HK Golfer Event Season: Junior and Senior Close Champs in review
THE OFF I C I A L P U B L I CAT I O N O F T H E H O NG KO NG GOLF ASSOCIATION ISSUE 40
The Comeback Kid
Major Meltdowns British Open Nick Faldo
DISPLAY UNTIL 15 AUGUST
Stephanie Ho, HK Ladies Close, Fanling
20 | Jock’s Lot
06 | E-mailbag 10 | Clubhouse 11 | Tee Time
From playing in the Open Championship to setting up Hong Kong’s most popular supermarket chain, Jock Mackie has been a success both on and off the course.
24 | 10 Major Meltdowns
Mak Lok-lin recalls the occasions when really good players did really bad things at golf’s biggest events.
30 | Stephanie Shines in Record Win
44 | The Tragic Tale of Johnny McDermott
19 | Golf Rules
The oldest Major in golf returns to Turnberry after a 15-year hiatus. We check out the changes and consider the likely champion prospects.
54 | Q&A with Brett Mogg
In-depth interview with the designer of East Course at Kau Sai Chau.
60 | Florida on my Mind
We sit down with Billy Dettlaff, the TPC’s National Director of Golf, to talk about the TPC Sawgrass and the Players Championship, the unofficial fifth Major.
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Robert Rees on wine
15 | Single Malts
49 | The Open Preview
13 | Liquid Assets
16-year-old comes of age with brilliant comeback victory at the Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship. In the first installment of a new series, golfing historian Dr Milton Wayne rediscovers some of the unfairly forgotten characters in the history of the Royal and Ancient game.
Evan Rast on his favourite new offerings from Patek Philippe
John Bruce discusses the fine whisky of Islay With Dr Brian Choa
30 | Around the HKGA
A roundup of news and other events from Hong Kong
36 | Junior News
The latest events and coverage
41 | Junior Training
With national junior coach Brad Schadewitz
65 | Golf Health
Sun protection with Dr Gavin Chan
66 | Final Shot
Nick Faldo talks about his travel dos and don’ts.
On the Cover:
Stephanie Ho on her way to winning the Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship. Photo by Charles McLaughlin
hk golfer e-mailbag Star Letter Seve’s Major Magic I enjoyed reading “The 10 Greatest Major Moments” article in the April/ May issue. But my favourite Major moment is not one that makes it onto the lists very often: the second shot played by Seve Ballesteros to the 16th hole in the final round of the 1988 British Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes. The 16th hole at Lytham has a special affiliation with Ballesteros. In 1979, when he won his first Open Championship, he carved his tee shot with a driver way right and the ball ended up among some parked cars. He then got a free drop and went on to make birdie. It was there that he earned the nickname, “The Car Park Champion”. It was somewhat misunderstood. In 1988, he played the hole in a far more orthodox manner. Finding the fairway with a 1-iron from the tee, the next shot that he played with a 9-iron was just sublime. Watching it on video, it looked a little more than a three quarter swing but not quite a full swing – it was that subtle. The rhythm he had on that shot was exquisite and the ball finished just an inch from the hole. A couple of holes later he won his third Open title. Sadly, with the institutionalized coaching we have these days, feel players like him are far and few between. What is very pleasing to know is that his health condition is improving. Seve gave us plenty of magical moments over the years – and for me, that shot was one of his best. Gordon KF Lee Kowloon Tong Editor responds: Well said, Gordon and congratulations. It truly was a brilliant shot, one of the finest in Open history, and we at HK Golfer share your joy in the knowledge that Seve is recovering well from surgery.
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THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION Jun/Jul 2009 • Issue 40
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HKGolfer Event Season: Junior and Senior Close Champs in review
Apr/May 2009 Competition Winners Congratulations to Ray Cantelo of Cathay Pacific Engineering on winning HK$20,000 worth of Ahead merchandise for his golf society…and also to Jacky Chan, Wendy Allen, Tennessee Tsang and Kelvin Chau for winning vouchers at Flight Experience.
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HONG KONG GOLF ASSOCIATION ISSUE 40
The Comeback Kid
Major Meltdowns British Open Nick Faldo
We Want to Hear from You! Have something to say about an article in HK Golfer or a topic affecting golf in our area? Send your thoughts and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include your address, contact number, email and HKGA #. The winner of the best letter will receive a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Rose NV courtesy of Links Concept.
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
DISPLAY UNTIL 15 AUGUST
Stephanie Ho, HK Ladies Close, Fanling
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Straight + Narrow Matajiro Nagatomi fires his drive down the hazard-strewn 18th at Discovery Bay Golf Club during the final round MacGregor Hong Kong Seniors Close Amateur Championship. Nagatomi finished the event on a three-day total of 217 (one-over-par) to cruise to an emphatic nine-stroke victory. Nagatomi has now won three of the last five Seniors Close championships. Full report on page 34. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Taking up the Reins Keit h Wi l l ia ms has been appointed general manager at the Hong Kong Golf Club. The experienced Engl ish ma n, who spent 10 years as CEO at Loch Lomond Golf Club in Scotland a nd seven yea rs a s managing director at Wentworth Golf Club, England's best-known island course, succeeds Howard Palmes. (Photo by Charles McLaughlin).
Evan Rast picks his favourites from Patek Philippe's latest offerings
NUMBERS GAME Number of times Turnberry has hosted the Open: 3 Number of times Prestwick has hosted the Open: 24 Number of times the Old Course has hosted the Open: 27 Number of American winners of the Open: 26 Number of Scottish winners of the Open: 22 Number of Zimbabwean winners of the Open: 1 (Nick Price, 1994)
For information or to view the range please contact:
Impact Golf Management Group Tel: 25417452 Email: email@example.com
Age of the oldest Open Winner: 46 years, 99 days (Old Tom Morris, 1867) Age of the youngest Open Winner: 17 years, 181 days (Young Tom Morris, 1868) Number of times Harry Vardon won the Open (the record): 6
“ It’s been strange this week. We've had four days and I don't think I've heard anyone say ‘You’re the man’ yet. Do you know how nice that is? ” - Lee Trevino after playing in the 1992
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Coming Up Roses
Open Championship at Muirfield
visit to Patek P h i l i p p e ’s BaselWorld booth is a l w a y s somet h i ng to look forward to, despite the fact that the brand’s massive white-and-gold glass structure always has a crowd around it the same size as the gallery that follows Tiger Woods round at the Masters (which isn’t surprising given the brand’s position at the pinnacle of haute horlogerie). Nevertheless it’s always a treat. Patek always has a timepiece or two that at the least piques your interest, and at best makes your mouth drop a nd induces some salivating. With its 2009 collection, Patek Philippe gives us rose gold versions of its iconic watches, the annual calendar 5960R and the Chronometro G o n d ol o 50 9 8R , w h o s e previous versions came in platinum, white or yellow gold. In some instances, such as the Ref. 5010 10-day tourbillon, rose gold versions replaced discontinued references. The release of Ref. 5153 marks the return of the classic Calatrava officer’s wristwatch, now with a slightly larger 38-mm case. There are also new takes on the Nautilus, with the addition of diamonds, and a rose gold, chocolate brown version for the ultra-thin Calatrava 4897R for ladies. Let’s start at the top of the food chain.
10-Day Tourbillon now in rose gold – 5101R
Many of you who were disappointed when the 5101P was discontinued will be delighted to hear that its back – only this time in rose gold. Launched six years ago in platinum, the 5101 follows in the footsteps of the legendary 5100, the first Patek Philippe to have a 10-day power reserve. But what won us over was the addition of the tourbillon. To this day, the 5101 remains the only crownwound watch with this impressive combination of features, with its power reserve among the highest, dethroned only by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Minute Repeater (15 days). The 5101R is powered by the chronometer-tested calibre 28-20/222. The art deco-inspired case is complimented by a silvery-grey dial with applied Breguet numerals in rose gold. A lighter shade of grey is used for the subsidiary dials for the seconds display and power reserve indicator. Combined with the livelier rose gold case – which I prefer to the platinum – and superb technical features, this is definitely among the most noteworthy of Patek’s releases for the year.
The Calatrava Officier - 5153 in a 38-mm case
My second favourite is the newest addition to the Calatrava line, the only new model for men this year. While the dial is stunning, with a hand-guillochéd sunburst pattern reminiscent of the 5159 retrograde perpetual calendar, the novelty of this watch is the officier’s protective caseback. The 5153 takes on the proud line of the 5053 that was discontinued a few years back. The new officier’s watch has a larger case diameter, 2.4 mm more than its predecessor. The height is at 10.97 mm. The 5153 features the self-winding 324 SC calibre, with a unidirectional rotor in 21k gold which can be seen through its sapphire crystal caseback.
The Chronometro Gondolo - 5098R
We move on to what I feel is the most stylish watch of the collection, the Chronometro Gondolo. Released two years ago in platinum, the dial of this watch and the tonneau shape is distinctly art deco-inspired. What draws you further into the design is the mesmerizing handguillochéd wave patterns on the dial, which are based on a rare technique done on the original 1925 model. This version’s combination of brown and rose gold with platinum creates an even more lasting impression. The structure of the manually-wound 25-21 REC calibre, with its S-shaped centre-wheel bridge and the slender escape wheel affords the owner a generous view of movement through the caseback. HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Princess of the Seas
The new V85 isn’t just a pretty face, writes Jack Molley. It also manages to combine serious power with total comfort. up to two berths each, giving provision for a maximum of four crew members. Walking on deck is very secure because there’s a high guardrail and plenty of grab rails. On a personal note, I also like the large expanses of glass and the way the windshield runs all the way back to the cockpit – another feature you won’t find on many British boats. The stern garage is large enough to comfortably stow a 4.2-metre tender and a wet bike which quite literally slides into the water as the stern platform lowers beneath the surface of the water. For further information about the Princess V85 emailz firstname.lastname@example.org
hen Princess Yachts launched the V85, its largest ever V Class sports yacht, at the 2008 London Boat Show the sailing world took note. A new concept in a dynamic design the V85’s stunning good looks disguise a very practical and spacious interior layout, as well as a number of new design features. Princess V Class sports yachts are renowned for high performance and the V85 is no exception. With a deep V hull and a choice of the latest diesel engines, the V85 can achieve close to 40 knots in speed whilst boasting complete capability, control and seaworthiness. Furthermore, the distinctive flying bridge with full repeat controls and large seating area guarantee total comfort. Ensuring total versatility, the spacious cockpit features a seating, dining and bar area for up to eight people and the forward area of the saloon incorporates a sliding roof which opens over the control position and dining area – the perfect solution to Hong Kong’s unpredictable weather. The large galley has the option of being fully enclosed or open plan, enabling the V85 to suit owner operators or those running the boat with a full crew. And with luxurious cabin space for up to eight people, even when cruising at full capacity the V85 remains a haven of absolute comfort. The three guest cabins, all en-suite, are complemented by the full beam master cabin which benefits from an impressive shower room complete with twin sinks. In addition to guest accommodation, two crew cabins together with a galley and mess area, are accessible from the starboard side deck and can be fitted with 12
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
PRINCESS V85 LOA: 25.91m (85ft) Beam: 6.27m Draft: 1.81m Fuel Capacity: 6.000l Water Capacity: 1.205l Engines: 2 x Caterpillar C32A 1820hp, 2 x MTU 16V2000M92 2180hp Speeds: 38 knots max with 70% load and MTUs 2180hp option
Beauty or Beast?
Robert Rees examines the state of the En Primeur market
cannot recall an En Primeur campaign that has caused so much controversy as the 2008 vintage. The annual pilgrimage of producers, buyers, brokers, wine writers and observers has erupted into an emotional and sometimes bitter debate over wines tinged with more than a touch of scandal. Sadly, most of the discussion seems to be focused on the value rather than the quality of the wines. This is regrettable but is an inevitable consequence of the greed and stupidity that was voraciously indulged in by all involved in the past few campaigns. Briefly, the en primeur system is basically a futures market in wine. Producers show barrel samples of the latest vintage and hopefully garner enough interest from the clamouring traders (negociants) to sell all their produce and thus finance their ongoing activities. Purchasers hope to pick up wines at significant discounts to their eventual market price upon release in bottle, some two years hence. Whilst loyal customers on chateaux lists will get an annual allocation at prices set by the owners, the majority of wines will be bought by negociants who will seek to on sell at a tidy profit to the public. The market has gathered depth and momentum throughout the decades but now finds itself in a very bad state due to the ridiculous excesses of the past four years. Many buyers have boycotted the 2008 campaign in protest of continual overpricing. It also didn’t help that the weather conditions had been particularly uncooperative during the flowering season, leading to rumblings of another disaster like 2007. With prices for that year’s vintage plummeting, there was anger at the deals struck 12 months previously. Rumours were rife of many new traders (as well as a few notable ones) being in financial stress and thus potentially not being able to meet obligations. Combined, all these factors placed a very dark cloud over proceedings. To understand the present we need to examine the past. The new era of wine pricing and investment excess really has its origins in vintage 2000. This was an outstanding year that was sold at very reasonable prices in a world that still differentiated between great, good and average vintages. Buyers recognised that wine is still only wine, and that if you wait 12 months there will be another crop to buy – perhaps not quite as good, perhaps even better, than the last. Also, excellent past vintages were still readily available, so that intelligent, patient buyers could accumulate superb, HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
proven bottles without facing significant premiums. And then madness. In the intervening years, the global investment banking machine had begun to redefine the concept of value, using financial alchemy and complicit ratings agencies to transform assets of questionable quality into AAA miracles, thus allowing credit to be available to just about anyone who could put a thumbprint on a loan document. Prices for the almost perfect 2005 vintage boomed, some by over 500 percent, as the adoring public furiously outbid each other to get allocations of this miracle asset class that seemed to reflect more desirably on its owners than any of the other toys in the cupboard. Chateaux owners, negociants , winemakers and wine journalists became rockstars. It was stunningly monstrous and forced many traditional buyers of En Primeur to abandon the market in frustration. 2006 was a reasonable year but not even close to being in the same class as 2005. Prices were anticipated to drop significantly but in fact this did not occur. The secondary market for 2005 was continuing to spiral ever higher and the fascination with this new asset class drove players into the fray, with prices barely lower than 2005. It was all a bit crazy. The market had been hijacked by a mentality that had no regard for quality. Emboldened by this new paradigm, the negociants snapped up the awful 2007 vintage. They figured they could sell dishwater to the new buyers and they were probably right. Prices traded down around 10% from 2006 despite the very obvious inferior quality of the wine. In the past, prices would have dropped fifty to eighty percent for such a vintage. Volumes however seemed suspiciously light. Trade talk was that some chateaux and negociants were deliberately hoarding stock to protect prices, using the phenomenal profits of the previous years to keep the 2007s off the street. Good luck to them. It won’t work. Secondary market prices for 2007 are falling precipitously, as they should. The demographic who bought will be horrified to know they have purchased seriously inferior product at prices that are embarrassingly high. They are guaranteed to lose money on the investment. Of deep concern for the 2008 En Primeur vintage, which actually seems quite good, with patches of excellence, are the rumours of failing negociants. Remember that as a buyer you are extending unsecured credit for 2 years to your supplier. If they fail, you have nothing. Lots of new players are now in the market and many will be struggling as demand falls. If you must get involved do a credit check on your supplier. If they baulk, don’t buy from them and wait for the stuff to appear in bottle. Chances are it will be cheaper anyway.
