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Hong Kong Men’s Close Amateur Championships in Review









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14th Hole

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HK Golfer Issue 121

On the Cover:

19-year-old Leon D’Souza scored a new course record of 61 at the New Course of the Hong Kong Golf Club with 10 birdies on his card in the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship. Photo by Daniel Wong



32 | HK Men’s Close Amateur

12 | Divots

D’Souza claimed his HK Men’s Close Amateur Championships title over the Lunar New Year holiday and booked himself a spot at the UBS Hong Kong Open later in the year.   By The Editors

14 | In Focus

Championships Review

38 | Reigns in Desert

Sergio Garcia makes it a dozen in the desert by claiming his 12th European Tour title as he completed a dominant wire-to-wire win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. By Louie Chan

42 | Old Still Very Much Gold

Sweet-swinging Prayad proved that old was still very much gold as he claimed a popular triumph in Singapore to become the second oldest Tour winner. By Chuah Choo Chiang

48 | WGC – A Distinctly

Weary Golf Concept

The noun ‘World’, in World Golf Championships differs significantly from the interpretation of the rest of the world. By Mike Wilson

Getty Images/AFP

52 | Blackballing and the Golfing Grapevine


News and events from Hong Kong and the region. By The Editors A pictorial review of the last 30 days from around the world. By The Editors

21 | Tee Time

In 2017, F.P.Journe presents the third and last edition of the Vagabondage Series, “Vagabondage III”. By The Editors

26 | Equipment

There are 4 new drivers TaylorMade has designed in 2017: M1 440 and 460, M2 and M2 D Type model. By Nathan Goulding

64 | In the Footsteps of Giants

Off the beaten track, but easily reached from London, South Devon has a forgotten quartet of superb courses created by the finest architects of the Golden Age of course design. By Charles McLaughlin

Now blackballing is a feature of many clubs and on one level an important check on membership. By The Kilted Caddie

76 | Crossword

56 | Small is Beautiful

78 | Final Shot

Let’s have a look on the Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club, the first 18-hole par-3 championship course in Indonesia designed by Bob Moore. By Duncan Forgan 8

March 2017

This issue: By Royal Appointment! By Dr Milton Wayne H a r a l d D u d ok va n He el , P r e sid e nt of t h e HKGA, talks about his favourite course and most memorable moment on a golf course. Interview by Louie Chan HKGOLFER.COM

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 29 Around the HKGA 42 Notes from The Asian Tour 48 Bunker Mentality 76 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

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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




HKGA Annual Sponsors Golf Day From left to right: Danny Lai, CEO of the HKGA, President Harald Dudok van Heel and Varun Bery

The HKGA held its annual Sponsors Golf Day for the third consecutive year to look back and celebrate a successful 2016, while looking forward to a more exciting 2017. Representatives from Mercedes-Benz, HSBC, Le Coq Sportif Golf Collection, Swire Travel, golf clubs, driving ranges and other sponsors and suppliers, along with members from the media, joined the HKGA Committee for a stableford tournament at Shek-O Country Club. First-time visitors were impressed with the challenging and scenic golf course. Guests had a fun day at Shek-O under the warm sun.

The Sponsors Golf Day finished with cocktail in the evening followed by buffet dinner at the clubhouse. While guests were enjoying the wonderful food and wine, severa l Hong Kong Tea m squad members including Leon D’Souza, Terrence Ng, Vivien Mok and Oscar Hui were invited to share their thoughts and visions about their golf career and took questions. The lucky draw was definitely the highlight of the night with valuable gifts from the generous sponsors.

HKIS Win Hong Kong Schools Team Championship 2017

Selina Li’s score of 75 at the Hong Kong Schools Team Championship helped Hong Kong International School clinch the Team Event title. The HKIS-1 team won by a margin of 14 strokes over the New Course in Fanling. Li’s teammate Jasmine 12


Kwan and Michelle Lee scored 77 and 80 respectively. The best score of the day went to Bryant Li and Taichi Kho. Both shot 73 and shared the Boys 15-18 years old Gross Division title. HKGOLFER.COM


Evergrande Acquired Palm Island New World China Land has agreed to sel l it s Pa l m Isla nd Resor t to Eve r g r a n d e R e a l E s t a t e G r o u p, C h i n a’s s e c ond-l a rge st prop er t y d e velop er for R M B 1.1 bi l l ion . O p e n e d i n 1 9 9 9, t h e 2 7- h o l e golf course was designed by Jack Nicklaus with resort style looks like one in Southern California. A f lat challenging course with strategically placed pal m trees, bunkers, lakes and rivers, Palm Island has attracted i m med iate i nterest from ma ny Hon g Kon g gol fer s to pu rc ha se memberships. However, the course has been ruined by a heavy rainstorm i n recent yea rs a nd never looked the same. With the acquisition of Evergrande, Palm Island may reclaim it s reputat ion a s one of t he best courses in Pearl River Delta. It also remains the only government-licensed golf course in the Huiyang district of Guangdong Province and is only 40 minutes from the Hong Kong/ Shenzhen border.

Global Focus Struggle, Withdrawal, New Normal? Tiger Wood cited a back injury for his withdrawal prior to hitting a shot in Round 2 of Omega Dubai Desert Classic was a significant blow for his most recent – and most ambitious – comeback attempt. Woods was expected to play four events in a five-week stretch in order to test his game, but thus far has played only three competitive rounds without breaking par. Woods told reporters in Dubai that his revamped swing was designed to “play away from pain,” but he denied any injury concerns after an openinground 77. “No, I wasn’t in pain at all,” Woods said. “I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn’t doing a very good job.” His agent Mark Steinberg told reporters that Woods had suffered an overnight back spasm that prevented him from making “a full rotation on the swing.” Woods then announced that he has withdrawn from both the Genesis Open and the Honda Classic in the following weeks. Photo by Getty Images/AFP

Asia Focus Zanotti Enjoys Surprise Win Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti produced a fabulous comefrom-behind victory at the Maybank Championship, thanks to a glorious final hole eagle for a closing round of nine-underpar 63. Starting the final day six shots back of leader Danny Willett, the 33-year-old Zanotti won the US$3 million cosanctioned tournament by one shot ahead of 2014 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner David Lipsky following a thrilling conclusion at the Saujana Golf and Country Club. No fewer than five players, including Lipsky, Willett, Bernd Wiesberger and Alexander Levy, held at least a share of the lead during a frenetic final round before Zanotti, whose other triumph on the European Tour was the 2014 BMW International Open. He signed off the week on 19-under-par 269 and earned US$500,000. Photo by Asian Tour

Local Focus Teenage Power The first day of the Year of the Rooster saw a flying start for local golf. 18-year-old Leon D’Souza scored a new course record of 61 at the New Course of the Hong Kong Golf Club with 10 birdies on his card in the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championships. He went on to claim the title and booked himself a spot at the UBS Hong Kong Open later this year. When the spotlights are on D’Souza, 10 out of the top 12 finishers are from the HKGA national squad including Wu Sho Wai, Terrance Ng, Taichi Kho and Chris Mun. This pipeline of junior development products will make a strong force to represent Hong Kong in the coming years, especially in the 2020 World Amateur Team Championship to be held in Hong Kong. Photo by Daniel Wong

From right to left: Darren Choi and his father, Taichi Kho


Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME


Vagabondage III 18k Red Gold HKGOLFER.COM



Vagabondage I has a flat Tortue case differs from the round cases generally favoured by the brand

To recall the events leading up to the creation of the Vagabondage, which is the quintessence of anti-marketing. In 2004, François-Paul Journe designed 3 unprecedented watches with a flat Tortue case (patented model), a digital time display and a Even without promotion dial without signature, for the 30th or publicity, clients went anniversary of Antiquorum. Those 3 watches, one in white Gold, one wild. They snapped them in yellow Gold, and one in rose up, and the Vagabondage Gold, with brass movements, were sold at a charity auction for the legend was born. benefit of ICM, a research institute for brain and spinal cord diseases ( The watches captured the interest of the public, and sold for three times the estimate. 22



In the wake of the resounding success of that auction, F.P.Journe launched the Vagabondage I Series in 2006. The name Vagabondage comes from the fact that time is indicated by a wandering digital display; the design itself was “vagabond” in that it was created by FrançoisPaul Journe as a satellite creation, in addition to his regular collections. This limited series with a flat Tortue case differs from the round cases generally favoured by the brand. It was produced in a series of 69 pieces in Platinum and 10 pieces in Platinum set with baguette diamonds, with a manually wound 18K rose Gold movement. Even without promotion or publicity, clients went wild. They snapped them up, and the Vagabondage legend was born. HKGOLFER.COM

Vagabondage III has a manually wound movement with a remontoir d’égalité that advances the time train each second

The second Vagabondage edition was created in 2010. 69 pieces in Platinum, 68 pieces in red Gold and 10 pieces in Platinum with baguette diamonds are produced.

