Thistle Port Dickson Golf Club

Introduction

Long time ago, there was once a course called Guoman Golf Course in Port Dickson. The name ‘Guoman’ immediately would evoke some confused looks amongst us, because it sounded like ‘Go-men’, in short, in Malaysian speak, ‘Government’, in short, evoking immediate ridicule. After the sarcastic laughter has died down, and the invariable diatribe on how our government might be spending their time playing golf and sucking badly at it, we would wonder how this golf course actually is.

Well, we finally had a chance. To give credit, Guoman has nothing to do with our beloved government at all. But after experiencing probably only 2 – 3 people staying there the whole year thanks to its association, management decided to change its name to ‘Thistle’ and from there, experienced a boom of about 655,675,342% increase in hotel booking.

Travel (3/5)

Travel is actually quite easy. However, Google Map points to the wrong hotel and wrong area, so be careful. Basically for those of you who knows Port Dickson, it’s basically one long stretch of road. We used to refer it to what ‘mile’ what ‘mile’, as if we understood or could gauge which mile were we at. Nowadays with the advent of free GPS in waze and Google Maps, it has rendered all this ‘mile’ speak obsolete. From Seremban, hit the Port Dickson Highway, and once at the end of the highway at the roundabout, take left, and just follow the road until you see the word Thistle on the right. It’s easy, but Thistle should really correct their position on Google map properly.

Price (3/5)

Thistle Golf is a nine hole course, that set me back RM40. Now mind you this is for walking, so if you need the buggy, that’s an additional RM40, so you’re looking at RM60 or RM80 depending if you are playing alone or not. RM40 is not bad for a nine hole course. Take a trolley though. The course itself is walkable. There is a bit of hill here and there, but nothing a fit golfer who is around 150% overweight and probably on the high side of cholesterol can’t handle. Besides walking should be good for you.

First thoughts

The first thoughts is actually quite positive, strangely. I suppose it comes with the territory, that I have such low expectations of Port Dickson golf courses. I think this stems from my experience with Royal Palm Springs Port Dickson, where you just want to bleep out every letter in that course name except for ‘Dick’. Royal Palm Springs, from my last experience is the biggest piece of dung ever existed in the directory of Malaysian Golf courses, and could rival the horrendous TUDM course of Kuantan as the worst Golf Course in Malaysia.

So when I step foot in Thistle and saw the Bermuda patch of grass (please note, we actually don’t quite know what the fishcakes is Bermuda grass. Anything that is NOT cowgrass, is automatically categorised as Bermuda grass.) Anyways, the fairway is NOT cowgrass. Or if it is, it certainly had me fooled. Anyway, the first 3 wood I hit landed smack on the fairway and it sat up invitingly for me to hit. It’s quite a good conditioned golf course. So, like its bigger brother, the Port Dickson golf course, it made a first good impression.

Service (3/5)

There’s seriously not much to service. It’s a nine hole golf course. It has no fuss at all. I went to the counter, said I wanted to play. The lady behind languidly asked if I needed the buggy, I said no, she said RM40, I gave her and she said OK, and went back to playing her Candy Crush. From there, I had no more experience with another human being until I left the course after an hour and a half. The ENTIRE course was devoid of life. At one point I was quite afraid I would be robbed especially in the 6th hole, which is frankly extremely deserted.

Fairways (2/5)

The fairway on the first hole was in a good condition. However, as the course progressed on, it got increasingly worse. Not to say anything, but I suppose it’s the fact that the course has so little traffic and so little maintenance. Some parts were dug up by our eternal nemesis, the wild boar. Some parts simply didn’t had the capability to sustain the grass, and in some areas, the fairway was allowed to grow long. Now, Thistle is a very narrow course, with forbidding trees surrounding it. However, compared to the absolute horror show of Frasers Hill course, it is quite good. I’d say, it’s like a cousin of Bukit Unggul, except in better condition.

Greens (3/5)

The greens were actually quite playable. Very slow, which is expected, since it wasn’t pressed properly, but at least it wasn’t in a horrible condition. It’s reasonable, although there were patches here and there. The only issue is that the greens were boring. As in, most of it were flat. As in, it’s like putting at home in the putting mat. Not much break or variation, except for the 8th hole Par 3, where a coconut tree decided to grow in the middle of the putting green. I mean it’s more novelty than anything else since it didnt really affect play.

Rough (2/5)

Bunkers were not in good condition. The rough was rough. I mean, if you don’t hit the fairway, that’s it, good luck in finding your ball. While again, it wasn’t in such a carwreck like Frasers, the course puts a lot of pressure on you finding the fairway. In many instances, I took out a 3 wood instead, just to get the ball out of the rough.

Aesthetics (2/5)

Thistle is not a pretty course. It’s a good enough course for you to have a reasonable round of golf when you have nothing much to do in Port Dickson, but in terms of aesthetics, it’s mostly wooded. It’s a pity, because again, it doesn’t take advantage of the fact that you are next to the ocean. Or straits, or whatever. Only in one hole, 7th, we can catch a brief glimpse of the sea at the tee box. And that’s it. After that, it’s back to fairways bordered with trees and forests.

