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Good golf habits for 2019

Good golf habits for 2019

As someone who plays a lot of golf on a regular basis I’m often asked about whether I have any tips or tricks for improving my game. And the fact is that there are countless little things we can all do to play better – slight adjustments to your grip, different mental approaches, new ways of thinking about breaking down your swing mechanics and improving it.

Some work and some don’t, but I think that above all one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over many years of playing golf is the power of habit. All of these little changes we can try – just a couple of which I’m going to talk about here – really only make a significant impact on your game if you make them into a habit. By trying them out, and if they work, sticking at them consistently, they become second nature to you.

And this, I believe is the most important thing here – all of these changes, for them to make a difference – need to feel natural. So much of golf is about mental attitude, and I’m a firm believer in keeping your mind as free from distraction as possible. Overthinking your shots and your playing strategy, is in my experience absolutely fatal to your golf game – your mind is too busy concentrating on gripping like this or placing your feet like that, that you forget to feel the shot and just play. For me, this is why any changes that you do introduce need to be done one at a time, slowly, and repeated until they become an unconscious habit.

So what new habits would I suggest that you try for 2019 to improve your golf game?

Establish a routine that works

Well, the first is actually closely linked to this idea of habit itself. One of the most fundamentally important things that any successful golfer does is to build a routine, that they follow before and after their shot. What is yours? How do you prepare your mind and body before each shot? What do you do physically and mentally as you walk between holes, and as you step up to play your next shot? What do you do once you’ve played your shot?

Once again, having a routine is absolutely crucial. Golf is a demanding game, mentally and physically, and having a pre and post shot routine is almost like creating a solid framework on which to build the rest of your game. If you do this, it means that it becomes much easier for you to stay calm and focused at all times, regardless of how a particular round is actually going. By creating a familiar, regular routine that you can always fall back on – whether you are playing well or having a complete nightmare – allows you to reset yourself for every shot. Whether you’ve just recorded a hole in one or a triple bogey, your pre- and post shot routine is there to ground you and refocus you for the next challenge.

Try visualising

Visualisation is a big deal among professional sports people, and in fact it is something that can work well in all walks of life. I know myself, from personal experience, that visualising a business meeting or a presentation going well before you walk through the door can make a huge difference to your mental attitude.

The same is true in golf, and I’ve found that introducing an element of positive visualisation into my pre-shot routine has been a habit that I’ve found really useful. So, how does it work? Well, for me it is all about simply picturing in your mind’s eye the perfect shot – the ideal flight of the ball, and where you would like it to land.

I’ve found that introducing visualisation into my game also just helps my frame of mind – it encourages a kind of present, positive focus on the job at hand that is absolutely crucial in a game like golf. Strangely, visualising also relaxes you too. By imagining how things will be when they go well, you stop worrying so much about possibility of everything going badly – and consequently you loosen up, relax and just feel your way into the shot.

These are only a couple of small changes, but, as I say, the important thing here is to make them into regular habits (only if they work for you, of course).

So, take it slowly, try them out one at a time, and hopefully they will help to improve your game in 2019.

Robert Weider 

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2018 review – a year in golf

2018 review – a year in golf

Wow – 2018 was quite a year for golf fans. For me, it was a real vintage year, and I wanted to give you my thoughts on just a few of the best bits. The Majors delivered some great performances, we saw the return of Tiger Woods and of course it was a Ryder Cup year – but more of that later. Here are just a few of my highlights from a truly memorable 2018.

Francesco Molinari wins the Open.

I challenge any golf fan, however partisan, not to have felt a warm glow when Francesco Molinari managed to seal his first Major title after sealing victory in the 2018 Open Championship on a dramatic day at Carnoustie. It was just a great moment, one where he kept his cool impressively, despite feeling a resurgent Tiger Woods breathing down his neck to add to the pressure. A proud moment for Molinari, but also for Italy, who now have a Major winner in their ranks. While I’m on the subject of Molinari, I have to also mention his remarkable five matches he won for the European Team in the Ryder Cup.

Europe triumphs in the Ryder Cup

Truly the highlight of the year for any fan of European golf – the team’s incredible (and, if we’re honest, a bit unexpected) victory over the United States in France. Europe’s 17½-10½ win was crushing, and made all the more exciting by a spirited USA fightback that, fortunately for my nerves, didn’t last too long. The scenes at the end of this thrilling competition, with the crowds mobbing the players, is something that I’ll never for get. And what a way for Molinari to cap off a truly special year.

