29 July 2009

New Grooves' issue

Greg Norman says it would be a good idea for current PGA Tour players to start using new grooves that will be required for play starting January 1. According to rumours, Tiger Woods is already gaming them.

27 July 2009

Golf Malaysia Magazine's Survey

Golf Malaysia Magazine conducted a survey to gauge the state of the Malaysian golf industry after six months into the year 2009. A total of 102 clubs responded to the survey, in which they were asked about the three worrying issues they are currently facing. Their answers are:
- Maintaining membership
- The increasing cost for course maintenance and improvement
- Ageing membership

Apart from that, clubs were also asked to put forward their counter-measures for the weak economy. Here are some of the special packages clubs will offer to 'fight' the weak economy:
- Membership fee reduction
- Pay-and-Play campaigns, in which everyone is welcome to play at the clubs
- The offer of term memberships for up to two years to prospective members
- The abolishment of waiting lists
- Attracting juniors golfers

What are your thoughts on the Malaysian golf industry? Send your responses to golfmsia@golfmalaysia.com.my!

20 July 2009

Handy Han Wins Golf Malaysia’s Eagles Championship 2009

Han Choong Ching (handicap 4) broke away from the field with 41 Stableford (modified) points to take the champion’s trophy in Division 1 of Golf Malaysia’s Eagles Championship on 18 July 2009.

The 100-strong field of eagle achievers teed off on the 6,154-metre Bukit Kemuning Golf & Country Club in Shah Alam, Selangor, for the ninth edition of the tournament, which is organised exclusively for golfers have achieved an eagle during a round of golf in Malaysia and subsequently registered with Golf Malaysia Magazine’s Eagles Club.

“This is my second time playing in the Eagles but I didn’t win anything last year. I am very happy to win today and I’m definitely playing again next year, since I will be the defending champion,” said the smiling Han, who earned, for his effort, a unique Golf Malaysia Eagles Trophy, an all-expenses-paid holiday trip to Macau for two and an armload of other rewards from the event’s generous sponsors.

Four points off the pace, at 39, were Shafie Hj Mohd Noor (10) and Lam Kong Foo (5), with Shafie claiming the second spot on countback.

Another countback was needed to break the tie between Rozaini Md Isa (9) and Fadil Dalal (7), who both returned 38 points, with Rozaini, a first-timer to Golf Malaysia’s Eagles Championship, placed fourth after the countback.

“I had a very good game today with two birdies and eight pars. The best part of my game today was my chipping. It was surprising that I won the fourth place, as I never expected to win,” said an excited Rozaini.

In Division 2 (handicap 13 to 19), Alvin Ooi Chee Hoong (13) triumphed over Mohd Ghofran Atan (13) on countback after both posted 37 points.

Ooi, who prepared for the tournament by practising at Bukit Kemuning for five days prior to this tournament, said: “My practise rounds certainly paid off! Today is certainly a good day for me.”

Despite the countback loss, Mohd Ghofran, who is from Kluang, Johor, expressed happiness with being second. “I am surprised with my win today, as this is my first time playing at Bukit Kemuning,” he revealed. “I travelled all the way up to Selangor to play, but the journey was certainly worth it. This is a good course although with a lot of bunkers – I got stuck in those sandy hazards twice! Anyway, I played to my handicap and managed a birdie and a lot of pars. I think I’m one lucky man to have won!”

The competitive Division 2 saw nine players tied at 36 points. Upon countback, Eddie Eng Khoon Hong, Dato’ Muhammad Nasir Puteh and Yusman Darmawan were placed third, fourth and fifth respectively.

“There are so many good players today and I still cannot believe that I have won something! I am very happy to win the third place, which has now made me more confident about my game,” said Eng, while Yusman, who was also a newbie to the Golf Malaysia’s Eagles Championship, disclosed that he was disappointed with his short game. “Thankfully my driving and putting was good. They actually saved my game today,” Yusman related.

Yau Wai Heng (20), last year’s Division 2 second runner-up, was victorious this year in Division 3 (handicap 20 and above). The surprised winner confided: “Actually my game today was not so good, as I think the course was a bit tough. I have played here before but that was two years ago. Although I won the Division 3, I am disappointed with my game as I didn’t manage to birdie any hole. I will definitely come back next year to improve my score!”