 

Fun Factor (2/5)

As mentioned, Thistle is a reasonable practice for golf accuracy. For those who like to grip and rip, like myself, this was a test of golf constipation. It’s like we have a big pile of crap that has to come out but when you look at the fairway, it’s like, trouble left, trouble right. For a course next to the sea, it uses precious little water as hazard, only the first hole, 5th and the 8th has any semblance of water hazard. But the treelines are forbidding. Not so much that you can’t hit there, but when you do, whether you want to risk it to go and look for a ball or risk having your human balls snapped by a cobra.

Furthermore, a thunderstorm was chasing me, so I literally had to run between shots to finish the game. Now, this is obviously not the golf course fault, but obviously it affected my game a little. Besides that, the course was open, so you can play as much as you want, but I would warn against single women who want to play there. Many of the holes are extremely isolated from civilisation, and I would not recommend any lady going to hit balls there alone without having someone else.

Was it fun? Yes and no. I played a reasonably good game despite half jogging. I didn’t quite like the two par 3s side by side, or the fact that the course had 3 Par 3s for a 35. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good Par 3, but too many here. First hole has to be navigated with a 3 wood and avoid the right water. The second hole is a long Par 5 which requires some navigation around the bend. The third is a short par 4 once you cut the slight dog leg, where by 3 wood only left me 50 meters to the hole.

The most challenging is the index 1 6th. This is a par 5, and one of those with trouble on the left (OB). I took out my driver and was too lazy to change to 3 wood, so I smacked mine way right. Luckily it was long enough to borrow the green of the next hole 7th and I found my ball, after which I proceeded to double bogey it. Hole 7 again is a short par 4 where my Wood 3 left me again with a 50 meter shot, which I promptly skulled.

Finally, the par 3 8th is a picturesque one, over water and with a coconut tree growing in the middle of the green.

The ending hole, finally I could whip out my driver, a simple dogleg left hole, which was not exceptional except for the fact that I had to sprint all the way in order to beat the rain.

Conclusion

Honestly, for a nine hole, Thistle is actually very functional. For a more satisfying round, I would recommend 18 holes at the PD golf course (NOT the dang Royal Palm Springs). But if you only have around 2 hours to spare, and want to have a walk, Thistle is a very good alternative. I’d recommend it, but not for ladies playing alone.

The good: Reasonably priced; easy access; quick service that gets you on the course; reasonably conditioned fairways and greens

The bad: Boring aesthetics; rough is dangerous in my opinion as in God-Knows-what-the-heck-is-in-there dangerous; flat greens makes putting a yawnful affair; doesn’t take advantage of seaside location;a little too isolated in some holes for a single golfer.

The skinny: 20 of 40 divots (50%).

Not bad for a golf course previously associated with Goumen. I did not really expect too much, and in reality, it didn’t really surpass my expectation much. It did not offer a lot actually, but what it did offer was functional golf, challenging for the accuracy, and something for you to escape a 2 hour window in.

Thistle Port Dickson Golf Club Scorecard

Thistle Golf Information

Address: KM16 Jalan Pantai, Teluk Kemang, 71050 Si Rusa, Port Dickson 71050

Contact: +606 648 2828

Fax: +606 662 7999

Websit: http://www.thistle.com/hotels/malaysia/port_dickson/thistle_port_dickson/hotel_facilities/9_hole_golf_course.html

 

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What Happened to You, Impian?

Once upon a time, when Saujana used to run it, Impian Golf and Country Club used to be one of our favourite haunts. It had one of the best greens ever, and the fairway as well were excellently manicured. The caddies were a useless bunch of nitwits though, but overall, the experience had always been very good.

For some strange reason, though, I never could score very well there. Perhaps it was due to the deceivingly tight fairways, that undulates and drops off to valleys and hills. Perhaps it’s just that some of the holes were ‘hooker’ unfriendly, meaning, lots of trouble on the left which leaves a nightmare for guys with a hook as his bad shot. Or the table top greens.

But I played there this week and had one of the worst experience of golf in living memory. No, the fairways were OK (although getting progressively worse). The greens were horribly slow. Like S.L.O.W. It was difficult to putt and to gauge, and ended up with loads of 3 putts etc. The bunkers were wet and hard.

But it wasn’t these problems. We had a group in front of us that were absolutely the worst golfers in the history of bad golfers. Not that they couldn’t hit it. But they were absolutely without ethics at all, and slowed the game down so much that I felt like buying a thousand piranhas and pouring them down each of their respective pants. I mean bad golf is one thing. Slow golf is another. Deliberately slow golf is unforgivable. We were waiting — I kid you not — almost 10 minutes between shots.

They would drive their buggy. Wait. Then some of them would get down while talking. Take out their clubs. Put back. Take out their clubs again. They would ALL wait till the first guy hits, then walk to their ball. Worse, some of them took so long to swing that I could have gone for a poop in the jungle and came back and still waited. I absolutely, unreservedly DETEST golfers like that and wish them to be tied to the 150 marker on a driving range with a thousand balls flying towards them. One of them would hit his shot, pose UNTIL his darn ball landed. As in pose. With a frozen follow through as if his photo was taken. For every shot.