SPECIAL READER OFFER At the time of writing, Chateau Lafite 2008 En Primeur is trading at US$300. We have 10 cases of the excellent 2004 vintage available at US$350 per bottle for immediate delivery to your door – bottled, proven, brilliant with and no credit risk. Here is what Robert Parker, Jr. had to say about it: “Medium to full bodied with fabulous fruit, impressive richness, refreshing acidity and sweet tannins, this beauty should be approachable in 4-5 years and last for 3 decades—95 points.” To place an order, or if you have any other enquiries, please contact Robert at email@example.com
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Illustration by Christine Berrie
Unlike Any Other
West with the Sun
James Nicholls assesses the best Mercedes-Benz classics available on the market today Photo by Karin Linz/Classic Throttle Shop
Built for speed: the 300SLR
ne of the great automotive brands, and certainly one of the most popular in Hong Kong, is Mercedes-Benz. The f irst Mercedes-Benz branded car appeared in 1926, though the company has antecedents going back into the 19th Century. Truly a world leader in reputation for build-quality and long life, Mercedes-Benz has produced a number of legendary vehicles that have attained the classic appellation. Some of these models carrying the three-pointed star badge are perhaps beyond the reach of all but a select few, but there are still some exceptional classic vehicles available to a wider audience. Perhaps we should start with one of all the time greats, the 300SL. The 300SL (Sport Light) was born out of the manufacturer’s racing heritage and in particular the highly successful W194. When introduced in 1952, the W194 won at the Le Mans 24 Hour Race and in Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana, and became one of the most famous racing Mercedes Benz cars of all time when it won the 1955 Mille Miglia. The 300SLR, driven by Stirling Moss and navigator Dennis Jenkinson, still holds the record for the fastest Mille Miglia in history, just under 10 hours 8 Minutes, at an average speed of 157.651 km/h! This phenomenal car had the number 722 as this was the time – 7.22am – that it crossed the start line in Brescia, Northern Italy. By 1954, the 300SLR had given birth to the road-going 300SL, more commonly known as the ‘Gullwing’ in its coupe form, due to its distinctive doors opening from the roof on account of the design of its weight-saving tubular chassis. The Gullwing and the later roadster version were capable of achieving over 250 km/h, which was extraordinarily fast for the time, and were the first production cars to be fitted with fuel injection. These fabled cars with sculpted aerodynamics were incredibly popular in the USA. Now they are incredibly popular the world over and due to limited numbers (1400 coupes and 1858 roadsters) of production are now very rare and correspondingly expensive. The 300SL coupe was available from 1954 to 1957, 14
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
while the 300SL roadster was introduced in 1957 and ceased production in 1963. Built at the same time (1955 – 1963) is what can perhaps be regarded at the 300SL Roadster’s little brother, the 190SL. Not as fast, not as extreme looking as the six-cylinder 300SL, the four-cylinder 190SL is still a very desirable car. Nearly 26,000 of this model were built, so it is a car that is much easier to find and, as at the time, is much cheaper to buy. In the mid-1950s, a 190SL cost DM16,500 while a 300SL would set you back DM32,500. Being a Mercedes, of course, it is incredibly well built and it should be possible to find a car in good condition and at the right price. A direct descendent of the 300 lineage can be found with the SL Pagoda, so called because of its optional hard top resembling a pagoda-style roof. To make the SL a commercial success and compete with cars such as the Jaguar E Type, Mercedes needed a new car – the 300SL was just too expensive and the 190SL did not really cut it in the speed stakes. The 230SL was an instant classic the day it rolled off the production line in 1963 – and it still is today. Its elegant styling, craftsmanship and all-round practicality make this model, also available in 250 and 280 versions, very desirable, especially in the larger engine 280SL format. There are plenty of them about, they were built like tanks, can readily be found in original right hand drive, usually come with a hard top as well as a soft top, have power-steering and very often have automatic transmission. Another fabled Mercedes is the 280SE 3.5. Try and find a really good two-door coupe or cabriolet of the ‘Fintail’ (W111) production series (1959 – 1968) and make sure it is the 3.5 litre V8 engine car. There is great attention to detail and a very high level of engineering and quality. Well-equipped with power-steering, electric windows, leather upholstery and polished wood, you immediately know that you are in a very special car indeed. One final thing to remember to look out for when purchasing the best classic Mercedes-Benz you can find and afford: make sure that it still has its original Becker radio. HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Sea, salt and peat – John Bruce explores the unique malts of Islay
a med Scottish author, Iain Banks, was delighted to discover upon landing in Port Ellen on Islay that the first road sign he encountered was made up one hundred per cent of distillery names: Ardbeg to the right and Bowmore to the left. However, the significance of the distilleries is unremarkable given that this small island is home to eight distilleries: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Bowmore and Kilchoman. One only has to taste an Islay whisky once to recognize the fundamental influence on the taste. As a vegetarian I appreciate the value of a good vegetable stock a nd as a ny e n c yc l o p e d i a w i l l i n form you, peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter and it is also the primary f lavour of all Islay malts. I suppose that, like bird’s nest soup, the ingredients are secondary to the flavour. Last ed it ion I promised an excursion to Islay, and I could devote whole chapters to each of the unique malts of this windswept island. But, editors being the dictatorial types that they are, I am limited to a few hundred words to describe these nectars of the isles. Forced to choose, I shall pay brief but devout homage to only two of them, but I would encourage any lover of malt whisky to devote some time to all of them; something which I promise will be no hardship. Actually two is an appropriate number as Islay exhibits many divisions both historical and geographical that one cannot avoid as HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
exemplified by the following tale. A great friend of mine, Stewart Saunders, once told me of the grand hospitality he and his wife Mhairi were enjoying at a small bed and breakfast on Islay while over visiting friends. Every morning they were greeted with a glorious breakfast, beaming smiles and benedictions both in the house and at the local shop. Until, that is, they let slip that their friends from the western side of the island were Campbells, at which point rationing was reintroduced, smiles were rarer than Tory councillors in Glasgow and the newspaper was always sold out. Islay, you see, has seen the great rivalry between the Campbells and the MacDonalds played out down the centuries and the clans neither forget nor forgive. When talking of Islay malts it is impossible to ignore the giant that is Laphroaig. Distilled on the southern tip of the island this is perhaps the malt whisky that engenders the strongest feelings in the whisky drinking population. Some love it, but far more are repelled by the intensity of the Laphroaig experience. Distilled from t he nat u ra l ly brown spring waters of the island, redolent of the salt spray that blows i n f rom t he o cea n and suffused with the flavour of peat, it in fact bears very little resemblance to any malt from the Scottish mainland. Personally, I was no great lover of Laphroaig until an older, more dedicated hedonist guided me in the only way to appreciate t h is unique malt. Water is a must and not the wee sprinkle that one might temper a Speyside malt with. Laphroaig demands a minimum of “the same again” and perhaps even a tiny bit more. Try this and be amazed; the overpowering giant becomes an avuncular companion of the evening. Heading north and east, although no great distance, one encounters the distillery of Caol Ila, the Gaelic name for the Sound of Islay and the home of one of my very favourite malt whiskies. Malt from the maltings at Port Ellen, water from Loch Nam Ban and a traditional distilling process produce a whisky that has accompanied me on many an evening of delight. The 18-year-old is truly infused with echoes of sea, salt and peat along with that certain “dinnae ken what” that combine to produce a magnificent whisky which, if Stewart had thought to bring a bottle, could even unite the clans. HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Sweet at Sixteen Tiffany Chan plays a fine approach to the tough 16th during the final round of the Ladies Close Amateur Championship at Fanling. Chan, 16, who has dominated the local golf scene for most of the season, wasn't at her very best in the event, finishing in third place, six shots behind champion Stephanie Ho. Full report on page 31. PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Ask the Expert
1001 Potential Arguments, More Like
With Dr Brian Choa, Chairman, Rules & Decisions, HKGA
This nicely put together coffee table tome is sure to spark a few debates post-round, especially if its Asian entries are anything to go by, says our reviewer
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Last summer I was confronted with a rather unusual (and scary) situation whilst playing a round with friends. As I approached my ball, which was lying just off the fairway in the rough, I was shocked to see a large snake only a few yards away. Rather than slithering off, it seemed perfectly at ease sunning itself and didn’t move. Not wishing to get any closer to it than necessary, I elected to forgo my original ball, dropped another a safe distance away and continued my game. Although this was a friendly round, and my partners accepted my actions, what would have been the correct protocol if this had happened in tournament play? Do the Rules of Golf cover such circumstances?
In your case, you acted correctly, according to decision 1-4/10 that states, inter alia, that the player may drop a ball at the nearest spot not nearer the hole that is not dangerous. Editor’s Note: Michelle Wie was involved in a similar incident on the second day of her professional career in 2005. Discovering her ball at the bottom of a bee-infested bush, Wie was given a free drop and was able to go on and par the hole. “I’m allergic to bees,” the then 16-year-old said at the time. “They seem to like me a lot.” HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
The Baffler Question: How is it possible to lose 11&9 in an 18-hole game of matchplay? Answer at bottom of page.
What happens if I mark my ball on the green and can’t put it back on the same spot without it rolling towards the hole? This happened to me at Discovery Bay Golf Club when the greens were really fast. Should I find the nearest point where I can keep the ball stationary, or should I let gravity do the work and play the ball from where it ends up? Thanks.
Rule 20-3d applies here. You place the ball, inch by inch, at the nearest point, not nearer the hole, where it will remain at rest without pressing it into the ground. There is no limit to how far away you may need to go.
Got a rules question?
Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Illustration by Arthur Hacker
HK Golfer Rating: Birdie
Copies of the R&A’s Rules of Golf are available free of charge to all HKGA subscribers. Collect your copy from the HKGA: Suite 2003, Olympic House, 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay).
Answer: The penalty for carrying more than 14 clubs in matchplay is a loss of hole for each hole played, with a maximum of two (Rule 4-4). Therefore, if you lose the first two holes of your game and realize you’re carrying more than 14 clubs you’re instantly penalized two holes, and therefore stand at 4 down after 2. If you then go on to lose all subsequent holes the final match score will be 11&9. Other infringements that incur the loss of two holes in matchplay include having more than one caddie (Rule 6-4) and carrying a nonconforming club but not using it (Rule 4-1)
h e scope of t his book is par-4 16th at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai? breathtaking: an illustrated While it’s certainly not easy to keep up with the collection of 1001 holes from rampant pace of golf course construction in Asia, all over the world, each with a one hopes that coverage of the region in any future description and its location. As editions will be given a thorough overhaul. Putting on my Caledonian Cap, the pain one might expect, not every hole is dulled somewhat by the realization that has an illustration, and the relatively small format Blairgowrie, Western Gailes and Gullane also significantly reduces the impact of many of the get only one mention each, while the only course images. There is also an unfortunate tendency to from South Ayrshire that makes it into these use action shots of professionals in action, where pages is Royal Troon. Not a word about Darley, without the caption, it would be near impossible to Belleisle or even Lochgreen (it’s surely criminal determine the hole being played. Nevertheless, there to omit the 5th). are many pleasing course shots and the narrative is It’s clear that endless debates can be had, generally entertaining and accurate. For the price, 1001 Holes You Must and perhaps that is the whole point: this alone this is a great value gift for any golfer. Play Before you Die would warrant a copy in every 19th hole. On the Clearly selecting 1001 of the best holes in by Jeff Barr (Editor) other hand, the arrangement of the book into the world would be a Herculean task, as would Cassell Illustrated 18 “chapters”, each based on the number of the getting any form of consensus that the holes paperback,960 pages, hole chosen and then sorted by par is intriguing. chosen are indeed the world’s best. The authors HK$300 As such, the 17th at TPC Sawgrass lies cheekhave resolved this using the classic financial by-jowl with the 17th at Blue Canyon in Phuket advisor get-out clause – the disclaimer. I noted several instances where the editor stresses in one way or another and the penultimate hole at Pebble Beach. Further delving suggests what may be the that these are not claimed to be the best holes, but rather interesting, historic or just plain attractive holes that cry out to be played. Nicely put, but the author’s true plan. This is a book to take to copywriters designing the cover couldn’t resist describing the contents as a “truly a place where one can sit undisturbed and comprehensive guide to the world’s ultimate golf holes.” Now, that kind of talk is randomly select a hole from each chapter, mentally playing a quick eclectic round from an where the trouble starts… The comprehensive index includes summaries by country and searching for infinite number of combinations before putting “Hong Kong” yields only one mention: the 18th on the Eden Course at Fanling, the book down again. No prizes for guessing which small room to which suggests the researchers have at least kept half an eye on the European place this book in. Just remember to wash your Tour’s coverage of the Hong Kong Open in recent years. However, further digging reveals that there are in fact four more local entries hands after you’ve finished your round.—C.M. (confusingly listed under “China”): the spectacular 3rd and 13th at Clearwater Bay (but listed here as the 14th and 4th holes, reflecting the pre-renovation routing) and the tough 4th and jaw-droppingly scenic 14th on the North Course at Kau Sai Chau. Five courses on the mainland are included. Chung Shan Hot Spring’s 3rd gets a mention, as does the 7th at Tomson Golf Club in Reader Offer Shanghai. The inclusion of the 8th at Agile (South Course) in Zhuhai Exclusive to HK Golfer readers, we can offer and Spring City’s 18th (Mountain Course) means that only one of the 1001 Holes You Must Play Before You Die at the 216 holes at Mission Hills is deemed worthy enough for inclusion – special price of HK$250 inclusive of delivery and even then it’s a somewhat surprising choice: the water-laced par-5 within Hong Kong. Orders close 15 July. Please email your order to books@hkgolfermagazine. 16th on the World Cup course. com and include your name, address, telephone, While these are all architecturally sound and attractive choices, the email, HKGA # and number of books required. editors’ research into the region is clearly dated. Where is the 14th on the Please allow two weeks for delivery. East Course at Kau Sai Chau, for instance? What about the brilliant short
hk player profiles
From playing in the Open Championship to setting up Hong Kong’s most popular supermarket chain, Jock Mackie has been a success both on and off the course
STORY BY ALEX JENKINS PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN
hen the world’s best golfers gather at Turnberry for the Open Championship in July, former Hong Kong international Jock Mackie will be celebrating more than most when the first tee shot is struck. The reason? The 2009 edition of the event marks precisely 50 years since Jock teed it up at Murifield to become the first – and so far only – Hong Kong golfer to play in the game’s oldest Major championship. Arguably the most prolific local sportsman of his generation, Jock, who turns 81 in August, represented Hong Kong is six different sports – including rugby, cricket, swimming, tennis and hockey – but it was golf in which he truly excelled. Born in Penang to Scottish parents, Jock arrived in Hong Kong, via Singapore and Australia, in his late teens and quickly established himself as one of the colony’s finest players. Having started the game at his mother’s behest at the age of eight, Jock got down to scratch within a few months of joining the Hong Kong Golf Club and was soon winning titles. “We were all very keen about our golf in those days,” remembers Jock, who won the Hong Kong Open Amateur Championship three times in the 1950s. “The routine was to head up to Fanling on the Saturday and play a warmup round in the afternoon. We’d then have a ‘Dice and Gin’ evening at the club and the next morning we’d play a more competitive round. Sunday afternoons was reserved for a friendly game, but we didn’t play much more than that – we all had jobs to do.” Indeed they did. Jock, whose father worked for Cable & Wireless, first entered employment as a management trainee with Jardine Matheson in 1948, before becoming a sales director with Dennis Hazell & Company, a distribution company that handled Slazenger and Penfold sports goods, 20
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two of the biggest golf brands of the era. It was towards the end of his time with Dennis Hazell, that Jock enjoyed his annus mirabilis – 1959. As well as playing in the inaugural Hong Kong Open that year, Jock, as a key member of the Fanling fraternity, along with the likes of Kim Hall, Alan Sutcliffe and Hugh de Lacy Staunton, helped organize it too. “I remember getting on the phone and calling up the Australian pros to see if they could come and play in it,” he recalls. “It started off small but we put on a very good tournament and look where
it is today. We’re all very proud of what it has become and I haven’t missed one yet.” Jock started that first Hong Kong Open brightly, carding a solid 70 to finish the first round just one shot off the pace. Although a 76 on the second day put him out of championship contention, the very fact that he was representing Hong Kong in the colony’s own tournament was, in his own words, “a tremendous feeling.” Fast forward a few months and Jock was teeing it up alongside Max Faulkner, one of the greats of HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
the game, at the Open at Murifield. Having got through qualifying earlier on in the week, Jock was, by his own admission, “jolly nervous.” “The biggest difference between amateurs and professionals back then became immediately obvious,” recounts Jock with a smile. “On the first hole Faulkner hit his approach just short of the green and received generous applause from the crowd, which was understandable, as he was a former Open champion. Then I stepped up, having hit my tee shot slightly further, and put it
Mackie at Muirfield (from above): Jock (left) with Ken Kinghorn and Max Faulkner at the Open in 1959; relaxing at Shek O Country Club, home of the "Jock's Pot." HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
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Jock has held a number of positions at various clubs and societies throughout Hong Kong, including Chieftain of the Hong Kong St Andrew’s Society. To encourage the continual growth of golf in the SAR, the Mackie Quaich Golf Match – or “Jock’s Pot,” as it is more commonly known – is played every May at Shek O Country Club. This year’s match was won by Stewart Saunders (seen here receiving the “Pot” from Jock) with a Nett Stableford Score of 41 points. Charles McLaughlin was a very close second (40 points), with Shek O captain Jim Mailer finishing in third place on 37 points. Those interested in participating in 2010 should contact the St Andrew’s Society at firstname.lastname@example.org. –A.J.
