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A Bumper Winter for Local Junior Golfers









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HK Golfer Issue 120

On the Cover:

Unho Park’s love affair with the FTLife HKPGA Championship continued with the Australian claiming his fifth title in six years. Photo by Daniel Wong



36 | FTLife HKPGA Championship Review

12 | Divots

The Korean-born Australian Unho Park claimed his fifth FTLife HKPGA Championship title in six years with a stylish display over the dramatic clifftop course at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club. By Louie Chan

44 | The Fab Five

There were an impressive five players in their 20s who featured in the top-10 of the final Asian Tour Order of Merit 2016. By Chuah Choo Chiang

50 | Bunker Mentality

While the rest of us can pack in an 18-hole two-ball into a morning or afternoon, the top players are taking their borrowed time. By Mike Wilson

14 | In Focus

A pictorial review of the last 30 days from around the world. By The Editors

21 | Tee Time

JS Watch co. Reykjavik, a small Iceland-based watchmaker, punches well above its weight with exceptional timepieces. By The Editors

26 | Driving Range

The R&A is a most individual and quintessentially British thing and has been running The Open since 1860, which is an awfully long time in anyone’s estimation. By The Kilted Caddie

I n n ov a t i ve e n g i n e e r i n g a n d a c o m p e l l i n g conception of space make the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate, the most intelligent estate that Mercedes-Benz has ever built. By The Editors

62 | Presidential Address

28 | Liquid Assets

68 | Final Shot

74 | Crossword

Jon Wallet, HKGA Golf Development Director talks about his 30 years coaching career, his favourite course and who would be in his dream fourball. Interview by Louie Chan HK GOLFER・FEB 2017

News and events from Hong Kong and the region. By The Editors

56 | The Royal and Ancient Golf Club

Donald Trump’s ‘Holy Trinity ’ of links courses in Scotland and Ireland offer an unrivalled combination of sporting challenge for golfers of all levels of ability, with a fusion of style, comfort and excellence in the hospitality. By Mike Wilson


February 2017

Ernie Els, former number one and four-time World Champion’s vineyard is located in the “Golden Triangle” of Stellenbosch, which produces some of South Africa’s most award-winning wines. By The Editors This issue: What A Game! By Dr Milton Wayne


HK Golfer


Managing Editor: Louie Chan Contributing Editors: Dr Milton Wayne, Faye Glasgow, John Bruce, Nathan Goulding, Keith McLaren, Paul Jansen, Evan Rast, Mike Wilson, Robin Lynam. Art Director: Derek Hannah Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Administration Manager Cindy Kwok Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Published by:

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

D E PA R T M E N T S 12 Divots 14 Global Focus 16 Asia Focus 18 Local Focus 21 Clubhouse 31 Around the HKGA 44 Notes from The Asian Tour 56 Bunker Mentality 74 Crossword

In association with: Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: For purchasing information contact: For subscription information contact: Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Iain Lowe for Trump International Golf Links Scotland

Phone (General): +852 2504-8659 Fax: +852 2845-1553 Phone (Handicaps): +852 2504-8197 Fax: +852 2504-8198 Email:

HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 10B Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2017 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



Lydia Ko to Launch Her Own Golf Apparel Line

Mckayson, t he newly launched golf wear brand inked a sponsorship deal with the world number one female golfer Lydia Ko. The initial term of the sponsorship will be 3 years starting from 2017 through 2019, giving Mckayson the right to use Lydia Ko's name and likeness in their advertising, brand product, and logo. The focal point of this signing is that Lydia Ko will ta ke a d i rec t role i n developi ng her new gol f appa rel line. The ‘Mckayson LK line’ will reflect Lydia Ko's thoughts

and knowhow on tour and is expected to bring a breath of fresh air in the golf apparel market.  Lydia Ko commented after the signing “I'm so happy to be here at this special occasion, and I want to thank you all for your continued support.  It's only been four years since I became a professional and to be able to have my own apparel line at this time in my career is a tremendous honor and I hope this relationship will last for a long time".

Killian and Rai Win Pairs Title

John Killian and Y.B. Rai proved to be perfect partners as they combined to win the 2016 HKGA Pairs Tournament at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club. The duo won the Gross Stableford division with 39 points in what is traditionally one of the most popular events on the calendar for Hong Kong Golf Association subscribers. Killian, a member of Clearwater Bay and 12


Rai finished four ahead of Henry Lee and Lawrence Lane (35). Jonathan Brock and Nicholas Allen, Alain Roberge and Steven Terry, Oliver Jean Haxaire and Augus Sexton all tied at third on 33 points. Kenny Tse and Rita Chan finished just one point ahead of Killian and Rai to claim the Nett Stableford division on 46 points. HKGOLFER.COM


Zecheng Dou Signs with IMG Chinese teen sensation Zecheng Dou has signed with IMG for worldwide management and marketing repre s ent at ion . T he 19 -ye a r- old was a graduate of the CGA-HSBC Junior Programme, which is run in conjunction with I MG, enjoyed a record-breaking season on the China PGA Tour. Z e c hen g ’s bre a k t h rou g h w i n came at the season-opening Henan Open after a two-hole playoff with countryman Xinjun Zhang. He went on to win three more titles: United Investment Real Estate Wuhan Open, Sunning Estate Nanjing Zhongshan Open, and the Yulongwan Yunnan Open.  Zecheng was awarded player of the year honours and finished first on the China PGA Tour Order of Merit. He made all 13 cuts and set a single season-earning record (¥1,144,350). Additionally, he has now won playing rights on the Tour for the 2017 season.

Global Focus Jim Furyk Named 2018 Ryder Cup Captain The PGA of America announced on 11th Janunary that Jim Furyk will captain the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team at Le Golf National in Paris. Furyk, 46, played on nine straight Ryder Cup teams from 1997-2014. He compiled a 10-20-4 individual record across that span before serving last year as an assistant captain for Davis Love III as the Americans won the biennial matches for the first time since 2008.”This is such an honor. I’m actually a little overwhelmed, didn’t think it would be that way,” Furyk said. “In my opinion, the Ryder Cup embodies everything that is special about golf.” Furyk has won 17 times on the PGA Tour, including the 2003 U.S. Open. In his first act as captain, Furyk announced that Love will serve as one of his assistants next year in France. Photo by Getty Images/AFP

Asia Focus Green Aces with Distinction Australia’s Richard Green topped the class when he defeated compatriot Todd Sinnott with a birdie at the first play-off hole to secure his playing rights at the Asian Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in mid-January. Green earned his Tour card on the back of a grueling week which saw him complete with distinction at the Suvarnabhumi Golf and Country Club. The 45-year-old marked his card with a nine-under-par 63 to sign off with four-day total of 28-under-par 260 which is the third lowest ever score in the Asian Tour history for a 72-hole scoring. Despite being defeated in the play-off by his role model, Sinnott was delighted to post a final round 62. His closing 260 total was also the lowest score he has ever signed for in his career. Photo by Asian Tour

Local Focus Champ Showered Unho Park’s love affair with the FTLife HKPGA Championship continued with the Australian claiming his fifth title in six years. The Korean-born Australian held off the challenge of his compatriot, defending champion Scott Barr, with a two-under-par 68 to finish with a three-under total. “I don’t know what it is about this event but it clearly agrees with me,” said 42-year-old Park, who finished second to Barr 12 months ago and collected a cheque for HK$100,000. “I didn’t make it easy on myself but I was happy to be able to hang on and get it done. It’s a great feeling.” Park, pictured here being showered by his fellow competitors after holing the winning putt. Photo by Daniel Wong


Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME


The Islandus 45 Years Anniversary Edition HKGOLFER.COM




The Frisland GOÐ is a tribute watch that pays homage to the destructive power of Iceland's volcanoes 22


f ter years of imagining their dream watch, friends Sigurdur Gilbertsson, Julius Heidarsson and Grimkell Sigurthorsson decided to make the timepiece a reality. In 2005, with Gilbertson’s father, Gilbert Gudjonsson, a master watchmaker with experience aplenty, the team launched its first line and JS Watch co. Reykjavik was born. The collection was an immediate success and sold out within six months. Iceland’s economy, however, turned out to be built on an unstable base and the Icelandic Krona - the currency of this island nation - collapsed. The wealthy domestic market, on which the firm relied, vanished. In the wake of the financial collapse, however, millions of tourists flocked to Iceland, desperate to take advantage of the prices offered by the country’s weak economy. JS Watch co’s precision craftsmanship, attention to detail and sheer excellence in watch making appealed to this new influx of visitors. The brand was quickly back on its feet and working furiously to keep up with the renewed demand. Fans of the brand include Hollywood A-listers Most recently, the Jude Law and Tom Cruise as well Constantine II, the former king company launched as of Greece, and, most intriguingly the Islandus 45 of all, the Dalai Lama. JS Watch has gone on to Years Anniversary create eleven highly sought Edition, which after limited edition collections. was created in Having survived the financial special celebration failure, it seems only fitting that the company has created a new of Gudjonsson’s timepiece that embraces Iceland’s 45th year as a volcanic vicissitude. The Frisland GOÐ is a tribute watchmaker. watch that pays homage to the destructive power of the country’s volcanoes. Based on the brand’s popular Frisland collection, this edition has the name GOÐ etched onto the dial in a vivid red hue. The polished black dial is actually a carefully applied layer of volcanic ash taken from the cloud that grounded European air traffic for weeks in late 2010. Beneath the brimstone, the timepiece is anything but ordinary. Assembled by hand, the case is made from 316L surgical steel and water resistant up to 50 meters. It protects an automatic ETA movement, customised to JS Watch’s specifications. The finished product has a power reserve of up to 38 hours and is visible through a sapphire caseback. The simple, bold aesthetic continues with oversized white roman numerals at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions. Plain white indices HKGOLFER.COM

Clockwise: The enormously popular Islandus model; the Sif North Atlantic Rescue Timer; the back of the Islandus 45 Years Anniversary Edition; the Collection Islandus 1919


complete the hour markings and a red sweeping hand compliments the finish. At 44mm the Frisland GOÐ is a real statement and a piece of geological authority. Fiercely proud of Iceland’s nautical prowess, JS Watch co. has also produced a hardy timekeeper in conjunction with the country’s national coast guard – the Sif North Atlantic Rescue Timer. A classically styled pilot’s watch, the Sif is generously proportioned at 40mm. The remarkably clean dial design and robust construction has made it a treasured possession of the fearless men and woman of the coastguard. White luminous numerals provide visibility in poor conditions and the water resistance extends to a depth of 1,000 metres. Only 941 of these watches have been produced and the case back is specifically numbered. Available in stainless steel or with a contemporary PVD black coating the finished timepiece is as a comfortable in the office as it is in rough seas. Arguably JS Watch co’s most popular collection is the Islandus. While the special edition, of which only 10 were made, has sold out, buyers have instinctively gone for the more widely available model. And for good reason: this watch is a classic. Generously proportioned at 44mm this timepiece features a manually wound movement HK GOLFER・FEB 2017


and Roman numerals on the face; the number 12 stands out in a bright red colour. With a sterling silver dial guilloched by hand and an ostrich skin strap it represents one very special timepiece indeed. Most recently, the company launched the Islandus 45 Years Anniversary Edition, which was created in special celebration of Gudjonsson’s 45th year as a watchmaker. Limited to – that’s right – 45 pieces, the watch has a solid Sterling Silver dial guilloched by hand and features flame-blued, Breguet-style hands. Reflecting the determination of the Icelandic people and the country’s dramatic nature, the GOÐ, Sif and Islandus timepieces exemplify JS Watch patriotism. These timepieces, which are available in Hong Kong through Times International Creation, are rare examples of traditional craftsmanship working in harmony with contemporary passion. Their mark may not yet match that of a volcano, but they’re a powerful – if exclusive – force in the world of horology and a brand the people of Iceland should be proud of. JS Watch co. Reykjavik is represented in Hong Kong by Times International Creation. For more information, contact; (852) 3590 4153. 24




Mercedes-Benz E 200 Estate




n terms of the space on offer, the E-Class Estate continues to be one of the favourites in its segment: it has a cargo volume of up to 1820 litres and, in spite of a much sportier roof line, headroom and elbowroom in the rear are in turn the best in this class. The new estate will be available in the E 200, delivering 184hp and 300Nm of torque; and E 250, delivering 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque respectively. Mercedes-AMG E 43 4MATIC Estate, with the powerful 401 hp 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine, 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with shortened shift times, AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive and model-specific sports suspension, it boasts the AMG brand’s hallmark driving performance and increased agility. With a capacity of 670 to 1,820 litres, the E-Class Estate’s load compartment is one of the biggest in the segment. As standard, the rear bench seat has new cargo related functionality: it is possible to position the backrest at an approximately 10-degree steeper angle. This creates an additional 30 litres of cargo volume while continuing to enable full use to be made of five seats. In addition, the rear seat backrest folds down in a 40:20:40 split as standard, opening up plenty of potential configurations between transport capacity and seats. To release the backrests, there are electric switches located in the load compartment and to the right and left next to the backrests. The EASYPACK tailgate provided as part of the standard equipment can be opened and



closed very easily at the touch of a button for comfortable loading and unloading. Operation is electromechanical. To prevent the tailgate making contact with the garage roof, for example, it can be halted in any position and its opening angle limited. KEYLESS- GO (Optional for E 200) and optional HANDS-FREE ACCESS makes loading even more convenient: all that is required is to make a kicking motion with a foot underneath the rear bumper and the boot lid can be opened and closed fully automatically. You don’t need to have your hands free or to place any items of luggage on the ground. A selflevelling rear air suspension continues to be part of the vehicle concept as standard. This ensures that the Estate always stays horizontal, even when fully laden. With AIR BODY CONTROL, allround air suspension is available as an option. Exceptionally secure and easy to fit, the holding device for cycle racks is a world first. The HKGOLFER.COM

SCORECARD New Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

Engine: 1,991cc four-cylinder turbo (E 200 Estate) / 2,996cc V6 turbo (Mercedes-AMG E 43 Estate) Transmission:  9G-TRONIC Power:  184hp at 5,500rpm (E 200 Estate)/ 401hp at 6,100rpm (Mercedes-AMG E 43 Estate) Performance:  0-100km/h 8.1sec, max speed 231km/h (E 200 Estate)/ 0-100km/h 4.7sec, max speed 250km/h (Mercedes-AMG E 43 Estate)

trailer coupling has two extra bolts on the ball coupling to support a suitable cycle rack safely. This enabled the load capacity to be increased to 100 kg and four bikes. With its striking exterior design, the new E 43 Estate is immediately recognisable as a member of the AMG family. Three large apertures in the front apron emphasise its muscular and selfassured appearance. The diamond radiator grille with chromed pins and the single transverse louvre in high-gloss black with inserts in highly polished chrome are further distinguishing features of the E 43 Estate. The side view is dominated by high-sheen 19-inch AMG fivetwin-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in highgloss black. The rear end likewise has sporty touches, with two exhaust tailpipes in highly polished chrome with a centre bar conveying a particularly sporty impression. The rear apron trim in a diffuser look is in silver chrome, while the roof spoiler on the tailgate is painted in the vehicle colour. Inside, too, the Estate utilises the Saloon’s award-winning design. The instrument panel can be adorned with two optional wide, highresolution and brilliant displays, each with a 12.3inch screen diagonal. Located under a shared glass cover, they merge to form a widescreen cockpit. There are three different styles to choose from: “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive”. Touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel allow the instrument cluster and multimedia system to be controlled at the swipe of a finger and have made their début in the new E-Class. Further controls are provided in the form of a touchpad with controller in the centre console, which can also recognise handwriting, plus the LINGUATRONIC voice control system. There are also direct-access buttons for controlling the air conditioning, for example, and for convenient activation and deactivation of certain driving assistance systems. The design and equipment lines include enhanced ambience lighting featuring 64 colours and therefore offer plenty of opportunities for personalised adjustment. HKGOLFER.COM

