Saturday, 27 November 2010
Hong Kong, quite simply the most exciting city this golfer dude has so far had the great fortune to taste, smell, explore and savour. I've been fortunate to of spent time in many cities across the globe, including New York, LA, San Francisco, Miami, Melbourne, Barcelona, Auckland, Johannesburg, Singapore, Taipei and to this point my personal favorite Tokyo. This was my first visit to the Peoples Republic of China and one I must say will remain in my heart for many years to come. This recent adventure was fueled by one single goal, to study the game of golf and unveil a place to teach and further broaden my golfing horizons. Call me crazy, call me calm, for the past 2 months have provided one with countless pages of teaching insight and wide open angles of golfing perspective.
Having spent almost 2 weeks in Singapore visiting academies and completing interviews, my next stop was Hong Kong. Not ones first choice when locating places of golfing interest but one I just had to see for myself. Having located a healthy bunch of driving ranges, indoor studios, courses and retail outlets both in and around the city landscape I touched down with a packed schedule and seemingly mammoth task of securing a teaching position.
Having a map in Hong Kong is one thing but actually using it to locate premises of golfing action is by far another. Having made it to my first destination I now faced the seemingly impossible mission of finding the place. Stood at the foot of an escalator in a busy shopping mall I was having my doubts, the Waterfall Golf Club (even academies the size of shoe boxes are referred to as Clubs over there) was on the very top floor, positioned way above the city and my highest expectations of any under sized golf learning facility. This place was impressive, seen in the first four images you can see how every key department is successfully accommodated (inc. 9 hole putting green) designed to satisfy the most dedicated of urban purists. They even possessed challenging bunkers, sloping lies and a wide range of teaching aids making this tight squeeze one of the best equipped facilities I've ever set foot in.
On the surface I was most impressed and felt I had quite possibly found a platform suitably equipped and adequate for my teaching needs. So I took a nose around, snooped the whole place out, every floor of the three story, 120 yard long, roof top range in search of a Professional face. With over a handful of keen players frequenting the hitting area I was expecting to find at least one of the clubs teaching professionals hard at it. But no, all I could locate was a wall of teaching fame consisting of purely non-PGA Qualified teaching professionals, AGTF (Australian Golf Teachers Federation) qualified teachers. The place was a no go area for the more qualified, internationally recognized professionals among us. It was a shame, a real shame, but even more so to see such an impressively high standard of facility clearly failing to maximize its slick inner city potential. The location was almost directly above the MTR Station and the many frantic shoppers each passing the time of day without a single thought for the game of golf or its high contrasting nature to that of the daily pace that surrounded it.
The game of golf in Hong Kong is most definetly one for the riches, only the wealthiest appear entertained by its status appeal and quality means of escaping the city treadmill.