Vagabondage II has a manually wound movement with digital display


The second Vagabondage edition was created in 2010. 69 pieces in Platinum, 68 pieces in red Gold and 10 pieces in Platinum with baguette diamonds are produced. It has a manually wound movement with digital display, but also features small seconds at 6h and a power reserve display at 12h. The smoked sapphire crystal dial, without the F.P.Journe signature, reveals the 18 c t. rose gold movement. F.P.Journe developed a specific barrel and a remontoir d’égalité, providing better energy management for the instantaneous jump of the minutes and hours. HKGOLFER.COM




Collectors have been eagerly awaiting the launch of the Vagabondage III Series. This third edition retains the flat Tortue case, the same size as the Vagabondage II, with a manually wound movement with a remontoir d’égalité that advances the time train each second. The inner smoked sapphire dial, framed by a screwed “applique” outer dial, still without the F.P.Journe signature, reveals the 18K rose gold movement. A window at 10h displays the digital hour indications; another at 6h the digital seconds; both are framed in white. The central minutes are indicated by a white hand, while the power reserve at 1h features a blued steel hand. The 3 digital time displays have now been created, making the trilogy complete. Owners of the Vagabondage I and II will be given priorit y to acquire the watch with the identical limited series number. Collectors may thus complete their own trilogy and possess a par t of F.P.Journe horological history.

Octa Automatique Réserve & Octa Automatique Lune


F.P. Journe has also created a warm-coloured dial that p er fe c tly matches the 4 0 mm platinum cases and the caramel alligator straps of the Octa Automatique Réserve and the Octa Automatique Lune. The dial colour is unique to F.P Journe, a result of the company’s well-tended independence, which ensures its creative freedom. It was developed by Journe’s own dialmakers, Les Cadraniers de Genève, in a process The 3 digital time lasting several months. In essence, displays have now been it is a combination of created, making the gold and ruthenium. trilogy complete. But to get the colour jus t right re quire d many adjus tment s to the formula. The two models represent a watchmaking ideal blending comfor t, innovation and reliability. The one-meter long mainspring and extremely fast automatic winding give these watches autonomy of more than five days and make them very comfortable to wear. A specific wheel train allows precise m o o n p h a s e in d i c at i o ns fo r t h e O c t a Automatique Lune. 24






Sexy TaylorMade has controlled the market as having the most widely used Driver on professional tours across the globe in recent years. 2016 was specifically a big year with players Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and former number 1 Jason Day having lots of success. It is interesting to see what changes and new additions they would come up with for this year, writes Nathan Goulding.


The new M1 family



here are 4 new drivers TaylorMade has designed: M1 440 and 460, M2 and M2 D Type model. Both the M1 and M2 drivers are slightly bigger than the previous years improving the moment of inertia and forgiveness of the club. The new drivers also have 43% more carbon fiber which decreased the weight of the club and so other adjustments of the head including a slightly HKGOLFER.COM

heavier weight track to improve forgiveness and have more control over launch conditions. Both the 2017 M1 and M2 drivers use a new aluminum loft sleeve, in replace of the existing plastic loft sleeves the company used. The switch to aluminum makes the loft sleeves more durable for club fitters. The new M2 D type drivers are specifically designed to help students who slice the ball. This club is designed for a little more spin and 12 yards of draw bias. The 2017 M2 driver has a more rearward centre of gravity that tends to cause drives to fly with excessive spin. To reduce it, TaylorMade made the M2’s Speed Pocket, a slot located on the front of the driver’s sole, three times more flexible than the original model. It also helps improve ball speed on off-center hits, a phenomenon known as “effective Moment of Inertia.” The M1 440 is designed for golfers who prefer a smaller, more workable driver than the M1 460. It’s said to hit drives with approximately the same launch angle and spin rate as the M1 460, but initial testing proved that it can reduce spin by several hundred rotations per minute. The smaller size of the M1 440 allows TaylorMade to increase the weight in the frontback weight track of the driver to 15 grams, making each of its T-Track weights 15 grams. TaylorMade are calling their drivers a Geocoustic design. This new Geocoustic feature combines geometry and acoustical engineering to unlock more forgiveness and better sound. The new M2 irons designs for mid to high handicapper looks better and slightly thinner. A bit more weight has been saved with a new fluted hosel design which has allowed them to keep the CG nice and low to still get that high ball flight and easy launch. The 2017 M1 irons look stunning. They promise similar performance benefits to the M2 but in a sleeker look that will suit the eye of mid to low handicap players. The fairway woods and hybrids also have improved slightly and felt very nice in both forgiveness and performance. TaylorMade has also launched a new 5 layer TP5 golf balls that has been long in the making that many players are speaking very highly of. In my opinion the new products are extremely good for all types of golfers and will be another successful year for TaylorMade. They continue to make top tier equipment in the business that improves player performance across the board. The 4 new TaylorMade Drivers, M2 Irons and TP5 golf balls are all available via HK Golfer online store: HKGOLFER.COM

The new M2 irons designs for mid to high handicapper looks better and slightly thinner

The new 5 layer TP5 golf balls HK GOLFER・MAR 2017


President’s Word

Daniel Wong


he first day of the Year of the Rooster saw a flying start for local golf. In the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship one of our HKGA young guns, Leon D’Souza, scored a new course record of 61 at the New Course of the Hong Kong Golf Club with 10 birdies on his card.  He went on to win the tournament (61-73-69-67) and booked himself a spot at the UBS Hong Kong Open later in the year.    Turning 19 this May, Leon joined the HKGA as a Junior Squad member since 2009.  He started his competition from the age of 12 and won his first ever championship four years later in the AmBank SportExcel International Junior Championships.  Leon seemed to be overshowed by some of his teammates in recent years but this cool-headed young man kept his head down and worked tirelessly in polishing his skills with the HKGA coaches.  People say ‘every cloud has a silver linings’ and this is a true reflection of Leon.   When the spotlights are on D’Souza, we should also be proud of the other squad members’ encouraging performance in the same tournament.  10 out of the top 12 finishers are from the HKGA national squad.  I am very delighted to see our investment over the years in the HKGA junior development HKGOLFER.COM

programme is starting to bear fruits.  If we trace further down the roots. we could see another layer of teenagers are already in the pipeline.  With current players such as Leon D’Souza, Terrence Ng, Wu Sho Wai, Taichi Kho, Chris Mun, Chloe Chan, just to name a few, marrying the up and coming second tier players, they will make a strong force to represent Hong Kong in the 2020 World Amateur Team Championships.  The HKGA has plans to enrich its junior development programme in the coming years by stepping up our coaching, such as lowering the player/coach ratio to achieve better quality training, better use of sports science supports that are available in the territory, widen player base to channel young talents into the sport… etc.  The supports from the various golf clubs in Hong Kong by providing tee times for national squad members to practice has unarguably proved to be a vital part for the young players to fast track to a higher level.   Harald Dudok van Heel President Hong Kong Golf Association HK GOLFER・MAR 2017


The Biomechanical Approach Ryan Lumsden, the renowned biomechanist who is recognized internationally as the leading authority in 3-D biomechanical measurement and the practical application of collected data. Jon Wallet, HKGA Golf Development Director, talks to him while they were hosting a training camp for the national squad players in Hong Kong.

