January 6, 2008

While you were gone...Dam Vac opened...sort of...

Well, here we go, teeing off on the first hole, er... week of a new year and I hope that everyone had a nice, restful, vacation, because now weíre probably gonna suffer for it.

Have you ever noticed that you seem to need a vacation to recover from a vacation?

Thereís gotta be something wrong with us as a species if we cannot handle a modicum of free time without destroying ourselves, yet, we do it anyway.

Granted, putting up with long-lost relatives, who you only see on infrequent holidays can be a bit tedious, but this is why there is always an option to go on a nice quiet holiday where you can play golf from sun up to sun down and let the rest of the family fend for themselves.

Then, when you get back, you can show off your "golferís tan", regale friends with heartbreaking stories of missed putts and drive the local club managers nuts by telling them how the club you played on holiday was far superior to your home course and demand immediate changes.

The smart managers know enough to take their holidays in the week following yours in the hope that any inane ideas rattling around inside your head will have been forgotten by the time we return, such as the one about "air conditioners in the buggies."

Anyway, while all of you have been away enjoying yourselves, life here in Vietnam continued...and a lot of golf was played at the nationís courses over the holidays.

In a surprising bit of news, the "long awaited" Dam Vac Golf & Country Club in Vinh Phuc province FINALLY opened its first nine holes for trial play by members and their guests one day before the New Year.

Imagine the shock and surprise the members got when a mysterious e-mail showed up in their computers inviting them to come out and try the course and help train the caddies right after Christmas.

Perhaps there is a Santa Claus after all.

Initial comments about the course itself were actually quite complimentary, with one member going so far as to claim that it would be as good or better than Van Tri after it grows in more and as the manager of DVCC, I take that as a very high compliment because I have the highest regard for Van Tri and its designer Chief Inspector Peter Clouseau, er...Rousseau.

While the first nine holes are open, sadly, most of the support facilities are not, so it was a bit difficult for the staff during the first few days, but I anticipate a Kiosk opening this week, so at least there will be food and toilets.

Trial period remains solely for members and their guests at this time. If you want to try out the course, youíre gonna have to either buy a membership or become close friends with a current member.

DVCC expects the second nine holes to be ready for play around June 2008.

In other news...

I noticed an item last week in Vietnam News which mentioned that there is a disproportionate amount of boys being born compared to girls. While this seems to be a nationwide trend, it certainly is not the case for those of us in the golf business.

Big Jeff Puchalski has a son and a daughter. Lars Holden, GM of Chi Linh Star has a daughter. Teaching professional Gopala Krishnan has a daughter. Chavalit Osathanonda, golf course construction manager, has two daughters, legendary golf course shaper Calvin Sylva just had a daughter, Commander Ian Fleming out at Van Tri, also has a daughter.

And, as the loyal readers of this column know, I have a daughter as well and never shut up about it.

Apparently, while the rest of the nation is actively trying to have boys rather than girls, we in the golf industry are doing our part to correct this tragic imbalance but, obviously, we need to either "do more".

For the record, we have long since given up speculation why golf professionals and course managers in Vietnam seem to have more daughters than sons, but we have heard all the jokes...

None, of which, are fit for publication in the nationís English language daily.

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