Size: 210(w) x 275(h)mm
The Jock’s Pot
headlines. During his time heading up A.S. Watson, Jock established the ParknShop supermarket chain and took Watsons into the retail sector. Both enterprises, as anyone in Hong Kong will know, are thriving to this day. Ret u r n i ng to Rober t son , W i l son & Company in 1976, this time as regional group chairman, Jock rekindled his association with golf equipment distribution by acquiring the rights to the Footjoy and Hogan brands, among many others. Indeed, it was through this association with the latter that Jock was able to play 18 holes with the legendary founder of the company, Ben Hogan. “He was an incredibly serious man,” says Jock of the nine-time Major champion. “When the golf started, the conversation dried up. But he was kind enough to give me one of his sand wedges, which is still in my bag to this day.” Jock continued playing to an extremely high standard until his 60s when, he says, his rugby days caught up with him. Hip trouble forced a reluctant Jock to put time on his amateur golf career, but his connections with the game on a local level didn’t end there. In 1980 he acted as non-playing captain for the Hong Kong World Amateur Team Championship and he would later go on to become president of the Hong Kong Golf Association. He was also successful in pushing through Hong Kong’s bid to host both the Eisenhower and Espirito Santo events in Hong Kong in 1984. Even now, Jock, a proud family man who is expecting his first great grandchild later this year, refuses to wind down his business commitments, and devotes much of his time to JDM Associates, a consultancy he set up in the mid-1980s to advise international companies on opportunities in Asia. He is, in golfing terms at the very least, a true Hong Kong legend.
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on the green, closer than him, only a few yards from the flag. The crowd remained deathly silent. It was all pretty amusing.” Later on in his round, at the 15th hole, Jock sprayed his drive into a beverage stand. “In those days you couldn’t get relief – you had to play it where it lay, although it was a little embarrassing taking my stance in a hut,” he says. It proved to be one of the more memorable holes of his career, however, as Jock chipped back to the fairway, put his third on to the green and sunk the putt for a par. Jock the ‘Kiosk King’? Nobody awarded him that moniker, but it has more of a ring to it than Seve the ‘Car park Champion’, after all. Jock narrowly missed the cut at Muirfield, but a surprise was in store after he completed his second round when Faulkner asked if he’d consider working for him as his assistant. “The last thing I wanted to do was to play golf every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so I turned him down,” laughs Jock. “In fact, the thought of turning pro never really crossed my mind.” Wit h good reason. Jock ’s career was flourishing. Soon after returning from Scotland, Jock approached the late Sir Douglas Clague, Chairman of Hutchison, with the idea of acquiring a small trading company, Robertson, Wilson & Company, and came out as managing director and owner of 15 percent of the equity. This was the start of a hugely successful friendship with Clague, one that led to Jock becoming chief executive of A.S. Watson, Hutchison’s largest subsidiary, in 1970. Although Jock continued to play fine golf – collecting a slew of titles at both Fanling and Shek O during the mid-late 60s, as well as representing Hong Kong in the World Team Championship (The Eisenhower Trophy) on three occasions – it was his business acumen off the course that was starting to make local
10 Major Meltdowns
Mak Lok-lin recalls the occasions when really great players did really bad things at golf ’s biggest championships
I Popperfoto/Getty Images
was standing and shaking over a three-foot putt on the 18th hole of the final round of the Auchentoshan Pitch and Putt Matchplay Classic. Well, the final round, but also the first, and with only two competitors, admittedly not the largest field in golf. Having at one point led by three holes with four to play, I had contrived to lose the last three and had this putt to avoid both defeat and the worst collapse in my 40-odd years of competitive play. (A “collapse” being the throwing away of a winning lead, something I’d rarely, if ever, had.) But it wasn’t too late. “Focus, Mak,” I muttered under my breath. “Get in the zone. Come one!” Sadly, it was the Twilight Zone I found myself and my hopeless stab at the ball propelled it far from its intended target. I was left defeated, def lated, demoralized and devastated. To make matters worse my triumphant adversary could scarcely suppress his delight as he pocketed the one pound coin I held out in a still-shaking hand. “Maybe next year, Uncle Mak,” beamed my black hearted nemesis. And at that my four-year-old nephew turned on his heel and toddled away. As I trudged back to the clubhouse I consoled myself by remembering that plenty of far better players than I had suffered in similar circumstances at far more important championships… Catastrophe at Carnoustie: Jean van de Velde, Barry Burn, 1999 24
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Jean Van de Velde 1999 Open Championship, Carnoustie
After 71 holes Van de Velde, now HK Golfer’s own playing editor following his recent relocation to the SAR, was leading golf’s most important championship by three shots. A double bogey at Carnoustie’s venomous 18th would see him as the first Frenchman to lift the Claret Jug since Arnaud Massey achieved the feat in 1907. But as we all know, it didn’t quite work out like that. Here’s what happened. Electing to take driver off the final tee, Jean was a touch fortunate to find dry land, having narrowly skirted the meandering Barry Burn. He would find that hazard before long, however. His next shot, with a 2-iron, hit a tiny rail on the top of the greenside grandstand, bounced backwards 30 yards and then cannoned off the side of the burn and into thick rough. Having played two, but in a terrible lie in knee-high grass, Jean’s effort to find the putting surface came up short, his ball sinking to the bottom of the aforementioned burn. As if that wasn't enough, Van de Velde almost compounded his growing list of errors when he rolled up his trouser legs, stepped into the chilly, shindeep water fed by the Firth of Tay and contemplated playing a ball that was underwater. He finally took a drop in the rough and hit in the bunker. Craig Parry, also in the sand in a more conventional two shots, holed his shot and offered Van de Velde one last hope. "What about you following me into the hole?" Parry said. Sadly it wasn’t to be, but he managed to blast out to seven feet and somehow summoned enough courage to make the putt for a triple bogey and a playoff berth alongside eventual champion Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard. What makes Jean’s disaster so unique is that there is no correct answer to the question he faced before pulling that infamous 2-iron from the bag. As he himself correctly points out, the “easy” chip back to the fairway was a shot from rough which needed to be aimed at the Out of Bounds on the left – and therefore potentially disastrous. Many would argue that the play into the grandstand, deliberate or not, was smart and was simply met with outrageous misfortune. Whatever: the result was some of the most gripping golf coverage ever aired, with a truly likeable character sadly falling at the final hurdle. HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Thomas Bjorn 2003 Open Championship, Royal St George’s Golf Club
Arnie’s Army had been triumphantly on the march for three and a half days as their man raced into a seven-shot lead with only nine holes of the final round to play. Yet, by the end of it he was tied with Billy Casper and would go on to lose the 18-hole playoff the following day. What on earth happened? Simple: the King melted. After going out in only 32 strokes, Palmer slumped to a 39 on the back-nine, which included bogeys at 15 and 17 and a double bogey at 16. Casper, by contrast, birdied the 15th and was able to par in to match the 7-time Major champion to force extra time, which he would end up winning by four stokes after firing an impressive 69. Casper enjoyed a stellar week with his flat stick, never three-putting over the entire five rounds. In fact, Casper’s record during much of the 1960’s eclipsed that of the “Big Three” – Nicklaus, Palmer and Player – making him arguably the most under appreciated player of his generation. Palmer, despite recording a flurry of top-10 finishes in future Majors, would never win another.
TC Chen was having an outstanding US Open at Oakland Hills. He had made the first albatross (double-eagle) in the championship’s history on his second hole of the tournament and finished the day with a 65 and a four-shot lead. Adding two 69s he continued to lead and matched the record score for 36- and 54-holes. In the final round he steadily parred holes 1 through 4 before becoming unglued in spectacular fashion at the 5th. TC, who still occasionally makes appearances on the Asian Tour, posted a quadruple bogey at the hole after incurring a two-shot penalty for a double hit chip when playing from some gruesomely thick greenside rough. Shocked, Chen then bogeyed the next three holes in a row. Finally pulling himself together, he then played flawlessly to par his way in for a 77. It wasn’t enough, however, and the Taiwanese, who would later earn the moniker “Two Chip Chen,” lost the Open by a single shot to Andy North.
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Jack Nicklaus 1963 Open Championship, Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
That year’s Open is best remembered for the one-sided playoff where a stunning putting display by Kiwi lefty Bob Charles saw him win a 36-hole playoff with Phil Rogers by eight strokes. What history has kindly forgotten is the collapse of Jack Nicklaus in the final round, proving that even the best in the game are not immune from Major meltdowns. Having played himself into position to win the title outright, Nicklaus missed a two-foot putt for par on 15 and then chunked a chip on the 16th to drop another shot. Even so, he was still tied for the lead coming to the last hole: a par would get him into the playoff, a birdie would win it. To his obvious disgust, he put his drive into a fairway bunker, from where he could only make bogey. He had dropped three shots in four holes to miss out on extra holes by just one. Renowned later in life for his steely determination under pressure, he called this uncharacteristic lapse “the most glaring mental blunder of my entire career.”
Walter J. Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated/Getty Images (Palmer); David Cannon/Allsport (Chen)
Chen Tze-Chung 1985 US Open, Oakland Hills Country Club
Thomas Bjorn must thought his Open chances were over at the 17th hole of his first round at Sandwich. Having left his first shot in the bunker (for what he claimed was the first time in a decade), he petulantly hit the sand with his club, resulting in a two-shot penalty and an ugly quadruple bogey. History doesn’t record whether he thought to claim he was “smoothing” the sand – a la Rory McIlroy – at the time. F a s t f o r w a r d t o S u n d a y, a n d unbelievably, Bjorn held a three-shot lead over Ben Curtis with only four to play. Hitting into a fairway bunker on 15, which left him with no choice but to chip out sideways, led to a dropped shot. On the par-3 16th, his tee shot caught a swale on the right of the green which took his ball into a greenside bunker. His next shot ran up the same swale…and came back to him again. Unbelievably, his next shot did exactly the same thing. Given the circumstances, his “sandy” with the next shot was remarkable and a double bogey a good result. Now tied for the lead – and with his meltdown in full swing – he then drove into the rough on 17 and made bogey. Needing a birdie at the home hole to force a playoff with the little-known Curtis, Bjorn again found trouble, and despite scrambling for a par, his championship hopes lay in tatters. Understandably, his bunker blues were the focus of attention in the aftermath, but his bad tempered strike on day one and his poor driving down the final stretch were as much to blame.
Ed Sneed 1979 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club
After three rounds the surprise leader was the relatively unknown Ed Sneed, who at 12-under-par, led by five strokes from Tom Watson, his nearest challenger. Paired with Craig Stadler in the final round, Sneed started shakily, making the turn in 38, which reduced his lead over Watson by two shots. Steadying himself with a brilliant bunker shot to save par at the famous 12th, Sneed reached the tee of the 16th with a three-stroke advantage. But then he started missing putts. Three stabbing both the 16th and 17th, Sneed then flared his approach to the final green into an unusual lie on the edge of a bunker. After a ruling, which determined that he was permitted to remove a discarded cigarette butt from behind his ball, Sneed knew he had to get up and down for his first Major title and avoid a playoff with Watson and Masters debutant Fuzzy Zoeller. Chipping to six-feet below the hole, Sneed’s putt to win was tentative and he left it hanging on the lip, while his caddie spun away in frustration. His meltdown complete, Sneed would lose the ensuing playoff when Zoeller holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole. “I was bewildered, not bitter or full of self-pitty,” Sneed said afterwards. “I knew in my heart I had outplayed and outsmarted the field, but I didn’t feel very smart at 6 o’clock that Sunday afternoon.”
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David Cannon/Getty Images (Bjorn); Augusta National/Getty Images (Sneed)
Arnold Palmer 1966 US Open, Olympic Club
Doug Sanders 1970 Open, Old Course, St Andrews
Scott Hoch 1989 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club
Bob Thomas/Getty Images (Sanders); David Cannon (Hoch)
Appropriately Hoch rhymes with “choke” as the American is best remembered for missing a very short putt to take the Masters in 1989. Hoch and Nick Faldo had finished tied at 5-under, after Faldo produced a brilliant 65 in the final round, including four birdies in the last six holes in driving rain. Hoch had scored an excellent 69, but had faltered on 17, missing a four-foot par putt. Had Hoch not missed his “tap-in” the main story would have been about Ben Crenshaw and Greg Norman, who both bogeyed the last to miss out on a playoff by a shot. The pair then went down the 10th in a sudden-death playoff. When Faldo bogeyed after finding a bunker, Scott had a “gimmie” for the title. Reported as being as short as 18 inches and as long as three feet, it was clearly a very short putt. Just like Doug Sanders at St Andrews, he stood over it for an age before pushing the ball wide. When Faldo holed an improbable 25-footer for birdie at the next hole in appropriately dark and gloomy condtions, “Hoch the Choke” was born. Many meltdownees are treated with sympathy and respect, but Scott Hoch is another matter. At times he appears to be an anti-sociopath, upsetting as many people as possible with his remarks - “Telling it like it is” and Tourettes syndrome are hard to distinguish at times. At other times, there are glimpses of an inferiority complex just beneath the surface. It is telling that Kenny Perry is a close friend, often stepping up to tell the world “Scott is a misunderstood guy.” Perhaps he is, but when someone who was passed over three times for a place in the Ryder Cup while on the bubble then says “the Ryder Cup is the most over-rated thing I know of” it smacks of sour grapes. Notorious for not competing in the Open Championship to play in events like Milwaukee and the Quad Cities, he famously called St Andrews “the biggest piece of mess I’ve ever seen.” In 2006 he confirmed he said this then helpfully added: “I probably believe worse than that.”