Come on!!!

Soon, the flight in front of them disappeared, and they were 2 holes behind. As in at their tee off, the flight in front of them were hitting the second shot of the NEXT hole. I believe in this theory: that if the flight had a Dato, or an MD, or a big boss, and the other 3 are kiss-ass subordinates who just took up golf or smoking so they can wipe their MD’s ass: the MD/Dato/recepient of ass-wiping would invariably suck at golf. Because none of his spineless partners would dare to tell him he suck and he should go for golf lessons. None of his spineless partners would say, “Boss, can you hurry up, the 4 chinamen behind us are already lying on the fairway and opening their beer cans”. None of these gutless sotongs would dare teach their MD, instead most of them would say, “Wow, so spectacular your driver, that you can shape your drive like a pitching wedge shot”.

So there was this guy dressed in white ahead of us who was just a sorry excuse of a golfer. He couldn’t play. But you could see his 3 spineless toadies fawning near him.

Guys. Don’t kiss ass. Just play the game and tell your boss to go for proper lessons instead of messing up the course and destroying people’s lives in the process.

Impian, due to the poor marshals and governance did not manage to get these buffoons  out of the course, despite many of our pleas to have us pass through. They completely ignored us even when we all sat down and just looked at them from where we were in protest. In fact at one point, we started teeing off our balls towards the side netting on the tee box, as if we were at the driving range. I swear they actually slowed down just to annoy us.

Now I don’t like to blame people if I had a bad day at golf. But front nine played like this:

+9 from hole 2, 3,4 and 5, scoring a massive +15 overall in front 9. Back nine, they cleared out faster, because we took a break a bit and finally the marshal started doing his job: +6. My 51-42 was 9 strokes different. And my 42 included a 2 on on the par 5 on the 17th. My drive left me around 160, to the green, where my 6 iron brought me within an 8 feet putt for eagle. My stupidity and greediness caused me to roll my eagle 4 feet past the hole and I retardedly miss my birdie. 3 putt from 8 feet!!!

I suppose I am somewhat of a rhythm player. And I can’t play when I am pissed off with the front molasses. I kept duck hooking my drives in the first 9, that got me even more pissed, so it was like a never ending spiral of death. Until they cleared out in the back 9 and we could finally play our golf without stopping.

To the flight in front of us, may you never set foot on a golf course ever again, not the MD, or your boneless underlings who are supposed to be working but are obviously either too lazy or incapable, that they need to play golf to get promotion.

Better stop before I get pissed off again.

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Dawn of a new Era

As some of our most loyal readers would know, we are ridiculously, unreasonably, fanatically biased towards a guy called Tiger Woods when it comes it golf. It is an irrational loyalty to the guy who coined Sunday Red in the lore of golf. Throughout his sexcapades, we have stayed with him, remaining as one of his main sponsors, even to the point that he was unaware of it. Throughout his injuries, we stuck with him, and even continued to offer money into our Tiger Fund, which as of this date, we have -10RM, the 10 RM was withdrawn due to our group not having enough money to pay for our golf lunch. In fact we were so serious with our fanaticism for Tiger that we all had a vow of silence for 3 months, which is why you have not seen this blog updated since April. In fact we have more than 6,534 articles written ready to be posted, but due to our vow of silence, we have decided to destroy all these articles and start from scratch. Yes, we are fanatics.

But now, even Gilagolf must admit – the time has come.

With Rory graduating from a half beserk nincompoop who threw away Augusta to the actual person taking over Tiger’s throne, and with Tiger’s injury (again) flaring up again, it’s hard to see how our good friend will ever recover from this. Even if he does, he has this punk with his curly hairstyle to contend with. And unlike Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickleson and Steven Ames, they are not going to wither like a flower when Tiger steps up to the tee. Anyone know what the heck happened to Vijay Singh?

So the truth is this: Jack Nicklaus record remains. Tiger will fall short. And despite him being more than 20 years in the circuit, golf is still a white man game. And now, the top 5 in the world isn’t even American.  Nicklaus and Palmer will be turning in their graves, I think. Wait, oops, they are not dead yet. Sorry, my bad. Need to google more.

A big congrats to Rory, but it is definitely the end of Tiger after this. It’s been a fun ride while it lasted.

 

 

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The Masters is HERE!

Despite the current pall that is sitting on the golf world thanks to our world number 1 being out of the Masters, there is still plenty to watch. It’s not to say that golf has found a way to survive without Mr Woods, because frankly, I still think it’s boring like heck when he’s not playing. I have not watched any Non-Tiger tournament this year, and I can’t even care less which of these overweight contenders won in the last tournament.

But the Masters have a different ring to it. In fact, the Masters and the Open is probably the only Majors that I would watch. Forget about the US Open or PGA championship. Between the Masters and Open, I would probably pick the Masters. Because it’s the only major to be played year in year out at the same location and with so much drama packed within 4 days in spring.