The Estate utilises the Saloon's award-winning interior design

The rear seat backrest folds down in a 40:20:40 split as standard

The E-Class Estate's load compartment is one of the biggest in the segment






i n e a n d g o l f is a n at u r a l p a i r i n g b ro u g ht to g e t h e r i n c l u b h o u s e s around the world. Many golfers would finish of f a demanding (or undemanding) round with a satisfying glass (read: bottle) of wine overlooking some awe-inspiring vista with the sunlight beaming on one’s satisfied face. Even better, imagine if the wine was yours. All yours. You own the vineyards and one of the best regional vignerons makes the wine for you. This is Ernie Els’ dream that launched in 2000 with his first vintage of the Signature - an imposing Cabernet Sauvignon blend that was immediately scored on release by Wine Spectator as the highest-rated South African wine yet with 90+ points. The Signature remains his flagship label and every single vintage has scored the same above 90 points. Els c a ll e d u p o n t h e s e r v i ce s o f Lo u is St r y d o m , winemaker and soon-to-be managing director of Ernie Els Winery and together the pair have built up a hearty por t folio which now includes the Proprietors’ Blend, the Signature and the Big Easy – so-called because of Els’ strapping 6 foot 3 build coupled with his easygoing demeanour. There is also his single-varietal range which champions Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Like any self-respecting South African wine, Els’ are big



and expressive; the vines nestle on the sun-baked slopes of Helderberg Mountain but due to its proximity to False Bay, the grapes are also gently cooled by ocean breezes which slow down aggressive ripening and result in wines with excellent balance and concentration with abundant acidity. Els’ collection is predominantly Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-blends but the Big Easy range encompasses another vinous jewel in South Africa’s crown, Chenin Blanc. All the wines are to drink now, but his top labels, the Proprietor’s Blend and Signature will also benefit from longer ageing. A research conducted by Vinexpo placed South Africa in the top 10 of Hong Kong’s biggest wine importing countries, making them more available than ever before. For Hong Kong’s wine and golf lovers, there appears to be no better time to drink these cape-crusading wines and as Els says himself, “Wine is like golf, in both endeavours nature has the last ruling.” The connection between golf and the sport of winemaking - both are played outdoors, a genteel setting that belies that challenge of finding success. You have to figure out how to manage your way around a property, adjusting for the variances thrown at you by a change in elements. Ernie Els’ wines are available in Hong Kong via HK Golfer Store and free gift is included with purchase. Please write to: HKGOLFER.COM

Harvest your own rewards Invest in Bordeaux vineyards To learn how we help clients diversify their investment portfolios into prestigious chateaux, and provide vineyard management and wine marketing solutions, please call or email for a personal appointment. Tel: +852 3125 7580 Email:

Suite 901, The Hong Kong Club Building 3A Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong

The HKGA and the Road to College Golf Brad Schadewitz, Lead Coach of HKGA, talks about how HKGA helps local junior golfers to reach their college dreams.


n 2005 I made my first trip to Jr. World with the HK Team and at that time it really opened my eyes to the recruiting of junior golfers by college coaches. The Junior World tournament at Torrey Pines is still to this day the largest recruiting site for college coaches to watch young talented golfers from all over the world. Many of the U.S. based players play events throughout the year where college coaches have the opportunity to watch them play but Junior World is the biggest stage for the young juniors from other parts of the world to show the U.S. coaches they have what it takes to play at the collegiate level. With the help of our Junior and International Committee in 2008, the HKGA developed a plan to run a summer tour to help our best young players to gain exposure to the U.S. college golf programs and to play tournaments in optimal weather and conditions. The decision to combine and cultivate golf and education has been the road map to what the HKGA Team has become today. We currently have around 20 golfers taking part in higher education programs and many more in the recruiting process. As education is the core value of HK society we have found the vision forward to commit the players and parents to a long-term outcome in the sport. To the aspiring junior golfer who dreams of playing college golf you need to get started early. At the age of 13 or 14 you need to start building your resume and develop a check list for the process. The Ping American College Golf Guide is a tremendous resource for the whole process. It will give you detailed information on every college golf program such as coach names, addresses, phone numbers and scholarship availability: - Email and fax numbers for more than 1,200 coaches - NCAA, NAIA and Junior/Community College rules on eligibility, testing, letters of intent recruiting


HK's first golfing Olympian Tiffany Chan and Brad Schadewitz at the Junior World tournament in 2013.

and detailed information on the NCAA Eligibility Center - Campus visits and important questions to ask - Link with Golfstat to include option for PING Guide - Golfstat Interactive Score Conversion of junior scores to college tournament scores - Letters to junior golfers and parents from college coaches at all levels of competition regarding schools, education, playing opportunities and scholarships/financial aid - SAT/ACT average scores for recent freshman classes at most 4-year schools - Information on junior tours, rankings and important websites - Detailed information and requirements for international students - Information on junior tours, rankings and important websites There are also excellent recruitment companies in South East Asia to help players navigate through the process. Added Sport and ACDS have both been involved with helping HK players reach their college dreams. To all aspiring college golfers: do your research, set your goals high and develop your roadmap to reach those goals. HK GOLFERăƒťFEB 2017


A Bumper Winter for Junior Golfers


olf’s future stars have been in the spotlight over the past two months with more than 200 local golfers taking part in junior tournaments staged by Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA). The Winter Junior Championship was the climax of such a bumper winter and saw Taichi Kho claim the overall boys title over 36 holes at the Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course (North Course). Kho (145) fired 69 on day two to win by a seven-stroke margin over Chris Mun (152). Jing Hu (152) was the overall girls champion who defeated 13-year-old Chloe Chan (157). Hu scored the tournament’s only sub-par round of 72 on day two to win by five. Though losing the Winter Junior title, Chloe Chan has been part of HKGA-1 team to win the 18th Dr. George Choa Cup at Hong Kong Golf Club, a two-day invitational event for teams across Hong Kong and southern China. Chan (146) was backed up by fellow national team players Issac Lam (139), Virginie Ding (163) and Yannick Artigolle (153). HKGA-2 and HKGA-3 team secured second and third place respectively, showing off the calibre of Hong Kong’s young golfers – both male and female – is at all-time high. The HSBC Junior Tour 2016 Grand Final at Hong Kong Golf Club’s Deep Water Bay saw Derek Yang take honours on the day with a 61 over two rounds of the 9-hole, par-56 course. The 13-year-old also crowned the Boys 13-14 champion for 2016. Timothy Chan, 2015 winner of Boys 11-12 was the 2nd Runner Up to Yang. A total of 10 age-group winners was crowned HSBC Junior Tour Champion on a perfect sunny day, following their success over six 9-hole events last year. Deep Water Bay also hosted the HKGA’s Schools Holiday Competition which featured pupils aged 12 and under from more than 20 different schools across Hong Kong. Maurice Leung from Hong Kong International School and Pan Chun Shing from Magdalen College School both carded the lowest score of the day with a two-round 63.



The HKGA Teams dominated the 18th Dr. George Choa Cup at Hong Kong Golf Club Leading Final Scores: HKGA Winter Junior Championship: Overall Boys: 145 – Taichi Kho 76 69; 152 –Chris Mun Chun Hin 77 75; 154 – Lou Tan Chi Hin 83 71. Overall Girls: 152 – Jing Hu 80 72; 157 –Chole Chan 78 79; 163 –Virginie Ding 84 79. 18th Dr. George Choa Cup – 2016 Team Event by Invitation: 438 – HKGA-1 (Chloe Chan Cheuk Yee 73 73, Isaac Lam 68 71, Virginie Ding 81 82, Yannick Nathan Artigolle 76 77); 442 – HKGA-2 (Chris Mun 75 69, Lou Tan 71 67, Estee Vivian Leung 82 85, Iris Wang Xin Yi 77 83); 464 – HKGA-3 (Alex Zhuo Tian Wei Lam 78 72, Bryant Li 78 77, Tiffany Wu 88 79, Yuka Murakami 80 81). HSBC Junior Tour Grand Final: Boys 13-14: 61 – Derek Yang; 64 – Ka Jun Yu. Girls 13-14: 69 – Vivian Chan Wing Yiu; 72 – Emma Wan W T. Boys 11-12: 62 – Lincoln Lau Ching Sum; 69 – Markus Zachary Lam. Girls 11-12: 68 – Charlene Chung Y Y, Lau Hoi Ki. Boys 9-10: 31 – Oscar Hui C P; 32 – Kazer Ngu Tin-Yuk. Girls 9-10: 40 – Sophie Han; 43 -Summer Lee Y F. Boys 6-8: 35 –Cyril Leung S C; 36 –Chan Shi Hang. Girls 6-8: 40 Zoie Chan W Y; 50 – Regina Chiu. Hong Kong Schools Holiday Competition (Aged 12 and under): Boys 11-12 Gross: 63 – Maurice Leung (HKIS); 63 – Pan Chun Shing (MCS).  Girls 1112 Gross: 69 – Jolie Wong Jing Hin (PLKCKYS); 71 – Tiffany Chan Yun Kiu (DGS).  Boys 8-10 Gross: 35 – Denzel Sherpa Rai (DC); 36 – Leo Wong Chung Lam (BCWKMS), Yuen Chi Yueng (ISF).  Girls 8-10 Gross: 35 –Summer Lee (KCIS); 41 –Zoie Chan Wing Yee (BHS). HKGOLFER.COM

Winter Junior champion in action

The HSBC Junior Tour 2016 Grand Final at Hong Kong Golf Club’s Deep Water Bay

Chloe Chan


HKGA’s Schools Holiday Competition featured pupils aged 12 and under from more than 20 different schools across Hong Kong

The Kho father and son (Photo courtesy by Victor Kho)

Yannick Artigolle



Fifth time’s the charm! Hat goes off to Unho! 36




Fifth the



The Korean-born Australian Unho Park claimed his fifth FTLife HKPGA Championship title in six years with a stylish display over the dramatic clifftop course at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club, writes Louie Chan.