Jon Wallet: How important is to ‘quantify your game’ for junior golfers to excel?

Daniel Wong

Ryan Lumsden interprets biomechanical data with Chloe Chan 30


Ryan Lumsden: Measurement of all aspects of a developing players’ game is essential. With all the assessment tools and technology now available, the current generation of juniors expect you to provide evidence-based information in relation to their game. If you cannot show them how they are improving or help them understand how the work you set is going to improve performance they are not inspired to do the work.

J W: H ow d o yo u u ti liz e an d i nte r p r e t biomechanical information to help junior golfers to establish technical priorities? RL: The interpretation of the data is the key over the past 15 years I’ve analysed thousands of elite players. Through this experience, I have learned a lot from t hese players but you also start to see the patterns and correlations between certain movements and shot outcomes. Applying this knowledge and experience helps us to prioritise the key things they should focus on, which more often than HKGOLFER.COM

not inf luences the things they have been trying to achieve but in a simpler way as they are focusing on causes rather than effects. JW: What is the role of biomechanic plays in the development path from talented junior to tour player to tour event winner? Any example? RL: I’ve been fortunate to be part of the team with a number of players through their journey from junior to tour winner, a number of whom became world No. 1 amateurs. Examples would be working with Minjee Lee from when she was 13, and Thomas Pieters t hrough t he V VG Progra m, a nd Lyd ia Ko through NZ Golf. Effectively regular screenings, skills testing and biofeedback becomes an essential part of keeping players and their coaches on track with their physical and technical development so they are ‘ready’ when they reach Tour level. I believe that this is a ‘must-have’ in a cutting-edge Player Development Program and without it a National Association is putting their players at a disadvantage when they come to compete internationally. JW: You have worked with National Teams including Australia, Scotland, England, Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand. What is your general opinion on HK Team golfers? Do you think they have any competitive edge over other national players? R L: One of the main things is how any information I provide at camps is followed up and reinforced and I have worked with many of Jon’s Elite players and Tour players over the last 10 years, so having a good relationship with him was important and he said this could be a great project as there is several talented young players in HK. A nd he was right – there are def initely some good players and with the right input, structure, and foundation work, HK could really enjoy some strong success over the next decade. JW: How do you foresee the use of 3D technology with HK players and Teams in the future? RL: We are looking to have 2 day camps periodically - from 2 to 4 times per year. For this to have any long term enduring success it requires a consistent program over a number of years. This will allow Jon and I to create a blueprint for each individual player and then we invite all local coaches to attend the sessions and they can then reinforce the work done in-between these camps. HKGOLFER.COM

JW: How does biomechanics help to prevent elite golfers’ increasing number of injuries? RL: Essentially, we are getting more players specialising in golf at an earlier age, often with equipment that is inappropriate for them and before their bodies are ready to cope with the number of repetitions they are making. Thus, we are dealing with far more injuries at an earlier stage in their ‘careers’ (particularly wrist injuries). Through biomechanical analysis, we can identify and ‘red flag’ the movements being made that put stress on certain areas of the body, and whilst always trying to correct any swing movements and integrating appropriately with their physical programs, ‘load management’ (balls hit) is always going to be key to reducing injury risk with developing players. Biomechanical analysis allows us to correlate the physiology of a player to how they swing. We can then prescribe gym exercises that reduce the risk of injury, as well as correct any swing movements that are putting excessive stress on joints or other parts of the body. HK GOLFER・MAR 2017



D’Souza Claims

HK Close Amateur



Photography by Daniel Wong

obody has impressed more on the local golf scene over the past few years than Leon D’Sou za, who won t he Hong Kong Open Amateur champion in 2015, claimed the 2017 Hong Kong Men’s Close A mateur Championships title for his trophy collection. D’Souza fired closing rounds of 69 and 67 to win his Hong Kong Men’s Close Amateur Championships on the New Course at Fanling over the Lunar New Year holiday. In doing so, the national team player can now look forward to joining the pros at the 2017 UBS Hong Kong Open. The former Hong Kong Open Amateur champion carded a course-record nine-under-par 61 in the first round to move into a five-shot lead. D’Souza not just broke the course record but also his personal tournament record lowest scores so far, which paved the way for him in the early stage. Defending Mid-A mateur champion Ma x Wong was even more consistent with rounds of 66 to put himself on top of the leaderboard after second round f inished. D’Souza had a



disappointing three-over-par 73 on day 2. But he came back strong with rounds of 69 and 67 on the final day to finish at ten-under 270. Max Wong shoot 73 in the final round and finished at six-under 274, which was good enough to defend his Mid-Amateur title for players aged 25 and above. Oliver Declemy finished twenty back on 294 for second. D’Souza’s national squad teammate Wu Sho Wai finished on 279 for third place overall. Defending champion Terrence Ng finished one further back on 280 for fourth. With the Hong Kong Men’s Close Amateur Championships on the ‘Road to Mercedes Trophy Hong Kong 2017’, D’Souza also secured a spot in the prestigious Mercedes Trophy Hong Kong event back at Fanling in May. Leading final scores: 270 – Leon D’Souza (61, 73, 69, 67); 274 – Max Wong (66, 66, 69, 73), 279 – Wu Sho Wai (66, 70, 75, 68); 280 – Terrance Ng (68, 70, 69, 73), 285 – Taichi Kho (71, 70, 73, 71); 292 – Chris Mun (78, 72, 68, 74); 294 – Oliver Declemy (72, 76, 74, 72); 296 - Stuart McKinnon (73, 74, 78, 71), Darren Choi (72, 73, 74, 77)


61 - A Round to Remember Leon D’Souza shot a nine-under 61 in the first round, which certainly was a round to remember. Speaking of his record-setting round at the New Course in Fanling, Leon recalled every hole vividly. “I actually bogeyed the first,” he said, “But then I got very lucky and made 3 birdies in the next 4 holes.” Te n si o n wa s b u i l d i n g a s L e o n approached the sixth tee but he stayed focused and reminded himself to ‘keep the ball in play’. He caught 4 more birdies before the turn and wowed everyone with a front-nine 28. Leon kept his nerves on the back-nine and birdied the two par-fives. After 17 holes he was eight-under and en route to making history. “The 18th tee is always tough because it’s a blind shot,” he said, “I managed to f i nd t he fa i r way a nd set myself up for a birdie cha nce.” He c au g ht h i s tenth birdie and finished his round with a high note.




Taichi Kho lines up a putt as Victor reads with care

Same stride, same style



Like Father, Like Son

Taichi Kho has been rising through the ranks in the last twelve months. His love of the game was built at a very young age with tremendous support from his father Victor. “My wife Yoko and I enjoy playing golf,” Victor said, “It is probably natural that we pass on this passion to our son Taichi.” This familial bonding is strengthened through frequent golf games. During last month’s Hong Kong Men’s Close Amateur, Victor was caddying for Taichi. “As much as I enjoy watching him play and giving him on-course t ips,” t his fat her/cadd ie said, “I probably make him too nervous.” Like every other loving parent, Victor is proud of what his son has achieved: “Taichi has become ver y d iscipl i ned t ha n k s to golf. He is a focused young man.” Victor also credits Mark Mossip, who has been coaching Taichi for seven years. Just as our interview ended on a sunny Su nday morn i ng, Victor picked up h is c l u b s a n d we n t t o t h e d r i v i n g r a n g e with Taichi. HKGOLFER.COM

Champion in focus

Defending champion Terrence Ng

The winners – Max Wong & Leon D’Souza


D'Souza plays it cool

Wu Sho Wai

Darren Choi



Reigns in Desert Sergio Garcia makes it a dozen in the desert by claiming his 12th European Tour title as he completed a dominant wire-to-wire win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, writes Louie Chan.