Seeing Justin Rose finally get to World Number One

Justin Rose can sit back and reflect on a quietly brilliant year – twelve months of consistent performances at the very highest level. Again and again the Englishman managed to finish in the top two or three of many of the competitions he entered, and remarkably he only missed the cut once all year. It was great to see him secure the number one spot – something that must mean a huge amount to him personally – and round off what has been a great 2018.

The return of Tiger Woods

I’ve personally never really been a huge fan of Tiger Woods. Some players capture your imagination as a spectator and for me there was just something about Woods that I could never really connect with. But that aside, it is impossible to deny the influence on the game of someone who is clearly one of the greatest players of all time, and so it has still been great to see that some of the old Tiger magic is still there. After a tumultuous few years, expectations really weren’t that high for Woods, but he has shown what a competitor he is, as he has begun to really find form as we’ve come to the end of the year. Love him or hate him, Woods is one of the greats, and on the evidence of 2018 he may well be on his way back in 2019.

Phil Mickelson’s moment of madness

The ensuing uproar in the media and the golf establishment was almost as entertaining as the moment itself. For those of you who might have missed it, Mickelson was on the 13th green of the US Open in Shinnecock (four over, with five bogeys already behind him), when his 18 foot putt rolled past the hole. Instead of just shaking his head and carrying on, Mickelson chased after the ball and hit it while it was still moving – a pretty fundamental breach of the most basic rules of golf.

It was something that some people saw as just a momentary rush of blood, while others put it in the context of Mickelson’s long running feud with the US golf authorities. Whatever it was, I’d imagine Mickelson will want to put it all behind him for 2019.

2018 has been a wonderful year in golf – not just for the professionals, but for myself as well. I’ve had the chance to play on some great courses when I have the time, and I’ve made good progress in certain areas of my game thanks to being able to practice regularly on my local courses in Hong Kong.

Here’s hoping that next year will bring as much excitement for golf fans as this one has.

Rob Weider 

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Reflections on a remarkable Ryder Cup victory for Europe

Reflections on a remarkable Ryder Cup victory for Europe

So, Europe didn’t stand a chance. I think in the weeks leading up to this year’s Ryder Cup I must have heard this a million times. The accepted wisdom was that this US team was just too strong, too experienced, too Tiger-ish, for Europe to cope. How wrong we all were. (Well, at least I am able to say that I did predict Ryder Cup success for this European team – I just wasn’t expecting it to happen this year).

An incredible effort

‘Unbelievable’ is a much over-used word in sport, but I think that in this case, with this performance, we really did see a performance that merits the word. The USA weren’t just favourites – they were red-hot favourites, with a host of exciting young players and the aforementioned resurgent Tiger Woods. Of course, the Europeans had world number one Justin Rose in their ranks, as well as home advantage, but no one predicted the kind of beating that was meted out to the US team at Le Golf National this autumn.

After a strong start, a slight wobble in the middle and then an assured finish, Europe ended up winning back the Ryder Cup 17½-10½, the second biggest defeat the USA has ever had in the competition.

Captain fantastic

I want to start first though with what, for me, went right for the Europeans – because there is no doubt that this was a case of them winning it, rather than the US team simply throwing it away. Clearly, a huge amount of the credit for this remarkable win needs to go to captain Thomas Björn, who stuck his neck out to pick a few players – Sergio García in particular – who weren’t exactly in Ryder Cup winning form going into the tournament. But he stuck to his wildcards and won an incredible victory with their help.

It really struck me that Björn somehow managed to hit on the secret of getting the best out of his players, not just by some smart picks, but also by combining them well. The combination of Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter in particular worked brilliantly. After McIlroy and Thorbjørn Olesen were roundly beaten by Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler in the Friday morning fourballs, things were looking a little underwhelming for Rory, with the US leading 3-1. McIlroy had been nowhere in the morning, but combined with Poulter in the afternoon he was a new man. It was an inspired decision by Björn that helped Poulter and McIlroy lead the European team to end the first day with a 5-3 lead after a 4-0 whitewash in the foursomes.

