Page 1

HK Golfer Bolle Midsummer and Johnnie Walker Classics in review

THE OFF I C I A L P U B L I C AT I O N O F T H E H O NG KO NG GOLF ASSOCIATION

ISSUE 35

HKGA.COM

JULY/AUGUST 2008

$60

THE LINKS ISSUE

Great Golf by the Coast

PLUS: Golf in Japan, David Leadbetter and moreĂ–


Contents

HK Golfer

Issue 35

July/August 2008

33 Features

Plus…

12 | Architecture: A Rare Vintage

06 | Clubhouse

Charles Hugh Alison, an understudy of the great Harry Colt, only spent six months in Japan, but the courses he designed there are still regarded as amongst the finest in the world.

18 | Bolle Midsummer Classic

Stuart Murray and Rani Pomareda overcome strong field and tricky conditions to claim titles.

22 | Johnnie Walker HK Classic

Hong Kong internationals claim hard fought wins at Clearwater Bay.

24 | The Open Preview: Royal Birkdale

Style, news and stats

10 | Divots

News from HK and around the region

21 | Junior Training With Brad Schadewitz

30 | Up Close

The Sultan of Swing: David Leadbetter

40 | Gear Guide Latest equipment

Britain’s fairest links gears up for golf ’s biggest challenge.

42 | New Play

33 | Golf Travel:

44 | Golf Fitness

Shandong’s Tiger Beach and The Montgomerie Links in Vietnam.

46 | Society Golf

Asia’s Two Linksland Beauties

The Plantation Course at Siam Country Club

The “Jock’s Pot” Event

Practitioners of the craft of private banking

Shenzhen’s Jiulong Hills

18

The 12th hole at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

Single-minded focus, experience, passion; fuelling a business that does better by clients.

Tiger’s knee injury

48 | Course Report

On the Cover:

Resolute experts

50 | Final Shot With James Spence

Hong Kong: 41st Floor • Two Exchange Square • 8 Connaught Place, Central Hong Kong • Tel +852 2298 3000 #42 OUB Centre • Singapore 048616 • Telephone +65 6438 2668 • Also in Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Taipei

Photo by: Roy Lee

Singapore: 1 Raffles Place

EFG Bank is part of EFG International, which operates in 30 locations in over 50 countries. For more information, visit www.efginternational.com 2

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM


From the President Dear Golfer, Welcome to the July/August issue of HK Golfer. I am pleased to be writing to you as the new president of the Hong Kong Golf Association. It is both an honour and a privilege to hold the position, and I am very much looking forward to the next twelve months. Firstly, I would like to thank my predecessor Hugh de Lacy Staunton for his commitment and effort over the past year. He has done a fine job, especially with Hong Kong’s junior golfers. The future of Hong Kong golf lies with youth and I’m very pleased to report that there are now many talented young golfers in the territory. I very much look forward to tracking their progress over the ensuing months and years ahead. On that note, I was delighted with the very promising performance of our Hong Kong Ladies Team at the 30th Queen Sirikit Cup in Japan last month. The team, which comprised Tiffany Chan and Demi and Ginger Mak (all juniors), played admirably, ending the prestigious event inside the top ten (see page 8). Playing alongside some of the region’s best players, the trio handled the situation impressively, which bodes very well for future international tournaments. This year is a particularly special one for Hong Kong golf. In November, the fiftieth staging of the Hong Kong Open will take place. An announcement regarding the spectacle will be made nearer the time, but I’m certain it will be a landmark occasion. From its humble beginnings, the championship has grown into one of the most exciting and prestigious events on the European and Asian tours. In 1959, at the inaugural event, the prize purse totaled a mere HK$16,000, which was provided by the South China Morning Post. This time around, players will compete for a total fund in excess of US$2 million. Its longevity and growth can be attributed to the sponsors, organizers, the fans, the players and, of course, The Hong Kong Golf Club, which has hosted every single edition. Happy golfing!

HK Golfer THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION July/August 2008 • Issue 35

Editor: Alex Jenkins email: alex.jenkins@hkga.com Sub-editor: Linda Tsang Contributors: Brad Schadewitz, Dr. Brian Choa, Heidi Reyes, Iain Roberts, James Spence, Nicholas Wong Photography: Gareth Jones, Patrick Leung, Robin Moyer Published by:

TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION Times International Creation Limited 20/F, Central Tower 28 Queen’s Road Central Hong Kong Phone: +852 2159-9427 • Fax: +852 3007-0793 Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Art Director: Mimi Cheng Office Manager: Moira Moran Accounting Manager: Christy Wong Advertising For advertising information, please contact: Matthew Jackson at +852 2832-2914; matthew@tcob-media.com Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Phone (General): +852 2504-8659 Fax: +852 2845-1553 Phone (Handicaps): +852 2504-8197 Fax: +852 2504-8198 Email: hkgolf@hkga.com / handicaps@hkga.com

8)"5*4&9$&--&/$&  #&3/%1-&54$)&/

HK GOLFER is printed in Hong Kong by Regal Printing Limited, Good Prospect Factory Bldg, 33-35 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong.

Richard Siemens President Hong Kong Golf Association

²*ONZPQJOJPO JU¾TUIFBCJMJUZUPCSJOHUPHFUIFSBSBOHFPGEJWFSTFFMFNFOUTUPDSFBUFBOPVUTUBOEJOHESJWJOH FYQFSJFODF³#FSOE1MFUTDIFO )FBE"DPVTUJDJBOBU.FSDFEFT#FO[

5IFTBUJTGZJOH²DMVOL³PGUIFDBSEPPSBTJUDMPTFT5IFVOEFSTUBUFE²UJDL³PGUIFJOEJDBUPST5IFHSBUJGZJOHHSPXM PGUIFFOHJOFBTJUBDDFMFSBUFT'PS#FSOE1MFUTDIFO BMMUIFTFTPVOETNVTUCFTFBNMFTTMZPSDIFTUSBUFE'SPN DPODFQUJPOUPDPNQMFUJPOPGUIFDBS IJTNJTTJPOJTUPGJOFUVOFUIFWBSJPVTDPNQPOFOUTVOUJMQFSGFDUIBSNPOZ JTBDIJFWFE"U+VMJVT#BFS XFUPPVOEFSTUBOEUIFJNQPSUBODFPGIBSNPOJPVTJOUFSQMBZ#ZGJOFUVOJOHPVSTQFD USVNPGGJOBODJBMQSPEVDUTBOETFSWJDFTUPZPVSOFFET XF¾SFBCMFUPDSFBUFFYDFQUJPOBMJOWFTUNFOUTPMVUJPOT GPSQSJWBUFBOEJOTUJUVUJPOBMDMJFOUTBMJLF4PMVUJPOTXIJDIBSFESJWFOCZZPV HK Golfer is available onboard all Cathay Pacific and Dragonair First and Business Class cabins.

4

HK GOLFERăƒťJULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

&YDFMMFODFJOXFBMUINBOBHFNFOUGSPN4XJU[FSMBOEUP"TJB :PVDBOGJOEUIFFOUJSFJOUFSWJFXXJUI#FSOE1MFUTDIFOBUXXXKVMJVTCBFSDPNFYDFMMFODF 8PSMEXJEFJOPWFSMPDBUJPOT'SPN;VSJDI IFBEPGGJDF #VFOPT"JSFT %VCBJ 'SBOLGVSU (FOFWB )POH,POH -POEPO -VHBOP .JMBO .PTDPX  /BTTBV /FX:PSL 4JOHBQPSFUP5PLZP'PSNPSFJOGPSNBUJPO QMFBTFDPOUBDUPVS)POH,POHPGGJDFPO PSKCIL!KVMJVTCBFSDPN


Clubhouse

A FEW FRIENDS AND I REALLY WANT TO GO AND WATCH THE RYDER CUP OVER IN AMERICA THIS SEPTEMBER. ARE TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE OR HAVE WE LEFT THINGS FAR TOO LATE? The random ticket draw application process has now been closed, but a limited number all-inclusive land packages are still available through Premier Golf (www.premiergolf.com). A 4 night, 5 day stay at the Executive West Hotel in Louisville (located around 25 minutes from Valhalla Golf Club, venue for the match), including breakfast, Ryder Cup season ticket (Thurs-Sun) and land transportation costs US$2,550 per person (based on twin share; single supplement is US$900). An additional US$350 will get you access to the International Pavilion, a sports-themed, climate-controlled facility located on the club grounds. Zuji (www. zuji.com.hk) is currently offering return flights (17-23 September) with Continental via New York for HK$7,670 excluding tax.

Q+A

 19TH HOLE

FIRST GROWTH:

A Case Of Demand And Supply

 New demand from the burgeoning Asian and sub-continent economies  Increased demand from the uber-rich of Russia, Europe and the USA, seeking large allocations of no less than three “vintages of the decade” in rapid succession: 2000, 2003 and 2005  Demand from a plethora of newly-formed wine investment funds furiously buying anything where they could get a significant percentage volume of vintage, this giving them the ability to dictate ongoing market prices  Curtailment of production at the chateaux to bolster quality

All of these have no doubt had an influence, although none are likely to match the hyperbole attributed to them. None provide a complete answer. Then it dawned on me. We have seen this all before in human history. From the manic frenzy for tulips in the 1700s (which, incidentally, was the basis for the world’s first en primeur or futures market) to the current squeeze on oil prices. It is all very simple: demand exceeds supply. I am not trying to be glib or cute. It is a fact. However, unlike tulips or oil, where new fields create more supply, the 1855 classification essentially ensures that supply of our most beloved and revered Bordeaux cannot increase, no matter how many new vineyards are planted across the globe. So where from here? Having read reviews of those who certainly know a lot more than I, the 2008 vintage in France is unambiguously ordinary—and that is being polite. Yes of course there are notable exceptions and rare jewels of excellence, but in general this is a vintage best left to others to buy. Early indications from the negociants point to brave but inexplicable attempts 6

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

to ignore quality and post prices at similar levels to 2006. Logic would dictate that this is unsustainable. Surely quality has to influence even the present surplus demand equation to moderate prices. If not, then first growths have gone the way of rare stamps and gold coins: never to be used for what they were intended but simply hoarded as alternative assets. I hope not. We shall see. In the meantime, those who actually enjoy drinking quality wine but are not billionaires will just have to become more knowledgeable Vintage value: the current price of topline French reds means drinkers will have to become more adventurous in their choices.

 MEDIA WATCH

An unofficial list of the world’s ten most expensive golf courses published by American network ABC News. Green fee rates are in US$ and do not include caddies or carts. 1.

Yes! Golf Groove Tube

There’s no two ways about it: you’re either going to love or hate this wild new design from the makers of the renowned C-Groove line of putters. The Groove Tube, which at first glance looks like the kind of contraption one might use to unblock drains with, incorporates a 3-D alignment system in which players look through the slot at the top of the tube to reveal a yellow line at the bottom (no black should show, otherwise you’re not properly aligned). It’s big too: the face is the highest we’ve ever seen on a putter. But there’s a logical reason for this: it raises the putter’s centre of gravity closer to the ball’s equator. That, combined with the Groove Tube’s deep weight distribution and those famed grooves, puts a really great roll on the ball. It will certainly take a lot of getting used to, but let’s face it: like most of today’s drivers, it really doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it works. Christina Kim is the putter’s latest convert. To win a Yes! Golf Groove Tube putter see box. $2,350. Contact: www.yesgolf.com

Yes! Golf and Legendar y Golf Academy are currently giving away free putter fitting clinics, free putting lessons and are offering the chance to win one of ten custom-fit Yes! Golf putters—the grand prize being the new Groove Tube. Visit www.legendarygolf.com.hk to register.