So what this year? Are we going to see the Chip that Tiger did in 2005? Or the ridiculous duck hook shot at the 10th two years back? Or in that same year, a double eagle from Louis Ooist–I don’t know how to spell his name, that guy with the gap in his two front teeth. If he had won, it would have been one of the immortal shots of Augusta, where they said, from launch to dropping in the hole, it was about 40 seconds.

So if you are a betting man, who would you pick? There is a good article for the US Masters betting preview here, where it rightly puts Rory, Adam Scott and Phil up there as favourites. But let’s not forget Jason Day, who is the second Aussie in the top 5 and the strangely revived Sergio Garcia. If I had to pick, I’d want Sergio to win it. Over the years, my stance has somewhat soften with him, and now, just want him to win that major tournament that is due to his prodigious talent.

So let the Masters begin!

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Thoughts on MH370

I actually had quite a lot to write regarding my recent outing in Impiana golf last week, but after what happened to MH370, everything else seems a little trivial.

This is a little close to my heart in a way, as my wife was supposed to be flying to Beijing that weekend itself on a Sunday. So it was 2 flights ahead of the lost MH370.

I asked her if it wasn’t for our son, would she have gone earlier to have the weekend there before the Monday meetings and she said, yes, probably on the flight on Friday night.

I obviously don’t know or don’t understand how it must be for the families right now. It seems almost presumptous to say I know how they feel. Or as one politician put in his twitter, a picture of him hugging one of the passenger’s father and noting: “As a father, I know how you feel….”

No, you don’t. Especially not you, since your kids are born with a silver spoon jammed firmly into their mouths. Unless you have had a loved one suddenly whisked away and not knowing what happened and disappeared: You. DO. NOT. Understand. So I wish politicians or well-meaning people would stop saying that. It’s not even empathy. It’s just a stupid remark, which unfortunately seems to be the order of the day for our officials.

It’s now a week since the disappearance, and no, I have no idea where the plane is or what happened to it. Like everyone I have some opinions, but at the end, like everyone else, prayer for their safety seems to be the only thing that we can do.

Or head over to http://www.tomnod.com/nod/challenge/malaysiaairsar2014/ and help look for the plane.

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Plantar Fasciitis and the Problem of Golf

For many months now, I have been playing with some unreasonable pain on my left foot. At first, I thought it was some achilles heel that I messed up during my jogging session or something. It was very painful, especially when I jogged, so I stopped jogging and started piling back the kilos. I was 79 kilos start of 2013, and got down to 71, and now I am back to 76. It became painful during golf as well, but I played through, thinking it was nothing. Then it became painful just walking, like normal walking around the mall sort of with my kid.

Having enough of this for so many months, I met the foot specialist in Sunway and after probing a little on my feet, he declared I had Plantar Fasciitis.

What??

Anyway, he illustrated it saying its like having a rubber band at the sole of my feet, stretching from my heel to the base of my toes. This basically supports the arch of my foot. The arch, surprisingly is an important aspect to my foot. So typically, this rubber band should be working, but mine has been strained, suspectedly probably torn. Which sucks.

I know why. When I jogged I never warmed up. I just put on my shoes and I go. Because of this, my calf muscles are tight, which strains up my plantar, and after a few rounds, my plantar decides enough is enough.

So now, the doc asks me to do two things:

Stretch my calf muscles – which is easily done by standing at the stairs with the front of my feet on the stairs, and just drop my heel down till I feel the strain in my calf

Get good shoes and supportive soles – I went on to this shop at Tropicana Mall that specialises in soles. It’s like Foot Solutions, where they make special soles that you can slip into your shoes. Unlike Foot Solutions, that costs close to RM600, this one only set me back RM250.

Since using the sole and exercising, my game has notable improvements. For one, I don’t feel that much pain anymore when I follow through. That had previously made me hold back my weight on my right, and not shift properly because it hurt like hell. Now, I just shift to the left and although I do feel some tingling, it’s minor and ignorable. Thank you Doc!

My driving has improved remarkably. My last two games in KRPM and Bukit Kemuning was 88 and 87, and that too could have been much better if not for some daft putting and horrendous irons.

So if anyone is facing plantar fasciitis, treat it, and play better golf!

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2014 and what does it bring?

It has been ages since I last updated. To be honest, there was nothing much happening in my golf world towards the end of the year. We didn’t try new courses and we were just recycling the same ones over and over.

I did lose my approach wedge in Nilai Springs the other day. So if anyone finds a Taylor Made LT approach wedge (steel shaft), that’s mine. Would really appreciate it if you can inform me on it.

Other than that, I’m making a point to be more serious about my game in 2014. I started playing golf around 2004 or so..so that means I am already in one decade playing this blasted game and I am STILL averaging around a 20 – 22 handicapper! That’s right. I’m still scoring around 92 – 96 per game. On good days, I can dip a little under 90. On bad, I blow up to 103 – 105. I used to be able to play to a 16 pretty easy, scoring around 86 – 88 on average. The main issues are my chipping and pitching. I suck at it…now even more than usual. I suddenly have forgotten how to do a simple chip. So much so that anything under 30 meters to the green I will putt. It’s ridiculous. It’s like a circus.