Fantastic Molinari

Of course, there is also another man who certainly deserves a mention – the remarkable Francesco Molinari. Fresh from his win at the Open a few months ago, Molinari stormed through the final day of the Ryder Cup, winning a remarkable 5 points out of 5 to put him up alongside only four other players in history to have achieved such a result. Fittingly, Molinari even got to apply the coup de grace to a floundering Phil Mickelson and the US team on the Sunday, beating him 4&2 with the American finding the water on the 16th. It was just one of those weekends for the US team.

US woes

So what went wrong for the Americans? Well, despite getting off to a good start on that opening morning, they stuttered in the afternoon and never fully recovered. It may have been fatigue – Mickelson and Woods aren’t getting any younger – or it might have been the distraction of having Tiger Woods back stealing the headlines that disrupted the team dynamic. I also think that it came down to local knowledge – a factor that I though might have some impact, but not to this extent.

The Europeans were ultimately just a bit more savvy on the greens when it came to their putting, and that, I think, points to the real reason why the Europeans rolled over the Americans.

The preparation put in by Björn and his team really paid off -and was a stark contrast to the US team – only six of whom had even bothered to play on the course before. That simply isn’t good enough, and in the end, thanks to a fantastic effort by the European team, they were made to pay for their mistakes.

Robert Weider 

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Looking ahead to the 2018 Ryder Cup

Looking ahead to the 2018 Ryder Cup

Ryder cup - Rob Weider

I love the Ryder Cup. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that for me, it isn’t just the best golf tournament in the world – it is actually one of the best tournaments in any sport. Why? Well, first and foremost there’s the incredibly competitive format itself. The rivalry between the two teams – the USA and Europe – is fierce, and unsurpassed in golf. It’s uniquely pressurised, as players who are used to playing only for themselves discover what happens to their game when they have the weight of the expectations of an entire continent on their shoulders.

Of course, this is a group of players who know each other well, who have toured together, and who have won and lost against each other over the course of the year. But there is something so purely raw and competitive about the Ryder Cup, with its complex team dynamics and the sense you get as a spectator that you’re getting to watch the 12 best European golfers taking on the 12 best Americans. That makes it uniquely irresistible. And the match play format really encourages these 24 players – who are fired up anyway – to really go for it and play aggressively.

And for me, the other big factor that makes the Ryder Cup stand out is the crowds. With the exception of a few notable American tournaments, golf fans are generally a fairly genteel bunch. Not at the Ryder Cup however – you’ll get chanting, cheering and just a fantastically rowdy atmosphere.

Firm favourites

So, it’s a special event – but what have we got to look forward to this year? The top line is that the US might be the hot favourites – but for me, I think it is going to be fascinating to see how the new PGA Tour world number one, England’s Justin Rose, will play and the effect his new status will have on the outcome. He’s had quite a journey to reach the pinnacle of the PGA Tour, and in a sense there is nothing left for him to achieve in the game. If that helps to take the pressure off him a little now going into the Ryder Cup, and allows him to just play his own naturally brilliant brand of golf, he could make a huge impact for the European team.

A tough ask for Europe

But beyond Rose’s successful year, there hasn’t been much for Europe to cheer about. Out of the four Major titles, three are held by players from the US – and that, for most observers, doesn’t bode well for Europe’s top players. But there have been some signs of recovery. The recent FedEx Cup playoffs – which helps to determine the 125 golfers who will retain their PGA Tour playing privileges next year – saw a European resurgence of sorts, with Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Open champion Francesco Molinari and Jon Rahm all playing well. How much of this rise in form carries over into the Ryder Cup remains to be seen, but it is to be hoped that we might have a little more of a competition on our hands that some might think.

That said, this is an American team that I really like the look of. It is strong, right the way through all 12 players, with a lot of young, talented golfers. But there is also a wonderful blend of both younger and older players too, with old hands like Phil Mickelson and yes, Tiger Woods, who can bring the experience this team might need to get it over the line.

Europe are on home territory. Many of them will know the course in Paris well, and that familiarity might bring a small advantage (although I don’t doubt that the Americans will have done their homework too).

But for me, this European team is a real work in progress. There are a lot of young, strong players who are hungry for success on the biggest stage. And I really do firmly believe that this group of European golfers will experience Ryder Cup success. I’m just not so sure that they will do it this time around.