Yau also managed to send his golf ball two feet and eight inches from the line at Hole No. 10 to win the Nearest-to-Line race, of which he said: “I think I’m also very lucky to have won the Acer Netbook. Truthfully, I couldn’t see the line and I didn’t even give any thoughts about it, but winning was great!”

Tailing by one point were Brian Lew (20), Dr Mohar Kassim (20) and KK Seah (20). The double-eagle achiever Lew was second on countback, with Dr Mohar and Seah taking third and fourth respectively.

“I have been travelling a lot for work these one and a half years, so I didn’t manage to practise my swings. I think I played just an average game today, with three pars and lots of bogeys. So I am very surprised and happy with this win as I had no practice [before this tournament]. I think if I put in more effort, I could have gotten better results today,” divulged Lew.

Dr Mohar, who works in Perak and came to Kuala Lumpur just to play in this Eagles Championship, offered: “I am a bit frustrated because I missed my chance of winning the Longest Drive prize, but I will try again next year.”

Tight competition also appeared in the Ladies’ category, when Ann Tan (12) and Datin Noor Aini Samsudin (17) both shot 36 points. After countback, Tan went home the winner.

“This course is quite difficult for ladies, but I managed to overcome it. My short game saved me. I’m very happy to win this tournament,” said Tan, who was fourth in the 2008 edition of the championship.

Datin Noor Aini, the runner-up, said this of her play: “At first, my 3-wood didn’t do justice to me at all. I stopped using it and changed to my 5-wood, and my game became better.”

Chin Phet Ha (22), who settled for third two points back, attributed her win to luck, as there were very few ladies in the field.

After winning the Invitational category by posting 19 points on the first nine and 17 on the closing, Moh Kam Wah (12) from Acer Malaysia had this to say: “I think I was lucky to have won because I wasn’t playing that well. Thankfully I had a few lucky breaks in between!”

Moh, who also won a Nikon digital camera for being the one to send his golf ball nearest to the bunker at a distance of nine feet on Hole 4, added: “Wow, I won the Nearest-to-Bunker Novelty event? I thought there would be other players who would do better than me, as the area was wide! I got an eagle a few years back but I didn’t register my eagle with Golf Malaysia magazine. I am now targeting to achieve another so that I can play in the Eagles Championship, not as an invitational player, but as a participant, as the prizes are great!”

In the remaining novelty events, Lam Kong Foo earned the Longest Drive with an impressive 252-metre smash at Hole No. 16. Chow Meng Fatt clinched the Nearest-to-Pin by stopping his shot seven feet from the cup to win a Nikon Laser Rangefinder while Rozaini Md Isa was the Bull’s Eye winner at Hole No. 13 to gain a Nature Valley hamper.

There were no takers for the hole-in-one prize of a Panasonic Panaboard and a Nikon digital camera (for aces achieved on the first nine) or Acer Aspire One Netbook (for a hole-in-one on the second nine). The field eagle achievers also did not manage to add any eagles to their résumés and thus no one claimed any of the Nature Valley hampers up for grabs.

Jean Daniels, a 14-time champion of the Longest Drive Challenge, treated participants to a special demonstration during lunch with tips that are sure to add distance to their drives. Two fruitful lucky draw segments were also part of the post-tournament activities, making everyone a winner.

Joining Golf Malaysia to make the tournament a resounding success were the following sponsors: Nikon, Acer, Heineken Beer, Macau Government Tourist Office, Svenson, Men’s Skin Centres, FusionExcel, Avène, Nuvafemme, Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, SunPlay, Isomax isotonic drink and Daisy Springs mineral water.

Golf Malaysia’s Eagles Championship 2009 Results
Division 1 (0 to 12 handicap)
1. Han Choong Ching (4) 43 points
2. Shafie Hj Mohd Noor (10) 39 points ocb
3. Lam Kong Foo (5) 39 points
4. Rozaini Md Isa (9) 38 points ocb
5. Fadil Dalal (7) 38 points ocb

Division 2 (13 to 19)
1. Alvin Ooi Chee Hoong (13) 37 points ocb
2. Mohd Ghofran Atan (13) 37 points
3. Eddie Eng Khoon Hong (15) 36 points ocb
4. Dato’ Muhammad Nasir Puteh (16) 36 points ocb
5. Yusman Darmawan (16) 36 points ocb

