Kickstart 2019 Tropicana

So the new year kicks off with all the new equipments for 2019. Just a quick comparison with my last year.

 

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Cobra Fly Z+ vs R11 Taylormade – No competition. The Cobra is several years ahead of the R11 and it shows. I wasn’t just bombing my drives today, but I felt very much in control, unlike the inconsistent display with the R11.

 

Titliest 910D 3 Wood vs Cobra LD 5 Wood – I never really had any 3 wood in my bag before and only had an old LD5 Wood. Again, with a 3 wood, the game changes – especially with this solid fella, which i managed to hit very good shots today

 

    

 

MP57 vs MP54 – This is probably the only one requiring work. The 57s are beautiful things, but I must say, very much different in terms of forgiveness – as in, it has very little margin of error. When I connect, it flies like a hot knife through butter, cutting through air. But when I mis-hit (on several occasions), it’s very tough to play. The 54s are a lot easier, but it doesn’t look that good!

 

 

Smart Square Cleveland vs Odyssey  DFX 5500 – I’ve been having a love hate relationship with my DFX for many years. Sometimes, its so good that the hole looks like the size of a basket ball hoop. Other times I can’t even hit those 3 foot putts. The inconsistency now makes me switch to the much larger, face balanced Smart Square – and it works. Awesome putting today, and the visual (two squares) gives me a lot of confidence.

So Away we teed up at West Course 3 and crossover to East Course 1.

Hole 1: Tee off into the woods on the left as was expecting a slice as experienced on the range. Nope. It was long and left for some reason. Managed to hit a pitching wedge out and flew the green, and left with a chip over bunker. Guess what? Yup, chipped into bunker. Solid Bunker out to around 6 feet and drained the putt with my new putter. The chipping skills cannot be bought though, damn it. (+1)

Hole 2: This is a really nice hole but OB right makes us go left, which I did, leaving me with a pitching wedge into a downhill green. I missed it slightly left, and had to chip it. It landed soft, to around 8 feet and I drained the putt. The putter is ON!! (+1)

Hole 3: Par 3 messed up. My irons flared right, and didn’t even come close to the green. My chipping wasn’t great and I still wasn’t on. From off the green, my putt almost holed and I sank the bogey from around 4 feet (+2)

Hole 4: Nice controlled hole which forced me to hit my hybrid, which veered left a little. From there, it was an easy enough 9 iron into a big green. Long lag putt wasn’t good and my par putt didnt drop. So a 3 putt bogey. (+3). Not an easy putt anyway, can’t fault the putter.

Hole 5: Not an easy hole, but a very good drive sorted it out. I hit a wonderful 7 iron flighted into the green, one of the times I caught the MP-57 perfect and saw what a great club it was in the hands of actual good players (not me). I had around 10 feet for birdie and literally burned the edge with my putt. Good par though. (+3)

Hole 6: Another drive bombed with a slight draw down the middle. This time, to around 110m, I shortchanged my gap wedge and ended up in the bunker. I like bunkers, and I blasted out, two putted for bogey (+4)

Hole 7: Uphill par 5 which another driver found me needing a 3 wood. The new 3 wood is AWESOME. I hit it so flush that it landed into the greenside bunker almost pin high. From there, blasted out of the sand to around 6 feet and somehow missed a very good opportunity for birdie-sandy. Settle for par (+4)

Hole 8:Just when you think we figured out, again, my 7 iron flared right. These MP-57s dont take kindly to off center hits like my 54s.From there, I found myself again in the bunker and again, hit it out to around 6 feet, and missed the very quick downhill putt. Bogey. (+5)

Hole 9: Great end to the 9 with a long par 5. I twacked my driver dead straight.  A 3 wood brought me to about 80m to the pin. I hit a ‘meh’ shot that found me on the left of the green, on a slope, with a water grating in front of my ball so I couldn’t putt. Instead, I had to chip – and for once, hit a great one, which trickled to about 3 feet and sank the par. (+5). Great 9! Away to East 1!

Hole 10: For once, a bad drive that flared right. Still found the ball nestled under the tree, and I thought an 8 should suffice. Instead I missed it badly and it still left me with a very difficult pitch to the green. Yes, I promptly pitched it into the greenside bunker. I blasted a good bunker shot out for 4-on but cannot do anything further from 10 feet. First double bogey of the day. (+7)

Hole 11: It’s a very nice narrow hole. I hit a great fade but it landed into the rough about 110m away. Once more, I mishit my irons badly and my pitching wedge just tricked forward and I had those tricky pitch/chip shots where for once I executed well, leaving me around 4-5 fee to sink the par putt, which I did. (+7)

Hole 12: Another par 3. And another monumental failure again. This time, my 6 iron semi hook got over the water, bounced promptly to the left and went back into the water again. I took a drop, chipped to about 15 feet and ended up double bogey. What’s up with my irons??! (+9)

Hole 13: Ah the great par 5, that just need a good drive first. I drove it well, although it did pop up a bit. From there, I duffed my 7 iron approach and it went only 20m in front. ME-57s are hard to hit, man! From there, my 6 iron found the bunker. A great bunker shot still left me around 15 feet to manuever down hill. I hit it slightly hard, but it hit the hole and rested a few inches from it. Good for bogey (+10)

Hole 14: This is a low index hole because the tee off is guarded by bunkers on left and water on right. I managed to sliver my shot into the middle of the fairway- once again the Cobra Flyz+ proving awesome value for money. However, I pulled my PW slightl and yes —into the bunker, my favourite. A good out, but caught the hill and rolled down to 10 feet. Missed putt, but pretty good bogey. (+11)

Hole 15: This is supposedly an easy par 5 if you have a good tee off. I had a good one, but it landed right in the middle of a huge divot in the rough. It was so unlucky! I could’t get the buried ball with my hybrid properly and it went around 20-30m ahead. Now  have the 3 wood. I also missed it due to the extreme slope I was hitting on. From there, a 6 iron found me off the fairway slightly. My chip was almost good but short a bit. 2 putt for double. (+13).