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Kenny Perry 2009 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club
Perry is no stranger to throwing away Majors, having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the 1996 PGA at Valhalla where he had been leading by two playing the last before butchering the hole and losing to Mark Brooks in the ensuing playoff. Once bitten, twice bitten. In the 2009 Masters Perry looked imperious through the first 16 holes on the final day before the old nerves came back. Leading by two and sitting pretty in the middle of the 17th fairway, he put his shot through the green then sculled his chip back off the front edge, finishing with a bogey. On the last, he inexplicably took driver and hooked predictably into the fairway bunker. After pulling his bunker shot way left of the green, he again overhit his chip, two putted and had once again thrown away a winning lead. No chance to screw up in the commentary box this time as he headed straight back down the 18th for a three man playoff with “Hangin’” Chad Campbell and the now twichy, no longer chain-smoking Angel Cabrera. We all now know how Angel tried to throw it away in the first playoff hole with a dreadful drive into the trees and a slashed second that received some outrageous arborial assistance to get back on the fairway. However, the real culprit was Kenny himself. This time from the middle of the fairway, he again threw it away as the “King of Draw” somehow conjured up a high slice to miss the green right. When the cameras showed good ol’ Kenny clapping as Cabrera sank his putt to keep the playoff going, it was clearly only going one way. With another pressure driven hooked approach to the 10th, the second playoff hole, Perry could only watch as Cabrera showed how to close a Major with a killer second that gave him an easy two-putt for the win.
Greg Norman 1996 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club
This finally looked like the Masters title that had eluded Norman so often in the past. Opening with a course record 63, he added rounds of 69 and 71 to start the final day at 13 under. Paired with him was rival Nick Faldo, who had slipped to a 73 in the third round to fall six shots behind. The sad tale is well known as Norman had one of his worst days on a golf course, taking five bogeys and two double bogeys en route to a disastrous 78. However, that was still good enough for second place. What made the fall look so dreadful was yet another stunning final round by Faldo in a Masters. He played magnificently, and having caught Norman and the 12th, it then became a procession as Nick fired a stunning 67 to win his sixth and final major by five shots. When the final putt dropped, Faldo hugged Norman and whispered something that both declined to repeat in the immediate aftermath. Eight years later, Faldo disclosed in his autobiography that he had said: “Don't let the bastards get you down over this.” Norman later confirmed and added: “Why didn't I laugh? I wasn't in much of a laughing mood at the time.” HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images (Perry); John Biever/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images (Norman)
It wasn’t that much of a surprise to see Sanders leading the Open Championship with only two holes to play in 1970. He had already won 20 of an eventual haul of 22 professional titles and had shown his liking for links golf at the 1966 Open, where he finished second to Nicklaus by a shot at Muirfield. That same year, he recorded top-10 finishes in all four Majors. The popular American was well known for his colorful outfits and played the final round at a windy St Andrews in an unlikely combo of pink cashmere sweater and mauve pants and shoes. Protecting his one shot lead, he had already got out of jail on the 17th with a fine sand save from the notorious Road Hole bunker. But on the 18th, needing a par to win, he nervously sent his pitch 30 feet past the hole and left his lag putt in an eminently missable position – three feet above the hole with more than a hint of left to right break. The tension was palpable, with playing partner Lee Trevino visibly aghast at the pressure building on Sanders as he stood over the classic “putt to win the Open.” After standing over the putt for an age, Sanders stooped to pick up an imaginary grain of sand off his line. His nerves clearly showing and his concentration broken, he prodded a feeble push of a putt that missed comfortably on the low side. In the following day’s playoff, Sanders, clad in a more subdued yellow and brown clad ensemble, pushed Nicklaus all the way, before the Golden Bear snuck an eight-foot birdie putt at the very last hole to win by the narrowest of margins. Sanders never really recovered and years later remarked about his career: “It’s that putt everyone remembers. What can I say? It’s what I remember most, too.”
Around the HKGA A round-up of news and other events from Hong Kong
From the President My year-long tenure as President of the Hong Kong Golf Association ends in June and I would like to take this opportunity to write about an exciting and productive past 12 months. From a purely performance standpoint, the 2008-2009 season proved to be overwhelmingly successful. The 50th anniversary of the Hong Kong Open in November marked a very important milestone in the history of golf in Hong Kong – and what an Open it was, with Lin Wen-tang prevailing after one of the most gripping climaxes to a European Tour event in recent times. To have an Asian professional winning on such a landmark occasion made it all the more special. But it has been the development and performances of local junior golfers that has been especially pleasing. Aside from 14-year-old Jason Hak’s stunning achievement in making the halfway cut at the Hong Kong Open (which made him the youngest player in Tour history to achieve the feat), there have been some exceptional displays by our other young talents. Tiffany Chan, Steven Lam, Stephanie Ho, Liu Loktin, Kitty Tam, Shinichi Mizuno, as well as many, many others, have raised their games and impressed at both local and international level. I firmly believe we now have both the strength and depth to rival our larger Asian neighbours, and with a new sponsorship commitment from EFG Bank,
which will translate into more event participation for juniors of all playing abilities, the future of Hong Kong golf looks very bright indeed. Nurturing junior golf is a key priority of the HKGA and, as ever, my thanks go to National Junior Coach Brad Schadewitz and the Junior Committee for their outstanding contribution over the past year. I am very much looking forward to seeing even greater strides being made throughout the rest of 2009 and beyond. On a more general note, I am delighted to see the success and popularity of the new East Course at The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau. Over the years, Kau Sai Chau has established itself as a world-class public golf facility and the unveiling of the East Course, as well as the commitment to make the complex a centre of golfing excellence, will only raise its stature around the world. Personally, it has given me great pleasure to preside over the past year and I would like to extend my thanks to all the HKGA staff and volunteers for their support and efforts. I also look forward to welcoming my successor, William Chung, into the role. I’m sure he’ll do a marvelous job in helping to develop the game in the city even further. —Rick Siemens President HKGA
hk ladies close amateur championship
Stephanie Shines in
Record Win 16-year-old comes of age with brilliant comeback victory at the Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship REPORT BY ALEX JENKINS PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN
Ladies in Bali Hong Kong, represented by Tiffany Chan, Stephanie Ho and Ginger Mak, finished 11th at the recent Queen Sirikit Cup (Asian Ladies Team Event). Played at the stunning seaside Nirwana Bali Golf Club, the team fared well against strong opposition, with Stephanie finishing the individual competition in a tie for 23rd place (230). Tiffany placed in a tie for 26th (232) and Ginger 29th (236).
USGA Visit To help further the understanding of golfers in Hong Kong, the HKGA and the USGA combined to hold two seminars on handicapping and course rating in late May. Held at the HKGA offices in Olympic House and the Hong Kong Golf Club, the sessions featured a mix of on-course and classroom activities and were extremely well attended. Please check www.hkga.com for future events. 30
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
out the pars and throwing in the odd birdie or eagle is always going to unsettle the best of opponents, as long as mistakes are kept to a minimum. Unlike Norman, Mak didn’t fold under the pressure on that final day – and in most other years she would have gone on to safely collect her third Ladies Championship. But this time around her luck was out. She faced a player who simply refused to budge and who refused to give in. It was a somewhat surprising and most welcome display from yet another of Hong Kong’s legion of young golfers. Whether Ho, or indeed any of her cohorts, go on to make a name for themselves in the professional game remains to be scene. But one thing is for sure: everyone who witnessed it will remember the day that Stephanie Ho came of age at Fanling.
t epha n ie Ho st a ged one of the greatest fightbacks in the tournament’s history to capture the Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur Championship in late June. The championship had originally been scheduled to be played in March at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, but inclement weather resulted in a switch of both date and venue. Starting the final round six shots behind double champion Ginger Mak, who had opened with an impressive 70, Ho suddenly found a liking for the notoriously tricky Fanling greens to fire a sublime 4-under-par 67 over the New Course – a new ladies amateur course record – to overhaul her older opponent a nd w i n by t h re e stokes. Tiffany Chan 15, who triumphed at t he MacGregor Hong Kong Junior Close Championship just a month before, f i n i she d i n t h i rd place, a further three strokes adrift, while defending champion Demi Mak, Ginger’s twin sister, tied fourth o n a s c o r e o f 152 (10-over-par). Rising star Kitty Tam, 12, followed an erratic 81 with a stellar 71 to finish alongside Demi. 32
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“I’m speechless,” said Ho, the reigning China Junior Open champion, who opened up with a 76 in the first round of the shortened event. “I didn’t think I could win when I started the day and it wasn’t until I got to within two shots of Ginger that I thought I had a chance.” Making the turn in two-under-par after birdies at the second and fifth, Ho caught 18-year-old Mak with a miraculous pitch-in eagle from 70 yards at the par-5 10th. “I wasn’t expecting to make it,” admitted Ho, who took the championship lead for the first time thanks to a six-foot birdie putt at the 12th. Showing a calmness that belied her years, Ho played almost flawless golf down the stretch, the only blemish
coming at the final hole where she missed a short putt for par. “It’s my lowest ever round,” beamed Ho, who for much of the season has played second fiddle to Chan, her best friend. “I still can’t really believe it.” In terms of the best performances of the year, Ho’s effort surely ranks at the top of the pile. But it wasn’t so much her score that made people stand up and take note. In much the same way Faldo overcame Norman at the 1996 Masters, Ho, who was giving up around 20 yards off the tee to Mak, overhauled the two-time champ with a game founded on consistency. Fairway hit, green hit – maximum two putts. Grinding
Featured at Fanling (clockwise from far left): Ginger Mak splashes out, Franziska Hu won the Mid Amateur Championship, Kitty Tam finished strongly; Stephanie Ho's miraculous hole out.
RESULTS – TOP 10 OVERALL 1 2 3 4= 6 7 8= 10=
Stephanie Ho Ginger Mak Tiffany Chan Kitty Tam Demi Mak Franziska Hu Michelle Ho Michelle Cheung Loida Arnold Mimi Ho Bobbie Sze Isabella Leung Tiana Gwenn Lau
(76-67) (70-76) (73-76) (81-71) (77-75) (76-77) (76-81) (81-83) (78-86) (83-82) (83-82) (82-83) (80-85)
143 146 149 152 152 153 157 164 164 185 185 185 185
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
macgregor seniors close championship
Matajiro uses home course advantage to win by nine PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN / ALEX JENKINS
atajiro Nagatomi stormed to his third MacGregor Hong Kong Seniors Close Amateur Championship in five years with an utterly dominant display at Discovery Bay Golf Club in early May. Fellow Discovery Bay member and newly-installed HKGA President William Chung finished in second place, while Terry Collins, the reigning Singapore Seniors Open champion placed third, a further four shots adrift. Nagatomi, who won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, entered the final day’s play with a six-shot lead after crafting solid rounds of 73 and 72 over the demanding clifftop layout. Using his brilliant short game skills to great effect, Japanese-born Nagatomi was never in danger of relinquishing his overnight lead, and started in superb fashion with two early birdies. Despite dropping a couple of shots in the middle of his round, the 61-year-old put on a flawless putting display on the back-nine to seal a comprehensive victory. “I played well, although I’m surprised to win by as much as I did,” said the champion, a 2-handicapper. “My short game was good and of course my knowledge of the course was good. These two things helped me.” Indeed it proved to be a successful championship for Discovery Bay members in general. Motonobu Yanai repeated his fourth placing in the championship last year thanks to a final round of 73, although he had to share that position with Bertie To, whose strong start to the event was offset a little by a lacklustre 83 on the last day. To, whose name is synonymous with the club, can look back on an otherwise encouraging display however, having fired earlier rounds of 73 and 79 to upstage many of his younger counterparts. Reigning champion Joe Pethes, who had won the last two Seniors Close titles, wasn’t at his best in this championship. Carding rounds of 80, 80 and 82, the pre-tournament favourite eventually had to settle for eighth place.
Bertie To tees off Donald Moore holes a putt on 15
Deserving champ: Nagatomi with his silverware Terry Collins plays down 18
William Chung finished second
Defending champion Joe Pethes
RESULTS – TOP 10 OVERALL
Over 70 winner Peter Miles
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
1 2 3 4= 6 7 8 9 10
Matajiro Nagatomi (73-72-72) William Chung (76-76-74) Terry Collins (77-74-79) Motonobu Yanai (80-83-73) Bertie To, Jnr (74-79-83) Donald Moore (82-80-76) Akiyoshi Kubota (82-77-82) Joe Pethes (80-80-82) Randall King (86-77-82) Walter Kwong (82-84-80)
217 226 230 236 236 238 241 242 245 246
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
macgregor junior close championship
Things didn’t get any more exciting than on the final hole of regulation play, with the pair locked in a share of the lead. Mizuno, who fired a career-best 70 (2-under-par) in the first round, looked to have sealed his first significant title after finding the green at the dangerous par-five 18th in two mighty blows. Lam, by contrast, was struggling. Carving his tee shot into the trees, he uncharacteristically chunked his third just short of the putting surface. But then came a moment of genius. With Mizuno contemplating his 35-foot eagle putt, Lam proceeded to hole his chip for the most unlikely of birdies. Lesser players may have cursed their luck and buckled, but Mizuno stood firm. Acknowledging Lam’s chip-in with a wry smile, the West Island School student calmly two-putted to force extra holes. The winners of playoffs, like those of penalty shootouts in football, generally get a helping hand along the way, usually when the opposition stumbles at the crucial juncture. And that proved to be the case here. After the pair parred the tricky first hole on the Diamond Course, Lam stood up on the tee of the par-3 second with a 6-iron. The wind had been swirling all day and it seemed to be blowing slightly into the players’ faces. Whether it was adrenaline, the purity of the strike or simply a case of having way too much club, Lam’s tee shot sailed over the green, over the cart path that loops around the back of the putting surface and Out of Bounds. It was a quite amazing error in the circumstances, but one that a stunned Lam would later go on to qualify.
Battle at the Bay
Mizuno’s time had come and he wasn’t going to falter now. With 7-iron in hand, he struck a beautiful high draw into the heart of the green, some 15 feet from the flag. After Lam failed to hole his putt for a bogey, Mizuno tidied up for par and gave a polite bow to the assembled onlookers. “I still can’t believe Steven holed that chip to make the playoff,” said Mizuno, a member at Discovery Bay. “It made my putt a lot harder afterwards, that’s for sure. But that’s golf. I’m just happy I came out on top this time.” Lam, meanwhile, was left mystified by his finish to the tournament but was full of praise for his newest rival.
Talent Galore (from far left): the champions show off the silverware, smoothswining Tiffany; Shinichi holes out on 18; Liu Loktin, who finished third, just misses out with this eagle effort; Lam finds trouble in regulation play; Isabella Leung impressed in the Girls' Division.
Shinichi secures biggest win; Tiffany successfully defends title REPORT BY ALEX JENKINS PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN
h inichi Mizuno held his nerve and Tiffany Chan outclassed the field for the second year in a row, as the teenage duo recorded two very different victories at the MacGregor Junior Close Championship at Discovery Bay Golf Club late April. Nagoya-born Mizuno overcame pre-event favourite Steven Lam with a par on the second hole of a sudden death playoff after the pair finished tied after 36 holes, while Chan eased to an 11-stroke win with a solid two-round total of 148. “It’s a great feeling to have won,” said 15-year-old Mizuno, who has risen to become one of Hong Hong’s rising stars in only three years of playing the game . “I didn’t sleep last night because I was so excited to play with Steven.”
