Special

A work of art: the Ronde Louis Cartier Filigree Watch. By The Editors

30 | Liquid Assets

Burgundy’s 2013 vintage is upon us but thanks to biblical hailstorms it’s a mixed bag. By Lucy Jenkins

34 | Driving Range

An overview of what Aston Martin is lining up for 2015 and beyond – starting with the DB10, James Bond’s car of choice. By Ben Oliver

40 | By Design

Our architectural contributor pays homage to the Old Course at Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club, a timeless layout that is entirely devoid of bunkers. By Paul Jansen

68 | Crossword Rules special. By Dr Milton Wayne

70 | Final Shot

With Thailand Golf Championship winner Lee Westwood. Interview by Alex Jenkins HKGOLFER.COM


HK Golfer

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION JAN 2015 • Issue 96

Editor: Alex Jenkins email: alex.jenkins@hkgolfer.com Editorial Assistant: Cindy Kwok Playing Editor: Jean Van de Velde Senior Editor: Roy Kinnear Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Contributing Editors: Lewine Mair, Robert Lynam, Evan Rast, Ben Oliver, Julian Tutt Published by:

TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION Times International Creation Limited 10A Lockhart Centre 301-307 Lockhart Road Hong Kong Phone: +852 3590-4153 Fax: +852 3590-4533

58 D E PA R T M E N T S 12 Mailbag 14 Divots 18 Local Focus 20 Asia Focus 22 Global Focus

Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Art Director: Derek Hannah Assistant Designer: Mimi Cheng Office Manager: Moira Moran Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: ads@hkgolfer.com For purchasing information contact: sales@hkgolfer.com For subscription information contact: subs@hkgolfer.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: info@hkga.com handicaps@hkga.com In association with: www.thymedesign.hk

25 Clubhouse 48 Around the HKGA 50 Local News 52 HKGA Pairs Tournament 54 HKGA Golf Day 66 Property Special

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. 10

HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

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HK Golfer Mailbag the golf in Hong Kong is as good as I have enjoyed in my 20 years of playing the game – and I have travelled quite a lot to in pursuit of the game that I love. Hong Kong, for me, was a tremendously pleasant surprise. Best wishes,

Hong Kong’s courses are surprisingly world-class, writes Austrian reader Günther Staiger

Günter Staiger Vienna, Austria Editor's reply: Thanks for the message, Günther. I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed your time in Hong Kong – both on and off the golf course. You’re no means the first to be surprised that our city, a relatively small blip on the international golfing travel radar, is as you say: a great play to play golf. I hope you find time to take in the other two layouts at Fanling, the three fine nines at Discovery Bay Golf Club, the South Course at Kau Sai Chau and the fun nine holes at Nine Eagles – the other courses you can play here – on your return.

Golf in HK – Blew Me Away!

Alex Jenkins

I have just returned from a short trip to Hong Kong, where I was visiting family. Fortunately for me I was able to play golf at a number of courses whilst there – the New Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the North and East Courses at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau and Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club. This was my first visit to the city and I was surprised not only by the quality of the courses I played but also by the pace of play that I experienced at each. You don't necessarily equate great golf with Hong Kong, a city that is known throughout the world as one of the most fast-paced and built up on the planet. While the former is certainly true, the latter is certainly overstated. I was blown away by the landscapes of the New Territories and southern Hong Kong Island, which is far less populated than I realised. But in terms of golf, who knew that such wonderful courses existed there? Certainly not me! I was greatly impressed by all the courses I played – the diversity of all four was especially interesting, especially the seaside courses that are sensationally beautiful – and it seems to me that not enough is known about them (outside of Asia). Granted, I live in a country that is not itself particularly golf-orientated, but

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Tiger: Learn from Hogan I wish Tiger would take a leaf out of Ben Hogan’s book. In 1949, Hogan was in a devastating car accident, hit head on by a Greyhound bus, where he threw himself across in front of wife to protect her. He was shattered and in constant pain, but afterwards he changed not only his swing but also his schedule to reflect his new circumstances and won twice as many majors (six) after the accident than before (three). Surely for Tiger, there is a lesson to be learnt here. Max Lummis Shek O

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Have something to say about an article in HK Golfer or a topic affecting golf in our area? Send your thoughts and comments to letters@hkgolfer. com. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter (the first one that appears on the page) will receive a bottle of Champagne Deutz courtesy of Montrose Fine Wines.

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It was with little surprise that Rory McIlroy has been chosen as the European Tour player of 2014, capping a season in which he won two Majors, the Ryder Cup, and topped the money lists in Europe and the United States. McIlroy, the world number one, won his maiden Open title by two strokes over Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia at Royal Liverpool in July, and less than a month later earned a second US PGA Championship at Valhalla, finishing a shot clear of Phil Mickelson. Between McIlroy’s third and fourth major wins, the Northern Irishman won the World Golf Championship event at Firestone for the first time, again with a two-shot victory over Garcia. Overall, he took four big titles over three months, starting in May at the tour’s flagship event at Wentworth, where he edged Shane Lowry by a shot on a course where he missed the halfway cut the previous two years. That victory came days after cancelling a wedding and relationship with tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. At the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September, McIlroy won three points as Europe successfully defended the title. ‘’If I had won any one of those four titles it would have been a good year, but to win all four, to win The Race to Dubai, and to be part of another fantastic European victory in the Ryder Cup, means it is a great one,’’ McIlroy said. ‘’The European Tour has always been good to me, so it is always special to be recognized in this way.’’ HKGOLFER.COM


| DIVOTS

AFP

Lipsky Earns Asian Tour Order of Merit Title David Lipsky of the United States was crowned the 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion as his closest challenger Anirban Lahiri failed to narrow the gap at last month’s Thailand Golf Championship. The Korean-American waited anxiously in the clubhouse after he stumbled to a final round three-over-par 75 to finish in tied 38th position as Lahiri contended at the US$1 million Asian Tour event. The talented Indian needed at least a top-four result at the Thailand Golf Championship to extend the Order of Merit race to the season-ending Dubai Open but fell short of his target when he settled for tied sixth following a 73. Lipsky was delighted to end a successful year on a high note in a season where he became the first Asian Tour member to win at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland in September. He also enjoyed four other top-10 results including a second place finish at The Championship in Singapore in May. He finished atop the summit with earnings of US$713,901 while Lahiri placed second with US$602,833. Prom Meesawat of Thailand ended the year in third with winnings of US$532,471. “This win means a lot to me and I’m feeling a lot of pride. This is something which I aspired to do. Winning a co-sanction event and doing all this in one year is something which was unexpected because I did it so fast but now I know that if I play well, I can compete against the best.”

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Local Focus HKGA’s Great Day Out Hong Kong professional James Wong Woon-man and Kelvin Inge, Chairman of the HKGA Junior and International subcommittee, find something to laugh about during the inaugural HKGA Golf Day last month. The Golf Day, which was played in blustery conditions at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, featured a large field of guests and was hosted by the HKGA to thank its partners and patrons for their support during 2014. Hong Kong international Terrence Ng earned low gross score honours thanks to a solid performance in tricky conditions. Photo by Daniel Wong


Asia Focus China’s Li Headed to America Li Hai-tong, winner of the final two PGA Tour China Series’ tournaments, captured the Order of Merit title to earn status on the 2015 Web.com Tour. The 19-year-old Li, who lives in Shanghai, made his presence felt on the Tour from the outset of the inaugural season, but over the year’s final six weeks he’s been particularly dominant. “This is very exciting to me to know that I will play on the Web.com Tour next year,” said Li. “I think I had a very good season, and I know that the PGA TOUR China has really helped me in my preparation.” Photo by AFP


Global Focus Woods Returns to Action On his return to competitive play, Tiger Woods did little more than finish the Hero World Challenge in Florida last month, a tournament he was hosting. Woods, who was playing for the first time since he shot 74-74 to miss the cut at the US PGA Championship in August, battled through flu-like symptoms for much of the event and finished in joint last place alongside Hunter Mahan in the limited 18-man field. Woods’ performance was highlighted by some errant tee shots and some woeful chipping. Nevertheless, the 14-time Major champion reported he was pleased with some aspects of his game, saying “I’ve got my speed back now.” Photo by AFP


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CLUB

Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME

HAVING A BALL A LOOK AT THE REVOLUTIONARY NEW ENGINEER II MAGNETO S FROM BALL WATCH COMPANY. HKGOLFER.COM

HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

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protection against magnetic fields. Developed and patented by BALL Watch, the A-PROOF® device is a completely new approach to the protection of a mechanical movement. The preservation of the workings of a watch caliber requires it to be enclosed in a casing that protects against the influence of magnetic fields. BALL Watch equips its antimagnetic models with specially constructed stainless steel cases which resist ferrite corrosion. Until now, the anti-magnetic casing has taken the form of a soft iron inner structure, consisting of a rear plate and a ring surrounding the movement and the dial. Soft iron, reinforced by the shape of the inner case, channels the magnetic fields and prevents them from entering the movement, thus avoiding any adverse effect on the accuracy of the watch. This process helped endow the most highly-developed BALL timepieces with anti-magnetic protection guaranteed for up to 12,000A/m.