Anyway, I’ve been reading a lot on it and practicing, which seems to work in practice but once on the course, I turn into a radical jackass. I suppose it’s in the mind mostly, but I’m easily losing 4 – 5 strokes per game due to horrible chipping (or putting).

Aside from that, I hope everyone else’s games are on track for 2014. Happy Hacking everyone!

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An Open Letter to Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang

Dear E & O Management,

I would like to feedback on my experience of staying at E&O Penang, Malaysia for the first time last week (23 November – 25 November 2013), and hope that you will be able to address some concerns I have.

There are basically 2 things I want to comment on your hotel; both of which stems from our (my family) experience there. Last week, we stayed in E&O Penang from Saturday to Monday, as one of our dearest friend was celebrating his marriage with a dinner at your respected hotel, on Sunday evening. Our stay in your hotel was absolutely wonderful and me, my wife and my 17 month old child certainly enjoyed it there. After dinner and all the celebratory pictures, when my wife returned back to our room, she realised she could not find her mobile phone, a HTC One X, that contained not just private and confidential data in her email, but also much of our family pictures, videos and what we regard as precious information. We immediately went back down to the ballroom to hunt for it in case it dropped. The person in charge also did a quick search amongst the waiters but to no avail. We searched for hours and was told perhaps it’s in our room and we accidentally left it in our bags etc. We already turned the room inside out looking for the phone.

It was a depressing time for us, but I thought it was our own carelessness, so there was nothing much we could do. However, my wife was adamant she did not lose the phone, the last rememberance was that she left it on the dinner table while taking care of our very active son and she was convinced that one of your waiters have taken it. Without proof, it was difficult to pinpoint. Thanks to technology, I was able to track the phone using GPS on my computer and found that it was still in the hotel premise. Again we launched a search in the ballroom and hotel room. However, we still could not find it. After many hours, we gave up due to exhaustion and decided to search it again next morning, with at least the confidence that it is in the hotel premise.

Early next morning, I did a search on the GPS function again and to my shock and horror, found that the phone has travelled across the bridge into mainland Malaysia to a place called Pangsa Sri Bagan, still in Penang. This was clear evidence that  it had been stolen from the table while everyone was not looking. I immediately reported this to the hotel, who called up Captain Kunalan, the head of security. I spoke to him, and to cut the long story short, he managed to track down a few ‘casual workers’ that were hired to be waiters that night for the dinner who lived in Pangsa Sri Bagan. One of them have indeed stolen the phone, and Captain Kunalan managed to retrieve back the phone from the thief and sent it back to us (we have gone back to Kuala Lumpur that day) via the groom, who stayed an additional night in Penang.

Unfortunately, the thief had wiped out our data completely, destroyed my wife’s sim card, and damaged the phone and had even installed his own Digi sim card (and taken out before returning) as evidenced by the software changes on the phone.

My two comments are these:

1)      On the positive side, Captain Kunalan went through a lot of trouble to get back our stolen property. Once I gave him the GPS location, we were 100% certain our item was stolen, and to his credit, he did not delay in doing what needed to be done to get it back. He could have easily delayed, or opted not to follow through, but through his persistence, we finally got back our phone, although everything valuable in it is now destroyed. I want to commend him, and hopefully he can be recognised for his efforts. Its only because of him that our negative perception of E&O has somehow been softened. He has given great credence to your brand.

2)      On the negative side, I cannot fathom how a hotel as upscale as yours can hire casual workers who are so brazen in their crime that they STEAL our properties from our table! Of course, you can argue that we need to be more careful and aware, but this is a wedding dinner, with a perception that it is a safe, trusted environment, a family environment…how is it possible that we would be on our guard against thieves and criminals? Plus, if you ever handled a 17 month old boy running around, you will know that protecting your phone is definitely not number 1 in your agenda. We took our safety for granted because we assumed the environment offered by your hotel was safe. We were wrong. You can ask, was there any way at all this could be avoided? Is it E&O’s responsibility if their casual worker steals our goods? I say yes. It does not matter if it is your staff or casual workers. The moment they work for you, they represent E&O, regardless. You cannot escape that accountability to provide your hotel guest with the assurance of our safety. If a crime occurs in your premise by a casual worker, E&O is responsible for that crime. In fact, the innkeepers act clearly states that where any goods is stolen, lost or injured (damaged) through a wilful act of any person under the hotel’s employment, the hotel is responsible for liability. This could just be a phone. I am sure they have stolen before and will steal again. It starts with a phone, a handbag, car keys, and in the future, even heaven forbid, abduction of a child. You must stop this before it escalates into something far more serious than lost data and phone! This theft, that we never think possible, but has occurred, and in our eyes, has tarnished your good name.