Photography by Daniel Wong

017 represented the 34th edition of the HKPGA Championship, an event first played in 1974, and Ageas has been title sponsors for seven consecutive years before. Ageas Insurance Company (Asia) Limited was renamed as FTLife Insurance Company Limited after being acquired in 2016. Thus, the company actually was the title sponsors for eighth year in succession. The 54-hole tournament was played in its traditional format of visiting three different courses. The New Course at Hong Kong Golf Club hosted the first round; the Eden Course at Fanling was the venue for the second round, while Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club was selected for the allimportant final round. And the prize fund stayed as the same as last year’s recordequalling HK$500,000.

First Round – 4 January

No lo c a l pl ayer ha s t r iu mphe d at t he championship since Dominique Boulet in


2004. And that was the 51-year-old, a twotime winner of the event, fired a three-underpar 67 over the New Course at Hong Kong Golf Club to hold a one-stroke advantage over defending champion Scott Barr and Hong Kong’s Wong Woon-man at the top of a crowded leader board. Fou r-t i me c h a mpion Un ho Pa rk of Australia and three-time Asian Tour winner Anthony Kang of the United States lie in a share of fourth on one-under, while former Hong Kong A mateur cha mpion Steven Lam returned a solid 71 in his first round as a professional. Wong, who sits alongside Barr on twounder, had arguably the most remarkable round of anyone in the f ield. The burly 36-year-old holed out from the fairway twice in successive holes for back-to-back eagles at the fifth and sixth on his way to a 68. His weren’t the only fireworks, however, with fellow Hong Kong professional Wong Hoikin making a hole-in-one at the par-3 eighth in an otherwise lacklustre round of 80.



51-year-old Dominique Boulet rolled back the years to take the first-round lead

Second Round – 5 January

Wong Hoi-kin made a holein-one at the par-3 eighth at the first-round 38


Boulet, Park and Wong hold a share of the lead through two rounds of the tournament after an absorbing day of action, while Barr finds himself in solo fourth at level par, with Anthony Kang a further shot back at oneover. Steven Lam added a 72 to his opening 71 to lie in a tie for seventh in his f irst tournament outing as a professional, while Shinichi Mizuno, who was also playing in his first event since turning the pro ranks, carded the day’s best round – a one-under 69 to move into a share of ninth. Bou let , now a prom i nent telev i sion commentator after spending 13 years on the Asian Tour, wasn’t at his best during a twoover 72 over his home course on Thursday and continued to downplay his chances of winning a third HKPGA title. “I hit it solidly early on but I really lost my swing on the back nine,” said Boulet, whose last victory came in 2004. “Tomorrow is another day and I’m looking forward to it. It’s still a lot of fun.”


Wong Woon-man hold a share of the lead through two rounds of action

Australian Park, who won four straight HK PGA tit les bet ween 2012 and 2015 before losing out narrowly to Barr last year, relied on two amazing par saves at the last two holes to keep his championship hopes alive. Wong, 36, meanwhile, said he wouldn’t be fazed by the weight of expectation as he goes in search of his maiden victory. “I aim to play positively and really focus on my own game; I won’t worry about what the others are doing. Hopefully I can continue to play well, so let’s see.” The trio stand at one-under-par for the championship after compiling contrasting rounds over the Eden Course at Fanling. But with top six players separated by only two shots, an exciting finale at Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club lies in wait.

Final Round – 6 January

Park’s love affair with the FTLife HKPGA Championship continued as the Koreanborn Australian held off the challenge of his compatriot, defending champion Barr, with a two-under-par 68 to finish with a three-


Park relied on two amazing par saves at the last two holes at the second-round to keep his championship hopes alive



under total. Barr, who like Park is an Asian Tour regular, was also round in 68 to end one shot shy, while Hong Kong’s Shinichi Mizuno, playing in his first event as a pro, finished in a share of third place alongside Wong Woon-man, two further shots back. “I didn’t make it easy on myself but I was happy to be able to hang on and get it done. It’s a great feeling.” The 42-year-old Park said, who finished second to Barr 12 months ago and collected a cheque for HK$100,000 with the title this year. Park, who started the round in a share of the lead alongside Wong and Hong Kong veteran Boulet, flew out of the gates with three front-nine birdies to establish a healthy lead. A double bogey at the 13th cut the Singapore-based player’s lead to just two, but a timely birdie at the par-5 15th followed by a steady run of pars was enough to deny a fastfinishing Barr. Anthony Kang earned fifth spot, while Boulet, who had downplayed his chances of earning a third FTLife HKPGA title, slumped to a disappointing 77 to f inish in sixth. “After I made double I saw how close it had become, with Scott making a move. It wasn’t so comfortable at that point but I’m proud of the way I knuckled down and got across the finishing line,” added Park. B a r r, w h o r e t u r n e d t o A si a n To u r Qualifying School a week after, was left to 40



rue a decidedly cold putter but was quick to poi nt out t he posit ive s f rom Hong Kong outing. “I tried really hard and it was a shame I didn’t get the putter going until late in my round. But my hat goes off to Unho, who obviously played really well to win again,” said the 44-year-old. “I’ve had a great time and it sets me up really well for next week, which is a massive week for me. I learnt a lot about where my game is, so it’s been a very positive experience.” Mizuno, 23, would join Barr at Asian Tour Qualifying School and was delighted with the way he capped off his fine professional debut, going bogey-free on the final day. “It gives me a lot of confidence,” said the former Hong Kong A mateur champion. “I didn’t start the championship well, so to finish with a 67 and move up the leader board was a very nice way to begin my professional career.” Clockwise from top: Bromance between fellow national teammates Humphrey Wong (left) and Steven Lam (right); Hong Kong amateur Terrance Ng (left) and veteran James Stewart (right); Shinichi Mizuno, playing in his first event as a pro, finished in a share of third place; Defending champion Scott Barr ended one shot shy to lost the title. HKGOLFER.COM


Unho Park


69 70 68



Scott Barr


68 72 67



Shinichi Mizuno

Hong Kong

75 69 67


Wong Woon Man

Hong Kong

68 71 72



Anthony Kang

United States

69 72 73



Dominique Boulet

Hong Kong

67 72 77



Brad Schadewitz


75 71 71



teven Lam

Hong Kong

71 72 74



Tang Tsz Hang

Hong Kong

75 70 74


Derek Fung

Hong Kong

70 72 77




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AFP Photo/OneAsia/Paul Lakatos

Gazing into golf ’s crystal ball, the future looks truly exciting with clear visions of Asia’s young and rising stars propelling themselves to the fore on the Asian Tour and beyond through their fearless attitude and golfing talents that defy normal conventions, writes Chuah Choo Ching.




South Korea’s Jeunghun Wang was ranked in third of the Order of Merit in 2016



India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar not just won twice last season but was already a five-time Asian Tour winner at the age of 25


AFP Photo/Khalid Redza/Asian Tour

fter the dust settled following another climatic 2016 season and the dollars and cents tabulated, there were an impressive five players in their 20s who featured in the top-10 of the final Asian Tour Order of Merit. At 21, Korea’s Jeunghun Wang emerged as the highest ranked in third place amongst the young guns, thanks to a masterful win at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, a tri-sanctioned event with Europe and South Africa. He also won in Morocco a week prior, and became the youngest ever to win back-to-back on the European Tour to eclipse the previous record held by the late and legendary Seve Ballesteros of Spain. Pencil-thin but with the kind of ball-striking ability that has players like Anirban Lahiri and Jeev Milkha Singh purring in admiration, many expect Wang to truly blossom into a world-class player and perhaps emulate countryman Y.E. Yang’s Major heroics. India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar also won twice last season to signal his return to top form. For over two years, a wrist injury put a speed bump on Bhullar’s meteoric rise when he was already a 46


