Push your limits...
Hua Hin and Pattaya, Thailand
First stop Hua Hin, Thailand. Pronounced 'Wa Hin', where I played in the Asia Golf Invitational.
Long Live the King! Interesting country...my mission was golf, but saw so much more. I met a lot of great people, saw some sites and of course, I played fantastic courses.
Hua Hin and Asia Golf Invitational
June 6th - 19th, 2022
First week on retirement is complete! Thailand! I brought my bike, my clubs and a bright pink suitcase!!! Did 60 miles on my bike yesterday and over the week, ran 10 miles....just trying to get use to the heat!!! You're not going to find anyone doing 60 miles in a golf shirt and running shorts!!
But for now my focus is on golf.
Getting the local Hua Hin courses down; in case anyone wants to know the local Hua Hin green's...here's a list of the ones I played so far:
1. Black Mountain - absolutely gorgeous...more later.
2. Springfield - another beautiful course...more challenging than Black Mountain.
3. The Royal Hua Hin - great local course $35.00 for 18, with caddie!
4. Seapine - nice reminds me of Muni in SB...except this is on the beach...again $35!
On to the Asia Golf Invitational Golf Tournament. 4 rounds at some of the best courses here in Thailand. I am just going to play my best, hit the fairways, try to get my middle game going and hit some putts....we'll see!
Asia Golf Invitational
June 14, 2022
Golf update: I am sitting squarely in 2nd place, B flight. We play Banyan then Black Mountain; the top two courses. I am just going to play my best, keep my head down and finish strong. There are a lot of good golfers in this tournament. They have been playing for years and have had time to refine their short game, work on putts and learn how to hit with confidence at all times.
Today was Springfield, a Jack Nicklaus course...not an easy course to work around, lots of water. Glad we are not coming back here! I hit every fairway - except 2 of the dawg gone par 3s! Easily the longest drives of my life...260 ish.
Day 2: I dropped back to 5th place. Just did not have a great day out there. However I am in striking distance of the leader. Day three now needs to be more than my best game I need to hit better then I ever have.
Day 3: I hit a great game, however the competition hit just as well. I ended up in 3rd or 4th place. Not the result I wanted, but it was fun anyhow!
June 20th - 26th, 2022
From Bangkok, I went to Hau Hin then Pattaya. Pattaya is the destination! Night life, rock n roll, great food, and nice beaches - no waves, but the golf courses are spectacular!
A group of Australians - Ausies- invited me to play 5 rounds with them here in Pattaya. I said, "Sure, let's!". They really didn't stop at just golf! I learned a lot about my golf game. Really I just learned to take it easy and have fun. I was known, appropriately, as the "American".
Thailand Golf in Summary
Over the last 3 weeks I played 11 different courses, hit 243 holes and not a single hole in one! The last 5 days we, myself and the group of Ausies, played: Siam Country Club Waterside, The 'Old Course' (also Siam Country Club), The Plantation, Laem Chabang, and Chee Chan. All in the vicinity of Pattaya, Thailand. All incredible.
They all play over 7,400 yards and all host major tournaments. The Plantation hosted the 2009 US LPGA & the 2015 Thailand Open. I managed to hit 2 birdies there!
All the Ausies were good golfers...all low handicaps. They lived up to their reputation, as far as drinking and were able to show me a thing or two about golf. I made it my mission to learn what I could from them. What I learned was just play basic golf - straight up basic boring golf to get the best scores. They were all personable with everyone on the course, didn't take it too seriously, but all had a great ability to focus on each shot. Here's what I saw:
1. Many of them hit every single fairway. The quote was, "Easiest part of the game".
2. 2nd shots were very consistent...on the green, around the green, or set up hit the green on par 5s. Pretty deadly at 150 yards and in.
3. Chips were good, not great, but converted a lot to pars.
4. Their 1st putts on each green always put them in position to par...2 to 3 feet from the hole.
The Ausie who won the tournament said he would visualize his shot and how he wanted to move the ball, left or right. He used few clubs, but knew them well. He had a couple doubles, maybe a triple but that was rare. He played consistent, boring golf. And like all of us golfers, he was never happy with less than par or birdie. He said he never spends time on the driving range..."Too boring."
That's really about it! My take away is that I need to always remember GOLF IS FUN - ENJOY IT. Learn something from each hole. As I played rounds in Thailand, I studied my distances (not my max for each club, but what I could repeat with every stroke) and practiced hitting with confidence. what I mean by "hit with confidence" is, I know I am a confident player, but when you want to hit 80 yards instead of 100, I tend to "ease up" on my swing, when I really should just shorten my stroke and let it fly. Pick your line, measure the distance, determine your play and hit with confidence. I learned that sometime I will hit the green, sometimes not, but much less sticking the club in the ground.
Here's some latest golf rules:
The Sanctuary of Truth
I did pull myself away from golf to visit The Sanctuary of Truth. Amazing and a must see in Pattaya. This cultural site, Sanctuary of Truth, is one of the most unusual and photogenic buildings in Pattaya. Many people call it the wooden temple because the entire building is made of wood - brilliant! The local legend says that Mr. Viriyaphan decided to build the shrine in response to the growing tension of the cold war. It was his way to try and teach people to behave well, according to Buddhist teachings, so that we can achieve peace around the world. I will say this is a must see when you visit Pattaya. Here's the source...check it out.
June 22, 2022
The group and I played with at Laem Chabang. My best game over the past 3 weeks and maybe ever; 82. Games like this you can remember every missed shot - I missed 4 putts and duffed 1. The duff: my favorite club - 8 iron, a good distance for - 157 yards, and a good lie...all set up for a......DUFF!
ALWAYS REMEMBER - Just hit with CONFIDENCE!
Caddies are so nice to play with, more times than not they are right about the breaks. I swear several putts should have broke the opposite direction, but each time the caddie knew the break better than all of us. Always trust your caddy!!