Sergio Garcia’s victory continued Spain's fine record in the Dubai Desert Classic as Garcia became the sixth Spanish winner




he Spaniard set the tone with an opening-round 65 at Emirates Golf Club and never looked back, finishing with a bogeyfree 69 to get to 19 under and beat The Open champion Henrik Stenson by three shots. Garcia entered the final round with a three-shot lead and while back-to-back birdies from Stenson on the 13th and 14th applied some pressure, the 37-yearold produced a stunning tee-shot on the 15th and a brilliant up-and-down on the next to ease to victory.

AFP/Getty images

Sergio Garcia walks next to Henrik Stenson of Sweden during the final round of the tournament



Englishman Tyrrell Hatton and Dane Lasse Jensen were then at 14 under, two shots clear of Matthew Fitzpatrick and Peter Uihlein. Garcia celebrated his 250th European Tour appearance in some style, claiming his first win since the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and potentially moving back into the top ten of the Official World Golf Ranking. The victory continued Spain’s fine record in the Dubai Desert Classic as Garcia became the sixth Spanish winner following the great Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Alvaro Quiros and Rafa Cabrera Bello. “I’m very happy to play the way I played, “ Garcia said. “The way I handled some of the key moments and to beat Henrik, we all know how great a player he is. Henrik is always there so you’ve got to stay calm and collected with him. “The eighth was very, very big because it was the worst drive I hit all week, unfortunately, but it was a massive save and then I birdied nine which was great. The 16th was important but I think 15 was more important. Even on the 18th with a four-shot lead I knew that I needed to hit a good third shot because you can mess it up a little bit there if you’re not careful. “It’s a great start to the year so we’re going to try to keep going the same way.” The Spaniard concluded. Garcia got off to the perfect start, putting his approach to the first to inside six feet and rolling it home to extend his lead. Stenson made a fantastic birdie after finding trouble off the tee on the sixth, putting an approach to 15-feet and rolling in the putt and while Garcia was in worse trouble on the eighth after finding the desert, he found his ball and made par from the sand. He carried that momentum to the ninth and an excellent approach brought a birdie and restored his four-shot lead at the turn. Stenson holed an 18-footer on the tenth for birdie and while he bogeyed the 12th, he took advantage of the par five next and then put an approach to eight feet on the 14th to sit two back with four to play. Garcia hit back in stunning fashion, putting his tee-shot on the 15th to two feet while Stenson bogeyed, and when he produced a brilliant bump-and-run to save par on the 16th, Stenson’s birdie on the last only served to narrow the gap. Garcia’s victory means a trophy, winner’s cheque and a brand-new OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Master Co-Axial. The timepiece features an 18K red gold case, brown leather strap, and the OMEGA Master Co-Axial calibre 8501, that boasts exquisite reliability and precision. As well as featuring the Aqua Terra’s teak patterned dial, the watch is also able to resist strong magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss. HKGOLFER.COM

Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann said: “Congratulations to our ambassador Sergio Garcia on his win and for treating us all to world class golf. It’s been a thrill from the first tee off. At Omega we are very proud to be part of this fantastic event, which is a real highlight of the golfing year. Best wishes to everyone from Omega to our friend Sergio Garcia”. Furthermore, Omega has publicly announced its ongoing support for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and renews its commitment to the “Major of the Middle East”. For more than 25 years, the tournament HKGOLFER.COM

Garcia celebrated his 250th European Tour appearance in some style, claiming his first win since the 2014 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

“I’m very happy to play the way I played. We all know how great a player he is. Henrik is always there so you’ve got to stay calm and collected with him.” has been a celebration of golfing excellence and Omega has served as title sponsor since 2010. This is also the eighth year that the Swiss watch brand has been the title sponsor. HK GOLFER・MAR 2017




Still Very Much


Nothing, it seems, cease to amaze these days on the Asian Tour. Three tournament into the new 2017 season, wonderful storylines have emerged to provide the “wow” factor that only bodes well for the region’s governing body for the professional game, writes Chuah Choo Ching


rom vetera n sta r Prayad Marksaeng winning the SMBC Singapore Open at the ripe age of 50 years and 357 days to rookie Todd Sinnott coming t hrough in his second start and Jazz Janewattananond overcoming the despair of losing his Tour card to becoming a champion, the action on the fairways has been fast, furious and fulfilling. O u t sid e t h e r op e s , t h e A si a n Tou r made landmark announcements where it will become a tri-sanction partner of the ISPS HA NDA World Super 6 Perth and Fiji I nternat iona l t his season a longside with the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia while an agreement was reached with organisers of the New Zealand Open as well which will see the Tour breaking new ground.



While modern day golf has seen, the young guns blazing the trail by dominating the scene in recent times, sweet-swinging Prayad proved that old was still very much gold as he claimed a popular triumph in Singapore to become the second oldest Tour winner. A strict combination of stretching, regular visits to the hot spring when he is in Japan and proper dieting have been attributed as being the secret to his longevity in the game. The 10th Asian Tour title also made him the third most winningest player behind countrymen Thaworn Wiratchant, who has 18 titles under his belt and Thongchai Jaidee, who holds 13 victories. “I am turning 51 on the January 30. This will be the best birthday present for me,” he beamed as he hoisted the Singapore Open trophy after eclipsing stars such as Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott. HKGOLFER.COM

Prayad Marksaeng’s SMBC Singapore Open title made him the third most winningest player (10) behind countrymen Thaworn Wiratchant, who has 18 titles under his belt and Thongchai Jaidee, who holds 13 victories




“I think this is the longest 18 holes that I have played in my life. I am happy that I got the job done. I have been waiting for this win since I was 14!” said a jubilant Jazz.


21-year-old Jazz Janewattananond was always tipped to become a winner after he first hit the scene by becoming the youngest golfer to make the halfway cut at the age of 14 44


“I look after myself very well. I eat well, sleep well and stay happy. I will keep playing golf because I was born to be a golfer.” In contrast, Prayad’s young compatriot, Jazz, rose from the depths of despair to the heights of triumph when he won the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open by four shots. The 21-year-old, who was only a few months old when Prayad claimed his first Asian Tour victory in 1996, was always tipped to become a winner after he first hit the scene by becoming the youngest golfer to make the halfway cut at the age of 14. Jazz finished 63rd on last year’s Order of Merit, three rungs too long to keep his playing rights, and a trip to Qualifying

School proved unsuccessful as he finished outside the top-35 which was required to earn a Tour card. With only a country exemption in his back pocket, Jazz showed great tenacity and attitude to rise to the top of the pile in Bangladesh after holding off local hero Siddikur Rahman. “I think this is the longest 18 holes that I have played in my life. I am happy that I got the job done. I have been waiting for this win since I was 14!” said a jubilant Jazz. “I wasn’t disappointed (about losing his card) because I know my chance will come. I just accepted my results as it is. I guess those setbacks helped in my game. The win came sooner than I thought.” HKGOLFER.COM



Such is the close camaraderie on Tour that Jazz later thanked Australians Marcus Both and Sam Brazel for providing words on encouragement through a tweet which he also posted a screenshot of his whatsapp chat with Both, who simply said “Play your game right till the end.” Sinnot, a powerful Aussie, became the second quickest player to earn an Asian Tour victory straight out from Qualifying School when he took only two events to hoist a trophy at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open. New playing opportunities now abound for Sinnot and Jazz with their all-important winner’s exemption and you can be sure that other exciting narratives will unfold over the 2017 season. The Asian Tour. #whereitsAT C h u a ch C h o o C h i a ng i s D i re c t o r, Communication of the Asian Tour and is based in Malaysia.

