with Robert Bicknell
As the Christmas holidays approach, both individuals and families have to decide where to go and what to do. For some, this is not a problem as family takes precedence and they prepare a trek to the countryside, but for families with golfers it becomes a different matter entirely.
And for a family with someone who works in golf, it becomes a borderline nightmare.
Case in point, I have to work (as always) during the holidays but the problem is that I seem to be just far enough away that it causes some strife within my family.
If I am at Ocean Dunes in Phan Thiet, my daughter is not thrilled with the four hour ride there, even if it means swimming in the giant pool and chasing sand crabs on the beach.
If I'm at Dalat Palace GC, my daughter is not thrilled with flying as, for some reason she started getting sick on planes, which mystifies me as she's flown for many years without a problem. Planes, cars, buses, boats… you name it and she's been on it without problem.
Where this recent travel-sickness has come from is beyond my limited intelligence.
OK, from the other side, being in the car with your kid for four hours and the iPad ran out of battery two hours into the journey isn't the most pleasant thing in the world either… but I can live with it. I'm good at story telling. My daughter loves "Cinderella and the Tazmanian Devil meet the three ugly sisters and Daffy Duck..."
Yes, I change stories around…
I'm sure the wife is already planning to spring a Ha Noi trip on me for Tet to visit her family. But with temperatures in Ha Noi averaging 12-14oC during that time of year, it will take dynamite to dislodge me from the beach. For me, golf in Ha Noi during Tet is not something to do…
But the main question remains, where to go for the upcoming holidays?
On the real side, Phan Thiet is perfect because I will be there anyway, but on the other hand, I know my daughter loves Da Nang because it was the first place she got to experience the ocean.
NOTE: If you're a new father, taking your kid to the ocean is something you will never forget. Trust me on this.
When I lived in Ha Noi, we spent some days in Tam Dao as I was the GM of the course. Before that, it was a long term stay at Kings Island and that too was rather nice and peaceful.
NOTE: Take your kid on a golf car ride… let them steer…they won't forget it and neither will you.
My wife often mentions that there are not that many clubs in Viet Nam which actively promotes family getaways and I agree that this is something they are missing out on.
If you watch some of the players closely, you will see they kill themselves to get an early morning tee time on the weekends, simply because they have to get home and be with the family on their day off, or their wives will kill them.
Its true and they admit it.
So why not target families instead of individuals? Any club who is smart enough to open a children's play area with trained supervisors watching over the kids while mom and dad play golf, will make a fortune.
As a father, I am away far too much than I want to be, and I know the wife needs a holiday from raising a kid from time to time. So when I am in town, I take over for a day and let the wife go off shopping or doing whatever she wants. It's a nice break for her and gives me a taste of what she goes through every day.
I suppose Da Nang or Montgomerie Links or even the soon to open Faldo Course, Laguna Lang Co, will recognize the benefits of targeting families and providing a safe structured environment to keep the kids occupied while the parents tee off.
Those clubs don't miss a trick when it comes to service.
The question is will the other clubs follow the leader and make golf clubs more family oriented, or will they stay stuck in their stodgy ways?
Only time will tell. See you in Phan Thiet! — VNS