What can you do? I am a business owner, and I make sure my customers are always given the best quality service. If there is anything less, I will forsake all regards to my costs and bottom line to set it right. There is a cheap way to do things, and there is a right way to do things. If you cannot control your casual workers, I recommend you to properly source through proper agencies or have more due diligence done. I cannot imagine that you allow any person to just come in, sign their name and they don E&O apparels and represent your company. You then hire crooks and thieves who in turn prey upon your hotel guests without your knowledge. If costs are needed to get the right people in, even 2 -3 times the cost, then sacrifice your margins and stop hiring any street criminals and properly filter these people! There MUST be a change, for the sake of future guests who WILL fall prey to them again. You cannot expect redemption on their side, these are people who are conditioned for crime. You must not allow them to every step foot into your hotel and destroy your reputation that you have so painstakingly built up. As a board of director for companies, I understand fiduciary duty. You must put in operational controls to address this risk, this is management duty and must be regarded with all seriousness. If it wasn’t for my technology knowledge, we would never have pinpointed these criminals and you would have hired them again for the next wedding dinner, and other people would have been victimised!

I have written a very long email, but one that I think is necessary. If it was any 3 star hotel, I would not have spent so much of my time in feedback. I would have gone through the normal channels of complain through social media, which as you know is extremely powerful in brand creation and dilution. But because I believe E&O is one of the most respectable hotels in this region, with an absolutely commitment to customer experience, that I spend so much time in this email to you. Because I know that you WILL make a change. Because I know you will take to heart here this feedback by your guest on how to improve your services and safety of your hotel. Because I know it makes a difference, and that E&O will learn from this and become even more respected as an organisation in dealing with it.

I am not pursuing monetary repayment, even if we have a case – I am not a lawyer and I am in no mood to discuss if we have any case in the innkeeper’s act to pursue or not. It’s irrelevant. What we have lost, we will never gain it back. We have lost memories of our family and friends, precious confidential data, damaged phone and what is supposed to be a joyous weekend, wrecked due to such a awful experience. And this, because we trusted in the umbrella of safety that the hotel should be providing to the guest. We can only hope that we are the last ones who will fall prey to criminal activities under your roof and that you will do ALL you can in your power to improve what all of us have taken for granted: your guests’ peace of mind.

I do expect an acknowledgement to this email to ascertain that it has reached the right level of management, who can make decisions and at least assure me that if I ever intend to stay in E&O again, this concern would have been fully and completely addressed.

**It took them 1 and a half months to formulate a response back to me**

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Port Dickson Golf & Country Club

Introduction

Port Dickson used to be etched in the mind of everyone in my generation. Kids these days only know Port Dickson as a backwater town with filthy beaches and mutated sea water creatures; but back in the 80s, it was a holiday haven for city folks looking to get out of town for a relaxing weekend at the beach. If Brisbane had her Gold Coast, then KL had her Port Dickson.

I remember going there with my dad and brother, swimming or playing on the beach, having church retreats at Ming Court Hotel, or family holidays at the Si Rusa Inn. We would also have our dinners at that restaurant that was next to the beach, I forgot the   name of it, which now has long since been abandoned. Ah, PD, good memories.

However, in the 90s, cosy old PD fell into hard times and many of these well beloved places were abandoned. The grand Ming Court Hotel is an empty shell that looked as if it had been blasted by German airplanes in the world war. Si Rusa is also no more and that unnamed restaurant has only pillars blackened by the smoke of Mordor standing. In other words, the nostalgia of Port Dickson was gone.

Nowadays, we still have some decent hotels there, and the Pantai road can be jammed up as Port Dickson strives to recover back yesteryears’ glory. I hope it does.

Anyway, enough of these ramblings. Back to golf.

Port Dickson, despite it being just around an hour plus away from KL, for some reason, doesn’t have many golf courses. I am aware of 3: Thistle’s 9 hole course, the Port Dickson Golf Course and Royal Palm Springs. I’ve played in Royal Palm Springs before, and my recollection was that it was possibly as good as having a garden hoe stuck up your nose and being electrocuted in you’re a*se continuously for 48 hours. Plus the last time I went there, they discriminated against me saying that a bunch of Koreans had booked out the entire golf course and no Malaysians allowed…even at that time, NO ONE was playing. So since then, I can’t wait to get back there and rate the course lower than TUDM.

For this trip to PD, I decided to go for Port Dickson Golf Course. I’ve heard that it’s in a horrible condition, especially after rain, and I especially took care that I went right after a downpour, to see how bad it really was.

Travel (4 /5)

Unlike the Royal Palm Springs or even Thistle which requires a drive deeper into Port Dickson, the PDGC is located literally next to the exit of Seremban-PD highway. To get there it is the easiest thing to do. Go and hit the Seremban-PD highway, and speed all the way to the end. At the end of the highway, turn right, travel like 200 meters and then PDGC is on your right. It’s so ridiculously easy that you don’t even need to think about it.

Price (2/5)

I wasn’t too chuffed with the price. I paid RM87 to play on a weekday. OK, to clarify I was playing alone so I had to have my own buggy. The pricing is a little weird. If I preferred to walk, it was only RM28, but had to do it after four. So I had to get my buggy, which brought it up to RM60, and then I had to pay an additional 1 and a half buggy to jack it up to 87. I didn’t quite understand it, since obviously the registering lady’s mathematics was way better than mine, she just calmly said, RM87 please. I was like, Jeez, just put me out in the course already, so I didn’t really sit there to argue. But, no, on hindsight, I should have asked what the heck was I paying for, at RM87, it was only RM3 less than Impiana using a voucher! Whaaat….although I did feel ripped off by the time I reached the 15th hole, I was way past the point of dispute, and I was rushing the game anyway, so , what the heck.

