Sunday, October 23 2016


Teed Off (Oct 25, 2015)

Update: October, 25/2015 - 02:20

with Robert Bicknell

With the weather starting to turn cooler in the north, golfers begin to smile as they can finally enjoy the day without sweating their brains out. While this is only a brief period of perfect weather, everyone seems bound and determined to make the most of it.

Unfortunately, soon enough, the weather will become a bit too cold for some folks - yours truly included thanks to arthritis, but many will still play.

What you need to remember is that there is a secret to playing in the cold, just as there is a secret to playing in the heat. Thin layered clothing is always better than a bulky jacket, soups are better than beer and a warm hat are a must.

It's also important to warm up properly before play because when your muscles are cold, they can get strained or torn a lot more easily.

With that in mind, you can get ready to play. Remember that the fairways are a bit harder, so you'll get more run on the ball than in the warm season. Same for the greens, they will not hold shots as well as in the summer, so think about landing the ball shorter than normal and letting it roll up to the flag.

Even though you might not realize it, you can get just as dehydrated out there in the cool or cold weather as you can in the heat. Remember that you're still performing an athletic activity and that means expending energy.

Do that and you should be OK.

For those of you who missed watching the President's Cup, I gotta tell you it was some spectacular golf.

Phil Mickelson was sort of like a good luck charm where his teammates kept rubbing his belly like a statue of an Asian deity. It obviously worked because they played some great golf, especially Mickelson himself, who holed-out from the bunker on two separate occasions. Unbelievable.

Jordan Spieth also channeled a bit of Babe Ruth when he called his shot to the team captain before holing out from the bunker.

It seems like team play brings out the best in these guys. They are more relaxed, yet even more supercharged than when they play alone - if that makes any sense at all.

When you play just for yourself, you can close your feelings off and concentrate on the job at hand. But when you are in a team event, you have the benefit of other guys to catch you if you fall, but the added pressure of not wanting to let the team down.

In the end, Team USA eked out the win, but the real winners were the spectators both at home and on TV who had the good fortune to witness some of the best golf in a long time.

Saturday marks my return to Ha Noi as we attempt a soft opening of a new course in Ninh Binh.

The Trang An Golf & Country Club will unofficially open its doors at the end of the month, but I'd be happier if we could wait a bit longer. Sadly, that decision is out of my hands and I can only hope everything that can be made ready will be ready.

The biggest concern, as usual, is the unpredictable weather at this time of year. One little storm out near the Philippines can bring in cold, wet weather and it looks like Mother Nature still has a few storms left to throw at us.

The course itself should be playable, but not spectacular at this point. That will take more time as the maintenance department grooms the course more and gets everything more uniform.

If I sound like an angry lunatic over the next few weeks (OK, angrier and more insane than usual), you can bet it's the haste of getting the project ready for play.

Life is never easy and neither is golf course management… — VNS

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