Hole 16: This is one of the holes I didnt catch properly my driver. Yet, so forgiving was it, it still flew and rolled a good distance. It left me around 140m to the green. Once more, the MP-57 was tough to hit. My 8-iron was short and left. Chip on wasn’t superb and had to two putt for bogey. (+14)

Hole 17: Easy par 3 and this time I made sure I stayed through the ball. 7 iron found the green and two putted for par (+14)

Hole 18: Final hole requires some finesse — not. Once more, the Cobra came out and the drive was good and long – so good I only was left with a gap wedge distance. I launched the approach to the right a bit and landed softly, trickling down to around 6 feet of the hole. Birdie to end the first game of the year? You bet. BIRD IT! (+13)

KRPM Mini Tourney

We had a mini tournament of 16 people at Rahman Putra today. And boy, did I not do too well. The last outing wasn’t so bad, as I shot sub-90, but this time around the downpour the night before made for conditions that were not so ideal. Muddy, soft ground, hard bunkers = high scores.

Hole 1: Just like last time, pulled the tee shot to the left over the cartpath. Second shot had to punch out (not so good), and a 60 degree pitch (good one!) set me up for a 15 footer for par, which I expectedly missed (+1)

Hole 2. The very tough par 3. I actually hit a great 6 iron that didn’t draw enough. It landed on the fringe of the green on the right, hung there for a second then decide to roll into the damn bunker. In the bunker, the ball was between rake marks, I hit it poorly. Bunker was too hard and I hit it clean out to the other side, beyond the other bunker. 3rd shot, flop failed right into the other bunker. 4th shot out. Two putts for triple! (+4)

Hole 3. Par 5. Hit a dead straight drive into the woods. Manage to escape with a good 6 iron to around 120m, perfect distance. I used a gap wedge to hit to a downhill green which I hit smack in the middle but it annoyingly rolled off over. Note: don’t use shi*ty golf balls. My first attempt at a bump and run was ok – it trickled onto the green but not near enough for par. Bogey. (+5)

Hole 4. Pushed my drive way right but luckily missed the next hole’s pond. I duffed by pitching wedge a bit and had to chip on. Good chip, had around 10 feet for par, which I missed. Bogey (+6)

Hole 5. Par 3 with an 8 iron was short, so another chip. This time, not a solid one, way short, and 2 putt for bogey (+7)

Hole 6. Hooked this one to the left and managed to punch out. Now, with around 90 to the downhill green, I hit my 60 degree short. I realised much later on cow grass, I tend to dig more and I don’t get the distance I usually get compared to other fairways in the RHB courses (Mines, Trops, Glenmarie etc). I was about a few yards from the green. Usually I opt to putt but since I was testing my chip, I thought I can hit a good one. Not. Ball was duffed, didn’t even make the green. 2 Putted for double (+9)

Hole 7. Hooked again, this time another punch out. With around 100m to go, I once again opted for my 60 degree. I need to learn – when rain, don’t use the 60 degree! Chunked my third, chunked my fourth into the bunker, finally out with my fifth (barely), six on with a putt and 7 in. Triple. Once more due to my inability to adjust to wet conditions (+12)

Hole 8. Tough one. I drove pretty well actually.With a five iron second shot, I reached around a few yards of the green. Chipped again and yes, its ok but I still had around 15 feet for par on a very tough green. Two putted for bogey. (+13)

Hole 9. Really a very stupid hole for me. I played my first two shots perfect. Great 5-wood to the edge of the lake, a six iron to set me up around 110m from the hole. I semi chunked my pitching wedge into the greenside bunker. Like Hole 2, I couldn’t get enough sand due to it being so hard and ended up hitting the ball clean to the very end of the green. Three Putted for double bogey (+15)

Wow. That’s a very high score. But it was really due to my brain farts more than the condition of the course.

Hole 10. Doesn’t start great as my drive found the right fairway bunker. My shot out was poor and I had around 160 to go to a downhill green. I stuffed an 8-iron to around 20 feet of the hole (it actually hit the front of the green but kept rolling and rolling). Two putt for par. (+15)

Hole 11. Pulled my 5-wood (again!) but hit a reasonable 5-iron that passed the hazard. I had to do a chip again, and not bad, I had around 10 feet to save par which I missed (+16)

Hole 12. Uphill par 3. Once more, a good six iron set me up for an easy chip, which I did not do it easily. My ball scampered to around 15 feet over the hill and I was luckly to escape with a bogey. (+17)

Hole 13. A relatively easy hole which I pulled my drive but luckily hit a tree on the left. I crafted a gap wedge through a gap between the trees and landed about 10 feet above the hole for my reasonable birdie look. I missed it and par. (+17)

Hole 14. A good draw drive to the center of the fairway but I hit a very poor 9 iron which landed on the left, around 10 m left to the green. I executed a perfect chip for my third shot that landed and rolled to about 5 feet from the hole. Saved par! (+17)