Todd Sinnot became the second quickest player to earn an Asian Tour victory straight out from Qualifying School when he took only two events to hoist a trophy at the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open HK GOLFER・MAR 2017











PineCreek Golf Property Holdings Ltd does not provide Hong Kong properties

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Adam Scott proudly holds the trophy after winning he 2016 World Golf Championship Cadillac Championship on the Blue Monster Course at the Trump National Doral Resort






A Distinctly Weary

Golf Concept The opening World Golf Championship event of the 2017 season moves to Mexico, the first time a WGC event has been staged in South America. But as Mike Wilson points out, the noun ‘World’, in World Golf Championships differs significantly from the interpretation of the rest of the world.


s t h e y e n t e r t h e i r 17t h season as t he so-ca l led f lagship series of t he International Federation of PGA Tours (IFPGAT), the World Golf Championships (WGC) events, of which just eight have ever been staged outside the USA, how ironic it is that the first to be staged during the Trump presidency will not be at one of his glitzy, high-profile resorts, but in Mexico, the country he has vilified over recent months? Trump’s Blue Monster course at Doral in Florida had been host to the opening WGC event of the season ever since he acquired the resort in 2012, but, by all accounts, the PGA Tour and WGC officials deemed the prospect of an ugly belligerent by Candidate Trump caused them queasiness, forcing them to to look elsewhere. To Mexico, the first time a WGC event has been staged in South America, the country of whose citizens the now President Trump saying days after his inauguration, “They’re bringing drugs, they ’re bringing crime, they’re rapists,” and whose border with the HKGOLFER.COM

USA he plans to build a 2,000km, 12m-high wall and make the Mexicans pick up a bill that has been estimated to be between US$20m 40m. So, the first ever WGC event in South A mer ic a shou ld e x ud e b on hom ie a nd munificence, especially with the PGA Tour in the vanguard and 75% of the competitors representing the Stars & Stripes, all sitting awk wa rd ly w it h t he I F PG AT m i s sion statement, which reads, “The mission was to grow interest in the game by focusing on the global aspects of the game.” But, back to the world of golf, and away from a geopolitical world that is changing before our very eyes, in WGC La La Land, virtually nothing changes - same venues, same players, same formats - same bloated prize funds and a world ranking points system designed, it would seem, to perpetuate the status quo. And, as Mexico prepares to become just the sixth nation to host what purports to be a, ‘World Championship,’ the leading 50 players in the world have systematically filled their boots with ‘Greenbacks,’ almost US$40m on HK GOLFER・MAR 2017


AFP/Getty Images

More than half the WGC events have been won by American golfers, Tiger Woods all-powerful with 18 wins in all 50


offer this year, a staggering three-quarters of a billion dollars since it all began back in 1999. More than half the WGC events have been won by American golfers, Tiger Woods allpowerful with 18 wins in all, remarkably, given his present plight down amongst the dead men and in danger of falling out of the top 750 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) two of them as recently as 2013, a staggering WGC victory-to-appearances ratio of 32%. The inexorable rise and subsequent fall of the man who has spent 683 weeks at world number-one on the OWGR – a remarkable 281 of them unbroken between 12th June 2005 – 20th October 2010 has gone handin-glove with the WGC concept, which has earned him a cool US$26million in prize money alone, plus appearance money, which should not - but was - have been paid to golf’s golden boy turned fallen idol. But, apart from the WGC Champions in China, which was accorded WGC status from 2009, the WGC concept, which started life as the showcase for the discredited and PGA Tour-dominated International Federation of PGA Tours has become a self-serving and largely self-selecting vehicle for the PGA Tour

elite, the prize funds on offer on the US Tour all-but guaranteeing a place in the four multimillion-dollar events for its members. Qualification criteria almost assure a place in the three US-based WGC events for the top 50 on the OWGR, alternating Ryder Cup or President ’s Cup team members, tournament winners with an OWGR ‘Rating,’ of 115 or more, plus one token tournament champions from each of the Japan Tour Cha mpion sh ip, t he Au st ra l ia n PG A Championship, the Dimension Data Pro-Am and the Thailand Golf Championship. A meritocracy it may appear, but a heavilyloaded one, with all but a privileged few excluded, unless they get lucky, and it has been said that the only thing that’s harder than getting into the WGC fold is to get out of it again, one event, the WGC Bridgestone unashamedly named, the, ‘Invitational’; it is estimated that, in recent years, around 25% of players have played 75% of the WGC events, nice work if you can get it. Meanwhile, and forgive me for being pedantic, but for this observer at least, the term ‘World Championship,’ is a singular as opposed to a plural concept, ideally, even HKGOLFER.COM

in those discredited sports of athletics and football, neither four each year or every single year, diluting the brand, spreading the cream too thinly on the cake. And, when Woods, who quaintly described himself as, ‘An independent contractor,’ and free to choose where and when (and for how much) he played skipped the US$7.5million WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai and was followed by Rory McIlroy, with whom he played a US$5million winner-takes-all exhibition at Mission Hills instead of the off icial WGA PGA Tour/European Tour event, the early writing was on the Great Wall, player power exercised with impunity, the WGC concept all-but holed below the waterline, proof-positive that everything that shines is not made of gold. Indeed, the only two vaguely imaginative development s t he WG C ha s conju redup was to embrace the ailing World Cup of Golf between 2000 - 2006, eventually forced to drop that by PGA Tour player power as there was - shock, horror - no individual prize money on offer and the illfated WGC US$10million Tournament of Hope, scheduled for South Africa from 2013 onwards, but which never saw the light-of-day as it was to clash with Tiger’s vanity project, the Chevron World Challenge.   The orchestrator of the PGA orchestra, exCommissioner Tim Finchem has repeatedly said the World Championships are meeting their aim of enhancing “The competitive structure of professional golf worldwide while preserving the traditions and strengths of the individual tour and their events,” adding, “I think that mission is being met as well. We would like to see World Golf Championships played around the world and we have seen that.” Try telling the to golf fans in all of Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, Japan, Canada, South America and Australasia. So insipid and predictable has the three stroke-play and one match-play series become that the FedEx Final Series looks dramatic and dynamic by comparison, the, ‘Majors,’ with their authenticity, history, heritage and competitive edge not so much the jewel in golf’s crown, but the crown itself. Therefore, what’s to be done with the pale, stale and male World Golf Championships, when everyone, other than TV viewers and several bigbrand sponsors see no reason for change? That’s way beyond this correspondent’s pay grade, but reform of the obsolete and undemocratic International Federation of PGA Tours would be a start, perhaps hand the WGC concept over to the International Golf Federation, possibly even using them for HKGOLFER.COM

Olympic qualification, consider the recently trumpeted closer collaboration between the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour as an agent for change, and, please, please, please, reduce the dominance of the avaricious USA in any reformed format. But, in a country where its domestic baseball league play-offs are called the, ‘World Series,’ the definition of, the noun, ‘World’, in World Golf Championships differs significantly from the interpretation of the rest of the world, and, besides, whilst the American electorate voted for Trump and his infamous, “Big beautiful wall,” just like golf and golfers, turkeys have a habit of not voting for Christmas. So, the WGC bandwagon rolls on down Mexico way, and let’s hope the Mexicans are more hospitable and welcoming to a mostly American extravaganza, than the country’s President has been towards their hosts.