Shadow Creek Golf Club, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA ($500)

2. Pebble Beach Golf Links, California, USA ($495) 3.

and adventurous in their choices. There are many stunning and much more affordable wines available from many parts of the globe that are prized in their own countries but largely overlooked by Asian markets. This column will present examples of such wines to you over coming issues. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy discovering them. Cheers. —Robert Rees Robert is founder of Wine Exchange Asia, a newlylaunched wine auction website serving customers in Singapore and Hong Kong. For more information regarding auction timings, promotions and other details please visit www.wineexchangeasia.com WWW.HKGA.COM

Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, Ireland ($461)

4. Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA ($410) 5.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Lancashire, England ($386)

6. Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles, USA ($375) 7.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Melbourne, Australia ($360)

8. Old Course, Sunningdale Golf Club, England ($356) 9. Getty Images

S

o there I was, sitting with my motley friends, sipping a very smart Australian Shiraz (rated 98/100 by Robert Parker Junior at less than US$100, FYI) and moaning about the price of top-line French red. Not only were first growths a thing of distant and fond memory, but it was perfectly apparent that most of my favoured 2ème to 5ème classifieds were rapidly racing beyond my feeble financial grasp. It was all quite depressing. It is a common misconception amongst my colleagues that just because I have been involved in wine in various roles for many years that I must actually have some knowledge. Well maybe I have a little, but how could I answer their questions as to why the wine market had changed so dramatically in the past few years? Or, perhaps more importantly, what the future would bring? Gulp. I have heard many snippets and anecdotes that seek to explain the reasons behind the extraordinary price increases of first growth Bordeaux and their most favoured cousins such as Petrus, Ausone and Le Pin. In no particular order, these include:

 STYLISH STICKS

Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA ($350)

10. Spyglass Hill, Pebble Beach, California, USA ($330) Source: www.abcnews.com WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

7


 TRAVEL GEAR

Travel with Care Every golfer worth his or her salt knows the value of a good travel cover. The protection they give your clubs from those rather less-than-delicate airport baggage handlers make them worth every penny. The only problem with the majority of them, however, is that they’ve never looked particularly impressive or, for that matter, especially user friendly. That’s all changed with this new lightweight offering from Titleist however. Made in harness with those travel baggage experts at Club Glove—whose products are used by tour players the world over—this nifty piece of luggage has a whole slew of features that put it at the top of its class. First there’s the extra foam padding that saves those fragile clubheads from any annoying scratches (or worse). Then there are the two useful (and lockable) external pockets that house your shoes. Ergonomicallyplaced handles makes it a cinch to pickup from the carousel, while durable high impact in-line skate wheels bear the brunt of the load when travelling. Its stylish black finish, meanwhile, gives your set that professional look. Not especially cheap, but this is one product that you can’t stint on. $1,600. Contact: www.titleist.com

NUMBERS GAME Number of golf courses worldwide: 31,548 Number of countries where courses exist: 119

Percentage of courses that are in North America: 59 Percentage in Europe: 19 Percentage in Asia: 12 Average length of drive (in yards) by Tiger Woods on 2007 PGA Tour (ranked twelfth): 302.4 Average length of drive by Tiger Woods on 2002 PGA Tour (ranked sixth): 293.3 Average length of drive by Tiger Woods on 1997 PGA Tour (ranked second): 294.8

 TERMINOLOGY The term "fairway" is an old nautical term for a long waterway between rocks. The sailors walking from the ships to the nearby pubs adapted this term to the land where they played golf between the sand dunes. Until 1766 all the known golf courses (links) were found along the coastline of Scotland. Golf courses built inland in the eighteen century were called “greens,” to distinguish them from a “links” style course located by the ocean. This gave rise to many of the common golf terms still in use today: greenskeeper, greens chairman, greens committee and greens fee.

If I had won, I would have a real cool trophy sitting in my office “right now. And a couple more dollars in my bank account. And I’d be part of history. That’s what would have been different. ” - Brian Watts, the little-known American journeyman pro who lost out to Mark O’Meara in a playoff at the 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale

8

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

9


Divots

Event News

Putra Cup Team Announced

Following on from his victory at the Delaney’s Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship in February, Roderick Staunton has been named in Hong Kong’s Putra Cup team. Staunton, 25, will join Eric Saxvik and former Close champions Max Wong and Stuart Murray in the four man side. The 48th edition of the Putra Cup will be played over the Bukit Course at Singapore Island Country Club from 26-29 August. Selection for the Lion’s Cup, an under-18 international team event which runs alongside the Putra Cup, will be announced shortly.

Mission Hills Hosts Sichuan Earthquake Charity Golf Day

780 golfers, including celebrities Eric Tsang and Summo Hung and former Chinese number one golfer Zhang Lian-wei, took part in the Golfers’ 5.12 Fund Raising Campaign at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen last month. The event, which took place on June 12 (exactly one month on from the tragic Sichuan earthquake), raised $6.33 million and follows an initial donation of $26 million by the club to the Dr David Chu Relief Fund, which was set up to help orphans of the disaster. The event, thought to be the largest of its kind anywhere in the world, took place over seven of the club’s twelve courses.

The 2008 Singapore Junior Golf Championship 5th St James’ Cup Charity Golf Tournament

July 2 saw 104 golfers (89 adults and 15 juniors) tee it up at The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau’s new East Course to help raise funds for the St James’ Settlement. Despite poor weather in the days leading up to the event, sunny skies greeted the players and the day passed off very successfully. Thanks to the help of all the participants and thirty three corporations, over $770,000 was raised, which exceeded the expectations of the organizers. Stephanie Ho, who along with fellow HKGA junior golfers Fion and Boris Chow was appointed co-chair of tournament, was delighted with the outcome. “Our goal was to raise $500,000, so to beat that amount is very satisfying. We’d like to thank all the sponsors and the golfers who joined the event and hope that the 2009 edition can be even more successful.” For more information on St James’ Settlement visit www.sjs.org.hk

Clockwise from top right: Roderick Staunton in action; St James’ Cup winners; 5.12 charity day. 10

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

4-6 June, The Keppel Club

Congratulations to Marcus Lam who won the 12-14 age division at the recent Singapore Junior Golf Championship. After opening up with rounds of 76 and 74, the 14-year-old held his nerve on a tense final day to card a 77 for a one stroke victory over India’s Ashbeer Saini in second place. Liu Lok-tin, the SAR’s other entrant, placed fifteenth. The duo’s combined total earned Hong Kong fourth place in the team event. “ Ma rc u s ha nd le d t he sit u at ion brilliantly,” said Michael Ip, the HKGA’s Golf Development Officer. “To lead from start to finish is never easy, but he played remarkable golf to hold off his nearest challengers. It was a great achievement.”

From L-R: Ginger Mak, Tiffany Chan, Demi Mak and Ladies Captain Margaret Hamilton

30th Queen Sirikit Cup 2008 Asia-Pacific Ladies Invitational 28-30 May 2008, Sodegaura Country Club, Japan

Final Standings 1 Singapore 2 Malaysia 3 India 4 HONG KONG 5 Chinese Taipei 6 Indonesia 7 Bangladesh

WWW.HKGA.COM

441 466 466 471 482 521 540

The Hong Kong Ladies Team recorded one of their best results on the international stage in recent times thanks to a gutsy display by the youthful trio of Tiffany Chan and twin sisters Demi and Ginger Mak. Competing against some of the most experienced female golfers in the Asia-Pacific region, the juniors performed admirably, finishing in tenth spot on a three day total of 453 (9-over-par), ahead of Singapore, China, India and Sri Lanka. South Korea edged out hosts Japan by just three shots to claim overall victory on a dramatic final day. “ It was a ver y encouraging performance,” declared Iain Valentine, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Golf Association. “The girls played very well and to finish ahead of some the bigger Final Standings golfing nations was a commendable 1 Korea 410 achievement. It certainly bodes well for 2. Japan 413 the future.” 3 Chinese Taipei 427 Tiffany, 15, making her international 4 Australia 433 debut, was in particularly good form. 5 New Zealand 437 The MacGregor Hong Kong Junior 6 Philippines 439 Close champion finished the individual 7 Indonesia 446 event on a total of 2-over-par, good 8. Thailand 448 enough to claim a share of seventeenth 9 Malaysia 451 spot. The highlight of her tournament 10 HONG KONG 453 proved to be a second round of 1-under11 Singapore 454 par 72. Demi Mak placed twenty12 China 455 seventh on 10-over-par, while Ginger 13. India 468 finished a further shot back in a share of 14. Sri Lanka 536 twenty-ninth. HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

11


Architecture

A RARE VINTAGE: Japan’s Classic Courses Charles Hugh Alison, an understudy to the great Harry Colt, only spent six months in the Land of the Rising Sun, but the courses he designed there are still regarded as amongst the finest in the world

Course by the coast: the clifftop Fuji layout at Kawana; typical Alison bunkering at the seventh (inset)

STORY BY ALEX JENKINS

other Nature’s role in the evolution of the Old Course at Alison’s story is an interesting one. Unlike St. Andrews aside, the most important era in the history his contemporaries—men like A.W. Tillinghast, of golf course architecture was undoubtedly the first Donald Ross, George Crump and Alister four decades of the twentieth century. Known within MacKenzie—his is not a name that many the industry simply as the Golden Age, the period was recreational golfers will be immediately familiar highlighted by the construction of a flood of courses that with. During his time as junior partner to the are now considered classic. It was during this time that the English heathland legendary Harry Colt, Alison collaborated on gems of Sunningdale and Wentworth were born. In Scotland, Gleneagles such noteworthy designs as the Seaside Course and Royal Dornoch came into existence. Across the Atlantic, Augusta National, Winged Foot, Cypress Point and Pine Valley—among many, The Philosophy many others—were laid out. Australia had Royal Melbourne and “Water is a bad feature in that the ball cannot Kingston Heath, while South Africans enjoyed themselves on the links of be played from it, and in consequence it does Humewood and Durban Country Club. Even Argentina got in on the act not test the golfer’s skill. Its hideous charm with the establishment of two cracking layouts at the prestigious Jockey lies in the fact that it is inexorable, and its Club in Buenos Aires. Great courses, one and all. landscape effect is often very valuable.” In regards to Japan he observed, “The Japanese But what of Asia? The common perception that golf is new to the Far love of ponds and lakes, and their exquisite East is understandable, but actually false. And while India and Sri Lanka skill in making them, is known throughout boast the oldest courses at Royal Calcutta and Royal Colombo—which the world. Their love of water-hazards, were were inaugurated in 1829 and 1879 respectively—it is in Japan, at the it not for their self-control, might develop courses designed by Charles Hugh Alison, where you’ll find Asia’s finest dangerously.” C.H. Alison contribution to this groundbreaking age.

at Sea Island and the original eighteen holes at Long Island’s Timber Point. The unsung Englishman is even credited with helping to complete four remaining holes at New Jersey’s Pine Valley—generally regarded as the best course in the world—after Crump died in 1918. But it was in Japan, a country that few western architects of the era ever visited, that Alison really made his mark. During a six-month stay in the country, Alison designed four courses and helped redesign several more. Noted for their small greens and vast, irregularly shaped bunkers (known in Japan simply as “Alison’s,” or “Arissons,” depending on the accent of the Japanese you speak to), Alison’s courses are the complete antithesis of the majority of courses built today; neither especially long or particularly reliant on water, the sweeping, well-protected fairways and subtle features of the greens complexes make them a true shot-makers delight.