A To ensure perfect time reading even in total darkness, BALL Watch uses luminescent gas inside glass micro tubes, which are added to the dial and hands 26

HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

s part of its constant quest to innovate and to build on the extraordinary technical prowess of its mechanical watches, BALL Watch Company presents the new Engineer II Magneto S equipped with the revolutionary A-PROOF® antimagnetic device. For many years BALL Watch has focused its research and development strategy on improving the anti-magnetic protection of its mechanical watches. The accuracy of a mechanical watch is easily affected by the magnetic fields to which we are exposed almost constantly in everyday life. The briefest of contacts with an artificial magnet may be enough to magnetize an automatic movement and cause the complete stoppage of the mechanism. According to accepted standards in watchmaking, an automatic watch is deemed “anti-magnetic” when its operation can resist a magnetic field of at least 4,800A/m without its accuracy being subsequently affected by more than 30 seconds per day. BALL Watch unveils its stunning new concept of

The Engineer II Magneto S is adorned with a strap in Cordura fabrics and a pin buckle. One of the company’s guiding principles is that a watch should be easy to read both by day and by night. In order to ensure perfect time reading with its mechanical watches even in total darkness, BALL Watch Company uses cutting-edge Swiss technology involving the capture of H3 luminescent gas inside glass micro-tubes on all its models. These micro gas lights are then added to the dial and hands of the watch. The powerful light emitted naturally and continuously by the H3 gas means that the time can be read in pitch darkness. Furthermore, this technology is a hundred times more powerful than other methods of lighting commonly used in watchmaking. The basic hours, minutes, seconds and date functions are ensured by a BALL RR1103-CSL caliber. This Swiss Made automatic mechanical movement guarantees the model the very best of Swiss precision and quality. The accuracy of this caliber has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The Engineer II Magneto S is equipped with BALL’s patented SpringLOCK® system. This mechanism has been developed in-house by BALL Watch engineers to guarantee the accuracy of movement upon heavy shock impact. The watch’s exceptional qualities are rounded off by a screwed in crown, an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, water-resistance to 100 meters and a shock resistance of 5,000Gs. The Engineer II Magneto S is the first BALL timepiece equipped with the revolutionary A-PROOF® device, which paves the way for a new generation of mechanical watches capable of facing the most adverse conditions. HKGOLFER.COM


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CLUBHOUSE | TEE TIME SPECIAL

A WORK OF ART THE RONDE LOUIS CARTIER FILIGREE WATCH.

C As diaphanous as lace, filigree is a technique of goldsmithing that uses gold or silver wires soldered together in order to create an openwork grid with a desired motif. 28

HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

reated in the new Maison des Metiers d’Art on site at La Chauxde -Fonds, the Ronde Louis Cartier Filigree watch reinvents the centuries-old technique of filigree using a figurative, precious approach. A creative heritage method that is testament to Cartier’s mission to perpetuate forgot ten craf ts and exper tise such as granulation in 2013. The ancient art of filigree appeared in Egypt in earliest antiquity. Its invention is attributed to the Sumerians in around 3000 B.C. before being developed in India, Tibet, Greece and Iran and much later in Portugal where it reached a new level of excellence. As diaphanous as lace, filigree is a technique of goldsmithing that uses gold or silver wires soldered together in order to create an openwork grid with a desired motif. For Cartier, the challenge consisted not only in adapting it to the restrained dimensions of a watch case but also elevating this craft by opting for a very precious selection of jewellery materials such as gold, platinum and diamonds. The craftsmen of the Maison des Métiers d’Art

worked with beaten gold and platinum microwires that required specific equipment specially created on site. Twisted, rolled, curled and cut into little rings, these wires were assembled using the openwork filigree technique that allows the elements to be attached on the sides but not to the base. Over a month of work was required to create this lacework watch that is home to a pair of panthers whose black-lacquer-spotted coats are literally woven from fine filigree elements of gold and platinum set with diamonds. Sovereigns draped in brocade, the two panthers look at each other with their cut-tomeasure emerald eyes. This delicate feline têteà-tête is set against the background of a starry sky and surrounded by a middle pavé-set with diamonds, which is partly covered by the motif. This exceptional work of art brings together numerous kinds of craf tsmanship, from gemstone-setting to goldsmithing, from jeweller y-making to watchmaking, from engraving to lacquering. A thousand actions that give Cartier’s emblematic animal a rare preciousness with a balance, grace and absolute refinement that are as ethereal as the finest lace. HKGOLFER.COM


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CLUBHOUSE | LIQUID ASSETS

IN ITS PRIMEUR BURGUNDY’S 2013 VINTAGE IS UPON US BUT THANKS TO BIBLICAL HAILSTORMS IT’S A MIXED BAG, WRITES LUCY JENKINS.

Despite a fairly lackluster year, Cotes de Nuits is a definite hit as far as Burgundy 2013 is concerned

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years of vicious storms. Volnay and Pommard in particular lost up to 90 per cent of their vines meaning that any resulting wines are likely to be disappointing – (literal) damp squibs of the vineyard. Outside the hail destruction zone and producers dared to be a little bit more optimistic. The soggy weather eventually surrendered to late summer sun and temperatures soared to over 30C from late to June to September, producing small yields of ripe reds and highly concentrated whites. Due to low humidity, the grapes were less vulnerable to disease and the dry weather quickly disposed of the grapes that had already been attacked by the rain leading to tiny but robust batches which were harvested in October – the latest harvest in decades. Overall, it’s hit and miss but there are a few gems to be had from the Cotes de Nuits in terms of red and whites from the Chardonnay heartland of Cote de Beaune, showing that smaller can possibly prove to be mightier.

AFP

or some people, January heralds a limp enthusiasm to undo all the excesses of the holiday period by eating tedious looking green things and swearing by (and swearing because of) no alcohol intake. For regular wine swillers however, January brings the much trumpeted Burgundy en primeur release, when keen buyers snap up the vintage from two years previously before it’s bottled and released onto the market. For the uninitiated, buying en primeur means getting the wine at the best possible price while it’s still languishing overseas before various middlemen whack hefty price increments on the open market. Consumers will often buy ‘in bond’ – which is to say exclusive of VAT and duty (something we in Hong Kong are exempt from anyway) and the wine will happily lie in the merchant’s cellars before shipping. En primeur also ensures that you’ll actually be in possession of the wine in whatever form you want – bottles, magnums, halves - even if it’s of limited quantity. So, it’s great for investing and for the competitive who want to be sure of getting that brilliant small offering from as yet-unheard-of but soon-to-be famous producer who only really harvests enough to give to his mates but is bravely looking outside of his village. But what to look out for in the Burgundy 2013 vintage? Unfortunately it’s a mixed bag. Readers in Europe might remember a cold, dark, wet and generally miserable spring lasting right until June. For the poor growers in Burgundy – especially in the Cote de Beaune sub region – they had to contend with hail and flooding of biblical proportions that threatened to destroy vast swathes of their crops; the third in three

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CLUBHOUSE | LIQUID ASSETS

BUYING A VINEYARD AS A SYNDICATE SHARING THE COST OF VINEYARD OWNERSHIP CAN BE AN ALLURING OPTION FOR INVESTORS, SAY VIRTUOSO PROPERTY GROUP.

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wning a leg of a horse or the s ail of a y acht is a concept f amiliar to many. Joint ownership, professional out source d management, sharing the cost and prizes and taking turns to enjoy the race or sailing in seas with a group of friends has both social and economic benefits.

“The key is to define the objectives, set out the framework clearly and select the management team carefully. This is easier said than done, especially if the owners are only there for a few weeks in a year,” adds Richard. "Our clients love the fact that the hassle of managing the business can be outsourced to an experienced and professional team, something we provide as our overall business management solution."

The same concept when transposed to vineyards is equally alluring, if not more so. According to vineyard acquisition and management exper ts Vir tuoso Proper t y Group, the trend is catching up fast in the viticultural world. “Think of this as owning shares in a business – producing and selling wines, and enjoying corporate perks – the Château lifestyle and producing private label wines,” says Richard Sutton, Virtuoso’s cofounder. “We are now regularly approached by groups of investors who want to embark on the journey of learning about the terroir and making their own wine. They like to have fun doing so, but do not want to get dragged into the nitty-gritty of how many temporary staff are needed for this year’s harvest and how to employ them."

HOW WOULD A TYPICAL SYNDICATE WORK?

Joint ownership, sometimes referred to as Syndicate struc ture, can be tailored to the needs of the parties involved. At one extreme is a “fund structure”, which provides degrees of separation between investors and management and is typically more focused on driving the returns as high as possible. At the other end is a friendly arrangement where investors get involved in the vineyard management and winemaking decisions on a regular basis, thus enhancing learning opportunities and social pleasure. The permutations in between are endless.

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Let’s use one of the Syndicate projects we recently launched as a case study. A St Emilion Grand Cru vineyard - situated just 3km from St Emilion town centre, was identified for acquisition in November. It is next door to a famous Grand Cru Classé vineyard and shares similar terroir as its neighbour. The purpose of the acquisition is to enhance the quality of the existing wines thereby achieving higher prices and margins and potentially elevate the classification of the vineyard to Grand Cru Classé. To achieve this, the founders assembled a quality and worldrenowned management team, including Louis Mitjavile (Château Tertre Rôteboeuf) and worldrenowned critic, judge and writer Steven Spurrier. The next step is to bring in a Syndicate of ten investors to fund the acquisition.

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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR SYNDICATE MEMBERS?