five-time Asian Tour winner at the age of 25. His recovery was slow and tedious but once the Indian regained his full confidence and groove, there was no stopping him as he won the Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea with a stunning come-from-behind victory and Bank BRI-JCB Indonesia Open, all within the space of six weeks. Soomin Lee of Korea and Pavit Tangkamolprasert of Thailand were also victorious for the first-time last season with the former winning on the European Tour in China while the power-packed Thai broke through at the Venetian Macao Open, defeating 2015 Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri in a play-off following a titanic final day duel. Pavit’s rise to prominence on the region’s premier tour is also testament to the success of the Asian Development Tour where he had cut his professional teeth and won the Order of Merit title in 2014 with three tournament wins. While the 22-year-old Filipino Miguel Tabuena did not add to his lone Asian Tour victory in 2016, he still finished in a career high fifth place on the final Merit list, thanks to two runner-up finishes and three other top-10s. He also enjoyed a maiden major appearance at the U.S. Open to ensure his blossoming career continued to grow on an upward trend. A betting man would certainly put a wager down on the magnificent five to sparkle in our 2017 season, whether at home or abroad as the Asian Tour continues to expand its playing horizons following several exciting announcements of new tri-sanctioned tournaments with the PGA Tour of Australasia and European Tour. In addition, such is the Tour’s growing depth in strength that a slew of other young and promising talents is simply waiting on the wings for their career breakthroughs. Malaysia’s very own Nicholas Fung and Gavin Green, Thai teenager Phachara Khongwatmai and India’s Chikkarangappa S. are just a few names to watch out for in 2017, which promises to be another year to remember. The slightly-built Fung finished a career high 12th on the Order of Merit with a wonderfully consistent season which was highlighted by four top10s, an achievement equaled by 17-year-old Phachara, who finished in 14th place, and Chikkaranggapa, who was 27th on the money ranking. Long-hitting Green, who came in second on the ADT Order of Merit last season to earn his Asian Tour card for 2017, is another exciting prospect who can make the world sit up to take notice of the emerging generation of young stars coming out from Asia. The Asian Tour. This is #whereitsAT. Chuach Choo Chiang is Director, Communication of the Asian Tour and is based in Malaysia. HKGOLFER.COM

Andy Buchanan/AFP

Soomin Lee of South Korea was victorious for the first-time last season by winning on the European Tour in China













PineCreek Golf Property Holdings Ltd does not provide Hong Kong properties

AFP/Getty Images

Jason Day aka ‘All Day Long’ or ‘Day After Day’ is one of the worst offenders over slow play in professional golf





Top Players

Living on Borrowed


Much has been said and written about the Achilles Heel of golf, slow play, but whilst the rest of us can pack in an 18-hole two-ball into a morning or afternoon, the top players are taking their time, and ours, with impunity and without sanction from officials who talk the talk but won’t walk the walk on a practice that is blighting the game as a spectator sport, as Mike Wilson writes.


ow a p p r o p r i a t e it i s that one of the worst of fenders over slow p l ay i n p r o f e s s i o n a l golf is Jason Day, the Australian a head line writer’s dream with opportunities such as, ‘All Day Long,’ and, ‘Day After Day,’ available to them. Yet the current world number-one insisted at last month’s season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii t hat, for him, it’s business as usual, revealing he has no intention of speeding-up his snail-like pace, and that there is one set of rules for the elite of the game and a different one for those of us who take far more shots than the pros, yet manage to outpace them on every occasion. “Obviously [slow play is] a big subject in golf, to speed up the game,” the affable Australian said, adding “In my opinion, I don’t care so much about speeding up my game. I’ve got to get back to what makes me good. If that means I have to back off five times, then I’m going to back off five times


before I have to actually hit the shot.” Currently the best player in the world ploughed on regardless, saying, “Because for recreational golf, I understand, but for golfers that are trying to win and that one shot that could take you out of a playoff, that’s important, and you need to make sure that you get everything correct. “Because we’re driven by results; we want to be the best and we want to do everything, but like the Average Joe just doesn’t get it. I think that was just one of the things that I wasn’t as deliberate that I should have been, and that’s what I’ve got to try and do a lot more, is be a little bit more deliberate going into a shot and make sure I do everything correctly.” So, that’s just fine Jason, take as long as you like, whilst those you disparagingly refer to as ‘Average Joe’s,’ cough-up their hardearned cash to pay their TV subscription and ticket prices, buy those US$90 Nike AreoReact (now that sounds quick) Polo Shirts you have taken to wearing and help pay for the top-end sponsored Lexus you drive



AFP/Getty Images

Clockwise: Kevin Na and Bernhard Langer both represent generations of ‘Go-slow brigade’



and the US$8m prize money you earned last year, with the same again earned in appearance fees and sponsors’ bonuses. Except it’s not OK, Jason, and the rest of the ‘Go-slow brigade,’ the constipated preshot procedures of Kevin Na, Ben Crane, Keegan Bradley, Bernhard Langer, even Tiger Woods who could control the pace of an entire tournament through his own pace of play. Why? Because it’s breaking the Rules of Golf, specifically Rule 6, The Player, 6-7 Undue Delay; Slow Play, which states, “The player must play without undue delay and in accordance with any pace of play guidelines t hat t he commit tee may establish,” t he penalty for breach of Rule 6-7, “Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.” It’s there in black and white, it’s using an unfair advantage, a.k.a. ‘Cheating.’ At the start of last season, the European Tour trumpeted its new, ‘Pace of Play,’ policy, the R&A unveiling a 76-page, ‘Pace of Play,’ manual, which claims to, “Take a holistic approach to pace of play,” to be, “Gender neutral,” complete with, ‘Data Collection

Templates,’ and, ‘Pace of Play Spread sheets.’ A vision is emerging of an interlinked network of underground bunkers in St. Andrews, Wentworth, New Jersey, Ponte Vedra Beach, dozens of frustrated boffins algorithm mathematicians and scientif ic st at i st ic ia n s we a r i n g wh ite c o at s a nd furrowed brows, number-crunching and dataprocessing ‘til their hearts are content, solving one of the mysteries of the universe, slowplay in golf and coming up with a veritable sledgehammer to crack the proverbial nut. The fundamental problems are twofold; first, the enforcing bodies, the professional circuits are owned by and organised for the players, a classic conf lict of interests, and, second, with fewer of us playing golf, it’s not a major issue for what Day calls, “ The recreational game,” played by us, “Average Joes.” Meanwhile, the USGA and the R&A talk a good game, but, whilst insisting that all players are equal under the Rules of golf, some players, e.g. Tiger Woods are more equal than others, such as China’s teenage star Guan Tianlang, made an example of with HKGOLFER.COM

a penalty stroke at the 2013 Masters. Since, ‘Getting tough on slow play,’ in January 2016, the European Tour must be putting the fear of death into its players; for example, at the 2016 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Jordan Spieth, paid a reported US$500,000 just to turn up was issued with a, ‘Monitoring Notice,’ for slow play during the opening round and issues with the threat of a US$3,000 f ine for a second offence that week. That must have truly scared the living daylights out of the former world numberone, once the heir apparent to Tiger Woods. Professional golf is already shedding TV viewers, some 20% since the halcyon days of Woods at his imperious best and its audience is aging as the Millennials sponsors are so keen to, ‘Join the conversation,’ prefer short, fast clips on YouTube or movies on Netflix. And golf, as a sports entertainment is in a hotly-contested environment, in direct opposition to high-octane sports such as Mixed Marshall Arts (MMA) and Ultimate


“Because we're driven by results; we want to be the best and we want to do everything, but like the Average Joe just doesn't get it.” Fighting Championship (UFC) and that stalwart of the US media, Basketball. Just imagine if LeBron James were to say something like, “I know the rules state that I’ve got 30-seconds to shoot the hoop, but, you know, if it takes longer to make sure I score a basket and be my best, I’ll take as long as I want.” But, in golf, there is only one thing slower than the likes of Jason Day, and that’s the dawdling procrastination of officialdom in getting to grips with the issue, a two-stroke penalty as per the rules. Otherwise, the professional game is going to grind to a halt, literally and figuratively, which is why multi-millionaire players like Jason Day just don’t get it and are, as a result, living on borrowed time.



Royal and Ancient Golf Club


Adrian Dennis/AFP





Although The Open this year will be held at Royal Birkdale it is, still of course, run by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, The R&A. It has been running the event since 1860, which is an awfully long time in anyone’s estimation, ‘The Kilted Caddie’ explains.

