Monday, October 24 2016


Teed Off (Apr 3, 2016)

Update: April, 03/2016 - 14:24

by Robert Bicknell

If I asked you which golf tournament is held at this time of year, every year, you would probably say ”The Masters” and of course you would be right, but it’s not the event I am thinking of.

The 17th Annual Norfolk Invitational Golf Tournament is set to tee off on 09 April, but for a change of pace, it will not be held at its usual venue, VGCC.

Nope, this year the Norfolk Invitational is going upscale to the site of what was arguably the most successful Asian Tour event ever and the only club in Việt Nam to crack Golf Digest’s Top 100 courses in the World. That’s right, it’s going to the Bluffs at the Hồ Tràm Strip and, as you can imagine, this will be something very special indeed.

Looks like I’m gonna get to use my tuxedo again…

Yet, I am bittersweet about the event this year because I doubt I can play as I’m not sure what physical condition I will be in after the steel pins come out of my hand a few days before the event. I usually don’t care how I play, but I’m not sure I can even grip the club. Physical therapy is in the cards for sure, but if at all possible, I’d play simply because it’s the Norfolk and it’s the Bluffs.

Hmm, maybe I can let my wife hit the ball for me and I’ll just putt. Nah, she’s a better putter than me so that won’t work.

However, even without playing, I am always happy to go to the The Bluffs because the staff at the club and the hotel are excellent and I can actually relax. So this year I will probably only MC the event, but lie on the beach or poolside with my wife and daughter for a day…

Given my schedule, that special time alone is worth the trip.

The Norfolk is a very special event due to it being an “invitational” (just like The Masters). It’s not an “Open” event where anyone can sign up and pay their entry fee. They invite who they want and nothing can change their mind and believe me many people have tried in the most inventive way over the years.

Nothing works. You’re either in or you’re not. Simple as that.

This event is for the clients, guests, suppliers, sponsors and friends of the Norfolk Group and is held as a way of thanking them for everything over the past year.

In 17 years, I think I missed one event and that was because I was sick as a dog and couldn’t get out of bed. Not a bad track record actually.

One of the reasons why the event is such a hot ticket are the entry gifts, which are usually spectacular. The staff spends months looking for just the right items. It isn’t easy as only the best will do.

Prizes for the winners and the Lucky Draw are also a hallmark of the event and another reason why people try so hard to get invited. The trophies are always imported and of the highest quality.

The fact the Norfolk Invitational seems to love giving away chances at high quality premiere Audi’s  for anyone making a Hole-in-One on the Par 3’s doesn’t hurt either and, yes, they have already given away a car during one of the event’s at VGCC. People still talk about that shot.

Yup, four luxury Audi’s, an A8L, Q7, A6 and a Q5 (with import tax fully paid) will be available to anyone lucky enough to make a Hole in One on the Par 3’s. Nice prizes, but sadly I’m never allowed to win one.

Another thing about the Norfolk is that it always donates to various deserving charities.

Over the last 17 years, the event has helped countless needy people, provided a venue for friends of Norfolk Group to get together and have a good time.

Some people I only see once a year as they fly in from all parts of the world – just for this event.

This is one of those tournaments that deserve special recognition due to its consistency and longevity, and one that I am proud to be associated with even if just in a small way.

Being at The Bluffs is the cherry on top. — VNS

Robert Bicknell

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