Experiencing Night Golf in Dubai

Teeing off on 1st Hole

Few months ago, I watched a video in YouTube where a professional golf teacher played a night golf round in Nick Faldo Course, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai. Quite fascinated with the video, I then planned to include a round of night golf in our Dubai holiday itinerary.

I booked the course and club rental through dubaigolf.com, a travel agent specializing in arranging golf trip in Dubai. I inquired and booked the whole package through emails. I found it very easy, and the staff was very friendly, even accomodating few changed requests on tee time from my side. At the end, they sent me a confirmation form which I have to sign and scan-mail to them, gave my credit card details, and all is set and done.

Today, my tee off time was at 7.25 pm. This is right after sunset. I purposely booked the round in this hour as I want to capture the picture on the sunset golden hours (hence my picture above ☺️). I came an hour before tee time, as I was informed by the agent that my round included 100 range balls to practice before my round. Good, because my golf swing was rusty as I didn’t swing any club during whole month of Ramadhan.

So I came at reception and gave the lady my tee off time. It was all good, they recognized my booking and my request for golf club rental. So after put my stuffs at locker and changed my golf shoes, here I am, heading to the range to hit some practice balls.

Getting the rust out of my swing
The Driving Range with Dubai skyscrappers at background

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Fight of Decade

“Fight of Decade” is finally happening. Will be glued to TV on Sunday morning for this.

For teaser before the match, watch this excellent HBO video on the story how this fight is finally realized, and who are the interesting characters behind this mega fight: https://youtu.be/hF76dlQt23c

I support Manny, but my rational head tells me it will be very difficult to blemish Mayweather unbeaten record. He is so good on defense. Ducking, swaying, moving all the time. Manny will be tired chasing. My prediction the match will go to jury’s scorecards in home advantage (MGM is Mayweather’s camp). Unless Manny land his crushing hook in early rounds. Go Manny!

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Padi Valley Golf Course Review

Padi Valley Golf Club Signage
Padi Valley Golf Club Signage

It is a tradition in my current company to have a golf round before our management off site. It goes even further: one of the main decision factor in determining the meeting venue is whether the place has nice golf course! *grin*

Our meeting this time is held in Makassar, South Sulawesi. And of course we’re targeting to play in recently opened Paddy Valley golf course. Located in Maros area, 25 km from Makassar city center, it takes about 45 minutes from Makassar airport to the golf course. Spare a bit of time if you plan to play here, as sometimes the traffic can be bad due to smaller roads to pass.

Arrived in the complex, the first impression of the course: it’s hot and dry. Many areas are still under development, and during my visit the paddy field was brown and dry. Not too promising.

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Is Tiger Woods Back?

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This is probably 1 billion dollar question in Golf: is Tiger Woods back?

Well, that depends on your criteria of “back”.

If what you meant: he is “back” playing golf at high level; then yes, you can say so. He is now leading the PGA Tour Scoring Average rank, with the average score of 68.334. He is also back as phenomenal putter, leading Stroke Gained – Putting with 1.476 strokes per round. His total driving stats also always ended up there in every tournament he entered.

If what you meant: he is “back” to winning circle, then he definitely is back. He has back since winning the Chevron World Challenge in 2011, actually. And he started off this year very well, winning 3 out of 5 tournaments he participated this year, with the latest came from Bay Hill (Arnold Palmer Invitational)

If what you meant: he is “back” to become the best player in the world; there’s also stats to back it up. He is now ranked first in Official World Golf Ranking, eclipsing Rory McIlroy after his win in Bay Hill. He is also leading Fedex Cup ranking, and also in PGA Tour money leaders table, thanks to the impressive run of form in 2013.

But then, there’s only one criteria where Tiger is not yet back: Major Win.

Unfortunately, that how we judge his performance throughout his career. And to be honest, that’s how he judge his success as well, admittedly or not.

Since he was a kid, Tiger has posted Jack Nicklaus poster at the wall of his room. His dream is not only become like him. He dreamt to be even better than Jack. Surpassing the 18 major titles the Great Bear had collected in his career.

Now, Tiger has 14, 4 major wins short of Nicklaus. At age of 37, TIger’s age right now, Jack also won 14 major titles. So people can say, Tiger is in remarkable similar trajectory as Nicklaus. But Tiger’s last win in major golf tournament was in US Open 2008. That was a long 5 years ago, a period where we see the fall and rise of Tiger Woods during his post marital affair crumble.

So back to the question: is he back? Judging from his own ridiculously high standard, we can all agree he is not yet back. But he is close. And this week’s Masters Tournament, may be the time when he announce to the world: “I’m back”.

