Teed Off (Dec. 22, 2013)
with Robert Bicknell
Lots of bizarre things are going on in the world of golf lately.
Topping the list is that the leadership of Japan's Professional Golfers Association (PGA) will commit ritual suicide (seppuku) by figuratively falling on their sand wedges and resigning en masse after two of its (since-expelled) executives were found to have played golf and socialised with an underworld boss.
Between March and June 2013, the then-PGA vice chairman Shinsaku Maeda, 61, and then-board director Tadayoshi Bando, 67, were found to have played golf and dined with the head of a yakuza organised crime group in the southern island of Kyushu, the report said.
The PGA bars its representatives from socializing with organized crime syndicates. Maeda and Bando were expelled from the association in October.
The PGA's policy board decided on Wednesday on the mass resignation of all 91 PGA representatives, including current chairman Shizuo Mori, four vice chairmen and some 20 board directors, to be followed by the election of new representatives in January to help restore public trust in the body.
Ya gotta love the Japanese when it comes to accepting responsibility for mistakes. I just wish other organisations had the same sense of right and wrong.
In other news…
Bob Parsons (owner of internet giant "GoDaddy") bought out a club in Scottsdale Arizona (USA) and sent a letter to the members informing them that they are deadbeats who contribute nothing to the club and should consider resigning.
The letter is quite normal until near the end where Parsons attacks "members who use the club the most" and who "support the club the least". He then writes: "In fact, many members who are at the club each and every day spend nothing and do not support the club at all. This will not continue."
Parsons says he will be charging members a US$100 "service fee" for every day they use the course. Members will only be able to play 30 times a year without bringing out a full-paying guest. Parsons also offers a "resignation opportunity" and offers to buy out those members at 100 per cent on the dollar.
Apparently, Parsons intends to start inviting and signing up "national" members who "will largely reside out-of-state and when they come to the club they will bring guests". He also adds that he will be very selective with regard to who he invites to be members.
Hmm…sounds like Bob Parsons wants to create another Augusta National!
Here in Viet Nam, we have many members at our various clubs who are like those described by Bob Parsons. They use the club at least 3-4 times per week, bring their own food & beverages, tip the caddies the bare minimum and complain like Hell when it's time to pay annual dues.
So, it just goes to show that this is not just a local problem here in Viet Nam, but even in countries as wealthy as the US.
Last on my little holiday list is a few words on the latest equipment offerings from TaylorMade, Titleist and Ping, which are all quite exceptional in terms of playability and game improvement and, yes, they make great Christmas gifts.
The new Taylormade SpeedBlade irons, SLDR and Jet Speed drivers have a great feel, are easy to hit and provide 5-10 yards more distance than a "normal" club due to the "speed pocket" technology. While TM has taken a bit of a hit by launching so many new products so close together, the players benefit by the choices available.
The new Titleist AP2 irons look simply fantastic and play as good as they look. They also have a new line of what can only be described as "fairway irons" (my term for them) and are even better than the old Ping Eye 2 1-irons that golf pros loved so dearly in the old days.
PING has been experiencing a bit of a re-birth with their new line of clubs which look and feel fantastic - especially compared to the older models which had an unfinished look.
All these clubs have manufacturer representative/distributor offices here in Viet Nam, so you can be assured of getting the real thing and not knock-off copies.
I've tried all three brands over the last month and it's a difficult choice. Each one brings something special to the offering and all are top quality. — VNS