Hall of Famer Tom Watson kisses the Swilcan Bridge in front of The R&A Clubhouse on the 18th hole during his second round of the 2010 British Open Golf, his last appearance in an Open Championship at St Andrews HKGOLFER.COM




Peter Muhly/AFP

ow The R&A is a most i nd iv idu a l a nd qu i ntessentially British thing. It is a law unto itself and a very queer beast. It is el it ist but su f f icient ly towny to get away with it. It has a most wonderful clubhouse and serves excellent wines and members walk round blazored and proudly and purposefully. There are over 2,500 of them worldwide and women have just been allowed to join. So, I would say that if you were a single woman with a liking for the game then what an opportunity? However, it’s not easy to get into this establishment. Well, unless you’re extremely lucky or charming or famous or I’m not quite sure what. Rich maybe. For you need to be invited to join and so that negates it for most of us. I am to be honest much more enamoured of the St A ndrews Golf Club which lies across the other side of the eighteenth green. It is open to anyone by application and costs under two hundred quid a year. It has snooker tables, dominoes nights, good decent food and beer at reasonable prices, and an outdoor patio looking onto the eighteenth of the Old Course. Now, I am a caddie in St Andrews, which is great fun and a job I never thought I would end up doing after coming here as a young economics student over thirty years ago, but I am and I love it. However, I know this limits my chances of getting invited to join The R&A. Even though I have friends who are members. It just won’t cut and I know it. Even though I played on the University golf team and know the BBC production crew and have a good pal who works alongside Rupert Soames who is Winston Churchill’s grandson. It’s not enough. If I were a QC, Queens Counsel, (i.e. having taken silk) it would most probably be a different matter. However, I don’t want to take silk. I want to pick up rough and replace divots and be with my common man. But I do. And indeed, I have a friend who is a QC who in fact turned down an offer from the esteemed club. In fact, another friend, a doctor, did the same. Now what’s that all about? So, here’s the deal. I will not turn it down should the R&A offer me a membership. Now this is written down in the annals of history and I will wait patiently. A good friend in his first year at University has a wonderful story about joining. He was working up north in a fishing lodge in the



summer vac and befriended a lovely retired gent and his wife. Anyway, it turns out this lovely retired gent was a significant member of the R&A and invites Donald down to dinner at the start of Michaelmas term. After eating and over a large brandy he hears the immortal words ‘I would like to put you up for the club’. Donald was speechless, which was rare. Dona ld u sed to ta ke me for lu nch sometimes and it was always an occasion. One time was particularly funny. We were in the lounge afterwards and our attention was drawn to two older gentlemen who were perched at eit her end of a cha ise longue, eyes closed and in a semi conscious state. The great thing was that there was still some sort of communication going on between them in the form of a kind of a high society grunting exchange. One would go ‘hmm,hmm,hmm’ which amazingly arose the other to a higher level of consciousness and elicited a similar but different response. It was absolutely marvellous. I do like some of the R&A traditions, and was involved a couple of years back in the ‘driving in’ of the new captain. At dawn on a cold September morning I stood alongside my fellow caddies in the hope of winning a gold sovereign which goes to the caddie who

“However, it’s not easy to get into this establishment. Well, unless you’re extremely lucky or charming or famous or I’m not quite sure what. Rich maybe.” retrieves the drive off the first tee hit by the new captain. A cannon is fired and a fight for the ball ensues. Members of The R&A surround the first tee and it’s a marvellous occasion and spectacle. The Captain ‘wins’ the Silver Club and the Adelaide medal for his one shot. What a wheeze. Two prizes for a single shot. In my student days, the annual match against The R&A was always to be looked forward to. Two rounds and a large lunch and house gins included. The funniest thing was seeing my captain, Dave Turner, have one house gin too many and tumble down the steps onto the f irst tee of The Old. Excellent stuff and clever gamesmanship I may add. Dave was a canny golfer but not that afternoon. Memories, memories. And The R&A is very much part of that.


Golf legend and past Open champion Gary Player speaks with other past Champions in front of the R&A Clubhouse on the Old Course ahead of the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews, Scotland




World's Golf Course Designer of the Year

World's Best New Golf Course



Presidential Address

Iain Lowe for Trump International Golf Links Scotland


Spectacular links layout set amongst the Great Dunes of Scotland 62



Mike Wilson looks at Trump’s ‘Holy Trinity’ of links courses in Scotland and Ireland and discovers they offer an unrivalled combination of sporting challenge for golfers of all levels of ability, with a fusion of style, comfort and excellence in the hospitality offer that backs-up the golf.





s the 45th President of the USA, Donald J Trump gets his feet under the Oval Office desk in the White House following his inauguration last month, regardless of what sort of Presidency the 70-year-old may bring to the world, his golf course collection certainly earns its stars and stripes. Donald J Trump, entrepreneur, billionaire, one-time host of the US reality TV show, ‘The Apprentice,’ golf resort owner, now, however unlikely that may have been a year ago, President of the United States of America and arguably not only the most powerful man in the world, but also the most controversial and divisive public figure in a generation.

Images courtesy of Trump Turnberry

Stretch of new holes on Ailsa Course looking toward 9th hole and lighthouse

Ailsa Course with Trump Turnberry Hotel in distance 64


But, setting all of that to one side, Trump’s European golf resorts, two in Scotland from where his late mother hails, the other in Ireland, bought from the official receivers after the original incarnation went under are gold standard, authentic, challenging championship links courses, but with a variety of tees, sympathetic to mid-and-high-handicap golfers too. In terms of the overall package, great golf and luxe-de-luxe hospitality, Trump Turnberry is every bit the real deal; since acquiring the resort from Dubai-based Leisurecorp for a reported US$60m in April 2014, his company has spent almost US$300million, US$250m on the renovation of a hotel that was fraying at the edges. The balance was spent on a highly-acclaimed remodeling of the renowned Ailsa Course, the amalgamation of two nine-hole courses to for the tournament-standard Robert the Bruce course which opens later this year and a US$12.5m makeover of the clubhouse. At the behest of the R&A and in order to retain its place on the Open Championship roster, Trump engaged renowned course design team Mackenzie and Ebert to bring the Ailsa Course up to 21st century standards and afford the course opportunity to defend itself against today’s big-hitters armed with new technology. The course has been stretched by 150-yards to 7,357-yards, with the par increased from 70 to 71 with the 5th hole becoming a par5, although it will test the best by reverting to 70 if, and when The Open returns as it surely must. Once the weakest opening hole on the Open Championship roster, the 1st has been substantially stiffened, followed by five new holes, the 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 14th, with significant alterations to all other holes including the reshaping and positioning of bunkers, new tees and green positions and the softening of green contours to provide for more options for pin positions. The Ailsa Course at Turnberry has hosted the Open Championship on four occasions, most famously, the memorable 1977, ‘Duel in the Sun,’ when Tom Watson prevailed over Jack Nicklaus in a final day shoot-out between two of the best in the business under a rare Scottish summer sun, Watson almost repeating the feat at the age of 59 over the Ailsa Course in 2009, a story that would have eclipsed the famous Duel in the Sun and, arguably, every other sports story of all time. Whether politics and Trump’s vituperative remarks demeaning women, migrants, Mexicans and Muslims will prevent his HKGOLFER.COM


“On the specific instructions of the Commander in Chief, an awe-inspiring 244-yard Par-3 has been chiseled out of the granite shoreline, demanding a 200-yard carry across a watery grave, placing this, unquestionably, amongst the finest holes in world golf.” Sunset over Ailsa Course

The 10th and 11 holes on Ailsa Course, looking west towards Ailsa Craig in distance

Hotel, ensuring maximum TV exposure come tournament time. At 7,453-yards from the championship tees to a more manageable 6,250-yards for men and 5,800-yards for women, there can be few more exhilarating, if challenging links golf experiences on Planet Earth; Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, Royal Melbourne, Royal County Down, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, the Links at Fancourt all spring to mind, but the new Ailsa Course at Turnberry, which, despite all the history and heritage of St Andrews, makes the HK GOLFER・FEB 2017

