with Robert Bicknell
Another year bites the dust and a new one begins, but only for some of us. The others don't consider it a new year until Tet [Lunar New Year]. So be it.
Last week, I played in the Tournament of Flowers at Dalat Palace GC and it was my first trip to see the old girl in many years. The practice round on Friday was enjoyable with almost clear skies, which means, take off the sweater. When clouds came over, it was sweater on.
Thus are the joys of playing in Da Lat.
Daytime temps can be quite pleasant, or they can be quite unpleasant, depending on the cloud cover and the wind. Wind makes for great golf, but it can also chill you to the bone. Night time in Da Lat is, as they say, good sleeping weather, but you will question that idiom when it comes to get out of bed and go to the bathroom.
A cold toilet seat will wake you up in a hurry. Trust me.
As for the course itself, Dalat Palace's bent grass greens were a joy to put on, as always. I was brought up on bent grass golf courses, so combined with the pine trees, I feel at home there.
What was interesting is that I was hitting 8-irons 170 yards. Yes, I know you're thinking it must be the wind, but it wasn't. Pitching wedges were going 145 plus.
I wonder if it might have something to do with the altitude, or maybe it was the attitude.
The fact remains that I am a lot stronger than I was six months ago due to all the hours I put in at the gym, but these yardages surprised me. Let's put it down to altitude until after this weekend when I play a charity event in Danang. If the yardages remain long, it's the gym effect.
If not, then we have another reason to play in Da Lat... ego.
I was pleasantly surprised to find Antoine Drappier ensconced at Dalat Palace as the Director of Golf. We met a few months before in Da Nang and, as he has a Vietnamese wife and family, I know I have at least one colleague who can tell me where to shop and find the best restaurants.
With Grahame Harris at the other end of town at Royale City, things could get potentially exciting for Da Lat in the coming year. It is no surprise that if Da Lat is to compete with Da Nang and Nha Trang as a golf tourism destination, there will have to be co-operation between the clubs and I believe we can do just that.
Oh gee…I forgot to tell you. I'm the new GM at SACOM – Tuyen Lam Golf Course. Please come and visit me once we get the first nine holes open in late April – early May. For the record, we expect to have the entire 18 holes and clubhouse open next December, but I'll keep you posted on that. You know how it goes…
This weekend's tournament in Da Nang looks to be quite exciting, regardless of how many people turn up for it. Hey, it's Da Nang! How can you go wrong?
I have already booked myself into Lifestyle Resort as they told me they have a well-equipped gym with lots of heavy weights. Funny, before I looked for a hotel that had a beach or was near a golf course, but now I look for ones with a gym. Headphones on, move some iron.
Sadly, I still cannot find a really good gym in Da Lat know there must be one or two, but so far no luck. Maybe I should open my own, or get in touch with the guys at California Wow or Star Fitness and tell them they're missing an opportunity. Actually, I'd like to open my own gym. Now all I need is investors…
I am looking forward to seeing Jon Tomlinson over at Montgomerie Links again, and teeing off at Danang GC as well. Both courses are hard to beat when it comes to layout, service and quality.
To be honest, I actually prefer Danang GC as it suits my game a bit more. Monty still puzzles me and I just don't score well there. Maybe with enough time I'll figure out why someday.
Now…where did I put my sunscreen…? — VNS