Sunday, July 22 2018


Teed Off (18-11-2012)

Update: November, 21/2012 - 09:47

with Robert Bicknell

The HCMC golf community lost an old and trusted friend this week with the sudden passing of Mr. Ho Hong Van, former board member of VGCC and one of the founders of the Saigon Golf Club, which was a precursor to the Saigon Golf Association. Mr Van was also one of the founders of the very first "Swing For Life" charity golf tournament and pushed hard for the creation of the very first Vietnam National Golf Team for the 1999 SEA Games.

Mr Van was easy to spot anywhere in the club, with his shocking white hair and an ever ready smile. He really loved golf, of that there was no doubt.

Having known him since my days at VGCC (1998-2002), we grew closer over the years, which is one of the benefits of age, I suppose.

As we all get older and our circles of friends become smaller, I guess it's natural to wonder if we made a difference. Did we leave a legacy behind. Did we touch anyone's heart and improved their lives?

In my view, Van's legacy is assured. He made a difference in many people's lives, including mine and the players in the HCM City golf community.

I am sure that he's looking down on us with a smile and wishing us all fairways and greens.

He will be missed.

Well, the new job of taking over both Dalat Palace GC and Ocean Dunes GC is definitely more interesting than I expected, but also a lot more fun.

However, the next person who asks me "how's life on the beach?" is gonna get a handful of sand crabs shoved down their shorts.

I haven't had time to go to the beach, or the pool as yet. It's been non-stop work since 1st November, but to be honest, I don't mind it. There are good staffs in both locations, Jeff set up the clubs very efficiently and, as everyone knows, the food at Ocean Dunes is superb.

Unfortunately, that also means I have to spend more time on the treadmill every night over at our sister facility, DuParc Hotel (formerly Novotel). Thankfully, the gym also has an OK gym, so my work-outs continue.

Oh, and for the record, despite what a certain professional heard, I am not wearing an earring. Never had one, have no plans to get one….but on second thought, a nice diamond stud would look pretty good. Naaaaaaaah…!

I will admit that ODGC was not in the best playing condition when I arrived, but it's getting there now. Anyone who knows me also knows I will never let something like that slide. So, with every passing day, things are getting better.

One thing that I highly appreciate is that most of the staff here have known me for years, so work is a lot easier than if I came to a club where I am a stranger.

OK, let me qualify that, yes I AM strange. Perhaps, stranger than most. But not a ‘stranger' as in someone you don't know. I am someone perhaps you don't want to know, at least until I've had my morning coffee… or my monthly rabies shot.

In a nutshell, ODGC reminds me of when I worked for VGCC (Thu Duc). We would arrive in the morning with a smile, laugh all day and go home with a smile. That is the way a club is supposed to feel. Happy.

Yes, I am somewhat happy.

I will admit that it's a strange sensation as I am not used to being "happy." During the last few years, I had become mostly grumpy and irritable. Hopefully, this re-discovered "happiness" will not have a negative effect on my health.

However, I am sure that if I become too happy, the BOD will find ways to rectify the situation. After all, they wouldn't want to do anything which would endanger my life, would they?

Hmm, I just had the oddest feeling that Jeff and Lars opened a book on how long this happiness would last.

I wonder if I can get good odds. — VNS

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