Tim Finchem, exCommissioner of PGA Tour has repeatedly said the WGC are meeting their aim of enhancing “The competitive structure of professional golf worldwide while preserving the traditions and strengths of the individual tour and their events.” HK GOLFER・MAR 2017



Blackballing and the

Golfing Grapevine AFP/Getty images

Now officially a member of The St Andrews Golf Club on the basis of two written references from established members, ‘The Kilted Caddie’ has been lucky enough to have had his name put up on the club’s main notice board without being blackballed… 52



A groundsman mows grass in front of the club house on the Old Course during a practice round ahead of The Open Championship in St Andrews HKGOLFER.COM



The legendary Muirfield is the home of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers hosted The Open Championship most recently in 2013


AFP/Getty images

h is is not wholly u n rema rkable, as I mu st admit to having rubbed up some people the wrong way in my few years here and I suppose it’s just fortuitous that none is a prominent member of this club. Now blackballing is a feature of many clubs a nd I suppose on one level is a n important check on membership. However, I am highly suspicious of this rather random, defining and unjustifiable exercise of power. I believe Ronnie Corbett was thus prevented from joining Muirfield and ‘Fred the Shred’ Goodwin the notorious banker, from the R&A. But on a more parochial level I am sure personal grudges and social cliques must play a huge part. It conjures up an image of a half lit Masonic lodge and something a bit mischievous and secretive going on. I do know a lovely little doctor in the wee village of Gullane who was a stalwart of that excellent golf club and long harboured a desire to join the neighbouring Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, 54


alongside most of his friends. However, he had a propensity to fall off his bar stool and I believe this underpinned his subsequent blackba l l i ng, g iven t hat he ma n i fe st ly qualified on a gender basis. Now I’m of the opinion that one’s gender nor one’s propensity to topple off a bar stool should be the decisive factor in determining and def ining membership of one of the greatest golfing establishments in the world. I mean the ultimate privilege of access to the legendary Muirfield lunch is not a matter to be treated lightly, flippantly or unreasonably. This is serious stuff. I ndeed , I k now a member of t he Honourable Company, also a doctor, who showed less than worthy social grace in biffing another member in the changing rooms of the said Honourable Edinburgh Club and has now gained the nickname ‘ding a ling’. Now, personally, I wouldn’t mind some wee chap occasionally fall off his bar stool against the chance of getting a right hook on the way back from the gents for some off the cuff remark to the other. HKGOLFER.COM

Spectators attend the second round of the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield golf course at Gullane The underlying reality is that we live in an incredibly close-knit community in Scotland. I mean St Andrews in some ways is a villagesatellite of Edinburgh, like Gullane and North Berwick. And golf is at its core. It’s the social foundation of Scottish society and transcends everything. So indeed, one’s notoriety and especially of being blackballed at Muirfield, a fate said to be worse than having to buy a round, will certainly become locker room banter and feed into the grapevine across the Firth to Fife and vice versa. Two of my golf friends from Edinburgh now have kids here at University and I am sure regular reports of my antics are being relayed down the road. An illustrative anecdote involves a rather prim QC of whom I have the acquaintance. Out in Edinburgh in the latish hours one night, my friends and I stumbled across the said QC with whom my best pal got talking about golf and particularly about the incumbent president of the prestigious Bruntsf ield Links Golf ing Societ y. The rather forthright QC declaimed the guy as an HKGOLFER.COM

“I mean St Andrews in some ways is a village-satellite of Edinburgh, like Gullane and North Berwick. And golf is at its core. It’s the social foundation of Scottish society and transcends everything.” ‘absolute plonker’ and asked my good friend if he knew the man to be told ’Yes, he’s my father’. I mean that is Churchillian in put down and indeed the stuff that makes sound ammunition for blackballing and serious club dinner chat. Notwithstanding that this QC did a reverse blackball so to speak, in that he in fact rejected offers of membership from Muirfield and the R&A! We alas have differing opinions as we have d i f feri ng gol f sw i ngs. A nd t rad it ions a re traditions and I dare say blackballing will carry on and be the stuff of nineteenth hole chatter and interest ad infinitum. It’s a very ‘old boy’ thing and boys indeed will be boys. The antics down at Muirfield are a salutary reminder of that. HK GOLFER・MAR 2017


GOLF ATRAVEL Player’s Guide

Greenside at the 186-yard 13th 56




Beautiful is

Duncan Forgan reports on the opening of Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club, the first 18-hole par-3 championship course in Indonesia designed by Bob Moore. Photography Courtesy of Bukit Pandawa G&CC




The 186-yard 13th hole


or a destination of relatively miniature dimensions, Bali sure packs a lot in. The so-called “island of the Gods” has been Indonesia’s tourism superstar for a number of decades and it is not difficult to gauge its appeal. From buff surfers looking for the perfect break to more cerebral types seeking spiritual solace and yogic advice in the new-age hub of Ubud, the island caters ably for all sorts. Given its ability to make the very most out of a small package, it might not be quite so surprising that the latest world-class golf course to open on the island, Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club, is the furthest thing possible from your typical 7,000-plus-metre monster. The course certainly looks the part. Manicured fairways play towards imaginatively landscaped greens, some cut into cliffs, others back dropped by verdant rice paddies. The layout, meanwhile, enjoys grandstand views of the brilliant blue Indian Ocean from its perch on an elevated chunk of land on Bali’s fabled southern coastline. The views can be enjoyed out on the golf course or from the sanctity of a truly stunning clubhouse, with high-tech facilities and top-notch F&B offerings that are the equal of any club in Indonesia. What’s unusual about this new addition to Bali’s golfing firmament – a line up that also includes the Greg Norman-designed Nirwana Bali, the challenging layout at New Kuta and the



acclaimed track at Bali National – is that each of its 18-holes is a par-3. In fact, it is the first 18hole par-3 championship course in Indonesia. Designed by Bob Moore of California-based JMP Golf Design Group and managed by AccorHotels, Bukit Pandawa G&CC (www. is also the first phase of an unprecedented hospitality project taking shape on Bali’s southern coastline, where the club’s ownership group, luxury resort developer PT Bali Ragawisata, is planning to add hotels and residences managed by world-renowned brands Mandarin Oriental, Waldorf Astoria and Swissôtel and a soon-to-be-announced enterprise that has long been synonymous with the finest things in life. “We’re setting the stage for everything that’s to come here,” said Stephen Banks, general manager of Bukit Pandawa G&CC. “We’re equal parts ground-breaking, eye-popping and extraordinary.” Located on a spectacular limestone cliff top overlooking the world-famous surf breaks of Bukit Peninsula, AccorHotels’ flagship course in Asia offers 18 exquisite par-3 holes ranging from 117 to 244 yards in length. From the back tees, it plays 3,027 yards, a few hundred yards longer than lauded Turtle Hill Golf Club at Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, which ranks among GOLF Magazine USA’s top 10 par-3 courses in the world. Some holes at Bukit Pandawa G&CC are back-dropped by the Indian Ocean. Others are HKGOLFER.COM

A ruin backdrops at the 141-yard 16th



The hazardous 183-yard 9th

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accented by waterfalls, lakes or terraced rice paddies, all are subject to the wind. “It can be a real test,” said Banks, a former playing professional from Manchester, England. “When the breeze is up - and it almost always is - there’s a good chance you’ll use every club in the bag. Even a driver.” I can certainly attest to the veracity of the challenge presented by the course. Although I’m not a particularly confident or accurate driver of the ball, shorter holes tend not to create quite as much of a psychological bind. And with 18 of them in front of me, I approached the 1st tee at Bukit Pandawa in a pretty bullish (for me anyway) frame of mind. Moore, however, has pulled some rather ingenious tricks out of his design bag with judicious length variations and changes in elevation that range from subtle to dramatic forcing golfers to think their way from hole to hole. A pitch and putt this most decidedly is not. One standout hole is the 148-yard 13th, which is framed by three bunkers and features curved walls in the foreground and a traditional Balinese kul-kul tower in the background. In designing Bukit Pandawa G&CC, Moore, whose firm is responsible for championshipcalibre designs all over the world including the acclaimed Royale Jakarta Golf Club in Indonesia’s capital, embraced the contours and characteristics of a site that was rife with rock

outcroppings, architectural ruins and sea views. Indeed, the ocean is visible from 15 holes. To round out the total golf experience at Bukit Pandawa G&CC, a 3,000-square-meter clubhouse inspired by the ancient temples and towers of Bali has been constructed. Conceived by accomplished architects Antony Liu and Ferry Ridwan from StudioTonTon in Jakarta, the imaginative, twin-block structure was designed to blend into its natural surroundings through the liberal implementation of local materials (such as stone and wood), native grasses and, above all, water, which flows seamlessly through many of the building’s spaces. That includes the singular facility’s signature component, the rooftop restaurant, which overlooks the ocean and course and features al fresco dining and lounge areas that ooze exotic elegance. Following a round that followed my usual pattern of hideous golfing dysfunctionality interspersed with flickering glimmers of hope, an ice-cold Bintang beer is a welcome reward. The following day I will travel to Ubud to get my head together at the wonderful new Padma Resort in the heart of the jungle there. For now, however, I take in the views of the course and the ocean beyond and reflect on a golfing experience that encapsulates Bali’s “small is beautiful” ethos. HKGOLFER.COM