Division 3 (20 and above)
1. Yau Wai Heng (20) 36 points
2. Brian Lew (20) 35 points ocb
3. Dr Mohar Kassim (20) 35 points ocb
4. KK Seah (23) 35 points
5. Wee Hen Cheng (22) 34 points

Ladies’ Division (0 to 30)
1. Ann Tan (12) 36 points ocb
2. Datin Noor Aini Samsudin (17) 36 points
3. Chin Phet Ha (22) 34 points

Invitational Category
1. Moh Kam Wah (12) 36 points ocb
2. Jashpaul (18) 36 points
3. Imran Mohamad Nor (14) 34 points

Novelty Events
Eagles’ Longest Drive (Hole 16) : Lam Kong Foo (252 metres)
Nearest-to-Line (Hole 10) : Yau Wai Heng (2 feet 8 inches)
Nearest-to-Pin (Hole 6) : Chow Meng Fatt (7 feet)
Nearest-to-Bunker (Hole 4) : Moh Kam Wah (9 feet 0 inches)
Bull’s Eye (Hole 13) : Rozaini Md Isa

17 July 2009

Coming Soon! Maruman-Golf Malaysia Irons Challenge

It's Full House! Entries to Golf Malaysia Eagles Championship is now closed. The next tournament you can play in is the Maruman-Golf Malaysia Irons Challenge. Pick your choice of venue: Swiss-Garden Damai Laut Resort in Perak on 1st August and the brand-new The Sarawak Golf Resort in Kuching on 15th August.

Come join in the fun!

04 July 2009

Fear Factor...

Nowadays, everyone who travels by air goes through airport security checkpoints. These checkpoints are there to make sure that nobody brings ‘prohibited items’ into the secure area of an airport, or aboard an aircraft.

In some countries (and definitely in the US), you are required to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detector. If you do not comply with the security personnel, you will not be allowed to board the plane.

Added to this all-time high security, we now have the hassle of health quarantine officers to deal with, who not only slow the process down, but also can make it extremely inconvenient. Unfortunately, the airport security and possibly the H1N1 health security are here to stay and we must learn to adapt by being flexible.

Recently, I flew out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport on a United jumbo jet, and I was to transit in Shanghai Pudong (a major air hub and transfer point for flights throughout Asia) on my way back to Kuala Lumpur.

As soon as UA 539 was secured on the aerobridge, all passengers were held for two hours in the plane because China’s health officials boarded the aircraft in their attempt to contain the H1N1 virus.

In the plane, I saw something that I hadn’t seen before. About a dozen health personnel, in bio-hazard suits, scanned each of us – one by one – for any potential fever or other signs and symptoms of a virus.

While this is a good process to protect the people and the country (if the potential exists), it is very inconvenient for the 99% who are not running fevers or carrying a virus.

Also, all incoming passengers had to fill out a quarantine form, with addresses and telephone numbers required, upon landing in China. I think it is a total waste of time. It’s hard to imagine anybody with a sore throat, or having back aches and a slight headache, actually admitting it on a form, as it would expose them to a possible quarantine. Plus, the H1N1 virus can remain asymptomatic for the duration of 12 hours, so you might be infected without you yourself knowing it!

Despite these stringent checks, the authorities are also concerned about whether the disease could spread on the handle of suitcases. How do you escape that?

Recently the mayor of New Orleans arrived in Shanghai and together with his travelling group, they were quarantined for several days before being released to continue on their trip to Australia, so it can even happen to the bigwigs.

As I penned this editorial, according to the World Health Organisation figures, the H1N1 flu has spread to 74 countries, with 27,737 reported cases and 141 deaths. Consequently, for us to remain free from contracting the virus or at the very least, greatly lower our risk, it presently appears the only way to make our golfing trip less painful and less stressful is to stay at home and golf in our own backyard. Neighbouring countries, maybe?

In the July issue of Golf Malaysia magazine, we present you an array of home turf golf courses that are offering value for money packages, so check them out.

And, if you must travel and go through a China airport, remember, due to new, extra layers of security being implemented, you should plan your arrival extra early to make your connection on time, as China will quarantine you as soon as your plane touches down.

Happy golfing!

Juliana Cheah