M 12

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

13


WHERE TO PLAY Kawana Hotel Resort, Fuji Course Japan’s answer to Pebble Beach, the Fuji Course is the most revered seaside track in the country and the only Alison-designed layout that doesn’t require a member’s introduction. Less than two hours from Tokyo, Kawana’s second eighteen—Oshima—is a shorter and more forgiving test in attractive parkland. 1459 Kawana, Ito-City, Shizuoka. Architect: C. H. Alison, 1936. Yardage: 6,691. Par: 72. Greens Fees: $216-$277 (hotel guests only). Contact : +81/557-451-111; www.princehotels.co.jp/kawana-e

TRIP PLANNER: The Alison Trail

Nifty Naruo (clockwise from top): echoes of Sunningdale Old at the eighth; translator required; tiny, well-bunkered greens offer much protection, here at the eleventh.

Although it’s possible to book tee times and organize travel within Japan independently, given the language challenges and the fact that better clubs are strictly private, it’s easier to use a tour operator. Spring is the best time to go; it’s cherry blossom season and the temperatures are pleasant. Avoid Golden Week (2009: April 28 – May 5), a collection of four national holidays in just seven days, when hotels, trains and sightseeing spots are cramm ed with vacationing Japanese. Autumn is also ideal for golf: The turf is usually at its best in September and October.

POST GOLF

Naruo Golf Club A character-packed layout known for tiny well-bunkered greens, Nauro wouldn’t look out of place among England’s great heathland courses. 1-4 Kanegaya, Nishi-Uneno, Kawanishishi, Ikeda, Hyogo. Architects: H.C. Crane, 1920; C. H. Alison, 1931. Yardage: 6,564. Par: 70. Greens Fee: $137 (members’ guests only). Contact: +81/727-941-011; www.naruogc.or.jp

Hirono Golf Club One of the world’s great inland courses, Hirono could be the best kept secret in golf. Attractive ponds and Alison’s vast bunkers are hazards to avoid, but the elevated greens are a difficulty in themselves. 7-3 Shijimicho-Hirono, Miki-shi, Hyogo. Architect: C. H. Alison, 1932. Yardage: 7,169. Par: 72. Greens Fee: $265 (members’ guests only). Contact: +81/794-850-123.

Heavenly Hirono (clockwise from top): the tricky twelfth, which is reminiscent of the twelfth at Augusta; a nod to modernity; Hirono’s mock Tudor clubhouse.

Sitting stark-naked in a hot tub full of strangers might not appeal to everyone, but the onsen experience is a must for those wanting to immerse themselves (literally) in one of the most ancient forms of Japanese culture. The Japanese believe that the mineralized water helps war d of f any numb er of potential ills, but even if you’re not convinced, they’re still a wonderful, stress-relieving way to wind down after a round. All golf clubs have an onsen, and visitors are welcome to use them at no extra charge. The most important thing to remember is that you must shower fully before entering one. And, although onsens are segregated according to sex, don’t be too put off if you see any little old ladies flittering around in the locker room afterward. They’re just doing their job.

TOUR OPERATORS Japan Golf Tours (828-329-6000, japangolf-tours.com) is the only golf tour operator catering specifically to non-Japanese speakers. It organizes two annual tours—during the spring and autumn—but can also tailor trips for groups of eight or more throughout the year. Its huge advantage is that it can also arrange golf at some of the country’s most prestigious clubs, including Hirono and Naruo. Another helpful website is golf-injapan.com, a good Englishlanguage resource detailing all the courses in the country and their contact details. 14

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

15


Updates

HKGA July Stableford Tournament 8 July, Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club Stepha nie Ho recorded a convincing win at the rain-affected event, compiling 31 Stableford points to finish eight points ahead of Tammy Chan, her nearest challenger. Ho, who will represent Hong Kong at the Junior Open Championships at Hesketh Golf Club in Lancashire, England later this month, wasn’t always at her best on the greens at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, but her sound long game ensured a comfortable victory. In the Ladies Nett Division, Christy Chong impressed all with her winning total of 43 points, one point ahead of Ng Pui-yin and Leong Kuo-wa who tied for second place. In the Men’s Nett Division, Samson Iu’s 42 points proved enough to pip Chan Cheeming by just one. Alex Jenkins won the Gross Division with 32 points, eight ahead of William Chan who claimed second place on countback from Oscar Ho.

THEN…

Stephanie Ho

Major Win for Former Faldo Series Champion T h e H KG A w o u l d l i k e t o congratulate Tseng Ya-ni on her magnificent victory at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship in June, her first Major title. Ya-ni, 19, who is also known as Ruby, defeated Sweden’s Maria Hjorth at the fourth hole of sudden death to become the second youngest winner of an LPGA event. Three and a half years ago, aged 16, Ya-ni played in and won the inaugural Faldo Series Asia International Trophy at The Hong Kong Golf Club where she made friends with many of Hong and NOW Kong’s junior golfers. Impressed by her performance, Nick Faldo, who was hosting the event, invited the Taiwanese star to attend a training camp at the Faldo Golf Institute by Marriott in Palm Desert, California. Ya-ni turned pro in 2007 and qualified for the LPGA Tour later that year. 2008 is her rookie season. 16

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

17


Bolle Midsummer Classic

Rani Pomareda Louie Cheng

Stuart Murray

Tiffany Chan Jay Won

Adrian Leung

Swinging in the Rain

Stuart Murray and Rani Pomareda overcome strong field and tricky conditions to claim titles Photography by Patrick Leung

18

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

All smiles despite the weather

T

he wet weather might have prevented any of t he competitors from slipping on a pair of the sponsor’s product, but the Bolle Midsummer Classic lived up to its name thanks to some excellent individual performances. In the Men’s Gross Division 1, Hong Kong international Stuart Murray was steadiness personified during his winning round of 74 over the New Course at The Hong Kong Golf Club. The tall South African-born Murray, who will represent Hong Kong later this month at the Putra Cup in Singapore, carded three birdies in difficult conditions to take the title by two strokes from Adrian Leung in second place. Jay Won and Tim Orgill tied for third after WWW.HKGA.COM

finishing a further stroke adrift. In the Ladies’ Gross Division, played as a Stableford event, Rani Pomareda continued her recent domination of local HKGA tournaments with another fine performance. Her 34 point haul was good enough for a three point margin of victory over second-placed Tiffany Chan, the current MacGregor Hong Kong Junior Close champion. Huang Yue-ming finished in third place with a 26 point total. In the Men’s Division 2 Stableford event, which was played a week earlier on the same course, Liu Wai-tong carded an impressive 28 points to win the Gross Division. Tong Siu-man placed second with 25 points with Fung Chi-yuen a further point back in third. Samson Iu’s 43 point total earned him the Nett Division title. WWW.HKGA.COM

Top 10 Men’s Gross Strokeplay 1 Stuart Murray 74 2 Adrian Leung 76 3= Jay Won 77 Tim Orgill 77 5= Liu Lok-tin 78 Martin Liu 78 7= Jack Lau 79 Robert Keys 79 Steven Lam 79 10 Louie Cheng 80

Top 10 Ladies Gross Stableford 1 Rani Pomareda 34 2 Tiffany Chan 31 3 Huang Yue-ming 26 4 Ivy Sun 24 5 Jacqueline Leung 22 6 Tammy Chan 21 7 Jolia Lo 20 8= Isabella Leung 19 Cora Tsang 19 Sunny Kang 19

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

19


Event Calendar

The 2008 HKGA Tournament Schedule

FUNDAMENTALS:

Mastering the Set-Up

K

itty Tam is one of our top up-and-coming junior girls a nd comp e te s i n ma ny overseas events against some of the best players in Asia. We have worked really hard on Kitty's set-up fundamentals and her ball striking has greatly improved. The strength of Kitty's game is her driving ability and you can see why through her set-up position.

Photo 1: The Driver

Steven Lam will be looking to add the MacGregor Hong Kong Open Junior Championship to his already impressive haul of titles; Discovery Bay Golf Club will host the ever-popular HKGA Pairs Tournament in December; China’s number one Liang Wen-chong can be guaranteed great local support at the UBS Hong Kong Open in November.

Junior Training

The left side is tilted higher than the right with the left arm and club shaft creating a nice straight line. This also puts her in the classic reverse "K" position. The reverse "K" position is important because it enables you to load your right side at the top of the backswing. It also helps to keep your head behind the ball.

1

Photo 2: The Mid-Iron

When Kitty sets up to the 7-iron a few things change, most notably with the ball and head positions. The ball position moves to just ahead of centre and the head is now more directly on top of the ball. This encourages more of a descending blow into the back of the ball, allowing Kitty to strike down and through the turf.

By Brad Schadewitz National Junior Coach

Photo 3: The Wedge

With a good lie and wedge in hand, Kitty moves the ball back in her stance with her hands and body weight slightly to the left. This ensures a crisp strike. “Trapping” the ball at impact increases spin and lowers the trajectory of the shot.

The Pro’s Tip

Everyone has had rounds where they’re hitting the driver well but struggling with the irons—and vice versa. The reason could be a simple case of incorrect setup. Try copying Kitty’s positions for better shots through the bag. 2

3

October 22-25

Masters Golf Fashion Hong Kong Amateur Open and Mid Amateur Open Championships Hong Kong GC

November 05-07 The Hong Kong Seniors Open Championship Hong Kong GC 10-11 UBS Hong Kong Open Qualifying Tournament Venue TBD

August 14-15

MacGregor Hong Kong Open Junior Championship Clearwater Bay G&CC

September 24-26

Helene et Henri Hong Kong Ladies Amateur Open and Mid Amateur Open Championships Clearwater Bay G&CC

10-11 Faldo Series Hong Kong Championship Venue TBD 20-23 UBS Hong Kong Open Championship Hong Kong GC

December 05

HKGA Pairs Tournament Discovery Bay GC

29-30 Mizuno Winter Junior Tournament Kau Sai Chau

For the most up-to-date listings of HKGA and overseas events, go to www.hkga.com 20

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

21


Johnnie Walker Hong Kong Classic

Orgill and Pomareda Walk Away With It

HK internationals claim Johnnie Walker Classic titles

Champs in action: Orgill (left) at the tenth; Pomareda (below) watches her chip to the eighteenth.

T

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

Classic competition (clockwise from top): competitors tackle the demanding Clearwater Bay layout; all the winners; thirsty work for the Gross Division champions.