First thoughts

I have to admit, I thought this would challenge TUDM as the crappiest piece of trash course in all of Malaysia. This is solely based on unfounded rumours that the PDGC has been taken over by cannibalistic beavers that roam the courses at twilight. So I was a little surprised that even after a huge downpour in the morning, I stepped onto a …. Golf course on hole 1. Aside from the semi-retarded pricing, this was quite unexpected, and once again proved to me that I should never put too much faith on rumours consisting of cannibalistic beavers.

The first hole was an inviting, flat fairway, which I promptly nailed it, and duffed my 9 iron approach again…and we’re off.

Service (2/5)

Aside from the registration and pricing mix up, the maintenance of the course was found wanting…the buggy tracks were horribly patched up. That, compounded with a buggy that does not have auto-brakes, nearly conspired to fling me out a few times from the rattling buggy. I know, I shouldn’t be driving so fast…but a buggy without limits? Wow, how often does that occur? There was also no Marshal to be found, when I found myself growing perceptibly older behind 3 elderly gentlemen who took so long with their game, I was ready to load a pistol into my mouth, if I could find one in the bottom of Port Dickson, since this is where our Police Force usually drop their guns.

So anyways, behind these three elderly molasses, I had no recourse to speed up and they refused to let me through, so I just waited and waited and waited…and weirdly started playing better.

Fairways (2/5)

The fairways were surprisingly sturdy, even after the rain and so I originally put in 3/5. However, as I made the turn to the back nine, there were simply too many bald spots to overlook and although much better than I originally anticipated, the cow-grass fairway was well maintained, and even had tufts of Bermuda around. At least that’s what I think. I’m not a grass expert or a cow. In anycase, the front nine maintenance was fine, but the back nine just had too much hacked up areas to pass for a good fairway. Possibly due to the rain, and the fact that the back nine probably is easier for the walking customers to play on (it plays relatively flatter than the front), probably these were the reasons why the wear and tear on the back nine seems a little more pronounced.

Greens (3/5)

If anything else, the greens were another surprise from PDGC. When I was driving through the road leading to the clubhouse (or what passed for one), I was lamenting to myself the uneven patches of grass colour on the greens. It’s never a wise thing to judge a book by its cover, because the first green that I putted on, I putted so hard (thinking that the green was awful slow), that my ball just keep rolling and rolling for a 3 putt start. The greens, strangely, plays a lot better than other courses like Kinrara, or Monterez or, probably it’s closest local cousin: Kundang Lakes. Well maintained in most holes, they were also consistent throughout, and the final hole 18 green was reminiscent of the torturous greens of Rahman 9th hole/18th hole or take-your-pick greens in KRTU. It was steep, and invited a 3 putt, which I promptly accepted for my final bogey of the day. Overall, well done, PDGC!

Rough (3/5)

The bunkers were generally well kept and hardly any casual water flooding them. You must take into account the morning downpour, which makes the drainage more impressive. I didn’t experience those soggy rough like Perangsang, where you step onto the rough and suddenly, your shoes look like they were dipped in Milo or Teh Tarik. In fact, possibly the most surprising thing (out of many surprises) that PDGC served up was how it played so respectably DESPITE the morning rain. It wasn’t a drizzle, it was a bucket load of water that God poured down into the course and yet, it was sustainable.

Aesthetics (2/5)

It wasn’t so much of the course, than the limitations that it had to put up with. The aesthetics were ho-hum at best. Let’s see. If given an analogy, it’s like a girl who is neither pretty nor god-awful ugly. But growing up, she unfortunately couldn’t afford braces or a good dermatologist, so she ends up at 21 with crooked teeth and pock marks from pimples. She tries to hide it by not smiling so much, tilting her hair over her other part of her face, and goes out with heavy makeup. In some areas, she succeeds, in some lights, it almost makes her pretty…but yet, she’s not.

Port Dickson Golf and Country is like that. This is the girl who will never be beautiful, yet, she tries to be. She attempts at flirtation in an awkward manner, her gait is not correct, her speech is unrefined. She pretends to be calm and collected, yet she fiddles and paces like a bird in a cage. She is plain, but strives to be more.

You can see some parts of the course has a good idea…like the par 5 9th, with a good drive to get you over the hill, that opens up to a good view of the green. Or the final hole 18th, with a great bail out on the left, and a sloping green with a bunker to the front. The pretty hole 16, with flower beds and stone bridge, crossing through an upside down L-shaped fairway. Of the 17th semi-island green. There were attempts at elevation, such as on the 2nd, on the 8th, with a high tee off area looking down.

But yet, aesthetically, it misses the mark. The rivers are muddy, the cart path in dire need of repair, the fairways balding, the lakes still and uninviting, the swamp eating into the par 5 12th, which played like a horseshoe with a double dogleg. It tries, but it has little to work with. It is PD golf club, but it makes no attempt to include the ocean and beach in its design. Instead, it opts for a hilly front nine, and a munincipal flat back nine… it is functional, but plain.

Fun Factor (3/5)

It’s hard not have fun when I got into a run midway through the front, where I played the next 8 holes at 2 under with 6 pars and 2 birdies. I never played such a length of holes like that before. It was like I suddenly turned into Tiger, starting with a long drive on the 5th, then closely missing my 4 foot birdie on the 6th after stiffing in a five iron. I got my birdie in the next hole, when my sand wedge 3rd shot got me to 1 foot of the hole. I got my next birdie on the 9th, when my lob wedge stiffed 4 feet and my put dropped for my first multiple birdie game of….I don’t know probably 3 years? My best par was also my last, where I skulled my nine iron 3rd shot to a bunker of the par 5, and I putted out of that bunker to 7 feet and saved a sandy par.

Then all of a sudden, it was gone. It was as if some sort of magic left, and for the last six holes I played like how I always played: like a nut. Missing easy putts, and duck hooking my drive on 15th and 18th, and shanking my stupid 8 iron on 17th. AUGH! I don’t know what in blardy name is wrong with me, its like after being possessed by Tiger’s spirit, I then proceeded to hack around like a baboon having an apple stuffed up its red rear-end.

I did have  a lot of fun playing with some of the club’s members in the back nine. Very friendly folks, the people in PDGC, we chatted a bit and they gave me some local tips on yardage and clubs to use. It would prove invaluable in a few holes where I would have over or underclubbed.

Feature wise, the course is definitely narrow than some out there, so if crooked drives are your thing, you might struggle a little in this course.

Another feature is that if you do get a hole in one in the par 3s, there will be a tree planted in your honor. No kidding! Ask Mr Eum Seon Hee!

Conclusion

Despite strong rumours that this club is worse than Royal Palm Springs, I am glad to say that it’s not. PDGC is actually a very functional club, and owing to its extreme ease of access, and right next to the exit (or entrance) of the Seremban-PD highway, it can either by a quick round before heading back to KL or a quick round when you come into PD, without having to go through the trunk roads to the other courses. It’s probably the most surprising little club of all, after hearing how bad it was. The downpour had me thinking the worse, but instead it was on the contrary. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still by no means a top class golf club, but given it’s little stature in what was considered a backwater town (which now is bustling again), it does very well for itself, and definitely worth a try. If they can sort out the pricing at around RM60 for walkin, it would be even better.

The good: Accessibility is an ease; the course held well despite heavy rain in the morning; greens are excellent in terms of bang for buck; the aesthetics, while plain does offer some interesting challenges, like long par 3s and extreme dog leg on one of the par 5s; members are friendly; holes are also designed some for an accurate 3 wood, as it plays narrow for the most part.

The bad: The back nine fairways are fairly hacked up; pricing is also questionable not so much of their integrity than their inability to count; aesthetics is like eating cornflakes in the morning – no fuss, just function.

The skinny: 21 of 40 divots (52.5%). PD should be teeming with golf courses if it wants to rebrand itself as a resort town or a getaway, but instead gives us 2 and a half. If there’s a throw between Palm Springs and PDGC, take the latter. It’s worth a try, after the improvements done to the course, and possibly the only decent golf course stretching across PD and Seremban. It’s a go!

Port Dickson Golf & Country Club Scorecard

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PDGCC Information

Address: Batu 5 1/2 71050 Si Rusa, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Contact: +606 64731 123

Fax: +606 6474 949

Websit: http://www.pdgolf.com.my

Posted in Malaysian Golf Courses, Negeri Sembilan | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

I broke 90

Once upon a time, I used to be able to break 90 on a regular basis. In fact, not breaking 90 would cause me endless frustration and sleepless night of wondering if my game is going bad.

That was when I still had fantasies of playing golf for a living.

Nowadays, I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that no matter how much time I spend on this blasted game, I’ll find ways to sabotage my score over and over.

With this new found enlightenment, I found peace and equilibrium in my life and once again, golf was about the laughter, enjoyment and paying the price (literally in the form of bets) for having a swing resembling a gopher doing the macarena.

So, now, when I do break 90, it’s a big deal. I managed to do it today at Impian, which I must say, is getting to be my favourite course.

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The minus points were the double bogeys I created. Hole 6 was just a bad idea…I just got a RazrX Callaway Stiff shaft which I can’t hit, so I used it and promptly skulled the ball 30 meters in front. Ended with a double. The other double was Hole 9, where I duck hooked my driver into the water on left. Index 2 double bogey on 15th was just a bad shot from the bunker which ended into the water as well. And hole 17 was the worst. This easy par 5, I drove my best drive and was only a nine iron away from the green with my second. I had to go through trees unfortunately and landed short of the bunker. I duffed my flop into bunker, skulled my bunker shot to the other end, managed to 5 on and two putted. After a drive that left me with a 9 iron to the green.

You win some and lose some I guess. Impian was in great condition. The greens were still massively good. In fact I managed to sink some ridiculous putts, including a 30 foot bomb on the 7th. The price is a turnoff though, but with the Top Premier voucher, we got 90 bucks each, which is an excellent price for the course. Go for it!

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