The 179-yard Bovey Castle 15th hole



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South Devon:


In the footsteps of giants…

Off the beaten track, but easily reached from London, Charles McLaughlin discovers a forgotten quartet of superb courses created by the finest architects of the Golden Age of course design. 64



Thurlestone 11th HKGOLFER.COM



Thurlestone Golf Club


e are surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery on earth where, back in the day, legendary designers like Alister Mackenzie, J.H. Taylor, Harry Colt, J.F. Abercromby, and Herbert Fowler were laying out and remodeling fantastic courses and had the likes of Bernard Darwin waxing lyrical about them... Where are we? California? Scotland? Augusta? The answer is South Devon and a series of superb tracks that make this a must see on any golf trip to the United Kingdom. Only a couple of hours from Heathrow, leaving the bustle of London behind, and one could be in a different century, never mind country, as you visit a seemingly endless series of superbly conditioned courses designed by giants of the course design world. While it’s possible to take in all of these outstanding courses in a 3-4 days visit, a week or more would be allow ample time to take in more of the local sights and sounds.


Thurlestone 2nd hole



This is a part of the world where people want to relax, breath in the unpolluted air, take in the beauty of their surroundings and enjoy the local food and fine ales. In keeping with this, the local courses aren’t 7,500-yard monsters to be endured rather than enjoyed, they are tactical gems calling for strategic course management HKGOLFER.COM

East Devon 9th & 10th hole

over brute strength. Rarely over 6,500 yards, all are best enjoyed walking, and a camera is essential in every case. Life moves slowly here, not least because of Google Maps’ infuriating tendency to treat every farm access road as a 50mph road, when 5mph is a challenge! Joking aside, our initial joy at finding our rental car was a brand-new Jaguar was tempered when crawling along roads barely a car-width across, with untended hedges brushing the bodywork on both sides. There goes the deductible deposit!


It’s usually possible to work out a far faster route using the old-fashioned practice of actually looking at a map and/or asking locals for directions (remember that?!). The one exception is Thurlestone Golf Club who delight in the solitude and privacy their incredibly narrow approach roads offer. “No Tesco trucks here!” affable GM Steve Gledhill happily informed us. Thurlestone may be the most picturesque course in the area, a Pebble Beach lookalike with the spectacular clifftop front 9 a highlight. The original nine-hole course laid out in 1897 by J.H. Taylor was remodeled and extended by Harry Colt in the 1920’s and is only 6,600 yards from the tips. The ocean is visible from every hole, and in play on several. After a great risk reward opening hole - where the “sensible” shot can be over the clubhouse(!) before a tricky approach to a sharply raised green - the shoreline of Bigbury Bay HKGOLFER.COM

East Devon 17th hole approach angle



East Devon 6th is immediately in play on the 2nd, and remains so until the 9th turns inland. The view from the 11th green (the furthest point on the course) is stunning, overlooking Burgh Island, infamous as the hideaway for the future King Edward VIII whilst wooing divorcee Wallis Simpson in the 1930’s. The return to the clubhouse is marginally less memorable, but a warm welcome awaits. A wee bit tricky to get to but well worth the effort, this is truly a hidden gem.


If one course summarises the attraction of south Devon, this is it. Designed in 1902 by the legendary Herbert Fowler and with both Harry Colt and James Braid remodeling the original, this picturesque gem gently climbs to the clifftops and back. Walking only, but not too strenuous and at around 6,200yds from the tips, not too long either. Onus is on accuracy over distance, with the heather taking a toll on errant drives and tricky undulating greens requiring thoughtful approaches. The elevated par three 10th is a cracker over heather and gorse to a 3-tiered green. The vista from the 16th was called the “best view in golf” by Peter Allis and it’s hard to argue with that. In fact, the closing stretch from 15th onwards may be one of the most picturesque in the world. Clifftop erosion has already led to some rerouting so get in quick! Trevor Underwood runs a well-stocked and friendly pro shop and the clubhouse has a delightful terrace running alongside the 18th. 68


Just the spot for a Devon Cream tea, watching all too many players catch the front right bunker! This is a very active, social, strong locally supported club and it shows. Very welcoming, and with a great choice of food and drink at keen prices, you won’t want to leave!


Teignmouth Golf Club (pronounced “Tin”mouth) is a moorland track situated on a hilltop overlooking the English Channel, and of course, the mouth of the River Teign. The views from the clubhouse are some of the best in golf, and, coupled with the easy-going charm of the staff, great fish and chips and Doombar ale on tap, the terrace is a glorious spot to relax. Keep the chips away from Philip the Pheasant, who had decided to take up residency during our visit! Rob and Gina run a great shop, and with strong training facilities and a thriving junior programme, the future looks secure. Which “giant” are we in the footsteps of this time? Mr Augusta himself, Alastair Mackenzie. He laid out the original course in 1924, and it has all the hallmarks of a Mackenzie classic. As one might expect, the greens are fantastic, with a remarkable eleven two-tier dance floors. A moorland track, the heather bordering many fairways punishes errant drives. The greens command respect and care must be taken to not just find the putting surface, but it’s essential to find the right area or a likely three-putt awaits. With six par-3s and a total yardage of just HKGOLFER.COM

Teignmouth 18th hole over 6,000 yards, this is a course that can easily be played twice in a day, and you should! The conditioning is superb, and the finishing four holes are unforgettable. Coming off the long 15th, at 443yds into the prevailing winds, and the stroke index 1, one might expect to able to relax… However, the 16th (“Hell’s Mouth”) may be only 125 yards, but is fiendishly tricky. A true card wrecker, with its own “swear box” bunker - hence the name! The 17th isn’t long, but expect a tricky sidehill, downhill lie for your approach. Finally, the aptly named “Last Quarry” is a long par-three with OB left to perhaps the most undulating green on the course. A stunning finish!

Teignmouth View


Leaving the coast behind, we headed for the no less breathtaking vistas of Dartmoor, and the stately oasis that is Bovey Castle country house hotel. This fantastic retreat is situated in the heart of the massive national park and in addition to its 5-star accommodation, spa and facilities, offers countless activities to get as much exposure to the unique surroundings as possible. From huntin’, fishin’ and shootin’ to riding to falconry, it’s hard to focus on the golf, but essential and worthwhile.