Top 10 Men’s Gross Stableford 1 Tim Orgill 35 2 Eric Lee 30 3 Oliver Haxaire 27 4 William Chan 27 5 Cecil Chong 26 6= Eric Yuen 24 Peter Aherne 24 Ho Wing-lee 24 Oscar Ho 24 10= Tong Siu-man 23 Domine Ko 23 Evan Yung 23 Tang Kam-wing 23

i m Orgill and Raniasih Pomareda overcame torrential downpours and the tough, windswept course at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club to record convincing victories in their respective divisions at the 2008 Johnnie Walker Hong Kong Classic on 3 June. Orgill, a member at The Hong Kong Golf Club and a former Hong Kong international, was in fine form, recording 35 Gross Stableford points to win the division by five from Eric Lee in second place. Oliver Haxaire (27 points) claimed third spot on countback from William Chan. Pomareda’s affinity with the spectacular Clearwater Bay layout continued with another highly impressive performance. After victory in April’s Spring Ladies’ Tournament, Balinese-born Pomareda lived up to her billing as event favourite with a brilliant haul of 37 Gross Stableford Points. Miranda So finished in second place with 22 points, edging out Tammy Chan on countback. “I love the course; I always seem to do well here,” said Pomareda, who plays off scratch. “The weather didn’t really bother me today. I just tried to go out and not make too many mistakes, which luckily I was able to do. My putter worked, so I’m very happy.” In the Men’s Nett Division, Eric Yuen grabbed top spot from Domine Ko on countback after the duo both carded 41 points. Cecil Chong placed third, just one point adrift. In the Ladies’ Nett Division, Leong Kuo-wa’s 45 points was good enough to claim victory from Chong Shuk-yin (43 points) in second place. Kwok Wai-nam finished in third place following her 41 point total. 22

“The Johnnie Walker Hong Kong Classic has become one of the most popular events on the HKGA event calendar, and despite the unhelpful weather this year it proved to be another exciting tournament,” said Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Golf Association Iain Valentine. “Congratulations to all the winners and our thanks to Johnnie Walker whose support for golf both in Hong Kong and around the world is second-to-none.”

Top 10 Ladies Gross Stableford 1 Rani Pomareda 37 2 Miranda So 22 3 Tammy Chan 22 4 Huang Yue-ming 19 5= Leong Kuo-wa 18 Evang Wong 18 Kwok Wai-nam 18 8 Eva Lee 17 9= Vivian Law 16 Fu Kwok Chun 16 Cora Tsang 16 WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

23


THE OPEN Preview

BIRKDALE,

A Right Royal Course

Britain’s Fairest Links Gears Up For Golf ’s Biggest Challenge PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROY LEE

A

n Open Championship without Tiger? Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war. But while the absence of the world number one is certainly a blow for his fans, at least one of his fellow professionals believes it might be a blessing in disguise. “As big as he is in the game of golf, the game is even bigger,” Mark O'Meara, a two-time major champion and a close friend of Woods, told reporters when he participated in a media day at Royal Birkdale a month prior to the event. “The Tour will survive. I think it will be good for the game and good for him to go away for six months.” This is an interesting theory, and although O’Meara, who won The Open the last time the championship was held at Birkdale, firmly believes that in half a year’s time Tiger will be “better than new,” there’s little doubt that the third major of the year won’t be quite the same without him in the field. “It’s a real shame…the spectators at Birkdale will be very sad,” admitted Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the R&A. Sad or not, you have to think the person most disappointed by the news is Tiger himself. Woods relishes the unique challenges that links golf brings—and in Royal Birkdale he’s missing what many describe as the fairest links course of them all. 24

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

Although established in the late 1800s, the course, situated on the same stretch of coastline as fellow Open Championship venues Royal Lytham & St Annes and Royal Liverpool, is really a product of the 1930s—the Golden Age of golf course architecture. Its rambling Art Deco-style clubhouse aside, the current layout is the result of a mid-30s upgrade and redesign by Fred Hawtree and the legendary J.H. Taylor. Unlike many of the other classic links of the British Isles—including the likes of St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal St. Georges and Turnberry— Birkdale doesn’t feature any blind shots (the scourge of many a modern-day pro). And while the dunes that frame the course are the biggest of any course on the Open rota, Birkdale’s fairways have been routed over flat-bottomed valleys, meaning generally even lies are the order of the day. The positioning of its WWW.HKGA.COM

bunkers, too, is unusual for a links. While the hazards on older links courses are dictated more by nature than anything else, Birkdale’s bunker placement is more strategic. From tee to green, Birkdale is very much a plotters’ course; shotmakers prosper. As Bernard Darwin, the doyen of golf writers, has written of the course: “J.H. Taylor was the architect and he has unquestionably made Birkdale a ‘big’ course on which it is good fun to see the big men stretch themselves… no bad player is going to win over Birkdale, and yet it is no slogger’s paradise.” No surprise, then, that the roll call of winners reads like a who’s who of the game’s finest iron players: Peter Thomson (twice), Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and Tom Watson. One thinks that if Tiger had elected to play this year (gammy knee not withstanding) the engraver could start work on the Claret Jug before a ball has been struck. WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

25


Birkdale Beauty

The 184 yard 12th is one of only two holes that hasn’t been altered since 1998 (the other being the 7th)—and for good reason. This stunning par-3 (see cover image), one of the most famous short holes at any of the Open venues, demands an approach to a green that’s nestled deep into the dunes and protected by four bunkers. Depending on the direction and strength of the wind, the hole will play anywhere from a 7-iron to a 2-iron, so expect to see a wide dispersion of scores.

The Concession

It was at Royal Birkdale where one of the Ryder Cup’s most famous singles games took place. In 1969, on his Ryder Cup debut, Jack Nicklaus played reigning Open champion Tony Jacklin in the deciding final match. After seventeen stirring holes, Nicklaus conceded the Englishman’s “very missable” three-footer on the final green for a half—a gesture that ensured the first ever tied Ryder Cup contest.

Leave Home Without It Captions: Fair test (clockwise from top): devilish pot bunkers await at the par-3 twelfth; the pro’s enjoy Birkdale’s generally flat fairways; but gorse and long native grasses will trouble the wayward.

Like Father, Like Son

Despite Birkdale’s reputation for strategy, architect Martin Hawtree (son of Fred, who was responsible for much of the original design) was brought in to make changes to ensure the course copes with the technological advances of the game. These changes resulted in the course being lengthened by just 155 yards to 7,173, still short by today's standards. Birkdale remains a par 70 with just two par fives at the 15th and 17th, while the toughest hole remains the 6th which has been lengthened from 480 to 499 yards. The main alterations are six new tees and 20 new bunkers, only four of which are greenside.

The Open is a strictly mobile phone-free area. At Carnoustie last year, one spectator attempted to smuggle his BlackBerry through the gates by hiding it in a sandwich. An eagleeyed steward spotted the offending device and the spectator was frog-marched off the course.

Open Winners at Royal Birkdale 1954 - Peter Thomson 1961 - Arnold Palmer 1965 - Peter Thomson 1971 - Lee Trevino 1976 - Johnny Miller 1983 - Tom Watson 1991 - Ian Baker-Finch 1998 - Mark O'Meara

/

(www.roylee.com) (Southport)

(Links) Liverpool Golf Club) Lytham & St Annes Golf Club)

(Royal (Royal

(Royal Birkdale Golf Club) 1889

7,173

184

26

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

27


The Open Preview

IT’S WIDE OPEN

A Tiger-less Open might make picking the winner that bit trickier, but as our resident tipster explains, there’s plenty of value to be had Rosey is Red (hot), Lefty is Blue, Tiger is crocked so take a chance on Stu

T

h e news that Tiger Woods is u nable to play i n t he 137th O p e n Championship has put a spring in the step of the remaining qualifiers – those who would otherwise surely be reduced to the ‘best of the rest’ category had Lord Woods of the Links been visiting Lancashire this summer. Tiger’s recent mastery of the Open championship has been both a thing of beauty and a bore. Leaving his driver in Florida, Woods has plotted almost unchallenged victories in two of the last three Opens. Impressive results but in execution as dull as ditchwater. How much more fun to see Big Angel Cabrera shackle the ‘07 US Open with his driver/wedge combo or Paddy Harrington reach for his driver on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie. Great tournaments deserve thrilling finishes and my prediction is that sans Tiger, Birkdale will host a fascinating, competitive championship, with the leaderboard in constant flux. From a betting perspective however, Tiger’s absence changes very little. Too little value to back, too good to ignore, the focus in the Majors has recently in any case had to be on the ‘without Woods’ markets, so in effect there should be no change to the staking plans of most punters. So what will Birkdale demand of its champion? Like most Open courses, patience, stamina and the ability to play in all-weather gear is a must, but Birkdale is perhaps the most professional-friendly course on the rotation. With relatively flat fairways and receptive greens, the accurate American golfers have enjoyed much success. With past Birkdale champions including Palmer, Watson, Trevino, 28

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

Miller—and most recently in ’98—Mark O’Meara, the transatlantic challenge has to be deeply respected. US golfing stead fasts like Jim Fuyrk will come licking their chops at the prospect of a Tiger-less Open on a track that in the modern golfing era has only ever seen an American or Australian winner. Furyk (30/1) is a value proposition, having the coolest of heads and a proven ability to play well in wind. Those seeking more value might also consider the inform Stewart Cink (fifth at Carnoustie and in the purplest of form patches) and Canadian Mike Wier, the ‘other lefty’, who as a noted foulweather survivor will hope the wind blows in from Irish Sea like his native Tundra. They are also genuine players who should give a good run for the money at 40/1and 50/1 respectively. Buoyed by Harrington’s win last year, the British and Irish challenge will be strong again this summer, with the likes of high ranking players such as Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter. Justin Rose also has ‘form’ at Birkdale where as an amateur in 1998, he holed out dramatically from the rough on the 72nd WWW.HKGA.COM

hole to secure an emotional fourth place finish. Justin has developed into a genuine world-class contender in the last two years and whatever happens at his Birkdale Revisited, he surely won’t repeat the 21 consecutive missed cuts that he endured after that infamous chip in. I expect the domestic punters may have driven down the prices of these home favourites though and suggest that we look to Scandinavia for value. Robert Karlsson has gradually accumulated a fine portfolio of results in recent tournaments and at 33/1 is unlikely to disappoint. He may be a year or so away from his maiden Major win but a strategy of selling his finishing position at anything under 30 on the Spread Exchanges should prove profitable, as tipped previously in the prior Major, the US Open at Torrey Pines. I expect Padraig himself to offer a decent defense of his title, but 14/1 looks awfully short and the value bet at that price might be the European with the most to prove: Sergio Garcia. Following in the successful Open tradition of Seve Ballesteros, the still-young Spaniard has shown impressive form in this Championship, which surely has to represent his best chance of winning a Major. In addition to his ‘no disgrace’ play-off loss last year, Sergio has challenged strongly in both 2006 and ‘2004, the former being the scene of a simultaneous sporting and fashion disaster where Sergio—paired with Tiger in the last group on Sunday—donned a pair of nauseating lemon-curd colour trousers in the hope that his rival might choke (with hysterics?) or quit in protest. Garcia truly impressed in last month’s US Open where, having blown up to 7-over-par after six holes in the first round, he played some of the best golf in the field to finish 18th and get some much needed confidence with his beastly putter. The Australians have produced some fine wind players as evidenced by Birkdale winners Peter Thomson (twice) and Ian Baker-Finch who shot a front nine 29 on his way to victory and so firm friends Stuart Appleby and Robert Allenby (both 55/1) could well enjoy a few pints of Birkdale Bitter together after successful campaigns this year. This columnist is a little sore with the in-form Appleby having tipped him at Torrey Pines. It was one of those betting experiences which left the author feeling like a bull after 36 holes and like a goat after 46. But forgive and forget; Stuart will carry a small stake for me at Birkdale. So much for the Longs. Now onto my favourite form of golf punting—shorting the hapless pros! Bring on the bogies, doubles and— be still my beating heart—glorious triples! No surprise here. You know what I’m about. Even without Tiger to mess with his head, world WWW.HKGA.COM