Images courtesy of Trump Turnberry

glittering new jewel-in-the-crown from hosting a fifth Open Championship is a matter of speculation. With St. Andrews certain to host the 2020 event, 2021 would be the next opportunity for Turnberry hosting the oldest ‘Major’ of all, and with Muirfield off the R&A roster after last year’s controversial vote to continue to prevent women from joining the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers which owns the course, Turnberry’s prospects look favourable, especially as money talks loud and the power of an American president is highly-persuasive. The highlight of the remodeled course, is a stretch of eight new consecutive holes following the rugged shoreline, the 5th, a yard short of 500-yards, a demanding Par-4, the 7th, a muscular 572-yard Par-5, but the jewelin-the-crown is the 9th, formerly a picturesque but somewhat limp Par-4 with the iconic Turnberry Lighthouse towering over the green. But on, it is said, the specific instructions of the Commander in Chief, an awe-inspiring 244yard Par-3 has been chiseled out of the granite shoreline, demanding a 200-yard carry across a watery grave, placing this, unquestionably, amongst the finest holes in world golf. The new Ailsa Course is relentless, barely a respite from a barrage of challenging Par-3s, hefty Par-4s and robust Par-5s, only the 408yard, Par-4 13th offering any forgiveness, the 17th, one of three bruising Par-4s to finish, the 17th, at 506-yards fully deserving of its colloquial name, ‘Lang Whang,’ Scots for a, ‘Lengthy thwack.’ Last year, when I asked the then Republican candidate why an iconic, authentic and historic golfing institution needed the ‘Trump’ prefix, he insisted, wrongly in my judgment, that it added great value and prestige to be associated with his brand, but at least he has retained the traditional names of the holes, ‘Blaw Wearie,’ (Out of breath), the challenging Par-4 3rd hole, ‘Ca Canny,’ (Take care), the tough Par-3 15th, each and every hole with more than a few stories to tell, secrets to keep. Donald J Trump has not got where he has, in politics, or in business without having an eye for the main chance, and he’s has taken it in abundance with the 485-yard, Par-4 finishing hole. Martin Ebert was said to have been left in no doubt as to his client’s demand, just as he was with the 9th, to take the dogleg out of the 18th, named, ‘Duel-in-the-Sun,’ after the famous final hole drama in the 1977 Open Championship, the championship tee gazing, straight as a dye, at the Trump Turnberry


“The golf course is lacking for nothing, there are no weak holes,” - Dr. Martin Hawtree, designer of Trump International Golf Links Scotland

Top: The Clubhoue, Trump Turnberry

Images courtesy of Trump Turnberry

Above: The Grand Tea Room & Bar, Trump Turnberry



Old Course look – and play – like a pitch-andputt course. The five-star hotel was beginning the show signs of wear-and-tear when Trump took over in 2014, and, under the guidance of his son Eric, whether a fusion of bling and art deco is your cup of tea or not, it’s certainly impressive, like its owner, loud and larger than life. With a wide variety of F&B choices, from the haute cuisine of Il Tramonto at 1906, a nod towards the year the hotel first opened, to the elegant surroundings of the Grand Tea Lounge and Bar and the less formal Duel in the Sun restaurant, like most American-owned establishments, food is never too far away, whilst the excellent ESPA Spa makes for the ideal place to work it off. But, for this correspondent at least, Trump’s Turnberry pièce de résistance is, without question, his treatment of the famous 1878 lighthouse, creating not only a world-class halfway house for golfers, but also, appropriately enough, the appositely-named, ‘Presidential Suite,’ an exclusive, secluded luxury retreat, a snip at US$4,250.00 per person, per night. Responding to fears that Turnberry might be transformed into a gold-and-marble replica of Trump Towers in New York and the Ailsa Course a clone of the other archetypal, overdesigned layouts in the Trump Golf portfolio, a surprisingly, genial and understated Eric Trump sought to reassure sceptics. “I’ve been to Scotland every month over the last two years personally re-building every inch of this property,” he said, adding, “I literally took the hotel down to the steel and concrete with the exception of a few mouldings that we could salvage and brought the building back to what it originally was.” Speaking at last year’s re-opening, the 32-year-old added, “Turnberry is truly one of the most spectacular properties on earth. The views, the setting, and grandeur of the hotel there’s just nothing else like it,” he said, insisting, “We’ve respected the architectural history of the hotel first and foremost, but most of all we’ve respected the tradition of golf at Turnberry.” And lead architect Martin Ebert was pleased with his creation too, saying, “There is huge international respect for the existing course at Turnberry and therefore we [were] very careful to make an in depth study of the evolution of golf at Turnberry before making these changes. “The re-born Ailsa course will create a much-enhanced golfing experience, making even more use of the spectacular landscape and the iconic historic scenes that make Turnberry so special. That, in turn, will lead to even more HKGOLFER.COM


dunes down to the fairways and greens, dodging the 93 deep, revetted bunkers, many of them invisible to the ball-striker, is the name of the game, as is keeping out of the perilous, tangling rough at all costs. Not one single hole reveals itself until on the tee, each and every club in the bag is tested, each shot presenting its own particular challenge, this is a course that lures the golfer into going for his or her shots, but cruelly punishes anything not struck with authority. Most golf course designers are coy on the subject of signature holes, and, as Dr. Hawtree rightly says, “There is no weak hole on the course,” but when pressed, he says, “The Par-3 sixth, It gots everything: a burn, dunes, the sea view, a demanding shot, it’s got it all.” The testimonials come thick and fast, Sandy

Iain Lowe for Trump International Golf Links Scotland

enjoyable golf for everyone and further dramatic championships at Turnberry,” concluded Ebert. Meanwhile, the final piece in the Trump Turnberry jigsaw will be in place later this year, with the remodelled Kintyre and Arran ninehole courses amalgamated into one 18-hole, Par-72 layout, to be named King Robert the Bruce, in honour of the 13th century Scottish King, who was born in Turnberry Castle, where the ruins still sit close to the lighthouse. Also designed by Martin Ebert, this will be an ideal course for the recreational golfer, with breath-taking vistas from the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th offering spectacular views of the castle ruins and the lighthouse, the craggy shoreline coastline providing a tremendous visual feature and sporting challenge, with the approach shot to the 9th genuinely awe-inspiring with its green perched high above the waves crashing onto a rocky outcrop. Almost 200-miles north east of Trump Turnberry, on the opposite coast of Scotland lies Donald J Trump’s Trump International Golf Links, which, with suitable bombast if not a great deal of evidence to back it up, the US President describes as, “The greatest golf course in the world.” Opened in controversial circumstances following a lengthy planning process and environmental concerns in 2012, in fairness to arguably the most powerful man in the world, his US$150m creation is good, very good, the 7,428-yard Par-72 course near Aberdeen was designed by another renowned master of his trade, Dr. Martin Hawtree. Hawtree says of his creation, again undertaken under the watchful eye of the man the Scots call, ‘The Donald,’ “The course offers a sequence of superlative topographies, panoramic views, landscapes alternating between spaciousness and enclosure, the whole time a rich texture of vegetation and wildlife habitats surrounding the golf holes. “The golf course is lacking for nothing, there are no weak holes,” adds Hawtree, concluding, “It is simply the most dramatic, stimulating, invigorating stretch of golf anywhere I have seen in my career.” A traditional Scottish links course comprising two out-and-back loops of nine holes, Trump International Links threads and weaves, ducks and dives its way through the ecologically-important Great Dunes of Scotland, rising to find panoramic views of the coastline before plunging back down to sea level and some delightful, secluded valleys redolent with native flora and fauna. With a variation in elevation of over 100ft from some tees sculpted atop the towering

Top: The 11th Hole, Trump International Golf Links Scotland at Aberdeen Above: The 6th Hole, Trump International Golf Links Scotland at Aberdeen HK GOLFER・FEB 2017


Top: Trump and the bagpipers - Taken on a rare day in Scotland with no wind and saw Trump’s hair stay in place Trump International Golf Links Scotland

Above: The Lodge, Trump International Golf Links Scotland at Aberdeen Opposite: Arial view of Trump International Golf Links, Hotel and Doughmore Bay



Jones, chief executive of the British PGA, gushed, “There is no doubt in my mind it will certainly be in the top three in the world, but I don’t know what’s going to be number two and number three,” the whiff of vested interest And Colin Montgomerie, once Scotland’s finest, no doubt paid a King’s Ransom to accompany, ‘The Donald,’ on a round over what is without doubt the best new golf course in Europe said, in his usual non-committal, say something but say nothing style, “All I can say is - it’s so far one of the best-if not the best links courses I’ve ever played.” But, whilst Trump International Golf Links should, with maturity, edge its way into the top 10 links layouts in the world, there is a problem and its one that’s unlikely to be resolved any time soon, regardless of whether the new President spends four or eight years distracted in the White House. Ever since he learned that an 11-turbine windfarm was to be built off the coast from his fine links, Trump has railed against it, eventually losing-out in the Scottish courts in December 2015. Since then, little has been done to progress, let alone complete a development which was to see investment worth US$500m, two championship-standard golf courses built along with a five-star hotel and 1,500 homes, creating a reported 6,000 jobs. To date, one very fine course has been built along with a modest clubhouse and a major makeover for the Menie Estate mansion, McLeod House and Lodge, which can accommodate just 19 people, no residential properties, with 150 people currently employed, many on a seasonal basis. As one respected American golf course reviewer put it, “We pulled into the parking lot, and I was kind of surprised with how, I suppose, unimpressive things were,” adding, “Don’t get me wrong, it was nice, with ornate lamp posts and a very quaint, small clubhouse, but this is Trump we’re talking about.” Trump International Golf Links Scotland is like a Rolls Royce body without an engine or wheels or an authentic Rolex Daytona watch case without a mechanism, but ‘The Donald’ is sufficiently distracted, wealthy and cussed enough to take the heat, bide his time and make Scotland pay for disobeying his orders. And so, to the third leg of Trump’s ‘Holy Trinity’ in Europe, Trump International Links Ireland at Doonbeg, which he acquired from the liquidators in 2014 at the knockdown price of US$9.2m, around 20% of the original cost of construction in 2002. The deal included the 6,885-yard Par-72 HKGOLFER.COM


hotel can claim six, and, an hour from Shannon Airport and a four-hour drive from Dublin, Trump International Golf Links demands a short break as opposed to a day visit. To summarise Mr. President’s three European golf properties, it would be fair to say they reflect the man himself, bold and brash, in Turnberry’s case, lavish, all controversial, inconsistent, the parts that are good are truly excellent, those that are bad are poor – take for example the websites and booking systems - and there can be no doubt that Trump Turnberry is first amongst equals, by a country mile. That’s not to say that, given the promised investment, Aberdeen and Doonbeg - especially the former - can’t mount a challenge, although currently, they over-promise and under-deliver, not on the golf course but off it.