The designer of the course at Bovey Castle, John F. Abercromby, was already renowned for his creations at Worpleston (1908) and Addington HKGOLFER.COM



Bovey Castle’s 3rd Green with hotel view

(1912) when he won the commission. He was also famous for having used a hot-air balloon to conduct an aerial routing survey of a forest for his design at Coombe Hill in 1909, surely the first course architect to do so. Abercromby sought out mentors throughout his career, even partnering with the great Herbert Fowler and Tom Simpson for a short time. However, his principal influence was a master of the craft. As a member at Huntercombe Golf Club, he was mentored by the legendary Willie Park Jr. Fresh from designing the Old Course at Sunningdale, multiple Open winner Park purchased Huntercombe Manor and almost 1000 acres of land in 1900. Within seven months he had built a course which Walter Travis declared was the “finest inland course” he had ever seen. “Aber” clearly took this to heart when asked to create a similar track in the grounds of another manor house on Dartmoor. Bovey Castle was opened in 1926, and amazingly is the only Abercromby course built outside of the M25 motorway which encircles London. It quickly became a popular track, being added to the legendary stable of British Transport Hotels, which included Gleneagles and Turnberry. With two distinctly different loops forming the club, it’s easy to nip out for a quick nine between activities. Be sure to get some tips from pro Richard Lewis, who has been at the club for decades. To the course: navigating the bottom nine is all about avoiding not one, but two rivers: Bovey and Bowden which are in play on every hole. The par three 3rd has perhaps the best view of the manor house and gardens, whilst the 7th was reputed to be Sir Henry Cotton’s favourite hole - a challenging narrow two-shotter with water down the entire right side, and a classic Abercromby green to finish. A chat with greenkeeper Scott revealed a preference for the “top nine”, and it’s soon clear a different challenge awaits with elevation changes, blind shots and even standing stones adding to the challenge. The 208 yards 12th is a corker, requiring a needle-like shot through a tunnel of trees off the tee. Overall, it’s a demanding but exhilarating track, with a welcome variety between the nines. As with all of these Devon tracks, try to get in more than one round if you possibly can. You won’t regret it! 70


WHERE TO STAY BOVEY CASTLE North Bovey, Newton Abbot TQ13 8RE +44 1647 445000 DUKE OF CORNWALL HOTEL Millbay Rd, Plymouth PL1 3LG +44 1752 275850 THE GLOBE 34 Fore St, Topsham, Exeter EX3 0HR +44 1392 873471






t has only been open for just over a year but already Cape Wickham Links has made huge waves as one of the most spectacular courses to have opened anywhere in the last decade or more. Situated in the middle of the Bass Strait on the northwestern tip of remote King Island, a tiny dot of land that lies three quarters of the way between mainland Australia and Tasmania, Cape Wickham Links offers up glorious coastal views, incredible scenic variety and towering sand dunes and valleys. The work of American designer Mike DeVries and noted Australian golf writer and course connoisseur Darius Oliver, Cape Wickham might not be all that easy to get to - it’s a 45-minute flight in a small turboprop from Melbourne - but it is certainly well worth the effort. Indeed, like Bandon Dunes, for many its off the beaten track location


is undoubtedly part of its allure. Cape Wickham Links has been described as Australia’s answer to Pebble Beach, but that is far too simplistic. More rugged in nature and more playable in character (thanks largely to the width of the landing areas), Cape Wickham Links is already considered one of the finest strategic tests in a country that already boasts a handful of the world’s best courses. Add jawdropping vistas into the mix and, for golfing purists at any rate, this surely ranks among the most important courses to have opened in living memory. The rating panel at Golf Digest certainly agreed and ranked the course a staggering #24 in the world in 2016. Now, this modern gem is up for sale offering a once in a generation chance to buy a global top-25 track. For information, contact Michael Hede on +61-418 670 499 HK GOLFER・MAR 2017


Country Estate 21 miles from London Englefield Park, Englefield Green, Surrey, UK

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7,000 sq ft existing main house 2 cottages Excellent local schools 12 acres / 4.86 hectares

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Guide price £12,500,000

Planning permission for 27,300 sq ft replacement mansion Exceptional views over London Riding arena and stables for 12 horses

Alex Newall

Rory McGougan

T: + 44 (0) 207 935 5797 M: + 44 (0) 7884 262 774 E:

T: + 44 (0) 207 935 5797 M: + 44 (0) 7748 784 894 E:

An ultra luxurious enclave of Gibraltar The Sanctuary, Gibraltar

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New Development 5 Townhouses Available 13,000+ SqFt / 1,230+ SqM Views over Gibraltar, Spain, and North Africa

• • • •


6 Bedrooms Secure Underground Parking Swimming Pool Secure Gated Access

Alex Newall

Rory McGougan

T: + 44 (0) 207 935 5797 M: + 44 (0) 7884 262 774 E:

T: + 44 (0) 207 935 5797 M: + 44 (0) 7748 784 894 E:

A masterpiece designed by Katharine Pooley in the heart of Knightsbridge 19 Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge, London, UK

• • • •

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5 bedrooms 4 Bathrooms 3 Reception Rooms Passenger lift

Guide price £14,750,000

Wine cellar Cinema room Steam room 4,841 SqFt / 449.7 Sq M

Alex Newall

Rory McGougan

T: + 44 (0) 207 935 5797 M: + 44 (0) 7884 262 774 E:

T: + 44 (0) 207 935 5797 M: + 44 (0) 7748 784 894 E:

A beautifully finished family home, set on a quintessential Chelsea side street 22 Smith Terrace, Chelsea, London, UK

• • • •

• • • •

3 bedroom 3 bathrooms 2 reception rooms Newly built home


Bespoke Boffi kitchen Lutron lighting system NHBC Warranty 1,844 SqFt / 171 Sq M

Alex Newall

Rory McGougan

T: + 44 (0) 207 935 5797 M: + 44 (0) 7884 262 774 E:

T: + 44 (0) 207 935 5797 M: + 44 (0) 7748 784 894 E:


©2017 Dr Milton Wayne





3. Legendary track near Inverness

1. See 21D

4. Oldest English club, near Greenwich

2. South Wales classic

8. Kent classic, aka Sandwich (2, 7)

5. Scottish oil city

10. Indian city, famous for it’s Black Hole

6. Oldest, rule makers, based in St Andrews

11. (& 12D) Irish district for duck feathers?!

7. (& 12A) aka Westward Ho!

12. See 7D

9. 2016 Open venue, Stenson’s favourite

13. Kiwi boot?

11. Sri Lankan TV detective?!

14. Tasmanian port city

12. See 11A

15. Aussie sandbelt gem

15. Quebec club, oldest in North America

17. Wirral wonder, aka Hoylake

16. Harry Vardon’s island home

20. Only Irish host of Open (1951), back here in 2019

18. ... and St Annes?

22. Also name of a necktie and a racecourse famous for silly hats...

19. Aussie home of the famous harbour bridge and Opera House

23. Southport stunner, 2017 Open venue

21. (& 1D) Local odd man out, controversially gave up the “Royal” in 1996



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





Harald Dudok van Heel Louie Chan talks to the President of Hong Kong Golf Association about his favourite course and most memorable moment on a golf course.

Daniel Wong

When did you start playing and where? I started playing approximately 15 years ago, mainly in China and during holidays in Australia and Europe. How often do you play?  I like to play twice a week on Saturdays and Sundays, but as I travel a lot that does not always happen.   What's been your best ever round?  Can’t remember. When you are a pretty average club player as I am, a good round is any one where you have more pars than double bogeys.   Do you have a favourite course in HK? Hong Kong does not have many courses, but they are all pretty good. I like playing at my home club, Shek-O. The club completed the course renovation works last year and now we have 18 beautiful greens that will be great to putt on the whole year round. 78


I also like the composite course at Fanling which I get to play once a year during the pro-am of the UBS Hong Kong Open when it is always in perfect condition. Clearwater Bay is another great course I enjoy playing in Hong Kong. And your favourite in the world? There are so many. I enjoy playing the links courses at St. Andrews and Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland, which I play a few times during my summer holidays. The view of the Alps is spectacular and playing at an altitude of 1,500 meters in dry air means that your ball will travel a lot further.   What have been your most memorable moment on a golf course? When I aced the 9th at Shek-O. I didn’t hit the ball that well, but it all came good when it landed 8 feet in front of the hole and rolled into it. HKGOLFER.COM