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
“I don’t know what happened [with the tee shot]. I hit the same club earlier in the day and only just made the front of the green. It’s a shame, as we were both enjoying the playoff, but Shinichi played really well to win.” In the Girls’ Division, Chan’s final round proved to be a cakewalk. Starting the day with a three-stroke advantage over the rapidly improving Isabella Leung, the 16-year-old was rarely troubled in a fine level par round of 72. “I was happy with the way I played,” said Chan, who has now won back-to-back Junior Close titles. “It’s easy to make a lot of mistakes around this course, so the goal was just to keep it in play and try and make some putts. It’s been a good week.” Cheria Heng and Leung tied on a two-round score of 157, with Stephanie Ho a further four strokes back in fourth.
Derek Fung stormed to victory at Fanling
Monthly Medal – Nett Section 14 March A R Hamilton won the Monthly Medal Nett Section played over the Old Course with 68 on countback from R Pyrke and R McTamaney. Deep Water Bay Championship – Gross Section 26 April R de Lacy Staunton won the Deep Water Bay Championship Gross Section played at Deep Water Bay following a sudden death playoff with R Keys. Deep Water Bay Championship – Nett Section 26 April T Orgill won the Deep Water Bay Championship Nett Section played at Deep Water Bay with 115 points on countback from H Y Hung. Monthly Medal – Gross Section 9 May R de Lacy Staunton won the Monthly Medal Gross Section played over the Eden Course. Monthly Medal – Nett Section 9 May R Pyrke won the Monthly Medal Nett Section played over the Eden Course on countback over the last 9 holes from HMV de Lacy Staunton.
Friendly Rivalry (from above): Lam congratulates Mizuno on his win; Cheria Heng enjoyed a good week at DB.
Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club Ladies Section
HKPGA Yinli HKPGA 2009 – Leg 2 Hong Kong Golf Club, New Course, 4 May (Open) Long Island G&CC, 4&5 May (Ladies)
Open Division 1 2 3= 5 11= 14= 17=
RESULTS – TOP 10 OVERALL BOYS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Shinichi Mizuno* Steven Lam Liu Lok-tin Oliver Roberts Terrence Ng Marcus Lam Charles Stone Anthony Tam Jonathan Yeung Antony Lung
(70-73) (71-72) (71-75) (76-79) (78-78) (78-80) (81-79) (80-81) (82-82) (83-82)
143 143 146 155 156 158 160 161 164 165
Derek Fung Wong Woon-man Jovick Lee David Freeman James Stewart Steven Lam (A) Shinichi Mizuno (A) Liu Lok-tin (A)
Ladies Division 1 2 3
Stephanie Ho (A) Melody Chan Betty Ng
64 66 67 67 68 72 73 74
146 (75-71) 159 (80-79) 160 (82-78)
* Won at second playoff hole RESULTS – TOP 10 OVERALL GIRLS 1 2= 4 5 6= 8 9 10
Tiffany Chan Cheria Heng Isabella Leung Stephanie Ho Michelle Cheung Kelly Kung Mimi Ho Kanika Gandhi Michelle Ho Tse Hei-tung
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
(76-72) (80-77) (79-78) (82-76) (83-80) (83-81) (82-82) (87-85) (91-84) (88-92)
Around the Clubs
148 157 157 160 163 164 164 172 175 180
The Hong Kong Golf Club
May Medal 6 May Division 1 Gross Winner: Nett Winner: Nett Runner-up:
Madoka Murayama (86) Winnie Lam (72) Callie Botsford (75)
Division 2 Gross Winner: Nett Winner: Nett Runner-up:
Lily Lau (97) Kanako Tanaka (73) Takako To (76)
International Team Stableford 13 May Winners: Japan: Mari Maeda, Nakako Honda, Madoka Murayama & Chikako Yabe (132 points) Runners-up: International: Diana Ting, Fizzy Pavri, Sylvia Weber & Pia Fung (122 points) May Stableford 20 May Division 1 Winner: Runner-up:
Callie Botsford (36) Mei Wu (34)
Division 2 Winner: Runner-up:
Peggy Wong (38 C/B) Liza Ho (38)
Pearman Pitcher 2009 Winners: Runners-up:
Pia Fung & Lydia Mak Anita Chu & Felicia Louey
Super Seniors Trophy 11 March I Kitamura won the Super Seniors Trophy played over the Eden Course with 37 points on countback over the last nine holes from B P C Kan.
Captain’s Cup 17 May Gross Winner: Gross Runner-up: Nett Winner: Nett Runner-up:
Stuart Gethin (80) Tommy Shiu (81) Tommy Shiu (70) Ken Lee (71)
Monthly Medal – Gross Section 14 March D Williams won the Monthly Medal Gross Section played over the Old Course with 73 on countback from R McTamaney and R Pyrke.
Chairman’s Cup 17 May Winner: Runner-up:
Thomas Tsang (38) Glenn Yee (35)
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Pitch it Perfect
Kitty claims fabulous victory Rising star Kitty Tam scored a brilliant win in the Girls’ 11-12 age division at the 8th TrueVision International Junior Golf Championship early April, overcoming one of the strongest fields in Asian junior golf. 12-yearold Kitty, one of Hong Kong’s most improved juniors over the past year, defeated Thailand’s Orn-Nicha Konsunthea in a sudden death playoff at Green Valley Country Club in Rayong, after firing rounds of 74, 80 and 74 in regulation play.
Dial in your wedges to lower your scores
Here’s what to do: 1.Grip down the shaft an inch or two, play the ball in the middle of your stance and set your hands and body weight slightly forward (Photo 1). 2.Swing the club back halfway to three-quarters, depending on the yardage, without much wrist cock. 3.The key move is to accelerate through impact and create a feeling of trapping the ball. To do this, keep your hands ahead of the club face at impact. 4.Turn through with your chest facing the target with no forearm or club face rotation (Photo 2).
Hak’s at it again Tsim Sha Tsui-born, Florida-based Jason Hak, who became the youngest player to ever make the cut in a European Tour event at last year’s UBS Hong Kong Open, shot a course record 64 to win t he AJGA Cl if fs Championship at t he end of April. Hak, 14, who had opened with an indifferent 76 in the first round, came roaring back in the second with nine birdies to clinch the event by a shot. “I didn't read the line well yesterday,” said Hak. “I couldn't put everything together, but I did today.”
Steven stars at Nicklaus Championship Steven Lam captured the Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship at the end of April, recording rounds of 73 and 71 to pip Shinichi Mizuno by a shot. Mizuno followed a 76 in the first round with the low score of the tournament – a classy 69 over the Jack Nicklaus-designed World Cup Course. Ambrose Tam and Michelle Cheung rounded out a successful event for Hong Kong players, finishing in fourth and second in the Boys’ Under-15 division and Girls’ Under-15 division respectively.
Liu’s high finish at Faldo Final Liu Lok-tin carded a three-day total of 5-overpar to finish in sixth place at the prestigious Faldo Series Asia Grand Final at Mission Hills Golf Club late March. Long-hitting Liu was Hong Kong’s best performer, placing ahead of Steven Lam (11th), Stephanie Ho (20th), Tiffany Chan (26th) and Shinichi Mizuno (31st). India’s Rashid Kahn successfully defended his title, finishing the event on a 5-under-par total.
o succeed in the modern game, learning how to bomb it off the tee and excelling with the wedge is crucial. This is my philosophy when it comes to junior coaching. Get these two things right and the rest of the game will come. As a result, one of the most important goals I set my national team members is to sharpen their games from inside 100 yards. Whether it’s from 50 yards or from 90 yards, I want players to be aggressive with their pitch shots and go for almost every flagstick. Many amateurs struggle with the half or three-quarter wedge shot, but with the correct set-up and swing, it can be a deadly scoring weapon. In fact, one of the key’s to Shinichi Mizuno’s victory at the recent MacGregor Hong Kong Junior Close Championship was his muchimproved wedge game.
Continuing his rivalry with Steven Lam, Shinichi Mizuno finished the Overall Boys’ division at the Asia Pacific Junior Championship in seventh place after firing a four-round total of 295 over the historic Royal Hua Hin Golf Club in Thailand in the middle of May. Mizuno finished six shots behind local favourite Poom Sakansin. Lam, with a total of 299, placed twelfth. In the Girls’ competition, Kitty Tam continued her recent run of fine for with a second place finish in the 11-12 age division. Kitty’s performance helped Hong Kong, also represented by Stephanie Ho and Cheria Heng, to finish the overall team competition in fourth place.
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
By Brad Schadewitz National Junior Coach
Fault Fixer – The Pro’s Tip
HK players fare well at APJC
The common fault with this shot is swinging back too far and then decelerating into the ball. This causes a lot of fat and thin shots and consistent striking becomes nearly impossible. To help solve this, work on relating your back swing with the hands on a clock. For instance, swing back to 9 o’clock (left arm parallel to the ground) for a shot of around 50 yards. To add yardage, simply increase the length of your backswing. For a 60 yard shot, swing to 9.30. For a 70 yard shot, swing to 10 o’clock, and so on. It takes a lot of practice, and you’ll need to learn your own personal yardage gain with each incremental increase. But having a formula for different wedge distances is a sure fire way to lower your scores.
Photo 1 HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Photo 2 HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Golf Association
The sign to the side of the first tee says it all: The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers. Widely considered the hardest course on the Eastern Seaboard, this Tillinghast masterpiece, one of five at Bethpage State Park, is also one of the most traveller-friendly – as a public layout, it’s open to anyone with a valid handicap, and at only US$100 for a weekday round for non-New York State residents (US$120 on the weekend) it also happens to be one of the cheapest Major venues in the game. When golf’s elite return to the Black for this month’s US Open (18-21 June), they’ll be faced with a slightly different version of the beast that defeated everyone except Tiger at the 2002 edition (Woods was the only player in the field to finish in red numbers at the Open that year; his 3-under-par total of 277 besting second-placed Phil Mickelson by three shots). While the fairways are expected to be just as narrow, and the strategically-placed fairway and greenside bunkers remain just as menacing, the relatively recent USGA policy of graduating the rough – ensuring that the further offline players are with their tee shots, the tougher the resulting lie – means this could be the fairest US Open in recent years. Keep an eye out at the 10th, however. This par-4 is one of three on the course that measures in excess of 500-yards – a first for any US Open – and played so long seven years ago that a number of players struggled to even reach the fairway.—A.J.
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
The Tragic Tale of Johnny McDermott In the first installment of a new series, golfing historian Dr Milton Wayne rediscovers some of the unfairly forgotten characters in the history of the Royal and Ancient Game. 44
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
h e recent a scent of Ror y McIlroy raised the possibility t hat he could become t he youngest ever winner of a PGA event. Beating Tiger’s record? Not this time. The holder is John Joseph McDermott Jr. Now a name barely known outside of golfing historians, this tragic figure should have been one of the most famous names in the game, feted when he passed on. Instead, one of the few mentions of his death was the headline “Yeadon Man Dies, Won Open” in his local newspaper. Who was J.J. McDermott? What did he achieve? Why is he so little known today? McDermott was perhaps the finest player in his day, a precocious talent with indomitable self-belief and a fiery temper, a multiple Majorwinner, tragically cut down by mental illness in his prime. Johnny McDermott was born in 1891 in Yeadon, Philadelphia, in a routine delivery befitting the son of a mailman. Born of Irish immigrant parents, his upbringing was tough, although he had the good fortune to be able to get out of the city to his grandparents farm. The farm’s location across the street from the Old Aronimink Golf Club led to Johnny joining the ranks of the caddies at the club at the age of nine. The pay was 15 cents an hour, but the tips were good and he persistently played hooky before completely dropping out of high school. The impact of his lack of education and rough upbringing would resurface time and again in his short career. Ph i ladelph ia wa s at t he hea r t of US golf, boasting the oldest golf association in the country, after the USGA. Within that association was Aronimink Golf Club, opened in 1896 and one of the oldest in the US. When Johnny started at the club the professional was the newly appointed Walter Reynolds. Reynolds had taken over as pro from local legend John M. Shippen, a man of mixed Shinnecock Indian and black parentage. Shippen had been recommended to the club by his mentor Willie Dunn, Scottish architect of Shinnecock Hills. Dunn had recruited a number of local Indians to work on building the new course, and he taught several youngsters how to play the game. It is recorded that Shippen beat him by 7 strokes in the first tournament they played in together. Shippen became notorious when several professionals threatened to withdraw from the 1896 US Open due to his presence in the field. In the end, no-one withdrew and at only 17 years old. Shippen finished in fifth place in only the second US Open held. Against this background, it was no surprise that Aronimink encouraged the development HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
of young golfers, and in McDermott, Reynolds found a willing pupil with staggering natural ability. In later years many stories surfaced of his precocious skills, largely apocryphal. Examples include him hitting 200-yard shots onto a target of an opened newspaper, then finishing practice by folding up the newspaper around the balls and walking away. Less told were the tales of his hair-trigger Irish temper, his bullying of other caddies and of his swaggering self confidence, claiming he could beat any pro in Philadelphia. It seems clear that these traits were also coupled with a chronic shyness, especially around women, and a lack of domestic support. Photos show a nervous, gap-toothed, slack jawed boy of slight build and medium height. Even after he began winning tournaments, his father was still totally against golf, telling the boy to “get a trade”. Repeat US Open winner, 1912 (top); McDermott's grip in 1913
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
By the time McDermott entered the US Open in 1909 he had already been a professional himself for over two years. Aged 17, he finished 49th (often erroneously reported as a fourth place finish). Nevertheless, he continued to improve and in 1910, aged 18, he stunned everyone by leading after 54-holes before tying with Scottish brothers Alex and McDonald Smith after four rounds at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Alex Smith won the subsequent play-off, but Johnny had burst onto the national scene. However, in a sign of things to come, McDermott gracefully handled defeat by telling Smith “I'll get you next year, you big tramp!” Johnny was then appointed as professional at Atlantic City Golf Club, at the time one of the best pro jobs in the country. Their faith was rewarded when J.J. McDermott Jr won the US Open the following year, 1911, at the Chicago Golf Club, winning in a playoff against Mike Brady and George Simpson. In doing so, he not only became the first American to win the national championship, he also remains the youngest player to win a PGA event and the youngest ever winner of the US Open. After Young Tom Morris he is the youngest ever winner of any Major. He was 19 years, 10 months and 12 days old. This alone should have made McDermott a household name today. The fact that he isn’t is even more astonishing when one considers that a year later he took the championship again, in 1912, at the Country Club of Buffalo, this time by two shots from Tom McNamara, with a score of 294 on the par-74 course. In doing so, he became the first man to break par over 72 holes in any tournament. McDermot t was por t rayed as a non46