• Outright ownership: Syndicate members are the owners of the vineyard and the business. The investment is in underlying physical assets – bricks and mortar. •

No day-to-day hassle of business management: With the support from the founding members, including Virtuoso, the Syndicate appoints a management team, which in turn runs the business as per an agreed business plan – from vineyard management, to wine production, staff management and marketing and sale of wines.

Customise the Château to own taste: In this instance, the interior of the Château is refurbished to the Syndicate members’ high standards including putting in modern facilities – swimming pool, tasting room etc. The entire upgrade will be outsourced to the management team for professional execution. It is budgeted upfront.

• Wine allocation: Allocation on a priority basis of the own label wines. • Exclusive use of facilities and perks: Exclusive access to facilities such as Château, annual wine dinners, wine courses, full concierge service and circle of friends concepts. • Structural benefits: This particular Syndicate entails upfront investment and no annual cost or maintenance charges. Additional investment incentives such as tax relief for certain jurisdictions.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SYNDICATE • Selection of vineyard: Terroir, vines and quality of wines.

• Sound business plan: Production, marketing and sale of wines. • Founders’ and Management team’s motivation and alignment of incentives with the Syndicate members’ objectives. • Compatibility with other members and management team. • Appreciation of risks in the business which is essentially an agricultural business: climate, hail, frost. • Price volatility of vineyard and wines. • liquid nature of the investment, unless the founders provide a mechanism for secondary liquidity.

INTERESTED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SYNDICATE OPTIONS? With our specialised on-the-ground teams and price range from as little as €0.5m to €10m per Syndicate share, we are best placed to share the structuring, availability and variety of Syndicate options available across European vineyard markets. Reach out to us on info@virtuoso-propertygroup.com for more details. For further information on vineyard investments visit virtuoso-propertygroup.com

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HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

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CLUBHOUSE | DRIVING RANGE

A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE BEN OLIVER TAKES A LOOK AT WHAT ASTON MARTIN IS LINING UP FOR 2015 AND BEYOND – STARTING WITH THE DB10, JAMES BOND’S CAR OF CHOICE.

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make no apologies for the fact that this month's motoring column features further, putting custom-built cars or very lowa car that you can't buy. But it deserves your attention for two reasons. First, volume limited editions at the heart of its the new Aston Martin DB10 is the new Bond car, revealed last month along business. Think bespoke British tailoring from with the rest of the cast and the name of the new film: Spectre. So this car London's Savile Row, rather than off-the-peg is already big news to Bond fans, Aston fans and fans of fast cars generally: from Marks and Spencer. With typical British which is pretty much everyone. humour it has called its bespoke division 'Q by The second reason is that Aston Martin isn't big enough to do a very Aston Martin', a reference to the mad inventor complete concept car like this just for the new Bond film. You can bet that from British intelligence who gives James Bond this car's design gives you a pretty clear glimpse into the his gadgets, and his cars. future of this famous old British brand as it embarks on a T he 'Q' facilities have new chapter in its long history, and probably a period of already been responsible for The DB10 is rapid growth. building the One-77 supercar already big news to Under new CEO Andy Palmer, one of the industry's and they're now making the most exciting leaders who was lured away from the sensational new Lagonda Bond fans, Aston number three spot at the global Renault-Nissan alliance, saloon. Aston says it's for the fans and fans of Aston will radically modernise and broaden its range to Middle East only, but if you're fast cars generally: include more saloons, and even SUVs. A lack of four-door a serious customer with an vehicles has held it back in China, where its premium open chequebook, I don't which is pretty rivals have seen huge growth, and a lack of investment think your place of residence much everyone. has held it back generally. Both are about to change. will be an issue. I visited the And even Aston doesn't put the DB10 – or something workshops recently and saw very like it – into production, you can always ask it to build a one-off just for the naked bodywork of the new saloon – it you (and James Bond). Most of its premium rivals offer 'bespoke' divisions able looks incredible – and a full-size model of the to cater to wealthy owner's individual requests. But Aston plans to go rather astonishing DP-100 mid-engined hypercar

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Aston designed for the GranTurismo driving game. Like Bond's DB10, it could also go from concept to reality very quickly. But you don't need to have the resources of a Bond villain to engage Q's services. If one of Aston's good-looking current range appeals, but you just want to put your own stamp on it, Q can help. And to get your creative juices flowing, it's releasing a series of six one-off versions of Aston's mighty Vanquish grand tourer, showcasing the kinds of bespoke external and cabin details it can create. Popout machine guns and ejector seats are, sadly, off the menu.

Clockwise from opposite: the DB10, to be featured in the upcoming James Bond flick Spectre; the limited edition Vanquish grand tourer; the DP-100 designed for the GrandTourismo driving game; the Vanquish’s cabin HKGOLFER.COM

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| TALES FROM THE BOX

Forward

Thinking Will Tiger finally rediscover his Major-winning form? Can McIlroy seal his career grand slam? European Tour commentator Julian Tutt makes his predictions for the season ahead.

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AFP

What lies in store for 2015? Can Woods rekindle the magic at St Andrews, home of this year’s Open, and can McIlroy earn the grand slam with victory at Augusta? 38

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c cord ing to my learned colleague Denis Hutchinson, g o l f i n t h e We s t e r n Hemisphere is dying on its feet because there are too many feet in a course. In other words, courses have got too long and difficult for the average club player, so the average club player has taken his ball and gone cycling. According to a survey I read recently, in the UK in 1997 there were twice as many golfers as there were cyclists. That position has now just about totally reversed. Neither sport is cheap, although it's possible to cycle at a basic level a lot more cheaply than it is to play golf. Cost may be a factor in golf's decline but one suspects it's not the main reason. Denis is undoubtedly right that for some, and particularly the more senior brethren, the game has become too difficult. But t hat ca n not be t he whole stor y. Equipment has apparently made the game much easier to play in the last twenty years, albeit it doesn't help the "average" player as much as the skilled top enders who generate the clubhead speed necessary to really compress the ball and launch it into a dangerously high orbit. My own belief is that while these are contributory factors, it's the pace of play that is the real killer. Just before Christmas, my wife, a one-handicapper, and a companion strolled

round Bath Golf Club in two hours and thirty minutes. Strolled. Without impedance they were able to hit the ball, find it and hit it again, taking 70-something shots apiece. For most people nowadays though, a round of golf is at least a five-hour experience. Who can afford to do that on a regular basis? Ah yes, the professionals. What a lot they have to answer for. If golf is to survive its current serious decline, radical steps must be taken to dramatically reduce the time a round takes. The aforementioned Denis was on the commentary team for the final tournament of 2014, the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek beside the Kruger National Park, where a plethora of exotic animals were on display. Scatological proof of the presence of nearby giraffes was provided by Ken Brown who tested the commentators with a number of different examples of excrement during the broadcasts. For some reason Denis stumbled on the giraffe poo. Former European Tour player Tony Johnstone, commentating for Sky TV, provided all the natural history expertise in a hugely impressive display of "bush" learning. I really had no idea that so much foliage passed through an elephant in a 24-hour period. One of the few animals missing was the Tiger. Not a native of South Africa in recent times of course, but golf fans around the world will be HKGOLFER.COM


hoping to spot the wounded big cat making a triumphant return in 2015. The 14-time Major champion is trying to go back in time with his new “swing consultant”, Chris Como, who has been selected to guide Tiger into a longer more fluid action; just like the one he used to know. The first big test will come at Augusta in April where the world's current number one will be seeking a career grand slam. Since his debut in 2009, Rory McIlroy has finished in the top 20 only twice at the Masters, including his best, a tie for eighth last year. Tiger Woods didn't play in 2014 as a crumbling body took its toll, but prior to that had only finished outside the top six once in the previous nine Masters. It's an impressive record, but surprisingly this year will be the 10th anniversary of his last win there. At a time of year when we love to make predictions, I'll go for Jason Day becoming only the second Aussie to own a Green Jacket, seeing off McIlroy in a play-off. The US Open goes to a new venue, the Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed Chambers Bay outside Washington. It's a pay-and-play, public, links-style course on an old gravel quarry that once echoed to the sounds of motocross. It's therefore in marked contrast to the perennial Augusta, and leaves tipsters starved of previous form. Peter Uihlein did win the 2010 US Amateur Championship there, but he's yet to be assured of his place in the field. Looking for yet another first-time winner I'm plumping for Rickie Fowler, who's shown impressive form on British links courses recently, to edge out McIlroy in another gripping denouement. The Open is back at HQ this year. If – and it's a big qualification – Woods has found his correct release point, remembered how to chip, re-found his old putting touch, re-learnt how to play on Sunday, and his re-built back stands up, then St Andrews is clearly a place which could inspire. However, I've always been a big fan of Louis Oosthuizen's game, and he just loves The Old Course. I'll take him to repeat his 2010 victory to once again become "The Champion Golfer of the Year", narrowly holding off McIlroy in the process. The US PGA Championship returns to the giant Whistling Straights in Wisconsin. Hopefully they will clarify the rules this time as to what constitutes waste ground and what is a bunker. Grown men might cry if Dustin Johnson were to repeat his "grounding" error of 2010 and allow Martin Kaymer to go on and win again. McIlroy, the season’s nearly man, though will surely come through and claim a fifth major on a course that's made for his length. Of course the young Holywood star could just as easily be gunning for a season's Grand Slam. Then again … Have a very happy 2015. I'm off on my bike. HKGOLFER.COM

For most people nowadays, a round of golf is at least a five-hour experience. Who can afford to do that on a regular basis? Ah yes, the professionals. What a lot they have to answer for.