NEED TO KNOW • A round of golf over the Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry costs US$250.00 per round in peak season for hotel residents, US$330 for non-residents, with a de luxe room costing US$420 per person, bed and breakfast.

Picture courtesy of Trump International Golf Links Ireland

Greg Norman-designed golf course, a 65-room, seven-suite, five-star hotel with spa, clubhouse, the then host of the US TV version of The Apprentice promising to invest over US$50m to sparkle some quintessential Trump stardust in this far-flung corner of south west Ireland. As with Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen in Scotland, the promised levels of investment have not been forthcoming; he was prepared to build a sea wall to protect the most vulnerable parts of the links course and, of course, his investment. Trump’s people cited, “Climate change,” and, “Global warming,” to local officials for the justification; paradoxically, the newly-installed 45th President of the USA has repeatedly mocked climate change, once even calling it a hoax fabricated by China. But, if business is business and politics is politics in the wild-west culture of Trump Towers, in fairness, the core business, the golf course at Trump International Golf Links in Ireland is mighty impressive. With the rolling links layout hugging the North Atlantic, the views are as stunning as the course, which ranges to a little over 7,000-yards off the championship tees to a fraction under 6,000-yards for the higher handicapper, and 5,273 off the ladies tees. The finest hole on the golf course is also the shortest, the 126-yard Par-3 14th, which, depending on the strength and direction of the ever-present wind can call for a pitching wedge one day and a three-wood the next, a par a result, birdie a bonus. The original hole was effectively wipedout in a fierce Atlantic storm, which blew in in the winter of 2014; Trump turned to his most trusted lieutenant, Dr. Martin Hawtree, who has significantly remodelled Norman’s original, and for the better, eccentricities such as a bunker in the middle of the 12th green thankfully consigned to history. An interesting layout, full of swales and hollows, huge variations of elevation and easy on the eye, the Doonbeg course comprises five Par-3s and five Par-5s and offers those playing off single figures every bit as much as those higher-handicap golfers. It is said that the, ‘Great White Shark,’ made 23 visits to the County Clare site before and during construction, saying, “I thought I was the luckiest designer in the world,” adding, “If I spent the rest of my life building golf courses, I don’t think I’d find a comparable site anywhere.” The Irish course’s accommodation offer is officially five-star, but, by comparison with Turnberry, either it’s four-star or the Ayrshire

•Membership at Trump International Golf Links Scotland costs US$3,000 per annum, International Membership US$2,400 pa, Corporate Membership, US$10,25, whilst a single round green fee for visitors is US$285 during peak season, 1st April – 31st October, falling to US$223. • A single round of golf with luxury on-site B&B accommodation costs from US$300 in March to US$550 in July. HK GOLFER・FEB 2017


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©2017 Dr Milton Wayne





1. See 28A 4. (& 20D) #1 public course in the USA 6. See 15A 7. Mr Beck, also name of a short shot 9. (& 23D) a.k.a. “The Great White Shark 10. aka The “Big Stick 12. #1 ball in golf 14. Target off the tee 15. (& 6A) Home of the Masters 17. (& 8D) a.k.a. “The Black Knight 18. Hong Kong Golf Club locale 21. The dancefloor 22. Wooden peg and the place you use it 25. Noise these putters make? 27. Jack, a.k.a. “The Golden Bear” 28. (& 1A) Old & Young - legends from 3-down 29. Best-selling drivers 30. Cable broadcaster founded by Arnie (4,7)

2. See 11D


3. The home of golf, with the R&A behind the 1st tee (2,7) 5. Hazard and bomb shelter? (pictured) 8. See 17A 11. (& 2D) Place to practice 13. Was made of hickory in the old days and normally Stiff or Regular flex 16. Keeps off the rain and Blunt make the world’s best! 19. Wrapped around the top of club, and tacky is good! 20. See 4A 23. See 9A 24. One to watch in a photograph and one under par 26. Gripping aid made from Cabretta and Tommy Gainey wears two?


WIN A SIGNED LEE WYBRANSKI POSTER! To enter, complete the crossoword and send a scan or photo of the completed grid to, with “February Crossword” as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and contact number. Entries close on 15 January 2017. ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES. Congratulations to Y.W. Tong of Mongkok who won the December crossword. PREVIOUS ANSWERS





Jon Wallett Louie Chan talks to the HKGA Golf Development Director about his 30 years coaching career, his favourite course and who would be in his dream fourball. When did you start playing and where? I grew up in Bath, England and we lived by the 13th green at Kingsdown Golf Club. So ever since I can remember I messed around with a golf club and my 10th birthday present was Junior membership of the club, as this was the minimum age someone could join. My first 3 cards for h’cap soon after this birthday were 122,121 and 119! The h’cap secretary gave me a 34 h’cap which I was so proud of (normally they start at 36) and many years later I asked him why he didn’t give me 36 and he said that he’d seen me practicing and playing so much he wanted to encourage me – which he definitely did – thank you Mr Broom! What’s been your best ever round? My ‘tournament career’ f inished a long time ago but I was relatively successful as a Junior in England and managed to represent England at Schoolboy International level for 2 years. In 1987 at the Carris Trophy at Moor Park (this was the biggest Junior strokeplay tournament in Europe at the time) I was joint leader after the first round and this was reported in the National newspaper ‘The Daily Telegraph’ with the headline ‘Wallett cashes in’!

Richard Castka/Sportpix International

Can you give an example of the different players – Tour pros and amateurs – that you’ve worked with over the years? Until 2002 I was a regular coach at a club, but then I decided to build an Academy that focused on my passion – and that was working only with Juniors through to Elite Players. For 6 years, I was the Academy Director of ECGA based at the Evian Royal Resort, host of the Evian Championship, and there we managed to build a conveyor belt of young elite players. I then went on to work on Tour and I’m proud that all 7 players I worked with as the contracted coach at Tour Level for a number of years improved and lowered their scoring average and probably I’m best known for working with multiple Ryder 78


Cup winner and former Top 10 World Ranked player David Howell who I first starting working with at the 2011 Hong Kong Open (!) and am still his current Coach. What is your philosophy regarding player development, instruction, etc? Having been in the coaching game for now almost 30 years, I think you evolve as a coach. Early on you focus on swing perfection but soon realise if you look at the top 10 golfers in the world they all have significant differences in their technique so pursuing one swing model is futile. My philosophy, and the philosophy when I work on the European Tour, is ‘low score’ coach. Let’s find a way to lower you score, albeit be on the technical side, thinking side or management areas of the game. Do you have a favourite course? First of all, you have great courses in Hong Kong – I first played KSC in 2006 and it was the first course I had played where you had to get to by boat and its views are breathtaking. Coming to the Hong Kong Open at Fanling, I can tell you the course is very much a favourite venue amongst the ET players and I love its strategic and subtle challenges as opposed to brute length or long rough like you so often see at Tour venues. And then Clearwater Bay is stunning and a bucket list course. My favourite in Asia would be Sobu CC in Japan, then worldwide Cypress Point, USA, Windsor G and CC in Kenya and Formby GC in England in that order. Who would be in your dream fourball? From a golfing perspective it would be: Ben Hogan – to see his swing and ball striking at first hand. Jack Nicklaus – the greatest player ever to date, and someone who truly had command of the spirit and ethics of the game. Seve Ballesteros – no finer competitor than him and to view his exquisite short game skills (and hopefully rub off on my game!) HKGOLFER.COM

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