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d rin k ing, pious, pol ite young man, but it seems his inner devils were never too far beneath the surface. By 1913, he cont i nued to improve, winning the Western Open, then seen as a Major championship. He also finished fifth in the Open Championship, which at that time was the best-ever showing by an American. That same year, two of the greatest names in golf, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray were brought to the US for a series of exhibition matches and tournaments, seem i ng ly del ib erately planned to get them in perfect shape to wrest the US Open from American hands again. Vardon had won the US Open on his last visit, in 1900, and Ray was the reigning British Open champion. Their preparation seemed perfect as they steamrollered all opposition in every event they undertook – until they ran into McDermott on the eve of the 1913 US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, at a tournament at Shawneeon-the-Delaware, with a near complete US Open field taking part. McDermott crushed the field, winning by eight shots from “big tramp” Alex Smith, and beating Vardon by 13 strokes and Ray by 14. It was a stunning performance and should have been the springboard to immortality in the game. Instead, it marked the start of a precipitous decline that led to McDermott being all but forgotten. His rout led to him being carried around the locker room shoulder-high in a chair by the other American pros. From his perch, Johnny reportedly declared: “We hope our foreign visitors had a good time, but we don’t think they did, and we are sure they won’t win the National Open!” This seemingly innocuous statement – which McDermott vehemently denied uttering – was seen as unforgivably rude by the standards of the day and was latched upon by an unforgiving press on both sides of the pond. From our jaded experience with tabloid journalism, it seems such an obviously contrived concoction to sell newspapers, but at the time even led to calls for McDermott to be banned from defending his US Open title in 1913. His invite wasn’t withdrawn, but the scandal had devastated Johnny and he finished a distant eighth. More galling was watching the amateur Francis Ouimet hailed as the savior of American HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
golf when beating Vardon and Ray in a playoff, his own achievements seemingly ignored. McDermott’s financial situation took a further turn for the worse when stock market investments he had made went sour. In the winter of 1913, he headed for Florida to try and rebuild his confidence and undertook some lucrative teaching assignments. He set his sights on winning the 1914 Open Championship but bad luck intervened and a missed train and ferry led to him missing the start of the tournament. Nevertheless, he was offered a chance to start, but declined saying it was unfair on the other competitors who had complied with the rules. On the way home, things went from bad to worse when his liner, the Kaiser Wilhelm II, collided with a grain ship in fog. Reports of this event in McDermott’s life have been outrageously exaggerated. All accounts of McDermott tell of him taking to the lifeboats, albeit in different places and for different amounts of time. One report tells of his bobbing in a lifeboat for over 40 hours in the midAtlantic after the “shipwreck.” The reality is far less dramatic, and easily verified. The Kaiser Wilhelm II was one of the most famous liners in the world at that time (see
sidebar), and the collision was reported in The New York Times. It is absolutely true that the ship collided with the steamer Incemore, but it was in the English Channel, not the Atlantic, and records show that the liner progressed under its own steam to Southampton for repairs. Some lifeboats were deployed, but never lowered. Despite several lurid accounts of the ship sinking, in reality it took on very little water. The compelling image of the young maestro’s sanity seeping away with the crash of each midAtlantic wave over his lifeboat for almost two days is a complete fiction. Some see the accident as the straw that broke the camel’s back, but again the reality is more prosaic. McDermott returned to the US and finished ninth in the US Open (behind Walter Hagen, who won his first Major), his fifth successive top-10 finish. More telling was a blackout and collapse he suffered back at his club in Atlantic City. He resigned from his job and after treatment suffered a rapid decline and was placed in several sanatoriums before being committed by his sister to Norristown Hospital, an asylum, as “a lunatic” in June 1916. A Philadelphian golf historian, James Finegan, reported that whilst there, his medical reports
The Shawanee Incident: McDermott (far right) alongside Ted Ray, Alex Smith and Harry Vardon; the Kaiser Wilhelm II
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at various times labeled him as “paranoid, delusional, catatonic, hallucinatory, incoherent, apathetic, silent, retarded, passive, preoccupied, seclusive.” An unfair commentator would say that this description could apply to many professionals today, but McDermott was clearly a very ill young man. Finegan also stated that “He spent endless hours scribbling unintelligibly in notebooks, claiming he was writing his mother's and father's names.” Through either uncharacteristic sensitivity, or more likely indifference, the media of the day made little mention of Johnny’s commitment and he slid into near obscurity over the following decades. His fellow pros held a fundraiser for him in 1924 and in 1928 Walter Hagan visited Johnny in Norristown. It is reported
that they played together on a six-hole course laid out in the sanatorium grounds, and Hagan reported that McDermott ’s swing was “as fluid as ever.” Belated recognition came when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1941, although he was “unelected” during the fiasco that followed the consolidation into one single Hall of Fame in the World Golf Village in Florida. Johnny never fully recovered, but left the asylum every so often to play a round of golf and was occasionally seen shuffling around at subsequent US Opens. He was last seen at Merion in the 1971 Trevino-Nicklaus playoff, a solitary figure trudging through the rain. He was reportedly being chased out of the clubhouse due to his scruffy appearance when he was recognised by Arnold Palmer and ushered back in. He died a couple of months later in August, just shy of his 80th birthday. Why is he so little known today? Johnny McDermott is perhaps one of the most tragic figures in the history of golf, but it may well be that the lack of recognition of his outstanding achievements is the bigger tragedy. It is fitting that from generation to generation a new young superstar arises, forcing people to dust off the record books and rediscover the name of America’s first, and unforgivably forgotten, golfing prodigy.
The Scapegoat Steamer
The last known picture: McDermott with PGA President Leo Fraser and Harry "Lighthorse" Cooper at the Atlantic City Golf Club, c. early 1970s.
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The Kaiser Wilhelm II was built by A.G. Vulcan at Bredow, near Stettin, for the Bremen Line (aka Norddeutscher Lloyd). Launched in 1902, at 216m long, 22m wide and with a depth of 16m it was larger than any previous fast steamer. It was the latest in a line of ever faster four funnel ships built by the Norddeutscher Lloyd line and was specifically designed for exceptional speed as well as first-class luxury. When full, passengers and crew totaled over 2,500. In June 1904 it took the coveted Blue Riband for the fastest-ever eastbound Atlantic crossing, at an average speed of 23.15 knots. The ship was interned by the Americans at the outbreak of World War I and became a troop ship when the US entered hostilities in 1917. Renamed USS Agamemnon it carried troops back and forth until 1920 when it was laid up. It languished for years and was finally broken up in 1940.
Turnberry Returns After a hiatus of 15 years, this Ayrshire beauty is back hosting golf ’s biggest event
Photography courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
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A Brief History Turnberry Golf Club was established in 1902 when Willie Fernie of Troon was commissioned by the third Marquess of Ailsa to lay out a championship length course on part of the former Culzean Estate. In 1906, the Turnberry Hotel opened, and in those days, there was even an impressive covered link-way which connected the hotel to the adjacent railway station. Wealthy Edwardian guests would not arrive at this hotel wet and bedraggled. Turnberry twice came close to extinction; it was requisitioned during both World Wars and used as an airbase. During World War II, a number of holes were flattened and turned into expansive concrete runways. It was the tenacity of the then owners that saved the course. Philip Mackenzie Ross was given the task of returning the flattened land back to its former glory. It was a huge task, but in 1951 after two years of intensive work, the links reopened. 26 years later, Turnberry was hosting its first Open Championship.
he Ailsa Course at Turnberry is without doubt the most scenic course on the Open rota. Laid out alongside the Firth of Clyde, affording splendid views of the Mull of Kintyre and Ailsa Craig, the mysterious volcanic island that lends an almost surreal backdrop to many of the seaside holes, the course is often referred to as Scotland’s Pebble Beach because of its natural, craggy beauty. It’s been 15 years since the Open was staged on the Ailsa, but that had nothing to do with the course itself. The problem was logistical;
getting there was a fag. You simply can’t hold the world’s biggest golf tournament and expect over 150,000 spectators to travel down country lanes to get there. The roads have been improved and a direct rail link will be in operation over Open week. Turnberry is back – and so is Tiger. After missing out on Birkdale last year through injury, the world’s number one must be relishing his return to links golf. Woods has repeatedly talked about his love of the unique challenges that only links golf can provide, but at Tunberry he’ll be charting very unfamiliar territory.
Time for a Revamp In preparation for hosting the 2009 Open Championship, Turnberry's Ailsa Course has undergone a number of adjustments designed to ensure that, as one of Britain's finest links, it continues to challenge modern professionals. The most extensive changes are on the 10th, 16th and 17th holes, though most have been enhanced in some way. “Today's professionals are bigger, stronger, fitter, have more technology at their command, and it's very important that we keep our great links courses relevant to the modernday professional,” said the R&A's Chief Executive, Peter Dawson. “We've been doing that at every Open venue, with Turnberry having had a considerable number of changes since the 1994 Open Championship.” The 10th has been redesigned to bring the coastline into play and now requires at least a 200-yard carry over the rocks from a tee perched on an outcrop by the lighthouse. The fairway has been moved closer to the beach to tempt longer players to cut off more of the corner, and three new fairway bunkers force a decision to be made between a safer tee shot with a longer approach or a riskier, braver and more aggressive drive. Significant changes have also taken place at the 16th and 17th holes. The shape of the 16th has been radically altered and it now doglegs right from a repositioned tee around newly-created dunes and hollows. About 45 yards have been added along with a new bunker left of the fairway. The bunker, which used to guard the left side of the old fairway, now protects the right edge of the new one. The realignment of the 16th has allowed a new back tee to be constructed on the 17th, extending the hole by 61 yards. A newly-constructed approach bunker, along with another to the front and left of the putting surface, adds difficulty to the second shot. Including those on the 10th and 16th, a total of 23 bunkers have been added on holes 1, 3, 5, 8, 14 and 18, with two removed at the 3rd and 14th, making players think more about their course-management strategy. Though many Open Championship courses have upwards of 120 bunkers, Turnberry still has a mere 65, testament to the natural test the landscape provides. New tees have also been introduced at holes 3, 5, 7, 8, 14, and 18, extending the course to 7,204 yards, 247 yards or 3.5% longer than when the Open was last played at Turnberry in 1994.
Neither Tiger nor defending champion Padraig Harrington, as well as many other leading players, have played competitively at Turnberry before, which only adds to the excitement for this summer’s Open. In its three previous Open hostings, the best players of the day have risen up the leaderboard with victories for Tom Watson, in the famous Duel in the Sun in 1977 against Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman in 1986 and Nick Price in ’94. With the cream always rising to the top at Turnberry, Tiger must be licking his lips. 50
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Awesome Ailsa: It comes as no surprise to learn that Turnberry is considered Britain's most scenic links. HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Best Bet: It won't be three in a row for Harrington and McIlroy will have to wait at least one more year before he gets his hands on the Claret Jug, says Archie. Tiger's your man.
The twin pe a ks o f t h is y e a r ’s professional golf season will be played on two courses with almost nothing in common. And yet they could well share a champion, says Archie Albatross, our resident tipster
he first test is Bethpage Black, a public course, the pride of bluecollar Long Island. With its legendary length, thick rough and wise-cracking crowds, the US Open will surely weed out all but the toughest competitors. More than any other championship, the US Open rewards those with resilience and patience beyond the norm. Winners are wiry, seasoned pros. Palmer. Nicklaus. Woods. Els. Goosen. Cabrera. No sweet-swinging, delicate country club boys need apply. The winner at Bethpage will be as tough as the New York firefighters who famously sleep in their cars all night for the right to book a tee-time. Not that the Open Championship at Turnberry will be any less fierce. The Ailsa course will break many hearts in July. The challenges will be different from Bethpage – but no less difficult. Wind is guaranteed. Or to be more accurate, winds are guaranteed. Therein lies the problem; with the conditions changing minute to minute, every shot will be played in different conditions, requiring players to be resourceful, canny and imaginative. If the US Open requires a sort of stubborn brutishness, its British counterpart requires more of a solitary confidence. It’s no coincidence to see the names of Tom Watson and Nick Price engraved for posterity on the Claret Jug as champions at Turnberry. 52
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So is it possible to identify a profile for potential winners of both championships? Indeed it is. And of course his name is Tiger. The combination of Bethpage and Turnberry play entirely to his strengths: effortless length, rigorous course management, and pure “I WILL beat you” competitive ruthlessness. Tiger is available at over 3/1 for each Open, with the double paying over 10/1 at the best available prices. There is no doubt: he’ll give punters a good run for their money… Other Major winners that should feature prominently include Geoff Ogilvy (currently underestimated by the bookmakers), Jim Fuyrk (as tough as teak on brutal courses: 26/1 for Bethpage, 34/1 for Turnberry – yes please!) and my summer sleeper, Zach Johnson. True, it would be hard to see him competing for length HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
at a rain-drenched Bethpage, but if either Open is played on baked soil with the ball running fast on dry ground, his accuracy and fine form could well put him in contention. It should be worth watching his “finishing position” on the spreads. Three to watch in the “Best of the Rest” categories are Camilo Villegas, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson. All have honed their games to yield consistent results in 2009. As foreshadowed in this column’s season’s preview, the “Spiderman” Villegas is a superstar waiting to happen and he has clearly managed his season to try to peak at the summer’s biggest events. The European pair of Poulter and Stenson are starting to make their mark on the PGA Tour and should be followed in the “Finishing Positions” and “Top European” type markets. For those who believe it’s easier to “sell” than HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
to “buy”, there is an outstanding opportunity to “lay” young Rory McIlroy in the Open Championship. The bookies inexplicably have him as 21/1 joint third favourite. To forecast him 10-15 points ahead of Els, Goosen, Fuyrk, Ogilvy et al seems to massively over-rate the young fellow’s chances – and I would recommend “being the bookie” by buying his Finishing Positions or laying these odds at exchanges such as Betfair. Rory may one day drink deeply from the Claret jug – but it won’t be a 2009 vintage. “Do yer maximum!”