Hole 15. Really sort sighted this one. It was playing at the whites, so I thought I can muscle in a gap wedge in there. Nope. It did cross the hazard, but it landed, jumped backwards and rolled into the water. Dropped, hit on the green and had around 15 footer downhil which I missed for bogey. Double bogey (+18)

Hole 16. The start of the 3 toughest holes in the course.I hung my drive too far right, and my second shot clipped the trees and into the water (again!). Hit my 4th on, two putted for double. (+20)

Hole 17. HOOKED! Luckily there was an opening which I punched out. So I was around 140m away to an uphill green and this should be money for me. Instead I shanked the hell out of my 9 iron to the righ. I was lucky it was still alive. I pitched pretty ok for my fourth, two putted for double (+22)

Hole 18. Perfect drvie – the first one of the day!My 7 wood crossed the lake and set me up around 100m to an uphill green. Gap wedge stuffed to around 15 feet but it was an extremely tricky putt which I had to aim 90 degrees from the hole, up the slope and down again. Three putted for my last hole again for a bogey! (+23)

Conclusion: My other mates were not having a great time also. The ground was muddy and soggy, but the sun was roasting us alive under its heat. Humidity was at its worst and even my climalite shirt was completely soaked. It was really the worst weather for golf – extreme hot weather right after a thunderstorm.

I ended up more or less at the middle of the pack. Given the conditions, it wasn’t the worse I have played. Plenty of positives, especially the chipping continues to improve as I get more confident to bring the stroke into the course.

Desa Dungun Golf Club

Introduction

After what seems like FOREVER, we finally managed to play in a course that we have never set foot on and after such a long period, we finally have a review! Our last review was years ago.

We were here at Tanjung Jara during a quick family vacation, which also means an escape from the hustle bustle of screaming kids for a few hours and running over to the nearest golf course to hack a few holes in the shortest time possible. So anywhere I am headed, I do a quick search of the nearest golf course in the vicinity. (Un)fortunately, the closest we had was a course called Desa Dungun Golf Club (or Kelab Golf Desa Dungun, as it might be known), around 15 minutes away from where we were staying. I mean, why not? How bad can it be? So away we went, merrily after breakfast over a Saturday early morning.

Price (2/5)

You will notice that we have given up giving marks for travel. I mean when I started this blog more than 10 years back, there was no such thing as google map, Waze or whatnot. All we had were very cryptic maps over the internet, and guidance from the stars and wind to get to the golf course we were trying to find. However, over the years, these free GPS had basically rendered obsolete the problem of getting lost.

So now, we jump right into pricing.

Desa Dungun gives an initially attractive green fee – RM40 per person for a weekend rate. I don’t know about the weekdays. However, the buggy is RM60, so if you split two people, it becomes RM70 per person. If you are playing alone, you are paying RM100. That’s not so cool, when you realise that with Visa Infinite you can play Mines, Kota Permai, Glenmarie, Sungai Long, Tropicana and Palm Garden all within RM100 range. So really, if you are playing alone, you might want to forget about the buggy. But we won’t recommend it. Because in fact, with the buggy, it is the fastest mode of travel you will wish you have after playing a few holes on this course – you simply cannot wait to get your butt out of the course. So no, I don’t think the price is great. The fact that you will wish you had a buggy sort of makes it imperative for you to have one.

First thoughts

Remember the infamous TUDM course? The review brought so much comments (mostly negative, some vitrolic, and mostly from their own members who can’t seem to take criticism) that I had to sign up for a witness protection program for a while. A lot of TUDM golfers were pissed with what they presumed to be very disrespectful remarks about their beloved course. Unfortunately, call it as we see it. If I see a pile of turd, I am not going to call it Bak Kut Teh. And TUDM is the biggest pile of turd we have in Malaysia. Until, maybe, maybe now.

Are you serious? You remark. What could possibly be worse than the TUDM course? Well, if this doesn’t do it, then I am pretty sure it comes close.

Look, honestly, we wanted it to be good. We woke up 6.45 am for a drive down here, during our holidays. After putting my screaming kid to bed at 2 am and having hardly 3 hours of sleep. I prayed that it would at least be a reasonably golf course to sacrifice our precious sleep for. And you know – this club is the oldest club in Terengganu. So that has to count for something. I mean, RSGC style, maybe?

Rolling into the single story club house, RSGC style was immediately off the table and TUDM firmly back in.

Service (3/5)

The gentleman behind the counter was very efficient. He collected our cash, rolled up with a buggy and seem to be doing everything. And for that, we appreciate it. Other form of services, such as course maintenance, course marshal etc are all non-existent. In fact, the club is now using photostated copies of their score card, so technically they are using score papers. I find the staff quite friendly – and I think its the culture in these parts, the laid back, take it easy sort of style. Obviously we did not try any F&B or whatsoever, but you know, their buggy was actually very new and function very well (unlike the piece of crap you drive around in TUDM). This is already a plus point!

Fairways (0/5)

And now, the real review begins.

It’s hard to review the fairways.

Because there is none. No fairways. All you see is a land of sand, with tufts of grass screaming out for water. It’s, I would venture to add, the worst fairway we have ever experienced in the history of our golf experiments. In fact, we came to a point after the 3rd hole that we played ‘preferred lies’. Meaning, we can pick up our ball and search for any grass available and place carefully on the patched of chosen grass to play. I mean, you need to see it to believe it. Mostly we want to hit the ball in the thick rough instead of the fairway, beause at least, we have grass. This is serious, not a joke. This is the first golf course where fairways are actually PUNISHMENT for you.