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| BY DESIGN

with

At One

Nature

Architect Paul Jansen pays homage to the Old Course at Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club, a timeless layout that is entirely devoid of bunkers.

Courtesy of The Els Club; courtesy of Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club

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Bunkerless beauties: the Old Course at Royal Ashdown Forest (right); the recentlyopened Els Club (below) on the Malaysian island of Langkawi 40

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unkers are an essential part of the game of golf. They give the architect an opportunity to create strategic and visual interest – at the same time. Many of our modern golf courses – and some of our old – would hardly be the visual and strategic treat they are today without sand. If you want to improve the visual aspect of your golf course then start with bunkers – at least until you get a grip of the cost of building and then maintaining them. For most of us it would be hard to imagine a golf course without sand given how frequent it is used in modern design, and I bet few of us have had the opportunity to play a golf course of this nature. Most recently Ernie Els opened a golf course on the Malaysian island of Langkawi without any bunkers – instead his team chose to focus on using what existed on the property in helping achieve the strategy and provide visual drama. Whilst this golf course may be one of the only courses in Asia – at the minute – to have no bunkers there are a few golf courses spread throughout Europe and the Americas that have not so much as one sand trap. One such golf course is a personal favorite of mine. Royal Ashdown Forest, situated in the southern English county of East Sussex – and within an hour’s drive of the London metropolis – is the setting for the “Winnie the Pooh” stories but also home to one of the most quaint and unique golf courses in the land. The Old Course at Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club, which writer A C M Croome said, "Must rank in character

with St Andrews, Prestwick and Westward Ho!", has not one sandy hollow throughout, yet remains riveting from start to finish. It is indeed a treat and this is further substantiated by the illustrious golf scribe Bernard Darwin, who wrote of the course: “It is only at the end of the round do we realise with a pleasurable shock that there is not a hideous rampant on the course, or so much as a pot bunker." Royal Ashdown Forest is protected by Acts of Parliament restricting any alterations to the land without approval from conservators. With that in mind the golf course was made to sit on the property with little disturbance and this in itself gives it appeal. Instead of mining bunkers for strategic and visual interest, other features that exist on the property are used to great effect to create the drama and determine the play. For instance, waves of heather and native vegetation eat into the corridors of play at strategic moments throughout the round. Interesting humps and bumps and general contours bound many of the green complexes and dictate some of the landing areas. To go with that, many outstanding trees frame the holes and are very pleasing on the eye. In addition, there are pleasant stream systems across the site that meander in and out of the course at opportune moments and add to the danger. The topography – severe at times – gives the course added variety and on many occasions allows the golfer to survey the splendid surrounds. Royal Ashdown Forest is somewhat of an unconventional golf course as well in that there HKGOLFER.COM


Little about the Old Course at Royal Ashdown Forest seems contrived, artificial or forced. It melds naturally into its environment and because of this has a real sense of place and a character all its own. is the odd blind shot to go with crossing holes at the start and finish. This is all infused with some fascinating green complexes and a solid routing that makes good use of the land. It certainly is a treat to look at and play. What is interesting is that without any bunkers the golf course seems even more entwined with its surrounds – almost at one with nature. It fact little about the golf course seems contrived, artificial or forced. It melds naturally into its environment and because of this has a real sense of place and a character all its own. It is a delight to play – forgiving at times, fun, interesting and strategic as well. Not over maintained or wanting to be anything more than it is. I suspect when most golfers finish a round at Royal Ashdown there is no longing for sand. Come to think of it sand would have hardly made the test any better, but it would certainly have made it much worse … there is a lesson in this. Paul Jansen is the principal architect for Jansen Golf Design. For more information visit his website at jansengolfdesign.com HKGOLFER.COM

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NEWS | AGEAS HKPGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Que

Seeks

Redemption Angelo Que is hoping to go one better at this month’s Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship after his heartbreaking play-off loss at the 2014 Hong Kong Open.

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ilipino star Angelo Que has vowed to try and capture the 2015 Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship after his devastating near miss at the Hong Kong Open back in October. The laid-back, three-time Asian Tour winner is one of several notable names to confirm their participation in the 32nd edition of the tradition-rich event, which will played from 13-15 January. “I love coming to Hong Kong and I really want to try and go one better than I did back in October. I played well at Fanling but to not finish it off in the play-off left me feeling a little empty," said 36-year-old Que, who lost out to Australian Scott Hend on the first hole of sudden death at the European and Asian Tour sanctioned event. "I can’t wait to return because I know the courses will be in great shape and I love playing in cooler weather, too. "I have many friends playing and I know I must play well to topple Unho [Park] who has been in great form himself the last few months.”

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Photography by Daniel Wong

"It's all set to be an exciting championship, with the best Hong Kong professionals going up against players from around the region for the title.” – Stuart Fraser, CEO, Ageas Insurance Company (Asia)

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Singapore-based Australian Park will be returning to try and rewrite history for a second time. The Asian Tour regular became the first player to win the Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship three times in a row in 2014 and is determined to keep his winning streak alive. “I know I created history last year by winning the event three times running and the trophy has pride of place in my trophy cabinet – I really don’t want to give it back," said Park, who has amassed more than US$1 million in on-course in the past decade. "I have been in good form of late with three top-5 finishes on the Asian Tour, but it seems there is another strong field assembled so I will have to be on top of my game if I am to win it again.” To be held over three rounds on three separate courses – the North Course at Kau Sai Chau and the New Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club will host the opening rounds with Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club staging the allimportant final round – the event will have a large local presence with Timothy Tang leading the charge. The 2014 Hong Kong PGA Order of Merit winner is hoping to be the first local champion of the event in over 10 years. “I am looking forward to playing the Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship. I know there are some good players from the Asian Tour coming but I know these courses well and I hope to have a good week and keep the trophy in Hong Kong," said the 28-year-old. Meanwhile, Major champion Wayne Grady, who memorably claimed the 1990 US PGA Championship at Shoal Creek, is another who has confirmed his participation. The Australian, who lost out to Mark Calcavecchia in a play-off for the 1989 Open Championship at Royal Troon, will be making his sixth successive appearance at the Ageas Hong Kong PGA Championship. Stuart Fraser, CEO of Ageas Insurance Company (Asia), sponsors of the event for a sixth successive year, said: "It's all set to be an exciting championship, with the best Hong Kong professionals going up against players from around the region for the title. It’s great to welcome back Unho and I am really glad to have Angelo in the field. I watched him at the Hong Kong Open and he played so well and is such an exciting player to watch. A special thanks to Wayne Grady who has been a fantastic supporter of our event and I am looking forward to witnessing three days of top-quality golf.” Clockwise from opposite: last month’s press conference to launch the championship, the sixth time in succession that Ageas has been title sponsor; Angelo Que in action during the Hong Kong Open; last year’s HKPGA Champion Unho Park; local hope Tim Tang HKGOLFER.COM

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COVER STORY

AFP

England’s Danny Willett will be filled with confidence in 2015 after romping to an impressive victory in South Africa last month 44

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Next

Big

Things Lewine Mair examines the young players who appear destined to make a bid for stardom in 2015.

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hey are not out of the usual mould. The players in line to make their mark around the world in 2015 mostly have, or had, something a little different about them, starting with England’s Danny Willett. For years, this former Walker Cup man had come across as a kindly choirboy, a fine golfer but not one who was obviously shaping to make for trouble among those hardy hombres at the top of the world order. That impression was one which would change over the Christmas season. Somewhat disconcertingly for those he left in his wake, the 27-year-old Willett became more of a baby-face killer than anything else as he won the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City by a four-shot margin. What is more, he was able to take a lingering delight in his slaughtering of the rest in that he was already four ahead when he arrived on the 72nd tee.

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Afterwards, memories were jogged as to why this former English Amateur champion’s only other win in the professional arena – it was in the BMW International Open in Cologne in 2012 – had made so little impact. The answer, here, was that he had taken so long to shrug off Marcus Fraser – until the fourth extra hole to be precise – that the various writers had neither the space nor the time to do the victory justice. All the players nowadays make automatic mention of their “team” when couching their victory speeches but Willett’s words after the Nedba n k included some up-to-t he-minute thinking. He mentioned how his wife, Nicole, whom he married in 2013, had missed only one of his competitive rounds in the whole of 2014. He further endeared himself to his Europeanbased admirers in his reply to a question as to whether he saw his South African success as a springboard to the US Tour. Willett began by explaining how playing on the PGA Tour had indeed been a goal of

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The next player deserving of a mention among those poised to loom large in 2015 is the 24-year-old Brooks Koepka. He stands apart from his US counterparts in that he is an American who opted to begin his professional career on the European Challenge Tour.