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As a partner at award-winning design firm Nelson & Haworth since the early 1990s, Mogg has been involved with the creation of some of the region’s most famous courses. Here he talks about his influences, the challenges he faced when designing the East Course at Kau Sai Chau and why he abhors island greens. INTERVIEW BY ALEX JENKINS PORTRAIT BY ROBIN MOYER
Brett Mogg W h at are your biggest design influences? A s an Australian I was influenced early by the works of Dr Alistair McKenzie: his works at Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath being the first classic courses I had the opportunity to play. Other classic architects whose work I admire and whose courses I have played include A.W. Tillinghast [designer of San Francisco Golf Club] and George Thomas [designer of Riviera Country Club]. In terms of modern architects I owe a lot to both Robin [Nelson] and Neil [Haworth] who after all gave me the opportunity to work in this field. Both have been a big support and both are brilliant in their own way. I have travelled several times to Ireland and Scotland and the short, quirky and original links courses there always energize and influence my designs when I return. Courses like Carne, Machrihanish, Portrush and the more traditional links of St Andrews and Royal Dornoch all break the conventional rules of modern design, yet all work and have delighted and entertained golfers for centuries. I feel modern design has lost part of this unpredictability, which is a real shame. I am not sure if this is as a result of our ability nowadays to shape every inch of land on a site or our clients’ desires for conformity. But the result is that some of the wildness of the game in its raw form has been lost. Who are you designing courses for, and has that philosophy changed over the years? I have pretty much always designed for myself – and luckily my game fits the profile of the average player fairly well. While I have played at a decent single handicap level at one time or another, for most of my playing years my handicap has hovered in the early teens. I generally always try and design for the miss in golf, which is pretty much most shots for most people when you think about it. I want to
On-site at the East Course, Kau Sai Chau 54
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reward good and aggressive shot making that challenges hazards but also allow people to miss their shot – in the right place of course. The up and down might be difficult but at least it allow peoples to find and play their golf balls. When I was younger, and a bit of a better player, I was probably less sympathetic towards the beginner and I think my philosophy towards them has mellowed. One reason I don’t like island greens is that they are just not that hard for a good player but almost impossible for the hacker. I try and give the poorer player a chance to get his ball to the hole, assuming he plays within his skill levels. I will admit that this philosophy is not apparent at the East Course at Kau Sai Chau – with the topography and restrictions involved, we could just not avoid the forced carries. Talking of Kau Sai Chau, what were your first impressions of the site? We saw the site as a tremendous opportunity – there was amazing topography there coupled with out-of-this-world views, but we could also see the tremendous challenges posed by the severe terrain, the rock and the need to work around the routing of the existing courses. The land that we felt could be used relatively easily was apparent right away – the ridgelines where hole 4 and 14 sit for instance. However, many of the other holes took a great deal of investigation and planning to find. Figuring out how to link the distant parts of the site with each other while providing a coherent golfing experience was difficult. For instance, the tough par-3 8th hole provided a linkage between two distant parts of the site, as did the 3rd, despite there being very little useable land in these locations. How did the project rank in terms of difficulty? The project was one of the most difficult we have been involved from both a technical and regulatory viewpoint. The routing itself was not the main difficulty, but there was some very difficult land to traverse. The requirement to keep the existing courses in their entirety also complicated the routing process somewhat. The construction of the works, however, was very difficult. Not only was the contract lump sum, which makes field changes difficult to implement, but the nature of the site was mainly rock with a thin layer of topsoil. This coupled with the need to save much of the existing vegetation made for a very difficult and complicated construction process – a process not helped by the fact the project is on an island with limited means of access. How did Hong Kong’s strict environmental rules and regulations impact upon the project? The environmental standards imposed significantly drove up the costs of constructing a new course in Hong Kong and they will perhaps limit opportunities to develop new golf courses here. If all countries enacted or followed the restrictions imposed upon the course at Kau Sai Chau I think you could safely say that would be the end of new golf courses. Some of the environmental restrictions applied at Kau Sai Chau were, in my opinion, a little HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
“For [golf’s] growth to be sustainable, more public golf is definitely required, especially in China where the game remains quite elite.”
harsh, especially considering the site had been bombed heavily during its days as a target range by the British military. Golf is, however, seen as a “bogeyman” and an easy target by the environmental lobby given its elitist image, based mainly on supposition and rumor. Very little by way of hard data supports the notion that the environment is at risk from golf, although of course some golf courses, like any other type of development, have been constructed or maintained in a less than environmentally friendly manner. Designed, built and managed responsibly we believe golf courses can be positive developments, providing both recreational opportunities and green space for the wider community in an economically sustainable manner. In China and elsewhere in Asia, concern for the environment is increasing and we support this generally. Adherence to quality control during construction and management does mean both a better golf course and better environment at the end of the day. Construction by poorly managed or supervised contractors for dubious owners on sensitive sites are not the way forward for an industry if it wants to be around long term. What’s your favourite hole on the East Course? Holes four and five are favorites and I also like how hole 16 turned out, considering the changes that were foisted upon the hole by environmental restrictions just prior to construction. I am also a big fan of short par 4s – and like to design them whenever my clients allow me – so hole 12 is also another favourite. During construction we located a wonderful tee location right on the edge of the ocean that would have made the 12th one the most dramatic on the golf course. But unfortunately due to contract limitations and cost difficulties we were unable to implement this improvement. I am still hoping that, at some stage in the future, we can sneak an extra back tee in here since it will make such a positive change. Looking back now, are there any other changes you would like to make? After all, the feedback on the course has been overwhelming positive. I would say that on almost every project we do there are at least one or two things we regret doing, not doing or not changing – the golf course can almost always be better at the end of the day and the East Course was no different. Either our design, or the implementation of the design, could almost always be improved upon. Unfortunately, and without passing the buck, there are always issues that conspire against you
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when you design a golf course: from the very short timeframe allowed, from limitations with the construction contract, from survey problems through to somewhat onerous environmental restrictions. All these factors combine with the steady and unstoppable force of a large construction project to limit a designer’s ability to make the best possible use of any site. In the case of the East Course specifically: in a fantasy world where I could go back and change things there are a number of holes and features I would like to alter. In terms of routing, if we had worked harder to convince the club that a par 70 or 71 course was the best solution to this difficult site, I think could have made the course both stronger and better. Dropping the par to 71 would have enabled us to delete and convert the 18th into a par-3 par-4 combination instead of the somewhat forced par-5 that it is. There are a number of problems with this hole that are not easily solved with it as a par 5 – the landing area is too high relative to the second landing area. Sure, you could drop the landing area 10 metres to solve this but this would create its own problems with being able to tie the levels in to the hills on the left. As a par-3 playing to the current landing area, and then a short par 4, we could have solved the problems of a restricted landing area and less than perfect visibility for the second shot. This change would mean that we have an extra hole and so deleting the par-3 15th would be my second routing change. It’s a nice enough little hole, with a beautiful green setting, but the teeing ground is forced and looks engineered. Deleting this hole would also mean that you could push the green at the par-4 14th back another 30 metres or so – right to the end of the ridgeline, which would strengthen and improve this hole as well and provide us with another strong par-4 on a course that lacks strong par 4s. If we could step back even further and make the course a par 70, which is a difficult ask in Asia where owners have to have a par 72, I would also change the par-5 11th into a strong par-4, perhaps by sliding the green forward just a touch. This change would improve the strength of the course relative to par, although it wouldn’t make much of a difference to people’s scores. I would like to take away a little of the engineered look of the course: there is just too much concrete out there, with U-drains at the top of every cut slope, which is mandated by Hong Kong law, although hopefully over time the native vegetation will disguise most of these. The bog standard power transformer poles are a real blight on the naturalness of the course, so I would ask the suppliers to think outside the box and supply us with something a little more discrete. Although we did make sure none were silhouetted against the skyline. HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Discussing your Asian courses generally, how much freedom do you have in terms of design? That’s an interesting question because on the one hand we get a lot of design freedom but it is within a set of very strict parameters. By this I mean owners, generally speaking, are very focused on a few critical numbers, which they see as very important, such as overall yardage (7200+) and par (72), yet they are less focused on the guts of the design, be that the strategy, the contouring, greens design and the like. Owners will also often have one or two very strong desires or requests about what they would like to see on the golf course, such as an island green par-3 or more water on the course. Both of these are common requests, and although we always try and talk owners out of these things – we say: “Island greens are no longer unique since they are everywhere and they are too difficult for most players” and “water is an overused design element – how about some good solid strategic design instead?” – at the end of the day, the owner and our responsibility to them means we need to implement their desires as best we can while mitigating the negative effect on the golf course design. With par and yardage, these are difficult prejudices to break down, since they are
reinforced by the golf we see daily on TV being played by the pros of the PGA Tour. In the absence of a lot of golf experience on the part of the owners – and many of the owner’s do not know a lot about golf – the PGA Tour and the owner’s own professional golfer friends and advisors push for standard par and length solutions. This means that often better solutions with lesser par (70-71) and/or lesser yardage (6700-6900 yards) are sacrificed on the altar of “par 72, 7200 yard plus” solutions. The simple fact of the matter is that these sorts of yardages are too long for the vast majority of golfers.
Stunning Signature: the 16th on the East Course
Typically, how many times will you visit a project during the design and construction phases? For most projects we will visit the site three to five times prior to finalising the course design, depending on the natural features of the site, including a field design trip where we review and/or conceptualize the design while in the field. Less pre-construction visits are typical if the site is totally flat with few natural features. During construction we are typically on site every four to eight weeks or so depending on site progress. On a typical project we will visit the site between 10 and 20 times.
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Is there still a golf course boom in Asia? For the moment it seems that the market in China is still strong, and there are small pockets of activity elsewhere, such as Vietnam and India, although both these countries have seen a drop off in activity recently. Long term, I think the potential is there for golf to continue to grow throughout Asia. It is after all a great game and one that engages the participant at many different levels. However, for growth to be sustainable, more public golf is definitely required, especially in China where the game remains quite elite. More participation and more success at the very top level by Chinese golfers should see the game grow in popularity. And then there is the fact that you can gamble easily. Gambling between players of widely different standards is a great attractant for the average Chinese. Actually I think this one factor is the main reason why owners like to have an island green on their golf courses – it’s the type of hole that settles a lot of bets! I heard that Nelson & Haworth has designed nearly 10 per cent of the courses in China
China is a huge place and we have been working there continuously through its ups and downs since 1992. In that time, the growth of the game has been breathtaking. The other night I was at a dinner with a Chinese friend and we were talking about the number of golf courses in China. I estimated there were 400 courses and my friend put the number at closer to 800, so the percentage of courses we have designed might vary quite a bit. We have been very lucky in China in a number of ways. Firstly, we have been fortunate enough to work on some great, high profile sites with clients dedicated to quality – courses like Shenzhen Golf Club, Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai and Bayhood No. 9 in Beijing. These projects all enjoy high profiles, not only due to the quality of the courses themselves, but also their great locations and the quality of their owners and management. We have also been fortunate with both our people and the people we work with. Business in China is very much about relationships and friendships. From a company perspective, our partner, David Young, has helped a great deal in our relationships with our China clients. We
have also been blessed to know a great many people in China who have helped us to win jobs by recommending us to their friends or bosses – a great many of our jobs have come to us through this method. It can’t hurt that the HSBC Champions tournament is played at Sheshan every year? That’s right. The publicity generated by the tournament has been good for us, as has the course’s exclusivity and cachet in the China market. It also doesn’t hurt that the world’s greatest golfer plays there three years out of five! What do you make of the number of largely American-based designers who have come over to Asia in recent times as a result of stagnation in their home markets? There has been a noticeable influx of overseas architects due to the economic crisis and this is only likely to become more of a feature of the market, particularly in China. Where this influx results in an improvement in the clients’ understanding of the possibilities and varieties of golf course design, we support this competition. More talented designers working here is positive, both for us as architects and for the game in general. For instance, designers like Tom Doak or Bill Coore push a minimalist, low-key approach to their designs, often with par of 70 or 71, and often with gnarly, rough-looking bunkers and layof-the-land greens. This type of approach is not very popular in Asia, where clients and golfers often prefer a more manicured parkland approach. Personally, I love these natural courses and would like to design more of them, so any increase in their popularity may open up opportunities for different approaches by us. These changes may well happen with time as golfers and owners become more educated and so I am looking forward to being around when more flexibility is encouraged. Is Paspalum your grass of choice nowadays in tropical climates? A few years ago I would have said yes, but nowadays I am not so sure. It has a number of truly great qualities – low light tolerance, poor
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water quality tolerance etc. However, the jury is out on whether it is really the grass of the future. It still has a lot of issues that are becoming apparent the more it is used. You know Bermuda 419 used to be the grass of choice in tropical and subtropical climes for most architects and it took 20 years of continual use for its shortcomings to be exposed.
Personal Preference: The short par-4 12th is one of Mogg's favourites on the course
Are shapers the unsung heroes of golf course design? For sure, although many are pretty good at singing their own praises! Most golf course architects rely on the skills of these guys to translate their visions on paper into reality – and it's pretty amazing what these guys can do with their huge machines. There are a few designers who shape their own work, guys like Tom Doak and Bill Coore, but they tend not to do a lot of work in Asia mainly due to the more hands on and time consuming nature of their work. At Nelson & Haworth we always try to credit the shapers for their work – on our website you will see the lead shapers for all our projects listed; we believe that credit where credit is due is good policy. We have a number of guys – and pretty much all shapers are male – who have worked with us a long time, which always helps with the translation of arm waves into reality. To single out one shaper – I would like to credit Gary Read for the great work he did at Kau Sai Chau with Peter Wardell. We worked with Gary on a number of jobs in China and he was a real joy – humble, quiet and talented. Unfortunately, Gary recently died of a heart attack at the age of 44 in Hong Kong. He will be missed. How do you celebrate the completion of a new design? It’s a great idea to celebrate the completion of a new project. Unfortunately it is pretty rare for us to be able to do so. Our involvement often ends before opening and we are on our way to the next project, wherever that might be. Most jobs just seem to slowly die out for us before the grand opening so whenever we are able to attend one, we really appreciate it as it helps us draw a line under the project before moving on.With the East Course, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the opening ceremonies, although after two of the four guests’ opening drives ended up lost in the bushes I was looking for somewhere to hide. Thankfully a young girl [Tiffany Chan, Junior Close champion] saved me with an excellent drive. And we did have a few drinks to round out the day and the project! For more information about Nelson & Haworth visit www.nelsonhaworth.com HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Florida on my Mind
Sawgrass Boys: Dettlaff with legendary architect Pete Dye; 120,000 golf balls are taken from the lake surrounding the 17th every year.