Robert Weider 

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What Francesco Molinari’s Open win tells us about the state of professional golf

What Francesco Molinari’s Open win tells us about the state of professional golf


It’s been a funny old year for Italian sport. Firstly, they had to watch from afar as the world came together to enjoy a football tournament that they’ve won four times as a nation – but which they didn’t even qualify for this time around. Still on football (arguably Italy’s national sporting obsession), they pulled off one of the transfers of the year when Turin club Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for €100,000,000. But then, just when things were looking up, cycling star Vincenzo Nibali crashed out of the Tour de France when his handlebars caught in a spectator’s handbag strap.

So, it’s been one of those years, of ups and downs and unexpected dramas. But for me, there was one shock result that stands out above all others – Francesco Molinari’s win at Carnoustie to claim the British Open Championship for the first time. Molinari claimed the title by two shots, ahead of Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele, and he did so in style.

It’s been quite a year for Molinari. Up to this year, he’d only won four tournaments since he became a professional, way back in 2004. Just four tournaments – but now, in the last seven months or so he has been on a real roll. So far this year, he’s picked up the Quicken Loans National title and the BMW PGA Championship – and he now has the British Open Championship’s Claret Jug to add to that collection. But what does Molinari’s Open win really tell us about the state of professional golf at the moment? Here are my thoughts.

It shows that anyone can win.

We’ve become used to the dominance of players like Dustin Johnson, the world number one, but Molinari’s win is a timely reminder that even unfancied players stand a chance in the big tournaments. Molinari’s win will now move him up to sixth in the PGA world rankings, but for me his win at Carnoustie is a lesson that it is often not about where a player sits on a league table, but rather his form that counts.

Molinari has, in many ways, been one of the most in form players on the professional circuit in recent months, and his win at the Open is testament to this. They say that ‘form is temporary and class is permanent’, but on a course as mentally and physically challenging as Carnoustie any player needs to be at the top of their game on the day – regardless of where they sit in the rankings.

It’s a huge boost for Italian golf.

Italy is obsessed with sport – just not, so far, with golf. But Francesco Molinari’s win is a real shot in the arm for the game in Italy – he’s the first Italian to win a major, and he’s a warm, engaging ambassador for the game there. Molinari himself is a true product of Italy’s golfing development system. He rose up through the ranks of Italy’s youth and amateur systems, and his success at the British Open is the result of a lot of the support and development he’s received over the years. His birdies on the 14th and the 18th on that final round showed his coolness under pressure, and as he raised the iconic Claret Jug above his head it’s to be hoped that young Italian players will be inspired to follow in his footsteps.

It proves that it’s not all about Tiger Woods.

For so much of this year’s British Open tournament, the spotlight was on Tiger Woods. He’d shown such an unexpected surge of form that it wasn’t unreasonable to think that we were about to witness the unthinkable – a return to winning ways for this troubled golfing legend. But, it wasn’t to be for Woods – a couple of missed putts and a few wayward drives and the chance slipped away, and the moment and the opportunity was there for Francesco Molinari to seize.

I for one was delighted to see Molinari step up and take his chance as Tiger Woods’ challenge faded – not because of any dislike for Woods, but rather because it shifted the narrative back to where I think it should be. Woods has dominated golf on and off the course for many years now, and it feels right that the battle at Carnoustie was won by a new name, from a country that has had limited success in the sport.

For me, that’s what sport is all about – and I think that Molinari’s win is good for golf, it’s good for him, and it’s great for a proud sporting nation.

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What simple things can ordinary players actually do to make the most dramatic difference to our golf game?

What simple things can ordinary players actually do to make the most dramatic difference to our golf game?

Rob Weider - What simple things can ordinary players actually do to make the most dramatic difference to our golf game?

Golf is essentially a simple game. No, bear with me – it really is, despite how complex we seem to make it in our heads as we struggle our way through a round. Think of those days when it seems to come easily – when our swing is just right, when our bodies and minds work naturally together to send the ball exactly to where we need it to be.

OK, I’ll admit, it doesn’t happen very often (for me at least!) but hopefully you take my point – golf, at its best, is pretty straightforward. I’m a firm believer that actually much of the complexity is in our own heads – we start worrying about the wind speed, our club choice, doubt starts creeping in about our swing, we adjust, and adjust and adjust – and of course, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. When we’re feeling confident and happy, our play feels natural, and we see the game of golf for the simple activity it is. So how do we get there? Are there any simple tricks for making a big difference to our game? Here are a few of my favourites.