number two Phil Mickelson is an unequivocal SELL! Clearly out of his comfort zone in Europe, Phil has the game but just not the temperament for the Open. Unless the forecast is for absolute calm, sell him in the Finishing Positions, sell him in Match Bets, the Group bets, the lot. Phil has also proven especially profitable when ‘out of contention’ in the later rounds. In summary, he has a reliable tendency to give up. Watch for this when betting ‘in running’, especially if he’s off the lead on Friday. Bot h Mont y a nd Vijay a re a l so wor t h watch i ng for shor t opportunities. Perhaps best in Matches rather than Finishing Positions just in case either has a ‘last big one’ left in them. The Fijian in particular has been out of sorts recently whilst Monty has never really prospered on links courses and having shorted the Scotsman I look forward to seeing his round, red face grimacing as he trudges, droopy-shouldered, through the tall, gnarly Marram grasses of Birkdale. For those interested in a long-shot Asian punt, the best bet might be Danny Chia of Malaysia earned his second appearance at the Open Championship after winning the Asian Qualifier in Singapore. Danny is gaining experience and may be worth a small bet to make the cut (5/1). —Archie Albatross

Potential Picks (clockwise from top): Westwood has been in a rich vein of form; at 55/1 Appleby represents great value; can Garcia go one better this year?; Poulter and Rose will enjoy great domestic support.

Finishing Positions / Cut

Americans Furyk Cink Cink

Euros Garcia Allenby Karlsson

Shorts

Mickelson

Montgomerie

Outright Long

Rest of World Appleby Wier Chia V. Singh

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

29


Up Close

The Sultan Of Swing:

David Leadbetter

Tiger’s greatness, Michelle’s troubles, why golf should be in the Olympics and getting asked for swing tips in the Gents—the world’s most famous instructor was in typically candid form when HK Golfer met up with him at Mission Hills Golf Club last month. HKG: You’re known as “the golf guru.” Is that a title you ever get used to? DL: It's a nice accolade. I've been doing this for a long time with all sorts of different levels of players, but the fact of the matter is I'm still learning. That's the great thing about it. There's so much to know about the mind and how it works, and now there's big studies in biomechanics to see how we can help people. We're in a technologically advanced age and we're sort of analyzing and dissecting everything we look at. But the danger with golf is that we over-think and get into the old syndrome of “paralysis through analysis.” HKG: Indeed. But is that because there’s too much instructional material out there? You’ve written many books, dozens of other instructors have books out; the magazines are full of coaching tips… DL: The volume of material out there is just ridiculous— just to get that little white ball in the hole. You can certainly get suffocated by all the material. In the end, if you want to play good golf you've got to keep it simple, and that's why there's nothing better than having a one-on-one lesson. Yeah, you might get the odd tip from a magazine and that can help, but generally speaking it's best to get with somebody who really knows what they're talking about. But golfers are junkies—they are always looking for something that they think is going to help them. HKG: Obviously you’ve had an amazing successful career as an instructor, but do you ever think back to your own playing career? Presumably teaching wasn’t the goal when you became a professional? DL: If I had my druthers, absolutely I'd rather be a worldclass player than a world-class teacher. When I was 14 years old playing golf I didn't think: "Well, I want to be a great teacher." I just wanted to get out and play, but you realize that there's only a certain special few players that are going to be successful. The number of people that play golf around the world and the number of people that make a living out of it are few and far between. The damn game can drive you crazy, you know? HKG: You must get stopped almost every day by a stranger asking for advice? 30

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

DL: And in the most strange places, too—like urinals. The guy beside me will say: “Hey, aren't you David Leadbetter? Can you help me with my grip?” I say: “Well, not right now, but yeah.” It's fun, though. People think that maybe I have the secret, and I sort of say: “Yeah, I do have the secret, but I only let it out occasionally—and for the right price.” HKG: Which leads nicely onto my next question: how much for a day with Leadbetter? DL: Well, I'm a bit like Robin Hood because I rob from the rich to give to the poor. I've got a lot of academies around the world, close to 30, but I don't have the time to be in one location. I do give instruction on a limited basis—and it’s expensive, absolutely, but I spend a lot of time with that person. On the other hand, I get a lot of kids or young pros who can't afford it and I'll basically work with them for nothing, so, you know, it just depends. HKG: OK, well if one of our well-heeled readers wanted to book a day’s instruction with you, how much is it going to set him or her back? DL: US$10,000. HKG: How much golf do you actually play? DL: I play about one full round of golf a month. I play a lot of nine holes when I’m out there teaching. I’m actually playing more than I used to. HKG: But are you still playing for fun? DL: Absolutely. As a teacher, you’re always trying to learn new things, new theories, so you have to try them out, which I find great fun. I would say I’ve taught better when I’ve been playing more. HKG: But when you’re out there playing golf with presidents and other dignitaries, do you feel as though you have to hit every shot perfectly because that's what people would expect? That must add a little pressure… DL: It does. The fact is everybody expects you to hit it like Ernie Els, and you think, "Jeez." But as the old saying goes: “Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach.” WWW.HKGA.COM

Leadbetter at Mission Hills, June 2008 WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

31


HKG: Is that true? DL: To some extent. It's bit of a joke, really, but there are some very fine players who've never fulfilled their potential and teach, and there's also some very fine players who play for a living and couldn't teach worth a darn because they can't communicate. So it's definitely a different branch of the profession. HKG: Have your instruction methods changed as a result of the huge changes in equipment over the past ten to fifteen years? DL: That’s a good question. Golf in an evolution. We’re not teaching the swing of Old Tom Morris, so yes equipment has altered the way we teach. But what everyone has to realize is that pro and amateur golf are two completely different games. Today the game is very much “Golf is like any other athletic professional a power game, the players are sport. You have to be a great more athletic. In Faldo’s days, athlete. But you also need the swing was geared around to rest. You can’t go out and the iron, not the driver. Faldo practice all day every day.” was a big strong guy, but he wasn’t known for his length— he was a precision player; controlling his trajectory, the amount of spin he put on the ball. Today the modern swing is a driver swing. The emphasis is on getting the ball out there as far as possible—and that’s only possible because the clubs are more forgiving and more stable. You can really go at the ball hard with the modern equipment. Players of yesteryear were better iron players than those of today. Jack Nicklaus hit 7-iron 150-155 yards. Guys today are hitting the same club, although they’re slightly different lofts, 180 yards plus. HKG: Is that something you ever worry about? Are clubs so easy to hit now that the integrity of the game has suffered? DL: You could say they're making golf courses obsolete, but how do you stop progress? People would still be driving around in oxdrawn carts or something, you know? Besides, isn't golf still a difficult game? The standard of golf hasn't really improved to any great extent. I mean, yes, they hit more good shots and they probably hit some longer ones, and it's a little bit more forgiving, but golf is still very much a technique-oriented game. HKG: You’ve never coached him, but could you talk a bit about Tiger? DL: I’ll tell you something: if Tiger was using hickory shafts he’d still win. Tiger is a freak of nature. When he’s on song he’s basically unbeatable. He’s so much better than anyone else. 32

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

HKG: Can you explain why that is? DL: Can you explain someone like Ayrton Senna? Sometimes you just get someone who has all the ingredients. I don’t know. It’s God given. Tiger is blessed with physique; he’s blessed with a tremendous work ethic, discipline, organization, which might have been supplied by his father. His mother supplied some of the Zen from the Eastern philosophies. He’s just got it—whatever “it” is. Tiger is so single-minded. When you put it all together you’ve got an unbelievable recipe. HKG: And Michelle Wie? What’s going on there? DL: Michelle Wie is definitely among the most talented young players I have ever been involved with. Unfortunately she has suffered through injuries. It takes years and years to build a reputation, but it certainly doesn’t take long for you to lose a reputation. Michelle’s star isn’t shining as bright as before. Unfortunately she tried to play through the injuries. She still has a great future, but there’s a lesson here for every parent, especially Chinese parents who might be relatively new to the game. While you want to support your child, you don’t want to push them too hard so that they become burnt out and mentally tired. Golf is like any other athletic sport. You have to be a great athlete. But you also need to rest. You can’t go out and practice all day every day. In Asian cultures, especially in China, the work ethic is tremendous. Working hard is very important, but resting hard is equally important. You have to recharge the batteries. Hopefully parents over here will understand this. Otherwise, you’ll get children who may be fantastic players at the age of 16, 17, 18, but they’ll be burnt out by their mid20s. They’ll have very short careers. Golfers generally mature at around the age of 30, but only if the right balance between work and rest is there.

Asia’s Two Linksland Beauties Defining a links course is fraught with danger. Historically, the term applies only to those courses that lie on narrow grassy strips between land and sea that feature sandy soil, dunes and undulating topography. Staunch traditionalists of the game would scoff at any suggestion that a course located outside the British Isles could possibly be a links. However, these times they are a changing and a new term has crept into the golfing vernacular: modern links, which is used to describe the increasing number of layouts that play hard and fast,

HKG: The Olympics are in Beijing this summer. Would you have liked to have seen golf on the itinerary? DL: Definitely. Golf in many countries is pretty stagnant, particularly in the United States. If golf was in the Olympics I think it would change the sport’s image dramatically. Golf is still considered an elitist game, but it can be brought to a much broader market, which is what the Olympics could do. The powers that be need to get together and make it happen. If they want to grow the game, the Olympics would be a tremendous vehicle to achieving that.

WWW.HKGA.COM

Golf Travel

feature native rough that is tall and thick and which are frequently buffeted by winds. In this special feature we introduce two Asian courses that fit the bill. One lies on China’s Northeastern coast and has been around for nearly a decade, although it looks centuries older. While the other rampages across the dunes of Vietnam’s central eastern seaboard and will be available to play from August. Different though they may be, both fulfill the modern links criteria and, more importantly, both represent some of the finest golf to be had in the entire continent.

