Golf World

Vietnam golf-1

Golf World – Good Morning Vietnam

Golf’s phenomenal global reach has seen the game pitch up in some pretty interesting places over the last two centuries. From putting surfaces perched on precipitous Himalayan hillsides to fairways tended by giraffe on South African game reserves, the sport has spread far and wide from its ancestral birthplace on windswept real estate next to choppy Scottish seas. Such is the scope of the boom that you half suspect that the next man that walks on the moon will be there to conduct a feasibility study for a new championship course. Despite this hegemony, however, there are still destinations that don’t feel like an immediate fit on first glance. Vietnam is one of them. Like many people, my formative knowledge of the south-east Asian country was based upon Hollywood war movies and tragic history lessons. Of course, the country has long since moved on from the horrors it was subjected to in the 1960s and ’70s and these days its thirst for tourists is as virulent as any in the region. Extensive construction of golf courses is a major part of…

Borneo golf -1

Golf World – Land of the Orangutan

The possession of a good nickname may not be aprerequisite for golfing immortality, but it certainly helps to build up an aura. Jack Nicklaus, of course, was known as ‘The Golden Bear’ during his three decade-long prowl for championships, and most other greats have had a catchy label foisted upon them at some time or another. Arnold Palmer was ‘The King’, Ben Hogan variously ‘The Hawk’ and ‘The Ice Man’, while Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods has been wiping the floor over rivals such as Phil ‘Lefty’ Mickelson and Ernie ‘The Big Easy’ Els. Unlike these luminaries I have never previously had an alter-ego during a long and not very illustrious career – apart, perhaps, from when the name ‘Psycho’ stuck after a particularly unedifying temper tantrum in a pot- bunker at North Berwick’s 16th hole. So I was more than a little suspicious when my playing partner Phua started calling me ‘Sultan’ midway through our round at the fabulous course at the Royal Brunei Golf and Country Club. I hadn’t been playing badly, but neither had my shotmaking been good enough…