  1. Slow it down.

This is a piece of advice that runs through everything in golf – from your swing to your mental approach to the game. Your body shape is essential in making sure your swing works effectively – but the key to maintaining this form is to go slower – it gives your hands and your body the time they need to get the club face square to the line you’re after. You’re also not rushing through the various body movements that a good swing requires – your balance will be just right and you’ll hit the ball with all the power you need.

But this idea of slowing down goes beyond just the mechanics of your swing. It’s also an important tip for your approach to any shot. Don’t rush into it – take a breath and think about what you’re trying to do. Of course, don’t over-think things either, as this can be just as damaging as not thinking at all, but do give yourself that space to forget about your last shot and concentrate fully, in the moment, on this one.

  1. Cut back on the Hollywood shots

It happens in any sport – you see the pros doing it (think Beckham in his heyday pinging a 60-yard cross-field pass to the opposite wing, or Rory McIlroy chipping onto the green with perfect backspin), and you try and do it yourself. The sad truth of the matter – and it’s something we all have to face sometime as amateur players – is that most of us are simply not good enough to pull off these kinds of controlled aerial shots on a regular basis. Sure, we might do it once (hopefully with plenty of people watching) but the chances of making these sorts of shots a standard part of our game are extremely low.

And in actual fact, the pros don’t do this either – they do the basic stuff exceptionally well – but they can also pull something special out of the bag when they really need to. So, try a crazy shot once in a while (it is supposed to be fun, after all), but concentrate on the other 99 per cent of your game that will get you round with a good score. Focus on keeping the ball on the ground whenever you can.

  1. Practice, practice, practice

There’s no getting away from it – the single most important thing you can do as an amateur to improve your golf game is to practice. It might sound boring – and it can be – but it is essential, especially in a game where repetition and muscle memory are so crucial. The aforementioned Mr Beckham spent many an hour on the training ground practicing his free kicks after everyone else had gone home, and it paid off. The same goes for golf – the simplest trick for improving your game is to practice it, again and again. One thing I would say however is always have a clear objective in your practice – focus on a particular area for a while and work on it until you see an improvement. It’s the best way to keep motivated – and it will all pay off in the end.

Rob Weider 


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The golfer I’ve learned the most from over the years – Rob Weider

The golfer I’ve learned the most from over the years – Rob Weider

Rob Weider - The golfer I've learned the most from over the years

One of the most wonderful things about playing golf – in fact playing any sport – is the sense that you are following in the footsteps of the players who have gone before you. Whatever your standard, you will have players who have inspired you over the years. They will have influenced how you play, your style, your attitude and your whole approach to the game.

And of course, in the world of golf, there are so many great players out there to learn from. If I could play a single putt half as good as that one I remember Tiger Woods sinking on his way to winning the 2000 PGA Championship, or get anywhere near the standard of some of Jack Nicklaus‘ tee shots over the years, I’d hang my golf clubs up tomorrow, a happy man. It’s probably never going to happen, but it is in part the inspirational performances of these great players over the years that has driven me on and encouraged me to think about how I can improve my own game.

My greatest teacher

But whenever I’m asked which of these great golfers of the past has had the most impact on my game, I can honestly say that none of them can compare to one person whose influence stands head and shoulders above the rest: my father. For me, there really is no one else who has made a bigger impact on my golf game – after all, he was the one who got me into golf originally and who has taught me how to continue to improve my game over the years. He has taught me how to play the game the right way, he’s given me the grounding in the etiquette of golf that every player should build their game on, he took me out for those long hours of practice, and he has always encouraged and motivated me in everything I do.

Grit and determination

Wherever and whenever I play I can still his classic phrase of ‘keep trying, never give up’ ringing in my ears to this day. He must have said it at least five times every time we played when I was a young, inexperienced golfer, and it is a mantra that has since got me through many difficult situations on (and sometimes even off) the golf course. From an early age my father did a fantastic job of instilling in me an attitude of positivity and determination that has been invaluable to me over the years. Golf can be a tough game, but my father’s example showed me that there is always a creative solution that can be found to solve even the trickiest problem. 