AFP

Clockwise from opposite: Brooks Koepka will be looking to build on his end-of-season form; 2015 could be a breakthrough year for the impressive Jordan Spieth; Kiradech Aphibarnrat has the game to succeed at the very highest level

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his when he was younger. “They ’ve got everything out there”, he marvelled, before suddenly changing course. “To be honest,” he said, or words to that effect, “I don’t care how good the PGA Tour is; it just isn’t going to match up to this.” The next player deserving of a mention among those poised to loom large in 2015 is the 24-year-old Brooks Koepka. He stands apart from his US counterparts in that he, like his long-time friend and sparring partner, Peter Uilhein, is an American who opted to begin his professional career on the European Challenge Tour. Koepka won three tournaments on this secondary circuit in 2013 to graduate to the full European Tour and he then finished fourth in last year’s US Open to win himself

a card on the PGA circuit. Like Willett, he signed off in style in 2014, handing in a last-round 65 in Turkey to win by a shot from Ian Poulter. “I’d been knocking at the door [on both sides of the Atlantic] and on each of those occasions I learned something,” he said. The two-tour schedule on which Koepka has his heart set for 2015 may well ask too much of the young man but for the moment he is bursting with eager anticipation. And who, given his heady combination of youth and massive hitting, would not be at this point in his career? Not h i ng, p erhaps, tel l s more ab out Ko e pk a ’s l e n g t h a n d s t r e n g t h t h a n a conversation which was overheard on the tee – yes, on the tee – of the 503-yard fourth at Crans-sur-Sierre on a practice day prior to the 2013 Omega European Masters. Koepka to Uilhein: “Do you think we can reach the green today?” “I suppose we might,” returned Uilhein, not ing t hat t hey had t he wind at t heir backs and that they would be landing on the downslope. Uilhein’s drive finished 25 yards short of the putting surface, with Koepka’s but ten yards away. Obviously, altitude came into it – Cranssur-Sierre is 4,920 feet about sea level – but even so ... Jonathan Spieth is another A merican who had his confidence boosted at the tail end of 2014 when, with his enviably smooth swing, he won back-to-back titles in Australia and Florida. Spieth was more obviously cut out for stardom than many of his peers in that he had matched Tiger Woods’ feat in winning the US Junior title more than once. Unlike Woods, though, he did not have a matching haul of results in the senior arena because he turned professional at the tender age of 19. It was an alarmingly early switch for an American, albeit one which was at least partially vindicated when he won his first PGA event a week ahead of his 20th birthday. As well as those end-of-2014 triumphs, Spiet h had a rat her more successf u l Ryder Cup than most of his compatriots, contributing two and a half points to the US cause. Not, it has to be said, that too many would have noticed in that he was paired with Patrick Reed, a magnet of a man when it comes to attracting more than his whack of publicity. At the start of last year, it will be recalled, Reed made that never-to-beforgotten comment about how he belonged HKGOLFER.COM


in the top five in the world. (The statistics did not bear that out, though no one would be surprised were this out-and-out individual to make that proud boast come true this summer.) T here is somet h i ng about t he more com for tably-contou red T ha i players to suggest that they are all heading in the right direction while taking an alternative route – a gym-free route – from the majority. They are a happy band of golfers whose fast-improving results reflect their joie de vivre. Not too many years ago, Boonchu Ruangkit was the only Thai golfer of note. Today, as many as seven Thais feature in the top 250 in the world, with the winner of the 2013 Malaysian Open arguably the best prospect of them all. Anujit Hirunratanakorn, who plays under the name of Kiradech Aphibarnrat, slipped from 59th in the world in 2013 to 134th in 2014 but he has way too much talent to lie low for long. At 25, he is dripping with feel and flair and has one of the strongest minds – a Buddhist mind – in the business. SSP Chowrasia was the first Indian caddieturned-player to win on the European Tour and today people are looking to the 23-yearold Rashid Kahn to follow in his footsteps. T h is you ng ma n , who played h is f i rst professional tournament with a set of clubs lent to him by a relative who was a caddieturned-professional, finished third on the Indian Order of Merit in 2011, second in 2012 and first in 2013. In 2014, he won what was his second Asian Tour title. For Kahn to break through to the next level would be good for rather more than merely the player himself: it would give hope to every would-be golfer among the caddying fraternity out East whilst simultaneously doing something at least to prove that golf is a game for all. Tommy Fleetwood and Oliver Fisher are two more ready to take the next step in 2015 while, looking at the older fry, such as Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington are both stubbornly intent on showing such as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods that they can still play a bit. West wood won in Thailand over t he festive period with Harrington, that threetime major winner, picking up his first official title in four years – the Indonesian Open – in the same period. Finally, of the newcomers, what of Renato Paratore, the Italian teenager who is set to join Matteo Manassero in the IMG stable? In many eyes, Paratore probably stands out HKGOLFER.COM

as much as any of the above. Instead of going about his business at snail’s pace, he plays at a speed redolent of golfers of the 1920s. Alas, this admirable characteristic, no more than Willett’s old choirboy image, is unlikely to persist. “As happened to me,” said Manassero, with a sad shake of the head, “Renato is going to have to slow down. Playing quickly out here simply doesn’t work.” HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

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Magnificent in Malaysia: a par on the first play-off hole earned D’Souza the championship trophy

D’Souza Claims Malaysian Title Hong Kong’s Leon D’Souza displayed nerves of steel as he outlasted Naoki Sekito of Japan in a play-off to triumph at the ninth edition of the Ambank SportExcel International Junior Championships last month. The 16-year-old rallied from three strokes back, thanks to a brilliant closing effort of one-under 71 to force extra holes at the challenging Kota Permai Golf & Country Club. Having sizzled with an opening five-under 67, co-overnight leader Sekito could only manage a second straight 74 to finish level with D’Souza in regulation play on one-under 215. Both players traded birdies on the first play-off hole before D’Souza, one of Hong Kong’s up-and-rising amateurs, capitalised with a par on the next hole to put an end to the pulsating contest. Thailand’s Amarin Kraivixien was placed third on 218, one stroke clear of compatriot Parathakorn Suyasri. After a string of runner-up finishes this year, D’Souza was delighted to cap his season with a breakthrough international title. 48

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“I was striking the ball well all week and my solid start kept me in contention. I have been to Malaysia many times before for other tournaments but to win this particular championship on my first attempt on this golf course is something to cherish,” said the long-time Hong Kong junior international squad member, who opened his campaign with matching 72s. He traded four birdies and three bogeys to make the turn on 35 but failed to convert his chances on the back nine as he returned with nine pars. “I hit nine greens in regulation on the back but couldn’t find a birdie, which was a minor disappointment. But I bounced back strongly in the play-off, whatever nerves I had dissipated when I sunk the birdie on the first extra hole. It was 50-50 between Naoki [Sekito] and myself and I didn’t crack under the pressure,” said D’Souza, who received the Tan Sri Azman Hashim challenge trophy, named after the founder and chairman of title sponsor AmBank Group. HKGOLFER.COM


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HKGA | NEWS

More Plaudits for Tiffany

Tiffany Chan has been recognised by the Secretary for Home Affairs following her outstanding 2014 season

Tiffany Chan, Hong Kong's outstanding female golfer, has been recognised by The Secretary for Home Affairs (SHA), Mr Tsang Tak-sing, for her outstanding contribution to the promotion of sports in Hong Kong. The SHA presented commendation certificates and award pins to 35 people for their outstanding contribution to the promotion of sports and recreation, arts and culture, and community greening. The SHA's Commendation Scheme Presentation Ceremony was held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui. Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Tsang expressed his gratitude to the awardees for their continuous devotion and tireless efforts in promoting the development of arts and culture, sports and recreation as well as community greening over the years for the benefit of society. "Today's awardees have served the community with their talents, expertise and experience in their respective fields," said Tsang.    The SHA's Commendation Scheme, introduced in 2002, aims to recognise individuals who make outstanding contributions in different sectors, so as to encourage more people to make good use of their talents and work together in driving the community forward. Chan enjoyed an unforgettable season in 2014. The Tuen Mun golfer, who is studying in the United States, helped her Daytona State junior college team claims its seventh NJCAA Women’s Championship in May by capturing the individual title. In her freshman year, 21-year-old Tiffany led wire-to-wire after opening with a brilliant 68 (the second-lowest individual round in NJCAA history) to become Daytona State’s first national champion since 2011. But even that feat couldn’t match her performance at the World University Championship in Switzerland, where she pulled off one of the greatest accomplishments in Hong Kong golf history with a thrilling play-off victory

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over Spain’s Marta Sanz. After tying with Sanz on a 10-under-par total, Tiffany calmly holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th at scenic Cranssur-Sierre in the heart of the Swiss Alps to best a strong field that included two members of this year’s winning United States Curtis Cup team and earn the gold medal.

NOW TV PRESENTS 2014 KAU SAI CHAU MASTERS BEST GROSS SCORE Men's Division:

Bibendum Leung

Ladies & Juniors Division:

Chan Yuk-ngan

NETT CHAMPIONS Men's Division:

John Wu

Ladies & Juniors Division:

Kathy Li

SECOND PLACE Men's Division:

Lewis Lam

Ladies & Juniors Division:

Vicky Tong

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HKGA | HKPGA PAIRS TOURNAMENT

Duo Dominate at DB The ever-popular HKGA Pairs Tournament was highlighted by cool weather and hot scoring. Photography by Daniel Wong

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aul Cheng and Jonathan Lee proved to be perfect partners as they combined to win the 2 0 14 H K G A P a i r s Tournament at Discovery Bay Golf Club last month. The duo won the Gross Stableford division with 36 points in what is traditionally one of the most popular events on the calendar for Hong Kong Golf Association subscribers. In cool conditions, Cheng and Lee finished two ahead of Sunny Ho and Derik Leung (34) over Discovery Bay’s Diamond-Jade Course while Ivan Leung and Evan Yung (33) finished a further shot back in third. Lam Ka-kit and Frank Leung came through a three-way count-back to claim the Nett Stableford division on 43 points.

GROSS DIVISION LEADING RESULTS

Clockwise from top: all the trophy-winners; Jonathan Lee, one half of the winning gross team, in action during the day, Lam Ka-kit and Frank Leung, nett division winners, with HKGA CEO Tom Phillips

1 Paul Cheng / Jonathan Lee 36 points 2 Sunny Ho / Derik Leung

34

3 Ivan Leung / Evan Yung

33

4 Lam Ka-kit / Frank Leung

33

5 Mac Leung / Jordan Yeung 31

NETT DIVISION LEADING RESULTS

52

1 Lam Ka-kit / Frank Leung

43 points

2 Donald Chan / Bonnie Sin

43

3 Au Chi-wai / Kwan Fung

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4= Eddie Tse / Winnie Yim

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Sunny Ho / Derik Leung HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

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EVENTS | HKGA GOLF DAY

HKGA GOLF DAY The HKGA hosted its first ever golf day at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club on 16 December to thank its partners and patrons for their support during 2014. Played in windy conditions over an immaculately conditioned course, the event, which saw Hong Kong international player Terrence Ng claim the lowest gross prize of the day, was followed by a convivial dinner reception. Photography by Daniel Wong

HKGA President Ning Li with Terrence Ng

Showing perfect poise HKGA CEO Tom Phillips (far left) and HKGA Vice President Mark Chan (second from right) with their playing partners

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Andreas Binder, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong (second from left), with Ivan Ballesteros, Chan Kar-fai and Lawrence Lee

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Star attraction

Hong Kong Descente Trading getting into the swing

TaylorMade-adidas Golf HK showing form at the par-4 13th

SCMP Sports Editor Noel Prentice firing for the flag at the 16th

Past HKGA President Hugh Staunton, Shek O Country Club Manager Paul Brown and Hong Kong Rugby Football Union CEO Vern Reid

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EQUIPMENT

New

Year,

New Gear The new 915 line from Titleist – which includes drivers, fairway woods and hybrids – has been built for distance without compromise. Titleist’s 915 driver was in Geoff Ogilvy’s bag during his victory at the 2014 Barracuda Championship. After putting the clubs through an extensive tour seeding and performance validation process, Titleist officially announced the arrival of its 915 drivers, fairway woods and hybrids in Hong Kong at the back end of 2014. Titleist’s 915 line of drivers comes in two models -- 915D2 and 915D3 (Ogilvy himself used a prototype model). The 915D2 is a 460cc pear-shaped head that’s slightly forgiving and has more draw bias than 915D3; it also spins about 250 rpm more than the 915D3. The 440cc 915D3 has a deeper, pear-shaped face that was designed for players who prefer to work the ball both ways and does not have a draw bias like the 915D2. The big story with both drivers is the addition of Titleist’s Active Recoil Channel (ARC) to the bottom of the sole. The channel runs from the heel to the toe of the head -- just behind the leading edge – allowing the top and bottom of the face to deflect, increasing ball speeds across the entire face and reducing spin. When Titleist initially unveiled the ARC system in both drivers, it actually worked too well, pushing the Characteristic Time -- also know as CT, the term the USGA uses to describe a club’s spring-like effect – beyond the USGA’s legal limit. To slow down the speed in the center of the face, Titleist added a “Radial Speed Face,” that includes a 6-4 titanium variable face thickness insert that’s thicker in the middle and thinner in the heel and toe section to maximize ball speeds on 56

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off-center shots. Along with improving ball speeds and spin, Titleist worked on creating the ideal launch angle by lowering the center of gravity and moving it farther from the hitting area -- the ARC system added mass to the front of the sole, making the CG shift necessary -- with the addition of a lightweight 8-1-1 titanium crown, internal pockets and toplines/leading edges that were tapered to save weight. The discretionary weight was then shifted to an internal weight pad in the back of the club head and an external weight in the sole that help give 915D2 and 915D3 a higher MOI and launch angle than its predecessor. Both drivers once again have Titleist’s 16-way adjustable SureFit Tour hosel that allows players to change the loft and lie angle independently of each other. Loft can be increased by 1.75 degrees and decreased by .75 degrees while the lie angle ranges from 1.5 degrees upright to .75 degrees flat. Titleist’s 915D2 comes in five lofts (7.5, 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees). The 915D3 comes in four lofts (7.5, 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees). Both retail for HK$6,050 and come standard with Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 70 (mid launch), Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 60 (mid launch), and Mitsubishi Diamana M+ Red 50 (high launch) shafts. The 915 line also includes two fairway wood (915F and 915Fd) models. Titleist’s re-designed 915 fairway woods feature an ARC in the sole that runs from the heel to the toe – closer to the leading edge – that increases ball speed while also reducing spin. To increase ball speed even further, Titleist also added a Carpenter 455 face insert – the thinnest the company has used for a fairway wood. The 175cc 915F creates slightly more spin and a higher launch angle than the more workable 160cc 915Fd. To dial-in the swing weight, both clubs come with a weight in the sole that can be adjusted to a player’s swing and shaft preferences. Titleist’s 915F is available in five lofts (13.5, 15, 16.5, 18 and 21 degrees) while the 915Fd comes in two lofts (13.5 and 15 degrees). Both clubs retail for HK$3,640 and come standard with the Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 70 (mid launch) Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 60 (mid launch), and Mitsubishi Diamana M+ Red 60 (mid/high launch) shafts. Each fairway wood comes with the 16-way adjustable SureFit Tour hosel that allows players to change the loft and lie angle independently of each other. Loft can be increased by 1.75 degrees and decreased by .75 degrees while the lie angle ranges from 1.5 degrees upright to .75 degrees flat. The 915 line of hybrids (915H and 915H.d) includes Titleist’s ARC in the sole that boosts ball speeds across the entire face while also lowering spin. While lowering spin was important in the driver and fairway wood, Titleist recognized during testing that it didn’t want to dial back the spin characteristics as much in the hybrid. Titleist 118cc 915H generates slightly more spin and a higher launch angle than the 107cc 915Hd. Both hybrids have a highstrength Carpenter 455 steel face insert that’s designed to deliver increased ball speeds. The hybrids also come with Titleist’s 16-way adjustable SureFit Tour hosel that allows players to change the loft and lie angle independently of each other. Titleist 915H is available in four lofts (18, 21, 24 and 27 degrees) while the lower spin 915Hd comes in three loft options (17.5, 20.5 and 23.5 degrees). Both retail for HK$3,360 and come standard with Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Blue 70 (mid launch) and Mitsubishi Diamana M+ Red 60 (high launch) shafts. HKGOLFER.COM

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GOLF ATRAVEL Player’s Guide

An aerial view of the luxurious Empire Hotel and its Jack Nicklausdesigned course

The

Sultanate Courtesy of the Empire Hotel

of

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Expansive bunkering awaits at the Empire

Brunei might not be everyone’s first choice for a trip with clubs in tow. But if you’re looking for laid-back experience on firstrate courses, this tiny nation, a short flight from Hong Kong, certainly merits attention, writes Duncan Forgan.

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old Dire Straits chestnut, “Sultans of Swing”? After all, the only reason my game was in any kind of shape was due to the number of lucky assists I had been getting from compliant jungle branches. Or so I though until I enquired as to his reasoning. “People used to say that the monkeys on this course had been trained to help the Sultan [of Brunei],” he explained. “Whenever he hit a shot into the jungle, they would catch the ball and throw it out. Perhaps they think you are him!” While that theory might be debatable, there’s no disputing the appeal of a largely uncharted golfing frontier that combines stunning scenery and flawless hospitality with cannily designed courses that never fail to provide an enjoyable experience. Even for those unable to count on simian assistance. South East Asia has long been a favoured destination for discerning and budget-conscious golfers. Thailand and peninsular Malaysia are both overflowing with top-quality tracks and Cambodia and Vietnam are also seeing increasing amounts of traffic. Brunei’s courses, however, still lie tantalizingly off the beaten track. Wedged between the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo, the third largest island in the world, Brunei’s popular image is one of cash-rich monarchs, glittering goldHK GOLFER・JAN 2015

Courtesy of the Empire Hotel

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h e p o s s e s sio n o f a g o o d nick na me may not be prerequ isite for gol f i ng immortality, but it certainly helps to build up an aura. Jack Nicklaus, of course, was known as “The Golden Bear” during his three decadelong prowl for championships and most other greats have had a catchy label foisted upon them at some time or another. Arnold Palmer was “The King”, Ben Hogan “The Hawk” and “The Ice Man”, while Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, Ernie “The Big Easy” Els and Phil “Lefty” Mickelson have been among the game’s preeminent figures in recent times. Unlike t hese luminaries I have never previously had an alter ego during a long and not particularly illustrious career – apart, perhaps, from when the name “Psycho” stuck after a temper tantrum in a pot-bunker at North Berwick’s 16th hole. So I was more than a little suspicious when my playing partner, Phua, started calling me “Sultan” midway through our round at the fabulous Ronald Fream-designed course at Royal Brunei Golf and Country Club. I hadn’t been playing badly, but neither had my shot making been good enough to stand any kind of regal comparison. Perhaps he was cleverly forming a golfing analogy along the lines of that