China’s Tiger Beach (with faux Swilcan Bridge) is as true a links as you can find in Asia WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

33


Golf Travel

newfangled wristwatch reading barely eight degrees Celsius. My playing partner, Brad Shih, the club’s amiable vice president, understood my befuddlement. “Just like Scotland, right,” he said, his inflection indicating he meant it as a statement, not a question. “It’s more Scottish than Scotland,” I replied in all seriousness before scuttling a weak drive down the fairway. Except the breaking waves at Tiger Beach belong to the Yellow Sea, not the North Sea. This isn’t Scotland; this is China. Or to be exact, this is a pure links course in China’s northerly Shandong Province that looks as if it had been laid out in the 1800s but is, in fact, less than seven years old. An exact replica of the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews crosses a trickling burn in front of the fifth tee. I challenge even gruff hipflask-toting Aberdonians to tell the difference. It’s astonishing. Even more surprisingly, Tiger Beach (named in honour of Tiger Woods’s historic 2000 season, during which he won three majors) was designed not by Jack Nicklaus or Robert Trent Jones Jr. but by Beta Soong, the club’s links-loving owner. Soong, a Taiwanese entrepreneur who made a fortune in electronics, first experienced the traditional form of the game in the early 1990s when visiting a newly acquired factory near Glasgow. A few rounds on the Ayrshire coast followed by a tour of classic British Isles links and his mind was made up: He would return to China and build a course of the kind that Asia had never seen. T he ex t raord i na r y resu lt of Soong ’s endeavours went pretty much unnoticed until members of a delegation from Angus, Scotland, visiting the region on a cultural exchange, took a break from their civic duties and ventured to Tiger Beach. Upon their return, word spread to

Shandong, Not

Scotland…

venerable Carnoustiem Angus’s most renowned links, whose leaders dispatched their own representatives to take a look. “They couldn’t believe that such a course could exist in China,” remembers Shih with a chuckle. “They said they felt like they were at home back in Scotland.” The two clubs have since agreed to become siblings, so to speak, the first and only time since Carnoustie was founded in 1842 that it has been “twinned” with another club. Soong, a self-confessed hacker whose schedule prevents him from playing more than a handful of times a year, has been given honorary life membership at Carnoustie for “his vision in establishing a truly Scottish links course at Tiger Beach using his own inspiration and design.”

Situated on China’s Northeast coast, halfway between the cities of Qingdao and Yantai, lies arguably Asia’s most unique course STORY BY ALEX JENKINS

S

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMES LIU

tand on the first tee at Tiger Beach Golf Links and prepare to briefly lose the ability to speak. The view from this tricky par-4, one of the highest points on the course, is awe inspiring: round sand dunes covered in wild fescue, rumpled fairways punctuated by seemingly inescapable pot bunkers, ocean waves crashing over a sandy stretch of beach in the distance—goats can even be seen grazing in the tangled rough. Then there’s the wind, hammering off the sea on my visit in November, with the flagsticks fighting a losing battle to remain upright, and the temperature, which had the nifty thermometer on my 34

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

Tiger Beach Golf Links Feng Cheng Tourist & Vacation Zone, Haiyang, Yantai, Shandong Province Architect: Beta Soong, 2000. Yardage: 7,222. Par: 72. Greens Fee: RMB685-1,000; packages available through Golf 007; www.golf007.com Contact: +86/535-331-1808; www.tigerbeach.com WWW.HKGA.COM

Seaside surprise (clockwise from top): fescue-clad mounds guard the approach to the eighteenth; goats enjoy lunch at the fifth; the seventh is sandwiched between sand and sea. WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

35


Golf Travel

The Full

Monty

“F

ollow me. I want to show you this bunker,” says Jon Tomlinson, after I tee off on the 12th hole at Montgomerie Links, a just-opened Colin Montgomerie design along the central coast of Vietnam. There are—count ‘em—18 salt-white bunkers strewn about the elevated green on the horizon. But instead of heading down the 540-yard, trap-speckled fairway, the club’s general manager cuts behind a snack shack, set on a ridgeline that slopes down to vibrant rice paddies on one side and new golf course on the other. Once around back, he stops.

36

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

Although 9 more holes are still to come, The Montgomerie Links Vietnam is already shaping up as something very special STORY BY SCOTT RESCH PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM BREAZEALE

“Check it out,” he says, pointing to the ground, where there appears to be a series of storm drains, separated by a few inches. Then he kicks some debris away from the dark slits. I can almost see the silhouettes of American soldiers peering down the barrels of their M-16s. “Real bunkers here, mate. There’s another one over on 11. Talk about provenance. How many courses have features like that?” None that I know of. And that’s counting what exists in Vietnam, a country ravaged by war for the most part of the last century but patching itself back together nicely through some of Southeast Asia’s most attractive tourism-driven projects. WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

37


tee to avoid OB. For now, that’s a safe enough strategy; fescue and flowers are just starting to take hold there, making recovery feasible. The temporary routing then veers over to the par-4 ninth, which runs parallel to one but plays in the opposite direction. At 500 yards from the tips and into the wind, it is—and will forever be, one could easily surmise—the number 1 stroke index. A lake half encompasses the green, just for good measure. “The course is not unfair,” says Tomlinson, as he taps in for par. “But some of these holes will definitely separate the men from the boys. This, obviously, is one of them.” The next one is another, a 470-yard par 4 that will eventually play as number 13. The fairway is sprawling and connects with 18, but the uphill approach will test the nerves of even the best. Thick brush lurks left, while a steep bank— a dune, in fact—guards the right side, ready to reject errant shots into a small pond below. The next four holes offer somewhat of a break: the par-3 14th is downhill with stunning views of the South China Sea, about a halfkilometer away; the par-4 15th is a short dogleg

left around water; the par-5 12th is a birdie hole if those bunkers are negotiated correctly with the second shot; and the par-4 10th is a medium-length dogleg right. The final two holes—the par-3 11th and the par-4 eighth—are just what a conclusion ought to be: demanding and outstanding. Reminiscent of number 5 at Australia’s iconic Royal Melbourne, the former plays uphill with little room for error—trees and waste areas frame the green, which possesses a false front that repels anything short. The lush Annamite Range, in the background, is a distraction, too. The last calls for a long, straight drive in order to get a good look at the green, 415 yards from the tee box and protected front right by— what else?—a huge trap. “I get bored playing courses in Asia,” says Tomlinson, a 10-time Australian PGA tournament winner who managed courses in China for five years. “So many of them, even for the average player, are driver-wedge, driverwedge. Here, with this course, there’s none of that. You’ll use every club in the bag. I practically did today, and we only played nine holes.”

Bunkered at the sandy 12th

Nowhere is the transformation more evident than in and around Danang, where miles of dunes once bedecked only by concrete U.S. military hangars are being dressed up with highend hotels like The Nam Hai (so impressive Travel + Leisure magazine recently voted it “World’s Best Resort” in its annual design competition), snazzy residential towers and championship-caliber golf courses. The game may have been played in this region before—in 1966, two-time US Open champion Billy Casper and a Marine colonel hit into tractor 38

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

tires on China Beach during a morale-boosting tour organized by the US State Department— but Montgomerie Links is the first real layout to come on line here. And while Greg Norman will follow with a design of his own across the street, don’t expect Monty’s creation to fall off golfers’ must-play lists anytime soon. Starting August 1, nine of its planned 18 holes will be open for public play. All will be memorable—and different from anything seen in Vietnam, or even Southeast Asia, before. In true links style, fairways are wide and mown tight; greens are big and dynamic; and bunkers are deep and penalizing. Contemporary twists come in the form of a handful of water hazards, the wall-to-wall paspalum turf ideal for tropical climes, earth-tone cart paths, and bunkers so white they’d make Augusta National’s jealous. “We had the sand trucked in from Hue, a couple hours north of here,” says Tomlinson. “The contrast it creates with the fairways is striking. It will look even cooler once the native grasses start feeding in around the bunkers’ edges.” The current experience at Montgomerie Links begins, appropriately, at the 581-yard first hole, a par 5 that bends ever so slightly left to a well-guarded, elevated green. A short wall— which will eventually be hidden by a row of casuarina pines—runs the entire length of the left side, tempting players to bail out right off the WWW.HKGA.COM

This par-5 doesn’t have the sea views of the par-3 14th or the unique, peek-aboo green of the par-4 13th, but, frankly, it doesn’t need them—it’s as strong of a journey, from start to finish, as a player will find. From the box, it’s a drive through a chute of casuarina pines to a fairway littered with sand traps. There are 18 of them all told, and all look meaner than broken glass. They’re big, they’re deep and they become more prominent around the front of the green. That’s not to say you can go long, left

or right of the ultimate target—shots to those spots will simply find their way into collection areas, which will have high handicappers gratefully reaching for their putters and better players puzzling over which club to use. “Twelve is a perfect example of what kind of a challenge awaits at Montgomerie Links,” says Tomlinson. “It changes complexion the farther along you go. And even if you’re striking the ball well, you better have confidence and touch in your short game, because it’s going to be tested.”

Danang delight: distinctive bunkering, sandy soil, native grasses and strong sea breezes— key ingredients at The Montgomerie Links. WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

39


Gear Guide

Rife Two Bar Hybrid Blade One of a Kind

I

f you thought the term “hybrid” was limited to the longer clubs, think again. Merging elements of the technology that made this pioneering company’s Two Bar and Island Series extremely popular, the Two Bar Hybrid Blade is the first Rife putter to feature a face insert; and if its refreshingly crisp feel on impact is anything to go by they’re on to a definite winner. As with all Rife putters, the club also features the company’s patented RollGroove face groves, which are designed to impart truer roll; and the LieAline fitting system, whereby you can easily ascertain your correct lie angle and personally adjust the lie to fit your setup. The brand might not yet enjoy the same kind of market share as some of the bigger boys but there’s something inherently stylish about Rife putters, which augers well for their future.

Titleist ZB and ZM

$1,780. Contact: www.rifeputters.com

Serious Irons for Serious Players

T

itleist was late getting into the “blended” or “combo” irons game when it came out with the 735.CM irons—although many customers opted instead to create their own blended sets from the 695.CB and 695.MB models. The new ZB irons seek to eliminate the need to do this—and, by and large, they’ve succeeded with these very striking clubs. Unlike the AP irons, which were launched at the same time, these forged beauties are geared towards the single figure handicapper. The other offering in the Z line is the ZM, a muscle-back forged iron designed for the serious player. Made of 1025 carbon steel and “bright chrome plating for traditional feel, superior looks, and shot control for the competitive and highly skilled golfer,” the ZM features a compact size head with constant blade length. Even though few will ever reach the level of competency needed to put these in the bag, these are some seriously good looking blades. $11,520 (ZB/ZM). Contact: www.titleist.com

40

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

41


New Play

Around the Clubs

Siam Country Club

The Hong Kong Golf Club

Plantation Course

Birthwhistle Salver (Gross Section) 18 May M C K Wong / Mrs F Hu won the Birthwhistle Salver played over the New Course with 72. Mr & Mrs S Cheng were the runners-up with 76.

Spectacular public access facility opens near Pattaya

Birthwhistle Salver (Nett Section) 18 May A E M Laband / Miss M Laband won the Birthwhistle Salver played over the New Course with 65. M C K Wong / Mrs F Hu were the runners-up with 67 on countback over the last 9 holes from Mr & Mrs M Grimsdick. Monthly Medal (Gross Section) 21 June A J P Taylor won the Monthly Medal Gross Section played over the Composite Course with 73 on countback over the last 9 holes from C Halliday.