So why isn’t it rated -1, like that travesty of a golf course TUDM? Because we played this stupid preferred lies, and you know, we started driving like PGA tour distance. Because the ground was so hard, it was like the ball would hit cement and roll and roll and roll and …. In fact, at one hole, my drive almost drove the green at 340 meters. No joke. I was left with around 50 meters left. Another one, my partner topped the ball, it whizzed past the ladies and rolled and rolled and rolled forever. He was left with a 120m shot to the hole. So, yes, the fairway is HOPELESS, but that’s not to say we detested it so much because we all became Dustin Johnson overnight.

The ground is so hard, it is impossible for plastic tees to penetrate on some holes. Unless you have a Bosch drill with you, you need to do what we did. We gathered up sand and soil and made a Laura Davies kind of dirt tee…i.e just placing our ball on top of a small mound of sand we need to design. Like sand castles. What. The. Flaming. Heck.

Greens (1/5)

No. It’s horrible. It’s similar to TUDM style. No greens are the same. Some greens have six different type of grass growing. Your ball will spend more time in the air bouncing like a pinball than on the green. We in fact came to a point that if the ball was in flagstick length, we would pick up the ball. Now, its not to say there is no redemption. Two or three greens were actually playable, so this is better than TUDM, but still, it’s a suffering akin to pulling off all your nostril hair at once.

Rough ( 1/5)

Aside from the course doubling up as a junkyard, the rough is also not great. Rubbish everywhere, plastic bottles strewn across some fairways, tumbleweed tumbling by, with an Irish Leprecaun cackling with delight at your stupidity of playing this course. Now, the sand is playable, hence the 1. The bunkers are a lot better than TUDM…Sorry, we need to run comparisons of these two courses due to both being in the East Coast and both chasing for the absolutely crap , worse course in Malaysia title. Additionally, because the fairways were so horrendous, it made the rough looked like the beautiful grass of Augusta. It’s like you see an ugly painting, and you put another painting which is basically cow crap splattered all over it in random fashion, immediately, the first painting looks like Van Gogh, right? Same same.

Aesthetics ( 0/5)

I don’t really recall anything about any hole in this course. It’s very flat. Very. There is hardly any undulation and they might try to advertise this as a ‘links’ styled course, but no, it’s anything but a links styled course. The only link you will find is the chain link fence near one hole that is basically torn down so that the neighbourhood can basically throw all their garbage in It’s more like a field where cattle generally will graze and they suddenly decide to create a golf course to reclaim the land. The cattle is obviously still grazing since all the grass on the fairway is GONE. Absolutely nothing to recommend. If they were to choose a signature hole for this course, I would select one of the many iguana holes that are being burrowed all over the course by these cute little lizards.

Fun Factor (0/5)

In one fairway, as I was preparing to hit my second shot, I heard my partner yelling, “Wait Stop! Car coming!”

I looked up, shocked, thinking he meant “CAR-T” as in Buggy cart, from the maintenance coming. No, he meant CAR. As in AN ACTUAL CAR that’s supposed to be on the road, and not on the golf course. It rumbled through our fairway, over our line of sight of the green and happily chugged to the hut nearby. You have heard of buggies, but you will now experience the fairway where cars are actually allowed.

We also have one hole (I think the 10th hole) which is literally right next to the main beach road where all the cars are zooming back and forth. You’d expect some netting to catch balls slicing out. But no the only boundary you have is a dilapidated wall that is about 5 feet high, effective to catch balls if a colony of termites decide to play golf. We were so afraid we will kill someone on the road that we aimed so far left, we played the other fairway on purpose. I mean we are all out of towners. If we killed someone, I am not sure what’s going to happen to us here.

And speaking of which, the entire design of the course is senseless. We end up making huge u-turns to the next tee box, or crossing other people’s fairways to reach another tee box. In more than 3 occasions, we were searching for the next tee box like a bunch of treasure hunters. It’s as if they created a golf course and then remembered golf courses had 18 holes, and not 15, and the other three holes are basically randomly plastered all over the place.

And maybe it’s the laid back culture here, but we were stuck behind groups that were so slow, I could actually feel my stubble regrowing again on my chin. And I am Chinese. This means, my stubble grows at the speed of 1/20 of normal people growing a stubble.

Did we have fun?

Let’s put it this way, we were very happy that we had a new-ish buggy to haul ass as quickly as possible.

The only positive I have out of this is that my chipping continues to improve. The last hole, I almost chipped in. And many other occasions, I am actually chipping properly. Obviously this has nothing to do with the golf course, but it still made me a slightly less grumpier human. Can’t wait to play golf on an actual golf course again.

Conclusion

Oooh boy. Look, if you are in the resort where we were, you don’t have much of a choice unless you have the whole morning to spare. We teed off around 8 and played speed golf and finished 10.30 am. It could have been less if we weren’t stuck behind a few groups. Unless you are willing to drive far, you can probably experience better courses out there. But as it is, this is the only golf course that’s near enough and if you play speed golf, you can finish it quickly and get back in time before the breakfast buffet concludes. Do we recommend this? Oh God, no. You are better off spending your time on the beach, or in the pool, or sleeping, or just siting down, watching the grass grow.