Stay tuned. I’ll write more if Tiger is charging on the lush green of Augusta.

Attention Beginners: The Way to Lower Your Scores Without Changing Your Swing

Disclaimer first: I am not a golf pro, and not even a scratch golfer (I’m 9.5 handicap USGA). But having played with many of my friends who just turn into golf, I realize that there are some easy tips that I can give to them to lower their scores, without changing their swing. Please note, these tips are for beginner golfers only, so if you’re playing in 80s or low 90s, you’d better go to golf course instead than reading this 🙂

1. Play on White Tees

White Tees Give You Shortest Distance
White Tees Give You Shortest Distance

Okay, if your scores are still hovering around 100, and more often to score in three digits than two digits, please consider to play on white tee. You will get shorter distance to the hole, and has greater chance to score better. You will gain probably 5-20 meters, depending on the courses. I know, sometimes you’re playing with your friends who demand you to play on the blue tees. If they have more or less similar scores with you, insist playing on White. If they’re more experienced golfers, insist on playing on different tees. Adjust the handicap strokes he normally give you, no problem. When you already score more in 90s, then you can accept the challenge of your fellow golfers to play on Blue tees.

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Believe in Magic

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Last night I set up my alarm clock at 00.00 midnight. Went to sleep at 10.30 pm, somehow I did not wake up when the alarm rang. Shut it off and slept again. Until suddently I woke up at 2.45.

I jumped out of the bed and ran to the TV room. “Sh*t, hope I still can catch Tiger’s victory”

Indeed, I was.

When I turned on the television, Tiger and Rocco just finished the 16th hole in their 18 hole playoff. Surprise, surprise, Rocco led by 1 stroke! Oh boy, what I’ve just missed?

9 text messages on my phone, apparently.

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Another Magical Moment by Tiger

Tiger after making his clutch putt to force play off on US Open 2008

Sorry folks. Need to write this. I still feel the goosebumps two hours after watching Tiger made another clutch putt to force a play-off in Final Day of US Open 2008 at Torrey Pines. And because of that, the ‘Final Day’ needs an extension. Tiger will meet Rocco Mediate in 18 holes play-off tomorrow.

Believe me, I’m a Tiger fan. But judging from how he played today, I myself had a doubt whether he could force the play-off. Trailing by 1 stroke going to final hole, Tiger hooked his tee-shot to fairway bunker on the left. From there, he was forced to lay up. But what a bad shot he made. He hit his second shot to the rough about 100 yards from hole. And any golf fan, know how the rough look like in US Open. And also, it’s not only because of the rough, but also because of the pin location which was on the edge of the green. There was very few room to work with.

And this was the start of (another) greatness. I texted my 2 friends who watched the live telecast just like me. One of them is with Maya (who is happen to be my boss as well :):

Me: “Tiger will lose. It’s hard to get up and down for birdie on that rough”

Maya: “Tiger will do it”

Me: “No, I don’t think he will. He’s human after all”

Maya: No, he’s Tiger. Not a human” (rightly so)

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Money Talks and Masters 08

Money, money, money

 

My passionate coverage of Master 08 ends prematurely. My satellite TV provider (Astro) was suspended due to “operation inspection” from Ministry of Information and Communication Indonesia.

This sudden action really pissed me off. Why do they do this on the weekend (when all the primetime shows are aired)? Why do they do this now? Why was there no prior explanation to the customers?

Learning from Indonesia experience in the past, the motive behind all of this may not be far off from Money. Nothing else. Maybe Astro did not pay enough “royalties” to the government? Probably. Maybe Astro’s direct competitor sponsors the ministry to do this? Possibly. Maybe the ministry would like to protect the people of Indonesia? Bah! In your wildest dream. Ok, maybe Astro does not comply to several regulations, but please, can you please do this on better timing? With proper explanation. This way, the customers are the ones who suffer most.

Sorry for the “passionate” whining. I was too mad to realize I can’t watch the live telecast of Masters last night.

Oh, by the way, Tiger is 7 shots back. Trevor Immelman shots another 68 that made him on the top of leaderboard. Phil Mickelson will be one of the worthy contender this time around, with 68 of his own made him only three shots back. Tiger will need miraculous charge to get his Grand Slam bid stay intact.

Tiger Woods@Masters 08

Masters LogoHere we go. That’s time of the year again. When beauty azaleas meets with the pro golfers’ forceful swings. When the major tournament starts again. When the grandest major tournament of golf: The Masters, kicks off its annual ritual at Augusta, Georgia.

My favourite golfer (and perhaps millions of other golf fans’ in the world): Tiger Woods begin his quest to capture the “Grand Slam” this year. Can he do it? More to come in this blog. Stay tuned.