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VietNamNews

Teed off (12-08-2012)

Update: August, 14/2012 - 16:56

with Robert Bicknell

Everyone has their breaking point and, as most foreign experts in Viet Nam can attest, that point seems to get reached quite easily.

You would think that after 20 years in this country, my breaking point would be pretty hard to reach, but the opposite is actually true. Especially, here in Da Lat, when there is only five minutes of sunshine in a three week period. Grey skies, chilly winds and constant rain can really put me in a particularly foul mood.

I guess the amount of frustration keeps building to the point where you want to turn green and destroy a bunch of space aliens and trashing a city block while you're at it.

Yes, I am big fan of Marvel's The Avengers.

Iron Man might have had the best lines and the coolest gadgets, but ya just cannot beat the Hulk when it comes to stealing the show and, yes, like him, I am always angry.

Fortunately, being in Da Lat, there is a quick antidote for the frustration and it's just down the hill in Nha Trang, which is one of my favourite places in Viet Nam.

Ah…sunshine, warm weather, decent shopping, golf, female Russian tourists in bikinis…what more can a guy ask for? Don't get me wrong, I have a "look, but no touch" rule when it comes to the opposite sex and, being honest; giving me a beautiful girl is like giving corn on the cob to a guy with no teeth.

At 54 years old, it's better to just enjoy the view and, besides, it saves my wife the trouble of taping a hand grenade to my shorts while I sleep.

My first introduction to Nha Trang came a few years ago when I went to Diamond Bay for a short time to help with the golf course. While I will not go into details, let's just say that it wasn't the right circumstances for me to be there at the time, but I did come away with a wonderful impression of Nha Trang in general.

So, when the new GM, Simon Tinkler (whom you might remember from Royal Golf Club up north and Sea Links in the old days) invited me to play a few holes, there was no way I could say no.

Let me just say it this way…if you're gonna play Diamond Bay, bring a lot of golf balls because legendary designer, Andy Dye, really got nasty on this one.

It's murderously tough when the wind blows, there is water on almost every hole and the shaping is excellent. Kudos to whoever was riding the ‘dozer.

Yet, with all that, it is a fair test.

I had no chance out there as my swing resembled an epileptic fit rather than the silky smooth swing of a professional which is strange because the day before at VinPearl, I was under par.

Perhaps it was the shock of being back there…heh heh. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the project or owners. It was, as we say, an "outside influence" which gave me a headache.

If they continue to follow the plan, I can easily see Diamond Bay becoming one of the hottest tracts in Viet Nam and capable of handling European PGA Tour events, or at worst, LPGA events. I believed this when I worked there and my belief was reinforced on this visit.

If I had to advise the owners on anything, I would recommend they listen to Simon as he knows what he is doing. He did a great job at Royal and he can help Diamond Bay achieve their goals.

As mentioned, I also visited VinPearl Golf Course for the second time and, yes, I enjoyed the speed boat trip again. Miami Vice! Baywatch! Wheeeeeeee!

I would never get tired of that…except, perhaps, in a storm, but that could be exciting too!

As before, I could not find anything to complain about, quite annoying really…

OK, if there was anything to complain about, it might be slow play, but that is a problem worldwide, not just at VinPearl or even Viet Nam for that matter.

Slow play results mostly from people playing a "serious game" and from beginners. So the problem is also a bonus because we need more new players to take up the game in Viet Nam.

Life can be good…from time to time. — VNS

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