The good: The history of the club – at least you can say you played the oldest course in Terengganu, survived and lived to tell the tale. I mean, look, compared to the TUDM we reviewed years ago, this is better. So, I suppose that’s saying something that its NOT the worst course in Malaysia.

The bad: Fairways feel like you are playing golf in a desert; greens are hopeless, they are actually fairways quality in other courses; aesthetics is as beautiful as staring at a gibbon’s ass, and fun factor? Look, we need to be fair. If you weren’t rushing like us, or you hadn’t played Kota Permai, Mines, Tropicana etc and be spoilt brats like us in golf, you can probably work out a bit of fun here. Because the walk is leisurely since the course is so flat. And you know, it’s still near the beach and you can get a fairly good exercise in.

The skinny: 5 of 30 divots (16.6%). So, while it escaped the wonderful honour of being the worst course in Malaysia, its still firmly set in the absolutely crap course you will want to visit only as a novelty, like how you would like to see a guillotine work, but probably do not want to put your head under it. Take a buggy, zoom as fast as you can, play as fast as you can, and get back to wherever you come from and have breakfast.

Tropicana – great course, horrendous caddies

Tropicana has always been a favourite haunt of ours. The advantages of the proximity to all our homes, the great fairways there, good greens and overall mixture of challenging holes and holes we can attack – and over 27 holes, it has become our preferred destination of weekday golfing.

Which brings the problem – it is also the preferred destination of a thousand other golfers. Even playing on a weekday, especially with one 9 closed, can feel like a weekend pace for some. Especially today, when we had an absolutely hopeless flight in front of us. You know those type that takes 2 minutes to putt a 3 footer, misses, kicks out a leg and screams a chinese expletive. It is very, very tiring just sitting down (yes, we finally gave up and all of us just sat on the fairway watching them do their nonsense) and seeing how frightfully inconsiderate they are.

While Tropicana is one of the best course in Malaysia (in our opinion), it is balanced out with the most crappy caddies in all of Malaysia. They are useless and the ones we experienced were idiots. I generally don’t like to comment too much on caddies, but today, there was one hopeless lady caddying for us (the other buggy, not mine). She had comments for everything. The clubs we used, the distance, what we should be doing and all that. Once in a while it’s fine but when I am at the 17th hole, and you are the caddy of the other buggy you DO NOT tell me to hit a 8 iron into a 140m stick. She just stood there and said, “For you, boss, use 8 iron”. I am like, who the hell are you? You don’t caddy for me so shut the hell up.

The final hole, where it was a 240m to the pond, while everyone was using 3 wood, I was contemplating between my 5 wood and a half controlled driver. Because I was feeling good with my driver. She immediately said, “Cannot! Tak boleh!” and I told her, the more I hear cannot, tak boleh, the more I say, BOLEH. And it was the last hole anyway and I just wanted to swing it. She kept grumbling for some reason. She is NOT my caddy. She caddies for the other buggy. My caddy was generally mute, which is the preferred condition I want my caddy to be in.

I hit a great shot, but it drew and it looked like it entered into the water near the green. The “not my caddy” laughed and said, “Padan Muka (serves you right)!” a few times.

I walked over to her and said in my broken Malay interspersed with English colourful words, “You do not comment on me. Once, twice is enough. If the golfer decides to use a club, the golfer decides. You do not make any further comment, or laugh or make fun of the golfer. You are not my friend. You are a god*amn caddy, and that’s what you do, so shut the **** up and caddy your sh*t or else I am going to leave you here or throw you into the ******* water. You are not my friend, so do not talk to me like you know me or you know sh*t about me. You don’t get any tips and I am going to put your card into the sh*tty caddy category later. Now get the **** away from me.” I said it in a very calm manner, but made sure she understood. She has no familiarity with me, and I have zero inclination to be familiar with her, so unless she wants her mouth stuffed full of golf balls, just do what your limited job scope is or get out of my sight.

I found my ball at the edge of the water, used my 60 degree and stiffed it to around 5 feet, missed the birdie and par my last hole. She avoided me after that.

This is not the first time, Tropicana caddies have given us shit. The problem with these caddies is that they think they are our friend. There was another caddy my friend scolded the other day (on the 1st tee, nonetheless), for showing up late, and not doing what she was told, and scowling and making a meal out of taking the club for my friend. He just told her to get away from our flight and basically kicked her out. The starter intervened before my friend went berserk on her.

It’s not like we want treat Caddies like crap. I get it. It’s not easy caddying for hackers like us. But when we have told you to shut the hell up once or twice, then just shut the hell up. Again, the concept here is you are NOT my friend, so don’t talk to us like how we talk to each other. They aren’t educated to caddy properly, and I fault Tropicana for that. If you give us hopeless caddies, then at least just let them carry our clubs and that’s it. Nothing else. Tropicana = great course, EXTREMELY USELESS caddies.

My game was amazingly up and down today. When the dust settled, it was 5 double bogeys, 4 triple bogeys, 1 bogey and 8 pars.

I almost went bogey free today except for the 17th hole when I hit my first bogey with a bad 4 footer miss.

And it’s not like I was driving it bad. All my triple came from great drives.I usually set up to aim right as I have my draw as my normal shot and hook as misses. For some reason, on all my triple bogeys, I hit great straight drives – either they went into the water or OB, or in one occasion, I simply could not find it. So driving wise, except for one hole where I topped it, it was a PERFECT driving game for me.

The other parts of the game was another story. My chipping was like a baboon trying to hump a kangaroo while parachuting down, with a dynamite attached to the ass. That’s how bad it was. There is something wrong mentally. I am mentally incapable to chip. I do it perfect on the practice range, but in the game, as if for some reason, I suddenly become a tapir learning how to tap dance. I don’t think it can be cured, like my color blindness, so I just have to live with this confounding handicap. This has turned many of my par or bogey opportunities to double and triple today.

But yeah – slowly, I am getting back up to speed for 2018. It’s at least a lot better than my first game for sure.

Oh by the way, at the end, we did tip the hopeless caddy and we also put her card into the ‘good’ category. For all our talk, we are actually very compassionate people and look – you are far away from your home, you probably have kids back home you are homesick for, and you probably made an honest mistake in being familiar with us when we don’t want you to – let’s move on, be careful next time. That’s why I like this group I play with, we are NATO people – No Action , Talk Only. Always threatening the caddies, but at the end we are too charitable to be angry for long!

So yet another year ends – What brings 2018?

It used to be that once almost weekly I would have updated this blog, but not anymore. I would like to give the thousands of excuses like taking care of my two kids from getting killed by a thousand things in the house, like TV, fan blades and them jumping off the bed and swan diving onto my marble floor — sometimes I think I am in a real life game of lemmings. You know that game where I have to save those little buggers from committing suicide. Or I can blame my business, where I spend all the time figuring out how to get work done or get paid or how did I end up getting work done and not get paid or any of those permutation of events.

But I won’t.

Because the free time I have, yes, I am still whacking the tiny ball and trying to get it into the hole with the fewest stroke possible.

What does 2018 brings?

For one thing, I am finally playing reasonably good golf, after a LONG. Long. Time. Now, the very moment I write this I am going to jinx myself and I know for sure the next game will be a car wreck. But so far, the games I’ve been playing, I have been shooting regularly in the 80s, from the best of 84 to average of around 86 – 88 at least. I am playing probably to a reasonable 13 – 14 handicap now finally.

The best part of the game improved is my drive and irons. The driver is starting to click. I’ve developed a pre-shot routine that somehow works. It takes longer but it generally settles me down easier. It’s:

a) Select a far item in the horizon, point to it

b) Line up my driver and my stance

c) One practice stroke

d) Line up my driver and stance again

e) Do a shortened backswing to about quarter swing, to set my weight to my right

f) Waggle a bit

g) Look at something around 3 – 5 feet away in front of me (that means not in direction of the fairway, since I am already lined up perpendicular for a swing) – this usually ends up being the buggy, a stick, a tree, a bush, a monkey or a surprised caddy thinking I am pissed off at her

h) Take a deep breath

i) Take one last look down the fairway

j) Pull the trigger.

It sounds like a long pre-shot, but it’s actually quite brisk, around 15 – 20 seconds before I pull the trigger. I’ve been around guys who takes 40 + seconds to get the shot off, so I am considered ok. And it’s doing some incredible things to my game, because now, I am less rush, so I don’t swing so wildly. I still have this hook sometimes, but I am connecting it. I am much more confident that my driver is going to connect and when it does, it goes long, dropping around 240 – 250. I always think that we overestimate our distance, but I did do some measurements roughly and for some par 4s in Glenmarie valley, I was hitting my second shot into the green with a sandwedge.

The other aspect is my irons. After switching to my Mizuno, I can’t go back to anything else. I tried using my taylormade again the other day and promptly duffed or topped all my irons. The Mizuno is like a freaking samurai katana. It just feels balanced and awesome. It feels like I am having the staff of Gandalf with me. It helps that my iron distance has gone long as well – now for 100 meters, I am looking at sandwedge, for 110, a gap, and for 130, a pitching wedge and for 150 meters, a 9 iron. I hardly use my 8 or 7 anymore, because from 160 or 170 onwards I use my 6 iron and for 180 plus, 5 iron. I don’t use any utility and only occasionally I use my 5 wood to get two-on for par 5s. One of my friends calls me the Bull, for my bruteforce, not for my bullshit. At least, I think so.

And the aspects of my game that is completely stupid? Chipping, pitching, any shot that requires control. Except bunker. I love bunker shots now, and I use my 60 degree all. The. Time. No more sandwedges for me. But chipping? Nope. I have the yips. Pitching anything below 80 meters and I am likely going to duff it or skull it. I asked my friend if anyone sees a 70-degree wedge, let me know. At least I can do a full shot on it on 50 meters. For chipping, anything within sight of the green is puttable. A bad putt is a good chip, as they say.

So looking forward to more gametime in 2018 of course and guess what?

Tiger is back!!!!

Happy new year, Gilagolfers!

The Call of Immigration

One of my best friend decided to pack and leave Malaysia. After close to 40 years in this country, bye-bye.

It’s obviously with a mixed feeling to see him and his family leave. One – you wish him all the best of course. Two, you wonder, am I being left behind?

To put it – and this is obviously a personal opinion like everything else in this blog, which is mostly garbage, so disclaimer on ranting – sometimes, I feel we have this squatter mentality. When things don’t go right, we look to other places. We never take root on a country or a place and call it home. When I say We – I mean it in a general sense – not about my best mate. He has his reasons and those are very good ones. He loves our country..forced to leave for good reasons. But for the most part, people make a decision based on – oh, my family, oh my work, oh the government, oh the currency, oh the weather, oh the relaxation, oh the nude beaches. One side of the coin is – eh, this is your Home, Malaysia. It doesn’t matter if some shit politician calls us pendatang and tells us to go back to China – that’s politics, man! Don’t get so worked up! Our incumbent politicians will sell their own mothers to slavery to get votes, so don’t be surprise they tell Chinese to pack their shit up and then the next day, grovel to China and kiss their communists feet and ask them to come and invest in Malaysia. Most of these “politicans” are categorised in the same category of lifeform as bacteria, and even the bacteria gets insulted to be associated with them.

But some do take it very personally. They say, “Well, we are not treasured here. Bye Bye”.

The other side of the coin is: What if Malaysia is truly going down the shithole? A lot of us think it is. A lot think this is the Titanic, sinking into debts created by our beloved captain and his cronies. So abandon the country, before it becomes another Myanmar, abandon it before we have to send our sons and daughters overseas to become maids and laborers. Abandon this cursed land because a few fat cats are sucking it dry.

But if all leave, what is there?

I read a facebook post recently about a girl who decided to come back to Malaysia to work after not being able to cut it in Australia. She went on to say “I hope my thoughts would encourage those who made the trek back home that there is life after being an expat, and those who live in Malaysia that they are NOT losers for choosing not to leave!”

Now – I know she means well, but wait. Number one – you are not an expat. You are an immigrant. Even if you are there on a work visa, you are called a foreign labourer, or a maid, or a foreign worker, or some insulting and derogatory term. Oh, you don’t agree? Well, too bad, that’s what you are. Sorry, you are expat only if you go from Malaysia to lower developed places = at this moment is Sierra Leone, the Antartica and Mars. Other countries have taken over Malaysia as more developed. So even if you are paid, we have no right to call ourselves expat. Secondly, why bring up the word losers? Who is thinking of that? And herein lies the great mystery of our generation. We always think its better to go to the west (or in Australia’s case, the East). Why? Why is it better? If you run your own business here, why is it better to go to the most isolated continent in the world? If you have your family rooted here, why trek over to the place where convicts were banished to? The opportunities in Asia is endless. The great bustle of Bangkok, the great financial hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong, the growing opportunities in emerging countries like Cambodia and Vietnam. Why would I trade these adventures for one that I might want to have in a continent far, far away? Where they go to bed at 7 pm and watch a strange game called footy and basically have nothing much to do except having super good coffee. The coffee in Australia is the one thing I look forward to but nothing else. I have friends who constantly post streams of things they do in Australia on Facebook – like cutting grass, or sitting on the beach, or walking the dog, or happily playing with children etc. Eh – we also can do that here in Malaysia. I just don’t post it up so paedophiles can target my kids lah. Anything that OZ has, we have and more. OK – except for shitty currency. But otherwise, man, everything else!

Basically what I am ranting is, no – we are not losers for deciding to stay in Malaysia. If anything, we are fighters. We are survivors. We are likely 2nd or 3rd generation Malaysians – where our parents or grandparents had emigrated from China or wherever to come here to say, look, Malaysia is cool, they have durians and good weather – lets call this place home. For as long as we can, we should stay and fight for our land. Sure, we might not see fruits for this generation, but if it’s worth fighting for our sons and daughters, why not? Why do we want to become first immigrants again and start over? Why go to the other side when on this side, the grass is still green – it’s only hoarded by a bunch of fat and greedy cows. Can change happen? Maybe. I know for sure, if those who value this country remain in this country then we have a better chance. Australia doesn’t need Malaysians.

Malaysia needs Malaysians. I think the country is worth saving.

End of rant. Back to golf.

CIMB Classic and Tiger Woods

Well I suppose you couldn’t keep Gilagolf away from Tiger Woods, not when the guy is back in malaysia after a 13 year absence. I mean, he’s like the Haley’s comet. I don’t know what prompted him to come down to this backwater country for golf, probably the 5 million appearance fee and the no-cut 48 person event had something to do with it.

I don’t often go and watch golf on the course…I rather be playing it, but this is Tiger. And this is Thursday. And the crowd. Was. Nuts.

Thursday crowd mind you.

It was pretty hard to see Tiger, but there are some tips to catching Tiger properly.

Predict where he will end up. He was playing absolutely great at his driving, so we just needed to predict where his drive would end up. Nick Watney was ahead of him, and I gauged that he would be about 15 meters in front of Nick when he teed up. So while everyone was at the tee box on 18th, I settle myself at a nook where no one was there, where I predicted he would hit. A larger crowd was at around where Nick hit his shot.

Bam, Tiger’s ball ended up absolutely smack at the distance I was sitting, hence I had a great view of his second shot in the last hole.

Unfortunately, those CIMB volunteers decided to camp right in front of me with their QUIET signs to block my view when Tiger hit his shot. I wanted to murder that imbecile CIMB volunteer.

Another way to get a good shot is to predict his walking path. Then stand there and take the damn photo!

Overall he played great in the back nine and gave us a lot to cheer for. Of course, a few of us were hoping one of his wayward tee shot would hit us on the head so we could get an autograph (do you know how much that is worth??!), but he played too well. And the crowd was just berserk.

I managed to capture a video of his chip attempt that nearly eagled on the 17th. Otherwise, most of my shots are all pretty far away. The video is actually crap quality, you can’t even see the damn ball, but I’m putting it in because at around 0:22, the old uncle next to me started to hit on one of the CIMB volunteer, who is young enough to be his daughter. He says: “I remember you from Maybank Open. Wow, you are always here for golf events. When is the next one you will be at ah?” In response, the girl gave a nervous look around and scurried away.

Anyways, it’s ridiculous fighting with the crowd at Tiger World. He truly is bigger than golf.

Another interesting sight was Nick Watney. He had this really hot looking caddie by his side. Which was really interesting, because since I couldn’t get a view of Tiger much, the hot caddie was the next most interesting thing on the course.

Who is the hot caddy? I don’t know, but I think likely his wife, Amber Watney, who had caddied before for him I guess during the mickey mouse rounds in Augusta. She’s the niece of another pro golfer so I guess she knows what she’s doing. Check out Amber Watney below:

She’s the number 34. YOW-ZAH.

Tiger Woods in Malaysia

Suffice to say, that at this very moment, the greatest player in the history of our known universe is about 25km away, hacking away at one of the courses that Gilagolf had hacked before. Some comments have mentioned I am a rabid fanboy of Tiger. What else is there to support in golf? Your spine? Unfortunately, unless someone miraculously reads this article and take pity on me, I didn’t get any tickets to this year’s arguably biggest golf event. So I’ll just have to watch him like everyone else, from the TV. And annoyingly, we still have that EGM issue with Rahman Putra happening this Sunday as well. Damn you, golf club!

He’s teeing up with our prime minister even right now as I write, and I heard, opting to use only a putter for every shot so that our PM can at least keep pace with him in driving. I guess our PM has quite a lot of time to be accomodating, what’s with the country going through our best golden years both socially, politically and economically. I’m sure there’s no reason to worry about that small, miniscule, little thing called the GE13, or our country has gone to the bollocks for the past couple of years. Sure, let’s just tee up with Tiger Woods, who represents the greatest role model in golf and extracurricular activities.

I’m not bitter at all that the PM gets to tee up with Tiger Woods. I am sure the PM teed up with Rory McIlroy as well when he came. You mean he didn’t? Why the hell would he tee up with Tiger then? Oh yeah, because Tiger is bigger than golf, that’s why. Suck it, Mr Toby.

Anyways, predictions? I really doubt Tiger is driven to win in this CIMB (he pronounces it as See-im-bee) tournament, playing in possible the crappiest course against the crappiest opponents in the crappiest weather ever. I think by the end on the first round, he’s going to be sweating so much, and fainting and saying Malaysian weather sucks and that’s why bloody Vijay Singh rejected this  country in favor of Fiji. He’ll be in the top 10, but he won’t be winning. As far as Tiger goes, this is like 2nd gear work out for him. He’s just here to kill time and to see our PM play golf. You can see his reaction to our PM’s tee off below here:

Ah Tiger. The only one who dares to donkey-laugh at our PM’s golf skills.

All the best and win one on Malaysia soil!

A True Hacker

Since the launch of Gilastats a few weeks ago, we have 37 players registered. I always kinda felt with the limited game I am having, I’d be somewhere down the middle…not so great as to shoot consistent birdies, not so bad as to have my family disown me for destroying this beautiful game of golf.

And among 37 guys on the gilastats ‘tour’ I’m split down the middle on all the 8 main statistics! First time I’m seeing that I’m a hacker for all. For those wondering, the eight main stats are ranked according to the following:

Anyone interested, click on the gilastats button on the menu, or go here and sign up.

Happy Hacking!

Gilanalysis 20: Seri Selangor

Handicap:20

Gross: 98

Net: 78

Verdict: Darn, this course is tough!

What Happened

After a long absence from the most constipated course in history, I came back to hack Seri Selangor and got bloodied and bruised all over again. I started well enough, after a crap drive on the 10th, a hybrid, and stuffed my approach 5 feet from the hole and putted in.

11th hole, I drove amazing, and left me about 3o meters to the green. I proceeded to duff my pitch, three putted for bogey. Same as 12th hole, edge of green, but messed up my chip. Could have started par-par-par. From there, all downhill. Hazard off the tee on the 13th. Lost balls on 14th and 15th. Duffed approach on the 18th into bunker from 90 meters.

The first nine is supposed to be easier, and again I started well on the 1st. From there, crapland. Even in par 5 hole 5, I drove so well I had a six iron into the green. Hit an ok shot to the fringe, and proceeded to mess my chip and two putted!

The rest of the way was cases of lost ball, duffed shots and missed opportunities. Ah, Seri Selangor, how I miss thee.

Why I Sucked

I am migrating back to my old school driver with a stiff shaft. I decided the new regular shaft is really not my type (thanks so much to MST for such a STUPID recommendation. That MST “pro” in the UOA building in KL really really suck, I think he’s actually the ball picker from a driving range and knows crap about golf…and I am even stupider to listen to him! Argh!) With the stiff driver, I was pounding it 10-20 meters longer than normal. It just wouldn’t fly exactly straight and I had quite a fair bit of OBs. So kinda defeat the purpose….but man, pounding a perfect drive on the par 5 5th and the 1st, and the 11th…those are what you live for in golf.

So, direction of driver definitely sucked, but mainly, I was a huge failure in my irons…again.

Not So Sucked

Driver was long today. Except it’s not so good news in Seri Selangor when you go a bit off line, it’s welcome to the jungle. Putter was also doing ok, and Seri Selangor greens are in great condition…meaning…SUPER FAST!

What to Work On

Migrating back to driver for distance. Now, just to get the ball on the fairway!