Friday, December 6 2019


Teed Off (Mar. 30, 2014)

Update: March, 30/2014 - 20:21

with Robert Bicknell

First off, let me thank Mr Hai and his staff over at Lion Golf in HCM City for their excellent work in adjusting the lie of my irons two weeks ago. They now fit like a glove and performed perfectly. Pity my putter refused to cooperate… oh well.

For some reason, many amateur golfers refuse to understand that golf clubs are like clothes - they look (perform) best when they are "tailored" for the person. When you buy from a store, you're buying a generic set-up -one that supposedly fits everyone. Just like buying clothes off the rack and then wondering why they don't fit perfectly. It's always better to have them custom made to your specifications, but if you already have a set of clubs and don't want to buy new ones, you can have your set adjusted to fit you better. Every pro knows the value of this and now the amateurs need to learn it.

If you need your clubs fixed or adjusted, go check out Lion Golf on Nguyen Huu Canh street in Binh Thanh District. They're the best in the city.

OK, onwards…

According to statistics, a round of golf in the UK and the US takes between 3-4 hours, depending on the conditions, the course and the skill level of the players. Take more than four hours and the marshal will be calling you terrible names.

Take longer than 4 and a half hours and they might escort you off the course.

Here in Viet Nam, a round of golf - even weekday - might take over five hours and tournaments usually take 5-6 hours depending on the course, skill level of the players and how many people they tried to stuff onto the event.

One local golf director mentioned to me that "five hours is actually pretty good."

Considering that I had 41 putts that day, you can imagine that I wasn't happy to begin with and that comment kinda lit the fuse. To make matters worse, he used to work for me and should remember how hard we pushed people in our events and did everything we could to keep the rounds close to 4 and a half hours.

Fortunately, we remain friends - he's used to me blowing my lid.

But what irks me is that this is the sentiment at most, if not all, clubs in Viet Nam. They have decided that western standards cannot apply here and we should forget about trying to enforce the unenforceable. Heck, if the police cannot enforce the rules of the road, what chance does a poor golf director have against those same people on the golf course?

"Not a chance in Hell" is the correct answer, unless they and the marshals have the full support of the General Manager, General Director, Board of Directors and the members themselves.

Like I said, "not a chance in Hell", nowadays.

When my clubs were able to do it, we had the required support of the parties above. Unfortunately, with the economy still hurting, clubs are very reluctant to offend any potential member or paying customer by insisting they obey the club rules and pace of play.

Clubs also try to shoehorn in every possible round they can to increase their profits. While this might seem like a good business plan, in the end, it hurts them because the club gets a reputation for slow play and golfers start to look elsewhere.

Five to six hours in the hot South East Asian sun is not a lot of fun - especially in the summertime.

The only chance we have is for the players to understand that they are the problem and need to adjust their style of play. If they increase their walking speed and stop triple-checking every putt like it's the Masters tournament, they might actually play better.

Studies have proven that faster players play better because they do not over-think every shot. In many cases, the first look at the putting line is the correct one. The first impression for club selection is the right one and, most importantly, taking less time over the ball decreases tension and allows you to swing more fluidly.

A good pre-shot routine allows you to stay in a comfortable rhythm, even if your friends are playing slow or fast.

The game of golf is a leisurely pursuit, but not that leisurely… — VNS

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