By Robert Bicknell

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December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas / Happy New YearÖ

Tíwas the night before Christmas, at the clubs in Vietnam,
    The golf directors scanned the tee sheets with both amusement and alarm.

For many years past, foreigners went home,
    To celebrate with their families, leaving us here all alone.

We didnít complain, as we enjoyed the rest,
    And had a few rounds of golf with family and friends we like best.

Yet, times have changed, we did it to ourselves,
    Our tee sheets now full, with golfers, and not elves.

The economy is good, the dragon keeps ascending,
    The players keep coming, in the pro shop they are spending.

Dollars and Dong, Euro and Yen,
    They play a fast round, eat lunch and do it all over again.

It means more work for the staff, that much is true,
    But we happily do it, as much for us as for you too.

While writing this muse, I heard such a clatter,
    Sadly, it wasnít St Nick, just some staff falling off a ladder.

So to those who will stay, during this holiday time,
    Iíll see you on the course, please remember to book a tee time.

Another Christmas means the possibility of getting in a few relaxing rounds, but I hope that the weather co-operates because heading to Phan Thiet is too difficult as everyone has the same idea. But if I could, I would.

Another Christmas also means yet another round of mock gifts for me to send to friends. Unfortunately, since I am cheaper than Jack Benny, it will be only in print because these gifts would be too expensive for my poor wallet, and some donít even exist except in my twisted mind...

But if they did...

First of all, let me say that there is no truth to the rumour that the other pros had Lars Holden give me a set of custom-made set "boomerang ironsí in the hope that the next time I got pissed off and threw a club it would come back and take my head off.

Now, speaking of Lars Holden, I will refrain from the usual jokes and get him something that he really needs...a jet pack to him get back and forth between Chi Linh Star and his soon-to-open new course, Dai Lai Star. Sorry mate, but helicopters require special licenses....

All that inter-club travel is old-hat for Jeff Puchalski who did it for many years between Phan Thiet, Da Lat and HCM City. But with the new Montgomerie course under construction, Big Jeff would benefit from a Star Trek Transporter which also doubles as a barbeque grill when not in use.

Ian Fleming over at Van Tri should get a custom Aston Martin 007 edition (as to not be out of place with the super VIP members). The car would be complete with bullet proof windows and an ejection seat, just in case....

The other half of that act, Grahame Harris (aka "The Baron") who is now enjoying the fruits of his labour in Da Lat, would get a castle and the wench of his dreams (of course, if he gets the wench, his wife gets the castle and a whole lot of money), so maybe itís better if I just get him castle and a vineyard).

Laurent Nguyen, king of the bug catchers, would get what he most desires...a mosquito plague of Biblical proportions in whichever market he is targeting next.

Gopala Krishnan over at Zone Golf gets a "Nukepack Driver" which guarantees to give him 50 yards more off the tee (yes, I know a blood transfusion from Lars would do the same thing, but never try to get blood from a golf pro)

Michael Moh, formerly of the Hanoi Club and now in the Golf Tour business, would get Liberaceís entire wardrobe.

Steven Banks, who is sitting up there in Tam Dao, gets a hot-air balloon shuttle service to get players from downtown to the club without having to break an axle on that stupid high-way (I will borrow it to get players to my club as well).

My daughter Karin (who thinks every day is Christmas) gets everything she wants...like always.

To all the readers of this column, both old and new, I and my family would like to wish you the very happiest holiday seasons and sincere best wishes for the coming New Year.

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