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Courtesy of Golfplan (Royal Brunei); Courtesy of the Empire Hotel (Empire)

domed mosques, strict prohibition of alcohol sales and … well, very little else. More learned travellers would perhaps refer to the tiny state’s hefty chunk of virgin rainforest. Golf, however, doesn’t normally get a look in. When I told friends I was visiting, their initial envy was replaced by incredulity when I mentioned that I was there to play a round. “Who goes to Brunei to play golf?” was the general consensus. I had to admit that I didn’t know. After playing four courses in the Sultanate, I not only now know the answer to that question – Koreans, lots of them. I can also attest to the sheer conviviality of the experience. Carved through vividly emerald jungle, the manicured fairways of Brunei’s courses are lined by impossibly brightly-coloured wildflowers and rough that merges into snake-infested undergrowth. Water hazards abound, with a number of layouts characterized by networks of muddy lagoons where resident crocodiles guard against any Van De Velde moments. There’s no such thing as a tropical links, of course, but the South China Sea makes an appearance at many of the courses – its aquamarine stillness going some of the way to soothing the pain of my many misguided shots. The golf on its own would be reason enough to visit. Factor in the legendary friendliness of the locals, the tremendous Malay cuisine and the sumptuous accommodation available at fivestar resorts like the Empire Hotel and you have a destination that could stake a fair claim to be one of the region’s most underrated golfing prizefighter. I kicked my whistle-stop tour off amidst the palatial surroundings of the Empire Hotel, which provided a regal retreat after some less than majestic golf. This marble-laden wonder was conceived by the Sultan’s disgraced playboy brother Prince Jefri, who was sent into exile by his sibling after misappropriating billions of dollars in his previous role as minister of finance. Regardless of his misjudgments, Jefri’s monument to excess is undoubtedly impressive, as is the Nicklaus-designed course, which is attached to the hotel. The layout is as testing as you would expect from a Nicklaus course. It has hosted the Brunei Senior Masters on the European Senior Tour on several occasions and the closing two holes, a spectacular dogleg to an elevated green and a snaking downhill finale, are fit to conclude any course. However for a truly unique Brunei experience, the Royal Brunei Country Club wins my vote as the top draw – the encroaching jungle imbuing each hole with a sense of splendid isolation. It’s just you and those balltampering monkeys. Brunei, it has to be said, is possibly not for everyone. Although the golf is very good, the 60

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off-course action could best be described as somnolent. Banter is also slightly limited on the course. Brunei operates under a tolerant, but strict, Islamic system. Therefore, there is no sale of alcohol and public consumption of booze is banned. Male golfers used to the attentions of young female caddies will also be disappointed. Those looking for a laid-back experience without the frenetic pace of other countries in the region will, however, find much to love. Although Brunei Golf and Country Club was my favourite, I prospered most at the Empire course where I produced a towering performance entirely out of keeping with my usual form. On the signature hole, the 15th, a 549-yard par-5 that stretches along the beach, I killed a 7-iron stone dead. “You’re never a 24-handicapper,” remarked my playing partner Dougie. First a Sultan, then a world-beater. ‘I could grow to like this place’, I thought.

From top: the Ronald Fream-designed Royal Brunei Golf & Country Club; the golf clubhouse at the Empire Hotel

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INTERVIEW | MIKE WHAN

Driving Force

I

Paul Prendergast talks to Commissioner Mike Whan, the man behind the LPGA Tour’s resurrection.

n five short years, Commissioner Mike Whan has engineered a complete and stunning turnaround in the LPGA’s fortunes, dragging the Tour from a crumbled and humbled entity into the energetic, global presence in the sport that it enjoys today. 2014 was a special year on and off the golf course for the LPGA and it’s players, and with 33 events, US$61.4 million in prize money and a foothold in over a dozen countries worldwide, Whan and his team have built the platform for even more success in 2015 and beyond. Whan, who turns 50 early next month, will humbly avoid talk of him being the saviour of women’s golf. However, speak to any current or former players – and Whan makes the point of consulting with some of the early founders of the LPGA tour on a regular basis – and you get a sense of the reverence with which they hold the commissioner. Firstly, congratulations on what has been a successful 2014 … Thank you very much. It’s been a good few years. We’re on a nice run right now which makes me nervous because falling back is not an option! [Laughs].

AFP

What have been your personal highlights on Tour in the past 12 months? I can think of a handful. Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson battling away early in the year in the desert at the Kraft Nabisco – we probably should have known then that something special was coming.

I would say the back-to-back Opens at Pinehurst was a special moment for golf and Michelle and Stacy [Lewis] battling for that made it even more interesting. I’ve been on Tour enough to see Michelle Wie before school, going to school and after school and I know how hard she’s worked, not only to get her degree, but to get her game back in shape so that was an exciting moment. I think the highlight for me was the International Crown, although I don’t know that the rest of the media and fans would say that. One of the things I always tell my team is that our job is to bring something new and exciting every year even if the media and fans might not be ready for it. That takes us back to the Founders Cup and the Race to the Globe but in 2014, it was introducing the International Crown which turned out to be a huge success. When you’re launching something that hasn’t been done before: a format, a qualification process – you’re nervous because everything about it was different. We literally stole from nobody to create the International Crown so I was nervous! I wanted to make sure that the countries competing cared, the players cared and the format worked so Sunday at the International Crown was probably my proudest moment.

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Whan took over the reins at the LPGA in 2010; Stacy Lewis and Michelle Wie after the latter’s maiden Major championship win at Pinehurst last year

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My last moment for the year was probably standing on the 18th green handing the inaugural CME Race to the Globe trophy over. It was such a big moment in the women’s game. Naples is always the season ender for us and we always get a ton of our customers and season partners come in so we’re really surrounded by family at that event. It was pretty neat night and then giving the Globe away to Lydia Ko, it was a pretty good week for a commissioner. Is there any trepidation about trying to back up the success of 2014 moving forward? I can’t control what goes on inside the ropes and nor do I spend a lot of time worrying about it either. At the end of the day, I can’t play well enough to compete on this Tour so there’s no point worrying about putts I can’t make or chips I can’t attempt. What’s really great about what 2014 created was another significant tsunami of interest and my job is to turn that interest into opportunity. It’s about continuing to provide bigger and bigger stages, bigger and bigger platforms for the best in the world to compete on. I’m not shy, nor am I ignorant to know that we don’t compete on the same size of stage as the men do or that some other sports provide. My job is to make our stage and spotlight bigger and brighter and that’s what we’ll be doing in 2015. And you have some exciting developments with the Majors this year? Building security in the Majors is something that used to keep me awake at night. We really wanted to build something that would stand the test of time over the next 10, 15, 25 years. With the women’s Majors, they’ve bounced around a little bit too much and were too prone to change, whether that was sponsor change or venue. So really, the last couple of years have really been about building a Major line up that’s tied to partners that can be with us for the long-term. ANA [title sponsors for the ANA Inspiration, formerly the Kraft Nabisco] and the PGA of America together with KPMG [sponsors of the new Women’s PGA Championship] really eliminated the biggest weight off our shoulders when we were able to address those two. Especially in the case of the [former] Kraft Nabisco, that’s not the women’s version of anything. That’s our own, unique, 43-years of histor y a nd I ’ve said to my staf f on many occasions: ‘I’m not going to be the Commissioner that stops playing at Palm Springs’, so we needed to figure that one out. I feel really good about our Major pillars now and we’re with partners who talk in terms of decades, not in terms of years. 64

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I’ve read you consider the number of events you have now – 33 – as being around the optimum for what you can support on a schedule and properly service the needs of sponsors … The last eight months has probably been the first time I’ve ever said ‘No’ to anyone, but the bottom line is I can’t get away with having tournaments where five of the top 75 players show up. Other Tours may be able to, other sports may be able to, but in the LPGA’s world, when I get people to write a cheque large enough to be a title sponsor, they expect a high quality, international field where the world’s paying attention and the top players are playing. I’ve seen events on other Tours where five of the top people are there and they’re missing 45 of the top players. I don’t think our Tour can withstand that, so if I add another 15 or 20 events where everyone is unhappy, all that results in is a lot of [sponsor and event] turnover and nobody wins there. One of your mantras for your staff and the players has been to ‘Think like a Founder’ – those players that pioneered the LPGA Tour – in terms of reshaping the focus, the priorities and the principles that the Tour is built on. The basic premise is ‘get over yourself’ – it doesn’t matter what your title is and what you get paid, what can you do to make the LPGA better? However, the most important thing in this ‘founder philosophy’ is you need to leave the game better than when found it. The early founders knew they weren’t going to make any money or get rich but they knew they needed to leave the game better for the next generation of women. And so, to give you an example, back in 2009 we used to put about 3,000 young women through a program called ‘Girls Golf’ to get young girls playing. This year, we’ll put about 43,000 through. To me, that’s acting like a founder and it’s one of the great successes of the LPGA Tour. We’re using our opportunity to grow the game and we’re really starting to see the impact, in the United States at least, of young women coming back into the game. We can’t think we have this great success and feel like we have no responsibility to make the game better at the same time. And how have the players responded? To be honest with you, I really thought I was going to have to educate the players on this but the reality is: they teach me more than the other way around. I don’t have to teach LPGA at h letes anything. More often than not, I just have to follow their lead. HKGOLFER.COM


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PROPERTY | SPECIAL

A CITY CLEARLY UNITED RUPERT SMITH OF COMPLETE RPI DISCUSSES THE UNIQUE PROPERTY OPPORTUNITIES IN THE NORTHERN ENGLISH CITY OF MANCHESTER.