Results

Julius Baer Inter-Club League Standings As of 21 June 2008 Premier Division Played HKGC 4 DBGC 2 CWBG&CC 2

Won 4 0 0

Lost 0 2 2

Halved 0 0 0

Points 8 0 0

First Division Played HKGC 6 CWBG&CC 4 SOCC 5 DBGC 3

Won 5 2 1 1

Lost 1 2 4 2

Halved 0 0 0 0

Points 10 4 2 2

Monthly Medal (Nett Section) 21 June P Y Reed won the Monthly Medal Nett Section played over the Composite Course with 67.

David Freeman

Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club Men’s Events

S

chmidt-Curley can’t seem to do any wrong in Thailand. Following on from their splendid designs at Amata Spring and Chiang Mai Highlands, the American architectural duo have done it once again with this stunning 27-hole track, a thirty minute drive from the resort town of Pattaya off the Bangkok highway. Unlike its famous sister—Siam Country Club’s Old Course, which hosted last year’s $1.3 million Honda LPGA Thailand event after a complete redesign by the pair—the Plantation Course is somewhat unique in the Land of Smiles: a public facility open to all those with a certified handicap of 36 or less. Available since April, the courses—defined by the Sugar Cane, Tapioca and Pineapple nines—roll across undulating terrain and are characterized by their formidable bunkering and slick, highly contoured greens. Dastardly false fronts and 42

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

beautifully sculptured collection areas (not unPinehurst like) make this a true championship test, while the nattily-appointed clubhouse affords panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand. Conditioning has so far proved exemplary, with the Bermuda Ultradwarf greens routinely running in excess of 11 on the stimpmeter. The courses’ Paspalum fairways, meanwhile, ensure that great lies are the order of the day. Shorter hitters beware: even from the standard white tees the course measures close to 6,900 yards. A stiff test it might be but, our own Kau Sai Chau aside, there can’t be many better public courses on the continent. Amphor Banglamung, Chonburi Yardage: 11,133. Par: 108 (27 holes) Architect: Schmidt-Curley Design Contact: +66/38-909600; www.siamcountryclub.com Cost: 3,530-4,030 Baht (approx HK$820-940), including cart and caddie fees Getting There: 90 minutes from Bangkok International Airport WWW.HKGA.COM

Vilhelm Von Sydow (72) Sibo Yan (74) Tommy Shiu (67 C/B) Mark Harris (67)

Chairman’s Cup 18 May Winner: Runner-up:

SK Tse (43 points) Mike Brown (40 points C/B)

Captain’s Cup 21 June Gross Winner: Gross Runner-up: Nett Winner: Nett Runner-up:

Adrian Leung (75) Sibo Yan (76) Jackson Chu (70) Patrick Tam (71)

Chairman’s Cup 21 June Winner: Runner-up:

Jeremy Tang (33 points) Andrew Nowak (32 points)

Ladies Events May Stableford 21 May Division 1 Winner: Division 1 Runner-up: Division 2 Winner: Division 2 Runner-up:

Lydia Mak (36 points) Diana Ting (32 points) Lily Lau (39 points) Kanako Tankaka (35 points C/B)

Summer Cup 11 June Winner: First Runner-up: Second Runner-up:

Haj Wilcox (34 points) Sunny Kang (31 points C/B) Diana Ting (31 points)

Summer Plate 11 June Winner: First Runner-up: Second Runner-up:

Marsha Ko (34 points) Akiko Harada (33 points C/B) Chikako Yabe (33 points)

June Stableford 18 June Division 2 Winner: Division 2 Runner-up:

Fumiko Kataoka (30 points) Peggy Wong (27 points)

WWW.HKGA.COM

HKPGA Order of Merit

Leg 2, The Jockey Club KSC Public Golf Course, North Course 27-28 May 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6=

David Freeman Wong Woon-man Derek Fung Lee Man-lok Grant Gibson Dominque Boulet Tang Man-kee 8. Eric Ma 9. Steven Lam (A) 10= Danny Kan Brad Schadewtiz Andrew Good Sung Hang-man

73-67 70-71 74-68 73-70 70-74 68-77 75-70 74-73 72-76 71-79 75-75 76-74 76-74

140 141 142 143 144 145 145 147 148 150 150 150 150

Ladies Division 1. Joann Hardwick 2= Betty Ng Elsa Tang Melody Chan 5. Florence Yuen

77-82 83-80 83-80 83-80 81-86

159 163 163 163 167

Seniors Division 1. Tang Shu-wing 2. Stanley Leung 3= Michael Kan Fred Morales 5. Alex Tang

73-75 78-73 76-80 78-78 81-77

148 151 156 156 158

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

Asian Tour

Siam swing: muscular bunkering and ornamental water features are the obvious hazards to avoid on the Plantation Course.

Captain’s Cup 18 May Gross Winner: Gross Runner-up: Nett Winner: Nett Runner-up:

43


Golf Fitness

KNEE KNOCKER Could I get the same injury as Tiger by playing golf ? By Heidi Reyes

O

n 24 June, just a few days on from hobbling to his sensational US Open win over unfancied journeyman Rocco Mediate, Tiger Woods underwent reconstructive surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). According to his doctors, the surgery was a success—and millions of golf fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. Tiger initially injured his knee while jogging last July after the British Open. He continued to play (with 7 consecutive wins to boot!) but his knee worsened, with the cartilage becoming damaged as well. This past April, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out some of the cartilage damage, after which two stress fractures were also found on his left shin bone. Now, after his fourth left knee surgery (he had a benign tumour removed in 1994 and a benign cyst removed in 2002), Tiger is on the road to recovery. While the golf world is abuzz with the effect his absence will have on the game, many are also wondering: what in the world is an ACL and is golf bad for my knees too?

What is the ACL?

Is golf bad for the knees?

Knee injuries are actually not common in golf. In fact, only 4 to 8 percent of all golf injuries occur to the knees, and quite often there is an existing knee problem that gets irritated by the swing, as we likely have witnessed with Tiger. One lesson we can all learn from this is to not ignore nagging aches and imbalances, since over time and countless golf swings, they may lead to more serious injuries. While not all injuries can be prevented, keeping your muscles and joints strong and flexible can certainly help, as can having a professional assess your swing to make sure that you’re not putting any undue stress on one particular area of your body. Thankfully, Tiger’s doctors feel “it is highly unlikely that he will have any long-term effects as it relates to his career” after his surgery. ACL reconstruction is actually quite a common procedure now, especially with more and more people participating in sports. With the proper rehabilitation, most people can expect to return to playing sports at their pre-injury level within six to twelve months. It’s a long road ahead for Tiger, but we know that he has the work ethic and determination to get back to form, and nobody would be surprised if he came back even better!

The ACL is one of four major ligaments of the knee joint, providing almost 90% of its stability. It helps to stop the tibia (shin bone) from sliding too far forward relative to the femur (thigh bone), and also helps to limit rotational movements of the knee. The ACL is the most commonly injured knee HK-based Heidi Reyes is a registered Physiotherapist ligament, and it is most from Canada, where she specialized in treating sports commonly injured by a and orthopedic injuries. She also has a degree in Kinesiology and is certified in FitforeGolf, a researchsudden twisting movement while the foot is planted, such as when quickly changing direction in sports like based rehabilitation and conditioning programme basketball or football. It can also be injured by hyper-extending the knee, or by a for golfers. She has been working as a Personal trainer direct blow to the front/side of the knee. Very often other structures of the knee are for over a decade, integrating her knowledge in injured at the same time, such as the menisci (cartilaginous shock absorbers) or other rehabilitation and fitness with her passion for helping ligaments. The knee may become painful or swollen with an ACL injury, and may others to achieve optimal health and wellness. feel like it “gives out” or buckles, depending on the extent of the injury. The ligament can only be partially torn, or in more severe cases, completely ruptured, which is part of the reason  In the US, over 100,000 ACL reconstruction surgeries are performed why not all ACL injuries require surgery (the annually individual’s level of activity and occupation are  The long-term success rate after ACL surgery is 82-95%, depending other important factors). on many factors  ACL reconstruction surgery involves replacing the torn ligament with a Sustaining an ACL injury while jogging is graft (either part of the person’s own hamstring or patellar tendon, or using really quite unusual. It is possible Tiger had a predonor tissue). It is usually an arthroscopic surgery that takes about 2 hours existing weakness in his knee because of prior  The rehabilitation process takes about 6 to 12 months, starting with surgeries, or that the repetitive super human forces regaining range of motion, then building strength, endurance, coordination, he produces during swing have proven too much and sport-specific skills and power for his knee to handle. This leads to the second part  Women have higher rates of ACL injury than men due to the effect of hormones and gender differences in the alignment of their pelvis and knees of my initial question: is golf bad for the knees? 44

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

WWW.HKGA.COM


Society Golf

Golf Homes

ADVERTORIAL

Chieftain’s Chip Clinches “Jock’s Pot”

Mackie Quaich decided by playoff

Story and Photography by Fay Glasgow

In a thrilling finish to the day’s activities, there was a tie for best score between Paul Curran, the 2007/2008 cheiftain and the HKGA’s Iain Valentine. With the same winning score of 35 points, and still tied after countback, the two were sent out to the first hole to settle the matter in sudden death. After both missed the green off the tee, Paul played a magnificent chip to within inches of the hole, which Iain gracefully conceded. Three “firsts” ensued: first play-off in Jock’s Pot history, first place to Paul Curran and first time the Chieftain of the society has won the event.

Victor's spoils: Curran, the champ, with Mackie, the founder Founding Father

F

riday 23 May saw the third annual “Mackie Quaich Golf Match” take place at a surprisingly sunny Shek O Country Club. Following some dreadful downpours in the preceding few days, the sixteen players competing for the silverware on offer were delighted to see clear blue skies as they had lunch before the start of the individual Stableford event. Organized by the Hong Kong St Andrew’s Society, and informally known as the “Jock’s Pot” tournament, the event is named after former Society Chieftain and Hong Kong golf legend Jock Mackie (who also kindly donated the ubiquitous silver drinking cup presented to the winner). Intended to encourage the game in the territory, the competition for the “Pot” itself is open only to members of the Society, although non-members are warmly welcomed to join in the day’s play and the post-game festivities. 46

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

This year’s competition was graced by the presence of Mr Mackie himself. Admitting to being over twenty-one, Jock is probably the best-known name in the sports business in Hong Kong. After starting off at Jardine Matheson, Jock became CEO of Hutcheson International and A.S. Watson Ltd. He founded PARKnSHOP and changed the face of Hong Kong retail forever when expanding the drugstore arm into Watson’s Chemists. Focusing on his ever present interest in sport, Jock acquired Robertson, Wilson & Co before founding Sportsline Limited and JDM Associates. In Hong Kong and Asia, these companies represented brands such as Titleist, Nike, FootJoy, Wilson, Dunlop, Head, Hogan, Slazenger, and many others. Undoubtedly one of the finest players in the history of Hong Kong golf, Jock is a past president of the HKGA and remains the only Hong Kong player to have played in the Open Championship (Muirfield 1959). “Jock’s Pot” is an annual event held in May at Shek O Country Club. Those interested in participating should contact the St Andrew’s Society at admin@ standrewshk.org

WWW.HKGA.COM

Bay Island Beauty One of the most prestigious properties on Queensland’s tranquil Macleay Island, this gorgeous home is perfect for golfers and investors alike.

