Sunday, December 4 2016

VietNamNews

Teed Off (Apr 26, 2015)

Update: April, 28/2015 - 16:13

with Robert Bicknell

Funny how the tournament schedule in Viet Nam closely follows the Tour schedule. For example, we have the Norfolk Invitational during the Masters week, we have Thu Duc Garden Homes around the same time as the US Open and a host of other events during the Open Championship and PGA Championship events.

Of course, it could just be a coincidence due to the fact that it's summertime…

As some of you might have heard, The Bluffs GC (Ho Tram Strip) recently appointed European PGA Tour player, Robert Rock, to be their Touring professional. This is the first time that any club in Viet Nam will have their logo featured on a player in either the US or European Tour. Nice achievement, but not surprising that the Greg Norman designed Bluffs has already made waves internationally by being featured in the Top 100 courses in the World by a major European golf magazine.

Rock has also opened a golf academy at The Bluffs and, not surprisingly, will spend a generous amount of time working with junior players. Both Rock and The Bluffs have demonstrated a genuine desire to push junior golf forward in Vietnam and I, for one, am quite excited to hear this.

While that news alone might seem a standout, they weren't finished yet as they also announced the launch of the "Ho Tram Open", which is a $1.5 million Asian Tour event scheduled for December 3-6, 2015 and will be a fixture on the Asian Tour schedule through 2017.

With a US$1.5 million dollar prize purse, this makes it the biggest ever single-sponsored Asian Tour event in history.

It looks like Viet Nam is finally hitting its stride in regards to international golf recognition.

It also provided me with an excuse to play three rounds of golf, which is more than I have played in the last five months combined. Yes, the first round was pretty ugly and featured a few lost balls. The second and third rounds were much better, but that can also be attributed to my playing partner, Timothy Low from FOX Sports Asia and who is a part time Tour pro.

No, he didn't give me lessons, but he's as crazy as I am and we spent those two rounds laughing our heads off. Who can be uptight when you're laughing like a demented maniac? I also didn't need to work on my abs afterwards. Laughing is a great exercise.

However, one thing did stand out in my mind… No matter how far I drive the ball, there will always be someone longer and Timothy was just that. Let's put it this way, when you over-drive a green from 348 yards, you know you have serious length.

Suffice it to say, the moment I got back to HCM City, my first stop was the gym where I absolutely killed it and will continue to do so until our next encounter, probably in December at The Bluffs.

There is no way I am gonna be out-driven by a TV host - Tour pro or not. And I don't care that he's 20 years younger either. My ego demands that if I'm gonna crash and burn, it has to be spectacular and epic. Full flames.

And I probably will… but it will be a good time nonetheless and that's the most important thing.

It was honestly the most fun that I have had on the course in the last 10 years. Great shots, great fun, great weather and a great course. Who can ask for more? Thanks Tim!

Also, a big shout out to Ben Styles, GM of The Bluffs who masterminds all these new achievements. Ben constantly looks for ways to keep plowing new ground for golf in Viet Nam. He wants to make a mark and he's well on his way to doing it, and the best part is we get to come along for the ride.

All in all, another great weekend at The Bluffs.

I want to also mention the great staff at The Grand (hotel) at the Ho Tram Strip who made sure everything went off without a hitch. They outdid themselves once again and makes visiting there a pleasure.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more gym work to do followed by Trackman swing analysis. As I said, I'm not going down without a fight… hee hee! — VNS

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