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ike all investments I am of the view that diversity is key and with residential to do business and the list of new corporate HQs investment in the UK the same principles apply. Investing in a mixture and relocations lay testament to this. And with of both capital growth and yield-driven opportunity is always wise in new companies, come new people who all need my view, utilising the yield play to service debt on the lesser yielding is a somewhere to live! pragmatic approach. Location, location, location – that’s all we seem to hear! But when transport infrastructure and regeneration in conjunction with international airline connections to Hong Kong, the mix is truly unique. In this new era of austerity where corporations are Cathay Pacific Airways has now launched a four-times-weekly service to looking for increasing ways to trim the balance Manchester! sheet, Manchester stands out as a viable and Located in north-west England, Manchester is a regional transport and business much cheaper alternative to London. hub that is renowned for its architecture, culture, industrial heritage and sports On average, office rents cost just one third of clubs. Manchester International Airport is ranked third in the UK, after Heathrow the capital and according to KPMG, Manchester and Gatwick, in terms of passenger throughput and has high potential for further is rungs above London for business cost growth. competitiveness. It’s not just about the cold, hard The Manchester service is operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft featuring Cathay figures on a spreadsheet. Manchester is an easy Pacific’s acclaimed new cabin products, including the awarding-winning Business sell to employees who are able to realise more for Class, Premium Economy Class and the new Economy Class seats. Flights depart their money and enjoy a better work-life balance from Hong Kong to Manchester every Monday, with shorter and easier Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Departures from commutes – thanks to In this new era of austerity Manchester are also on these days. years of major investment Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Ivan Chu said: (£1.5bn) in public transport where corporations are "We have a deep commitment to the UK market infrastructure. Companies looking for increasing ways and currently operate five flights a day to London are asking themselves, if the to trim the balance sheet, Heathrow. Business ties between the UK and Hong BBC can do it, why can’t we? Kong are very strong and we have been seeing an Indeed, the relocation Manchester stands out as ever-increasing demand for air travel to and from the of the BBC to the east a viable and much cheaper Asia Pacific region for both business and leisure traffic. of the city in Salford has alternative to London. “By providing yet more flights to the UK, and the had a colossal impact on only non-stop direct service between Hong Kong Manchester’s house prices. and Manchester, Cathay Pacific will offer passengers “ The BBC have turned even more choice and flexibility and, at the same time, continue to boost Hong Didsbury and Chorlton into little London,” opined Kong’s standing as an international aviation hub.” one national broadsheet on Manchester’s most If you thought the UK investment property market was all about London, then popular residential areas. According to Land think again. Manchester is turning the tables. The northern city, famed for its music, Registry Data house prices specifically in Salford football and former industrial glory showed the strongest growth in house prices in trumped the rise in the national average by over 2013, according to a survey by Nationwide Building Society. three times last year. Residential values increased by 21% against the national average rise of 8.4% – The city’s population has grown by nearly 20% making London’s 13% recorded growth look, at best, modest. in the last decade, with 80,000 more estimated to The driving forces behind Manchester’s much vaunted return to prosperity lie call it home by 2027. Such an influx of professionals in the city’s innovative civic leadership who geared every policy and initiative to will only continue to gentrify the city’s real urban regeneration and growth – a strategy that has procured the city’s claim to be estate. Demand for properties therefore, is the largest UK office market outside of London. Put simply, Manchester is a place certainly strong.

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WHY MANCHESTER?

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THE MARKET From 1991-2001 Manchester’s regeneration took the city-centre population from a matter of hundreds to 17,000. Gone are the dark satanic mills, the derelict and decaying warehouses and in their place: characterful apartments, epicurean hangouts and popular nightclubs. The Northern Quarter is a good example of this urban regeneration, transformed from beggarly to bohemian. In a report published by UK online housing portal Right Move, national house prices were forecast to grow by 6-8% in 2014 with the city of Manchester singled out as a specific property hotspot. The fundamentals are definitely in place to support this assertion. Based on rental yields alone, Manchester ranks fourth in the UK for buyto-let property. This has attracted a number of pension funds to the city’s portfolio, in search of safe and secure performing real estate. Wider economic data backs up the confidence too – over the next five years a predicted growth of 2.9% in the city’s GDP and a 4.9% increase in jobs are both encouraging. As ever, it comes down to the basics of supply and demand and the Manchester market is currently feeling the effects of short supply. Following the 2008 financial crash many new developments and sites were halted and the market is now responding to that lull in its projected homes pipeline. Now, appetite for new builds is apparent. Royal Mills, the redevelopment of a former textile factory between New Islington and the Northern Quarter, was 50% reserved within two weeks of its launch date in summer 2013. According to Jones Lang Lasalle’s Residential Eye report, published in October 2013: “The new homes market has seen a particularly strong HKGOLFER.COM

revival this year. Developers have been busy finishing previously mothballed sites – pricing units to sell rather than yield maximum gain. They have also become active land buyers again, positioning themselves ready for the next phase of the housing market recovery.”

TRANSFORMATION The city’s transformation and emergence from recession has not gone unnoticed. In a 2014 article The Economist lauded what it called ‘The Manchester Model’, describing the city’s success as “an economic and political system which seems to work and is increasingly being copied.” Now the fastest growing economy outside of London, Manchester has a story to tell. With 7% growth figures predicted in the housing market for 2014, investors may want to write their own chapter on the city too.

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CROSSWORD

©2014 Dr Milton Wayne

RULES IS RULES!

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ACROSS

DOWN

4. (& 21D) Chinese phenom penalised for slow play at The Masters (4,8) 6. See 11A 7. (& 9D) Beyond the course (3,2,6) 10. Sandy depression (6) 11. (& 6A) Moveable natural rubbish? (5,11) 14. You can declare your ball is this (10) 17. How to speak to your ball before you hit it? (7) 18. (& 5D, 29A) Area being fixed (6,5,6) 19. See 2D 20. (& 27D) Fancy name for hole start point (6,6) 22. Big John, Chief Ref on the European Tour (7) 25. See 15D 26. (& 1D) Punishment to get back in play (7,4) 28. Wooden pole that marks trouble spots (5) 29. See 18A 30. You can’t ask your opponent for this (6) 32. See 8D 33. See 16D 34. (& 13D) A cart path is one? (9,11)

1. See 26A 2. (& 19A, 22D) What you are sometimes allowed to do when the course is soggy (4,5,5) 3. Posh way to say “plugged” (8) 5. See 18A 8. (& 31D, 32A) Usual distance where you take 26A (3,4,7) 9. See 7A 12. Costless relief (4,4) 13. See 34A 15. (& 25A) What you hit if you aren’t sure? (11,4) 16. (& 24D, 33A) You’ll see red if you go in here (7,5,6) 21. See 4A 22. See 2D 23. Rules arbiter on the course (7) 24. See 16D 27. See 20A 31. See 8D

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WIN A SIGNED LEE WYBRANSKI POSTER! To enter, complete the crossword and send a scan or a photo of the completed grid to Crossword@HKGolfer.com, with "January Crossword" as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and contact number. Entries close on 15 February. ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES. Congratulations to Ian Stewart from Discovery Bay who won the November 2014 crossword. NOVEMBER ANSWERS Detail of Wybranski’s poster of The Road Hole at St Andrews

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FINAL SHOT

Lee Westwood Fresh off winning last month’s Thailand Golf Championship, the Englishman talked to Alex Jenkins about his thoughts on the Olympics, his advice to young players and the rise of Asian golf. You started playing golf at the age of 13. What would be your advice to young players today? Get good instruction to start and be very regimented in your practice. It’s easy to get into bad habits, so you have to be very regimented and pay close attention to what you’re doing. I can’t overstate that enough. Everyone knows you’re an avid Nottingham Forest supporter. Who is your favourite player? Andy Reid. He’s a midfielder but he’s injured at the moment. I like the way he plays. Good passer of the ball, gets into good positions. He’s a good reader of the game.

AFP

What differences are there between playing in Asia and playing in Europe or the United States? There’s not that much of a difference really. It depends on where you are in Asia. In Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore there’s a lot of humidity and it’s generally very hot. But it’s not so much like that in China. On the course there’s very little difference. There’s some great courses. Sheshan in Shanghai for instance, is as good as anything we play in the US. It’s in perfect condition. Generally, you need to get used to different cultures. One big difference: jet lag! 70

HK GOLFER・JAN 2015

Favourite golf course? Pebble Beach. The front nine especially – holes five through 10 are exceptional. Beautiful, of course, but a great test too. Possibly the greatest stretch in the world. Golf is returning to the Olympic Games in 2016. What are your thoughts on that and is playing in the event a goal of yours? Yeah, it’s a goal of mine to play, I’d like to. I think the Olympics are going to bring golf to a wider audience – attract a lot of people who may not normally watch golf – so it’s going to be very good for the game, especially long term. I know federations around the world are putting more money into golf development as a result of the Olympics so it’s a very positive. How do you assess the strength of Asian players at the moment and are there any players in particular that impress you? There’s a lot of good Asian players. [Hideki] Matsuyama, who I’ve played with quite a bit recently, hits the ball very well. I’m impressed by him. These days, you see a lot more Asian players competing for tournaments a lot more, which didn’t happen so much 15 years ago. It’s very nice to see. Asian golf is doing very well.

HKGOLFER.COM


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