“P

arador” is the name has been voted among Queensland’s best. of this single-storey Per fec t either for retirement or ranch-style home but investment, the house itself, which occupies it might just as well a total plot of 1600 square metres, is a be Paradise—at least thoroughly modern affair. Completed in for golfers or indeed 2006, “Parador,” which was constructed anyone looking to live in a relaxed and by a master builder, features a high peaceful environment. quality finish and mod cons throughout. Situated on Macleay Island, just a fifteen Broadband internet access and telephone minute water taxi ride from Brisbane’s lines are available in all four ensuite thriving Redland Bay district (and within bedrooms, while a fully-fitted kitchen will easy reach of dozens of the Gold Coast’s satisfy the demands of the culinary inclined. magnificent courses), this four bedroom The veranda, which runs the full width of house doesn’t just border the island’s the house, is a wonderful spot to relax and picturesque nine hole Bay Island Golf Club; watch the sunset. A large family room, it affords tremendous views of the course’s living room, garage and car/boat port signature green as well. complete the features of this truly unique Not that golf is the only game on the property. island. The whole region is famed for its pristine beaches and crystal clear water. Not surprisingly, Sale + Owner Contact Information sailing, windsurfing A$495,000 (approximately HK$3.7 million*) and scuba diving are House comes partially furnished all popular pursuits, while those of a Tel: +852-2364 9168/9193 5099; Fax: 2330 4428 more leisurely nature Email: waterline@btconnect.com can take advantage of the Macleay Island NOTE: *market rates correct at time of press Bowls Club, which WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

47


Course Report

Shenzhen Jiulong Hills Golf Club

course’s natural setting—which is pretty much unique in this part of the world. Perhaps not one for the really wayward hitter, but few tracks in the region can compare to Jiulong’s beauty.

CONDITIONS

Beautiful, quirky and full of charm, this petite course is one of the true hidden gems of Guangdong golf.

Considering that our visit to Jiulong coincided with some of the heaviest rainfall to have hit Guangdong in years, the playing surfaces withstood the meteorological onslaught admirably, which was undoubtedly helped by the course’s nat ura l topography. W hile t he lower lying holes were certainly squelchy underfoot, they were still very playable, and the greens, despite not being cut that day, rolled impressively smoothly given the conditions. It was interesting to note that Jiulong was one of the few courses in the Shenzhen area that was able to remain open during the worst of the weather.

CADDIES

Excellent. Somewhat unusually for a Chinese course, Jiulong Hills employs male as well as female caddies—and the loopers for our fourball (two from each sex) were very friendly, polite and certainly knew their stuff. Green reading, in particular, was superb.

BACKGROUND

Formerly known as Sanjiu (999) when it was owned by the mainland corporation of the same name, Jiulong Hills occupies a series of beautifully wooded valleys near Guanlan, a thirty-five minute cab ride from the Huanggang border crossing. Situated close to the Mission Hills Resort, Jiulong is the complete antithesis of its mammoth neighbour: while Mission Hills comprises twelve courses designed by the likes of Faldo, Norman and Nicklaus, Jiulong only has eighteen holes—the work of the unheralded Wang Guang-lin—and a comparatively tiny clubhouse. Previously a strictly private club, Shenzhen Jiulong Hills Golf Club visitors are now welcome seven Par: 72. Yardage: 6,939. Architect: Wang Guang-lin days a week.

Address: Fumin Village, Guanlan Town, Shenzhen Getting There: Taxi from Huanggang: ApproxRMB150; 35 minutes Booking: Call Golf 007 on +852 2187 3146; golf007.com 48

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

COURSE

If you like your courses short, tight and packed full of character then Jiulong is the place for you.

Don’t come to Jiulong expecting to find a glittering array of fancy post-golf amenities—indeed, spartan probably best describes the facilities here. Its bijou clubhouse is functional: a tiny pro shop, somewhat austere locker rooms and a small restaurant a nd bar. A lt hough it ’s per fect ly adequate for most, the lack of space makes it unsuitable for hosting bigger tournaments and corporate golf days.

SERVICE

Check-in was handled politely and efficiently and our group was whisked to the first tee within a few minutes of arriving. The excellent caddies aside, the club’s staff was courteous and even arranged for sandwiches to be brought out to us on the course from the clubhouse restaurant after the halfway house ran out of supplies.

VALUE

From the members’ blue markers, none of the par-fours measure in excess of 400 yards, but don’t let that fool you: this is as strategic as courses in Guangdong Province get—and it’s really very refreshing deciding whether or not to tackle the jungle-flanked holes with a driver or long iron (normally an option available only to the pros) from the tee. Although diminutive, the majority of the holes here are decidedly tricky, with many featuring elevated greens, deep-faced bunkers, sweeping doglegs and, at times, dramatic shifts in elevation. Some might characterize the place as a bit quirky, but that’s definitely part of the charm. You can play all eighteen holes here without seeing a single factory or any other sign of industrial sprawl— only the ubiquitous lighting poles tarnish the WWW.HKGA.COM

CLUBHOUSE

We paid $1,080 each for a Saturday package booked through Golf 007 (www.golf007.com), which included green fee, individual caddie and shared cart. Thankfully, the club doesn’t operate the moronic policy of charging separately for locker rental, which many other courses in the area do. Like everywhere across the border, prices have risen in recent months, but this nonetheless represents a very good deal for a weekend round. Weekday packages start from $670.

VERDICT

A definite must-play: one of the most unique courses in the region. Higher handicappers should choose which tees to play from with care, however. We shall return. WWW.HKGA.COM

Green valley (clockwise from top): an elevated green at the fifteenth; things get pretty tight at Jiulong; bunkers galore at the seventh; the par-4 ninth could be one of the most picturesque holes in Guangdong.

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

49


Final Shot

The Best of the Best

2 0 0

They’re golf ’s biggest events, but which of the four major championships can be considered number one?

Y A R D S

2 1 0

Y A R D S

T O T O

T H E

G R E E N

T H E

B L U E

By James Spence

A

s we reach mid-term in the professional golf season, only one fact can be known for sure: Tiger Woods will finish the year with 14 majors to his credit. Trevor Immelman was a most deserving winner of the Masters, a championship he led from start to finish. However, the Masters Committee needs to look at the fact that the last day's play lacked any real excitement and that the chief reason for this is overzealous course doctoring over the past years. Lengthened and narrowed, the back nine no longer yields birdies that permit a last-day charge. The US Open at Torrey Pines was something special and more so as there were worries about the course's suitability— being a 1950s public-access venue that is no longer considered one of America's top golfing destinations. It became clear, late on Sunday afternoon, that the winner would be either Rocco Mediate in the penultimate group, or Westwood or the hobbling Woods in the final pairing. Westwood played well throughout; a couple of missed putts at crucial stages proving to be his downfall. Woods’s final regulation hole brilliance, Mediate’s tenacity and the enthralling playoff that ensued will live long in the memory. Nobody has stood up to Woods like Mediate since Bob May at the 2000 US PGA, but it still wasn’t enough to end the world number one’s remarkable record of converting every 54-hole lead in a major into victory. With no Tiger on the starter’s sheet, the world's top golfers keenly await the Open at Royal Birkdale, and the US PGA at Oakland Hills, their chances augmented considerably by his absence. But which is the best major of the four? The term "the majors" is an American invention, as is "the grand slam" (a term borrowed from bridge). In the early decades of the last century, the US PGA was played close enough to The Open to make it physically impossible for American professionals to compete in both. Back then, the Western Open—now an unremarkable Tour stop—was considered a major. Even when the dates were moved, US professionals and amateurs faced a lengthy and expensive sea voyage across the Atlantic to play scratchy courses in indeterminate weather, and stay in poor accommodation with suspect plumbing. The Open's resurrection is owed first to Ben Hogan at Carnoustie in 1953 and then Arnold Palmer who came, played and won, emphasizing the importance of 50

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

the oldest Open and cajoling others to join him. So which is the greatest of them all? Most professionals place the Masters first or second. The invitation alone is accepted as being the rite of passage for those at the very top end of the game. The Augusta National Club has the abiding advantage in hosting the tournament on the same course every year. Audiences grow up watching it on television with little prospect of visiting the place, making it a near unattainable nirvana. The abiding allure is the course, a late work of the great architect Alistair Mackenzie. However the club's changes have reduced the fun and meddled with Mackenzie and Bobby Jones's notion that a great course should be generous from the tee and negotiable by different types of golfer. Each major is hosted by a different organization. The US PGA represents American professional golfers and this is meant to be their tournament. Except it isn't. Spaces are set aside for club pros but the world's top 100 touring pros inevitably get invited, out of proxy not charter. As more and more US Tour events are won by "alien nationals", the US PGA simply could not take the risk of not inviting the best in the world game. The US PGA is termed "glory's last shot" by the US media but its grip on the imagination slips every second year when the Ryder Cup takes place. The advent of the Tour Championship and the money-grab of the FedEx Cup—which is an initiative of the PGA Tour, long a separate organization from the PGA of A merica—have further lessened the championship’s standing. While The Masters grips the imagination, the stiff and defensive elitism of the host club fails to inspire. The domestic constituency of the US PGA will become gradually less relevant as golf's allure spreads worldwide. The unalienable advantages of the two Opens is that they are open to all entrants, subject to desire and, for amateurs, handicap. The best majors are therefore the two Opens. The Open Championship reaches back into the 19th century, is played on historic grounds and delivers vagaries of weather and bounce that are elemental factors in the game. The US Open's appeal is now enhanced by the decision to grade the rough. This simple mater of greens keeping delivered the magnificent competition at Torrey Pines and will doubtless be a lasting development. Note: The views are the writer’s own and not necessarily those of the Hong Kong Golf Association. WWW.HKGA.COM

At Ocean Dunes Golf Club, the sea is so close you can almost touch it. There it is as you hole a putt on 9.Then, just to your left, as you tee off on 13. Masters champion Nick Faldo designed the links-style gem, his only course in Vietnam.You’ll love the golf. But be careful: Mother Nature may distract you. The world is talking about golf in Vietnam. See for yourself why Ocean Dunes is ranked at the top. Special Summer packages now available. +84 (62) 823366 • odgc@vietnamgolfresorts.com • www.vietnamgolfresorts.com

Golden Era Golf in Vietnam

AT THE

DALAT PALACE GOLF CLUB

Perched high in the mountains of Vietnam with flawless bent-grass greens sits 18 acclaimed and storied holes of world-class golf. Come play what Golf Digest and Asian Golf Monthly called “The #1 Golf Course in Vietnam” in 2007. Special VIP Summer packages now available.

+84 (63) 821201 dpgc@vietnamgolfresorts.com www.vietnamgolfresorts.com

WWW.HKGA.COM

HK GOLFER・JULY/AUG 2008

51


HKGolfer0807  

Great Golf by the Coast JULY/AUGUST 2008ISSUE35 Bolle Midsummer and Johnnie Walker Classics in review PLUS: Golf in Japan, David Leadbetter...

HKGolfer0807  

Great Golf by the Coast JULY/AUGUST 2008ISSUE35 Bolle Midsummer and Johnnie Walker Classics in review PLUS: Golf in Japan, David Leadbetter...

Advertisement