We sit down with Billy Dettlaff, the TPC’s National Director of Golf, to talk about the TPC Sawgrass and the recent PLAYERS Championship, the unofficial fifth Major, won by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson
here do you think Stenson’s final round of 66 ranks in PLAYERS Championship history? It’s right up there with the very best, probably in the top four or five of all time. Other notables include Greg Norman , Davis Love III  and Fred Couples , who all had great final day performances. Stephen Ames  had a great round too. But Henrik is a wonderful champion. He missed one fairway all day, and on 18, one of the most difficult driving holes on the course, he hit his 5-wood 300 yards right down the centre. That just shows how brilliant he was swinging. The PLAYERS has had the tag ‘golf’s fifth Major’ for a while now. Where do you stand on that and do you think it’ll one day shed its unofficial status and become a Major? Well, the players this year were comparing the championship to the US Open – the strength of the field, the course setup – which was great. The players themselves and the media will decide when it officially becomes a Major. But let me take you back. In the 1920s and 1930’s the amateur game was the pinnacle of the sport. The “Bobby Jones Slam” was winning the US Open, the US Amateur, the British Open and the British Amateur – they were the four Majors of the time. Then the Masters came along and it evolved into a Major, while the amateur events faded with the transition of making the game more professional. So things change. Later, the PGA Championship became the championship for the players, but only until the late 1960s when the PGA of America and the PGA Tour split. It was Deane Beman who created the Players Championship, because he felt the players didn’t have their own tournament. We’re in a very unique position, but I don’t think the players would allow someone else to “create” a Major. It takes time and I think it’ll happen. Every year the reputation of the championship increases. Henrik [Stenson] and Sergio [Garcia] – our last two champions – have grown up watching it on TV every year, like many of the other young players on Tour, which I think also helps. And like Augusta, the Players is played on the same course each year. Which has been your favourite PLAYERS Championship? Good question. I don’t think I can pick a single favourite. I’ve been living in the area for 10 years and I think it was great for Jacksonville that we’ve had two local winners: Mark McCumber and David Duval. And of course David’s victory was made especially sweet when his father won on the Champion’s Tour on the same day. The par-3 17th, with its famous island green, is always the focus of attention. But it seemed there were a few less balls in the water this year… The 17th is part of the tournament’s branding. Pete Dye’s perspective is that professional golfers could hit 1000 balls off that tee in normal conditions and they wouldn’t give the water a second thought. It’s quite a big green – around 4,000 square feet. But when it comes to Sunday [of the tournament], and there’s a bit of wind around, it takes on an entirely difference persona. This year there was little wind and we had the least number of balls find the lake in a long time. I think only around five percent of tee shots went in, which isn’t many. 60
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When do you close the course in preparation for the event? Three weeks before the start, which is testament to the work of Tom Vlach, our superintendent. Tiger Woods said to him that the course can’t get played much, because it was in such great shape. We all laughed when we heard that. We do 40,000 rounds a year! But when we close we’re in the middle of our spring transition when it’s getting warmer. The grass starts getting growth, and by the end of the three weeks there aren’t any pitchmarks or divots at all. Even on 17, which has to be the most-hit green throughout the year. Everyone wants to hit 17 before they leave, so they can say they did it. We take out 120,000 golf balls from the lake every year. That must cause a bit of slow play? Well it does a little, yes. Just because everyone wants to hit the green. But overall, four hours and 15 minutes is normal for a round here. How quickly does the course open again after the PLAYERS finishes? On the Monday and Tuesday we open the course to our partners [sponsors]. They play the same set up as the pros: the same pin positions, the same rough heights and the same green speeds. We open to the public on the Wednesday. We start cutting back the rough and start watering the greens to get them back to normal. But we don’t rest the course. The Bermuda grass is so strong it comes straight back. What speed were the greens running at during the championship? They were up to 13.5 on the stimp. They were pretty stressed. They went a tan colour because we did very little watering. We syringed them on the Saturday night but we wanted to keep them firm. I heard you kept the rough a little lower this year… Yes, it was a two and a half inches, which is a little lower than normal. The philosophy behind it was quite simple: we wanted to entice the players into taking on shots. We wanted them to ask the question: “can I go for it or not?” More often than not they will. But there’s always the risk of catching a flyer lie. HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
A lot of people don’t realize but there’s actually another course at TPC Sawgrass – Dye’s Valley Course. What’s the membership structure like? That’s right and it’s a great golf course too. The Valley membership is probably the best value golf in the world. It’s US$2,400 a year for a family membership. Playing is free, you only pay a cart fee and it also gives you discounted access to the Stadium Course, sometimes even free access if others are playing with you. HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Rubbing Each Others Backs Spa and Golf – a natural combination
he global spa industry has grown at an unprecedented rate over the past decade, developing from what used to be a niche offering for wealthy females to a mainstream lifestyle concept offered at every income level for both men and women. A recent study by the Stanford Research Institute estimated the global spa and wellness industry to be worth US$60 billion annually, larger than both the global cruise line (US$21bn) and movie (US$27bn) industries combined and closing in on our very own global golfing industry, which was estimated at US$80 billion annually. The Hong Kong market, as you would expect, has a well developed and diversified spa industry, ranging from 5-star hotel offerings for the business traveller and most affluent locals, who are ready to spend over $1000 on a massage, down to the myriad of local businesses who operate out of high rise commercial office buildings offering no frill spa and wellness treatments for a few hundred dollars. In between these two extremes lies the day spa market which provides high quality treatments and ambience at a price affordable to the professional 25-50 year-old Hong Kong resident. Globally day spas account for approximately 65% of all spa operations, so this sector is the one that is relevant to the majority of Hong Kong urbanites who are looking to reduce stress, relax, or pamper themselves during the working week. Many local consumers may not be aware that some of Hong Kong’s spas 62
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have won mu lt iple industry awards at the regional level, establishing themselves not only as the best in their category wit h i n Hong Kong, but also on par with the region’s best from Thailand, Bali and Japan. In the hotel sector, Plateau at the Grand Hyatt has been a leading light; the hotel was the first in Hong Kong to dedicate a whole floor to its ‘spa residency.’ In the day spa sector, no local operator has won more industry recognition than Sense of Touch. With three outlets in Central and one in Discovery Bay, the brand has won two Asia’s Best Day Spa Awards in 2005 and 2007 and was recently voted Hong Kong’s Best Day Spa 2009 at the Asia Spa and Wellness Festival in Bangkok. “People work and play hard in Hong Kong, so there is an increasing role for spas to play by helping people de-stress, detoxify and relax,”
explains Neil Orvay, owner of Sense of Touch. “Most of our clients are regulars who budget a certain amount of time and money every month to look after themselves.” Indeed, many studies have shown that stress is the root cause of up to 70% of doctor’s visits while sleep deprivation is now considered one of the primary causes of diabetes and obesity in the developed world. The combined effect of sleep deprivation and stress results in an impaired immune system and reduced productivity at work and play. “The difference now is that consumers are starting to understand how their lifestyle and workload are adversely impacting their health and productivity. People are starting to take matters into their own hands, to take control back. Spas are part of that healthy process,” continues Orvay. It has not escaped our attention at HK Golfer that the expansion of the spa industry is starting to leave its mark on many of the region’s top golf destinations. The 4- and 5-star sector of the hotel industry has known for many years that having a good spa facility on-site is mandatory in order to attract high end clientele (especially female), which in turn increases room occupancy rates. Many supporting studies provide evidence that an increase in room spending of 30%+ per night can be attributed to having a good spa facility on site. And it seems that golf resorts are starting to see the benefits of having a spa tie-in too. “I love to play golf however my partner isn’t really into it,” says Orvay. “So I approached Long Island Golf and Country Club in Dongguan, about an hour’s drive from the Hong Hong-Shenzhen border, which has an award-winning course with an excellent spa facility, and suggested we partner up to make the long weekend away attractive not just for me, but also for the non-golf playing ladies.” Sense of Touch and Long Island Golf have recently launched a partnership whereby Long
Island members are entitled to discounts at Sense of Touch in Hong Kong, and Sense of Touch Diva card holders can book golf and spa packages (or golf only packages) at discounted rates through Sense of Touch. As well as the discount, a free massage is thrown in, so even if it’s a guy’s only golf trip, your first spa experience may not be that far away. SPECIAL OFFER Sense of Touch is offering all HKGA handicap subscribers 15% off a variety of treatments and packages until 30th September 2009. Additionally, all HKGA subscribers visiting any Sense of Touch spa before 30th August will receive a complimentary VIP upgrade to TRENDY DIVA and will enjoy 12 months of discounts. 2009 HKGA card must be shown in order to receive discount. Sense of Touch Spas 1-5/F, 52 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central 83A Hollywood Road, (cnr Aberdeen St) ,Central LG/F, The Ovolo, 2 Arbuthnot Road Central 140A-1, 1/F Block C, DB Plaza, Discovery Bay Visit www.senseoftouch.com.hk
Tel: 2526 6918 Tel: 2517 0939 Tel: 2869 0939 Tel: 2987 9198
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
- Australia’s Hidden Gem
Why the wines of from this small part of South Australia are beginning to make an impact on the international scene
e i ng a ‘ New World’ wi ne producing country, Australia’s first vineyards were planted near what is now the Sydney Ha rbou r Bridge i n 1788, with the arrival of the First Fleet. Today, 170,000 hectares of vineyards can be found throughout all the designated wine regions. Recent export figures position Australia as the fourth largest exporter of wine, selling to more than 100 countries worldwide and contributing approximately $5.5 billion to the nation's economy. Australia is now a respected leader in combining tradition with new ideas and technical innovation, producing a large variety of wine styles, and some of the most highly regarded. South Australia is recognised for having many of the best regions within its borders. Along with others such as Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale is by far one of the top wine regions of the country and is known for producing iconic wines. Dating back to 1838, McLaren Vale was one of the first regions to be planted in the region. There is substantial climatic variation throughout the state, due to varying exposure to the cooling influence of the nearby ocean (or conversely to protect from it). Overall the climate is Mediterranean, where summer rainfall is low. This means site selection and the marriage of site to variety are all-important. There is a wide variety of soil types, which is a reflection of the varied terrain; red-brown sandy loams, greybrown loamy sands with yellow clay subsoils interspersed with lime, distinctly sandy soils and patches of red or black friable loams are all to be found. McLaren Vale is also widely recognised as one of Australia’s “greenest” wine regions because of its ongoing water use efficiency For additional information and orders contact: Montrose Fine Wines Email: email@example.com Tel: (852) 2555-8877 www.montrose.com.hk 64
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strategies and commitment to environmental sustainability, through the limited use of pesticides. The unique marriage of a wine region and beach lifestyle has created a melting pot for all things culinary, vinous and artistic. With many iconic wineries hailing from McLaren Vale, such as d’A renberg, Kay Brothers, Noon, and Wirra Wirra, the region is not short of great wines. But there is one winery making waves which is well worth watching out for: Mr Riggs, whose range of wines have received significant interest and outstanding ratings from international critics. The brainchild of wine maker and founding partner Ben Riggs, Ben has worked 23 vintages in Australia, and presided over a further eight overseas, including the Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Greece, Italy and the South of France. The Mr Riggs wine brand can be summed up in two words: winemaker’s wine. Built on Ben’s long held dream to make icon wines from icon regions, the wines express the essence of the vineyard and variety in a style that is big, rich and complex, but also with finesse, texture and elegance. Based in his beloved McLaren Vale, Ben also teams up with renowned growers from other tried and tested regions, including Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra and Langhorne Creek. Combining winemaking skills and a great deal of viticultural involvement, it is from these vineyards he is able to select pristine parcels of fruit, be it McLaren Vale Shiraz, Watervale Riesling, Adelaide Hills Tempranillo, Coonawarra Cabernet or something new and different to express his winemaking ability and creativity. It is this variety that allows the Mr Riggs philosophy to exist and continue. “I make wines I love to drink!” says Ben. One other issue close to Ben’s heart is the support of the Pink Ribbon Campaign to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. 30 Australian cents from each bottle sold of the “Gaffer” Shiraz is donated to the cause. Montrose Fine Wines, which distributes Mr Riggs in Hong Kong, Macau & China, donates HK$10 to breast cancer research for every bottle sold. HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
Playing it Safe – Under the Sun
Dr Gavin Chan examines the potential dangers that we, as golfers, face every time we tee it up
f ter playing 18 holes, you may notice your skin starting to turn red. But by then, the da mage has a lready been done. Year-on-year exposure to the sun contributes to most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging, including freckles, discolouration, sallowness and tiny broken vessels under the skin. More importantly, the damaging rays of the sun contribute to the development of skin cancers, including melanoma, which may not become apparent until years later. Skin cancer is a malignant growth caused by the mutation of cells on the outer layers of your skin and is the most common form of cancer worldwide. Skin cancers are on the rise and are developing in younger individuals. Ultraviolet
Dr Gavin Chan is a specialist
radiation from sun exposure is believed to be in dermatology at Skincentral, the main cause, with heredity, genetics, skin a C e nt r al-b a s e d c linic type and a weak immune system being other specializing in medical and influencing factors. The three leading types of cosmetic treatments. For skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, squamous more information about Skincentral visit cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. www.skincentral.com. Melanoma, which usually starts within a mole or as a dark spot on the skin, is the most dangerous: it can spread quickly and is responsible for the majority of skin cancerrelated deaths. Other forms of skin cancer are rarely fatal, although squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body and result in death. It's not all bad news however - skin cancer is preventable and almost 99 percent of all skin cancers are curable if caught in time. All it takes is being sun savvy and examining your skin regularly. Any moles or skin lesions that itch, bleed, crust, do not heal, or change in size, shape or colour, should be checked by a dermatologist without delay. It is a good idea to have your skin thoroughly examined by a dermatologist at least once a year, or as recommended by your dermatologist.
10 Sun Savvy Tips for Golfers: • Limit or avoid exposure to the sun between 10am and 4pm, when the sun's ultraviolet rays are at their strongest. Instead, try to play early in the morning or late in the afternoon. • Sunscreens are a must. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (against UV-A and UV-B) with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply 30 minutes before going outdoors - even on a cloudy or cool day. • Cover all exposed areas of your face, head and body, including your ears, nose, and shoulders, back of the hands and your arms and legs. Apply liberally and evenly. To cover your entire body, a golf ball-sized amount of sunscreen (one ounce or two tablespoons) is recommended. • Re-apply a coat of sunscreen every nine holes (every two hours). If you sweat a lot or towel often, a more frequent application may be required. • Don't forget your lips - cover them with sun protective lip balm or sunscreen. • Seek shade whenever possible and cover yourself with a golf umbrella between holes. • Wear a broad-brimmed hat (preferably with a back flap) rather than a baseball cap to help protect your face, ears and neck. • Wear sun protective clothing (tightly woven, dark colours) such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts as often as possible. • Protect your eyes with UV-protective sunglasses. • Never seek a tan and do not burn. A tan is the skin's response to the sun's damaging UV rays - there is no such thing as a healthy tan. HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM
HK Golfer・Jun/Jul 2009
Nick Faldo The six-time Major champ on his favourite golf trips, his preferred airline and what he has on his iPod C
Do you ever go on golf holidays? I didn’t use to when I was playing because I was too competitive. I didn’t want to play just for fun. Anytime I picked up a club I went into tournament mode. But it’s different now. I’ll take the clubs wherever I go and have a couple of games. It’s just nice to go out and play, which I normally do with my son or friends.
effort to make you feel welcome. They’re good at remembering names as well, which is nice. It’s a shame that the one in Hong Kong has closed, but I look forward to staying in the new one when it’s ready.
Which courses would you pay to play? Every golfer has to go to Melbourne and play the sandbelt courses at least once in their lifetime. Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Huntingdale and Metropolitan are all fabulous. In fact, just talking about them makes me want to go back. I took my design team down there a few years ago, and we had a great laugh. But I think it’s time to head there again. In the States, I recommend Pine Valley [in New Jersey] and Riviera [in Los Angeles]—two classic designs. And Augusta, of course. Augusta is just sensational. I’d pay to play all those places.
What’s your favourite airline? I’ve always flown British Airways but now I’m increasingly going with Virgin Atlantic. I like their beds, which are long enough for me to fit into comfortably. Emirates and Cathay Pacific are also very good.
What about lesser renowned courses? Any hidden gems out there that have caught your attention? Ballyliffin Old Links in Donegal (pictured) is certainly one. I first played there in the 1990s and fell in love with the place. The movement in the fairways is exceptional. I have a great relationship with the club and did some remodelling work for them a few years ago, which focused on the bunkering and some of the tee placements. Do you have a favourite hotel? The Crown Towers in Melbourne has really great suites, and the views are incredible. I like the Ritz-Carlton a lot too. I’ve stayed in many of them, and they’ve all been excellent. The service is superb and the staff really makes an 66
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What do you do with your frequent flier miles? I tend to use them to fly my kids over to see me. Last year we had a trip to Switzerland which was ‘paid’ for entirely by my miles. They’re very useful things but it’s hard work keeping track of them all. What do you always take with you on a trip? My orthopedic pillow. I must have had it for 10 years at least. It’s really good for sleeping on planes. I also take my iPod and a set of portable speakers. I’m really into my music and the first thing I do in the mornings when I’m away is switch it on. It sets up the day for me perfectly. What’s on your iPod? A whole load of stuff. I’m a fan of the oldies, like Genesis and Elton John, so they get a lot of play. The Verve are great too, as are Coldplay now. Of the girls, I like Sade and a few others. I like all sorts: stuff that energizes me and more mellow songs too. Crikey, that sounds a bit sad, doesn’t it? [Laughs] –As told to Alex Jenkins
But aren’t you playing Augusta all the time? Don’t they give you membership as a former Masters champ? True, but I’ve never played there outside of the Masters. I’m not really sure why that is, but after playing the tournament I always wanted to get away and take a break. It’s a magical place and even though I don’t play the Masters anymore, I love being there for my commentary work. When I first visited it looked easy—no rough and wide fairways. But it is the kind of course where even if you’re only slightly off your game you can end up with an 80.
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DANIEL DREIFUSS PRESENTS:
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Published on May 31, 2009
Major Meltdowns British Open Nick Faldo Event Season: Junior and Senior Close Champs in review HKGOLFERMAGAZINE.COM THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION...