As published in November 2020 Issue 17 of Planet Golf Review
Life is full of contrasts, but Westerners are often oblivious to these nuances. In Thailand, you will find cosmopolitan cities and rural villages that dot the landscape, pristine beaches and dirty canals, ancient temples amidst towering skyscrapers, luxury hotels and backpacker’s havens and a vibe that is either enervating or enriching.
Like most travellers, we arrive via Bangkok, a city that never sleeps and the most visited city on the planet, eclipsing London and Paris. It’s hot, humid, congested and chaotic but teeming with life and an energy that invites you to dive in with a ‘beginners mind’ and immerse yourself in the culture. Ninety percent of the population is Buddhist. It wasn’t long before we discover how this will influence every aspect of our journey to the other side of the world, a place like no other that invites you to get lost so that you can find yourself again.
It was almost fourteen years ago when I first laid eyes on Boracay, and it was love at first sight. To this day, the word I use to describe my first experience is idyllic. You see, I had been in Makati for over a month, working day and night in the nascent call centre industry, and desperately needed a break. At that time, Boracay was virtually unknown and certainly unfamiliar to me, but a poster enticed me to step inside a local travel agency.
In the blink of an eye, I booked a flight to the Caticlan airport, passage to Boracay aboard a Paraw, and made a reservation for a modest room at the Orchids Resort, a backpackers’ haven that suited this solo traveller’s limited budget to a tee. What was even more astounding was the fact that within a mere six hours, I was checked into my room and found myself consulting with Lynn, the proprietor, to discover what this small island truly had to offer.
For the next few days, based on his sage advise, I sought to explore the nooks and crannies of Boracay and was never disappointed.
Looking for your next golfing destination? We’ve got you covered.
While the Philippines isn’t the first country that comes to mind when you think of golf, the country’s long history with the sport may surprise you. Made up of 7,107 islands, the Philippines is divided into three main regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It lies smack bang in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it accessible to neighboring Asian countries such as Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, and China. It is known for its spectacular beaches, lush mountains, and some of the friendliest locals. However, unbeknownst to many, the country also has a rich golfing history.
A feature published on the Philippine Star on golf history reveals that the sport was introduced to the Philippines in 1886 by the British, who were employed under the Manila Railway Corporation. The story goes that they built a three-hole golf course in the paddy fields of Intramuros, and the rest, as they say, is history. If this has got you interested, read on for our pick of 5 truly unique Philippine golf courses.
I’ve just returned from two unforgettable weeks of golf and exploring Amazing Thailand and I’m so jacked to share my adventures, but these stories will have to wait for now. As serendipity would have it, Jane and I were honoured this Tuesday to have a private interview with two of the best female golfers in the world prior to this week’s LPGA CP Canadian Women’s Open at Magna Golf Club in Aurora.
The sister act of Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn have made headlines since they turned pro in 2013. Moriya (Mo) came onto the stage in a big way by winning the ‘LPGA Rolex Rookie of the Year’ and currently ranks in the Top 25 of the World. Younger sister Ariya (May) is the reigning ‘LPGA Player of the Year’ and ‘Tour Money Winner’, a feat she accomplished in 2016. This pair are the ideal ambassadors to promote golf in Thailand.
So, I’m sure that you can understand why I was a little intimated by these well-accomplished ladies. As best I could, I blurted out ‘Sa-wat-de Krub’ (hello) with hands palmed together – a respectful welcome in Thai culture. I tried to say ‘Pood Pa Sa Thai mai dai’ (I can’t speak Thai) but it probably came out as ‘Pad Thai No’ since I got a blank stare and in unison they said: “We love Thai food”. I would find out more about that later. Note to self, even though I tried, stick with yes (Chai) and no (Mai Chai) and of course, thank you (Khob Khun Krug) so as not to embarrass yourself.
By Dave Finn as printed in the April Edition of Travelife.ca
NEW DELHI – From the moment I arrive, the sights, the sounds and the diversity of this city surround me. Within minutes, I know that without a doubt I have arrived in one of the most exotic destinations in the world — for golfers.
Okay, granted, New Delhi may not be foremost on golfers’ minds but for me, playing my favourite sport in India was the opportunity to combine two of my passions – travel and golf.
When you travel this far, though, you simply have to take in the numerous historical sites of Old Delhi, including the Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, the Lotus Temple and the diplomatic enclave that includes Parliament House, India Gate and the President’s Estate.
“With a thousand years of history, it is a city of contrasts that combines a unique ambience of ancient and the modern,” my host Bharat Bedi so eloquently stated. It was a theme that resonated with me for the rest of my brief stay.
My advice to golfers is that between rounds, take the time to explore the area and experience the culture.
To read the entire article in Travelife Magazine click here.
By Dave Finn
When I tell my buddies that I recently visited Malaysia, I find myself pulling up a map to show them it is nestled between Thailand and Indonesia in the South China Sea and then explaining why it’s such a well kept secret, though maybe not for longer. An exotic destination indeed but most certainly wouldn’t pop up on most people’s radar as a place to play golf! I knew that it would be a unique and exciting place to visit but it wasn’t until I did my research that I learned Malaysia has a rich, long history of professional golf.
I discovered that in 2011 the country celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Malaysian Open, now known as the Maybank Malaysian Open which is held every April as part of an official Asian Tour event. This years’ winner was, Italian upstart, Matteo Manassero. In July, Malaysia also plays host to a second Asian Tour event, the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.