Now that we’re living on different continents we obviously don’t get to play as much as we once did – but I do try to get to Florida once a year, where he lives for six months of the year, to visit him and have a round or two of golf. It’s a great time to catch up – not just on the usual family news, but also on our respective games – he’s always very keen to hear how I’m golfing and how I’m improving (or not). In particular, he always wants to know whether my temper is still as bad as his was on the golf course – when I was younger we used to have some fiery and competitive rounds together. Thankfully I’ve calmed down a lot over the years and try to just have fun now as opposed to taking it too seriously. I think that this kind of level headedness is something that certainly comes with age and experience and that my game is all the better for it. That said, there is still no one who can bring out my competitive streak quite like my father.

A common bond

Sport plays such a huge role in many people’s lives, all around the world – and having a shared passion like golf is a kind of glue that can bind families and friends ever closer together. Golf connects my father and I across thousands of miles – and along with baseball, it is one of the sports that we’ve probably spent the most time watching, playing and talking about together over the years.

So, I cherish those times I get to spend with him, as they don’t come around too often anymore – and I think of him, and the great advice and companionship he’s given me over the years, every time I pick up a club and head out onto the course.

Rob Weider 

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Rob Weider: The best courses in Vietnam

Rob Weider: The best courses in Vietnam

Rob Weider Vietnam


I’ve spoken here about how much I love Vietnam – both as a growing property investment opportunity, but also as a fascinating place to visit. Historically and culturally it has a huge amount to offer visitors – but it’s also a great destination for those of us looking for a round of golf on one of its many beautiful golf courses. We’ve already talked about Danang as an attractive destination for investment – but one of the aspects of the area that makes it so appealing to foreigners is the growing number of golf courses springing up along the coast there. Here are some of my favourite courses in Vietnam – in the Danang area and beyond.

  1. BRG Danang Golf Resort

Like many of the very best courses in the world, this one is as much about the spectacular setting as it is the course itself. Originally designed by Greg Norman, now with the addition of a Jack Nicklaus-designed course it’s 36-holes  of pure links-style pleasure (and pain) with a backdrop of stunning mountains. A real favourite, and a challenging course that will truly test you to the limit.

  1. The Bluffs at Ho Tram Strip

It was a real toss-up for me between this course and BRG Da Nang Golf Resort – they’re both such beautiful courses, but this one really is something special. It won ‘The World’s Best New Golf Course’ in 2015, and it’s easy to see why. It’s another Greg Norman creation, and there is something very impressive about how the design team have used the landscape of Ho Tram to produce such a tough golf course. Its 18 holes are varied and testing, and it deserves every accolade it has earned since it opened. A must-visit for any serious golfer looking for a challenge.

  1. Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club

This one is something a bit different – it’s located in a beautiful valley halfway between Hanoi and the coast, and it’s one of those courses that can really catch out the unsuspecting player. Water hazards play a really important role here – not least the huge lake next to the 5th and numerous holes that have their pin located on an island. It’s not one for the faint-hearted – and you will find the water plenty of times – but it’s definitely an experience I’d recommend for those of you who enjoy a course that makes you think a bit.

  1. Vietnam Golf & Country Club

I had to include Vietnam Golf & Country club for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s an easy one to get to – it’s only a short hop from Ho Chi Minh City – and with 36 holes of testing golf available its an easy choice for anyone looking to get their first taste of golf in Vietnam. Secondly, it’s a really nice mix of courses that offers something for everyone – the West Course is a trickier proposition, while the East Course can be a little bit more forgiving. I love the Vietnam Golf & Country Club for its facilities too – two great courses, good restaurants and yet another breathtaking setting. A perfect advert for Vietnamese golf.

  1. Twin Doves Golf Club

Another one that’s local to Ho Chi Minh City, Twin Doves Golf Club offers 27 holes of interesting and challenging golf. The clubhouse here is great too – another really nice restaurant where you can sit and reflect on your round. I’m a particular fan of the Stella course – it’s a good level and the fairways and greens are in great condition. The rolling greens offer a particular challenge on all three of the nine-hole courses – all in all a great day out from nearby Ho Chi Minh.

  1. King’s Island Golf Club

54 holes (including another Jack Nicklaus gem) set on an island in the middle of a lake – King’s Island is an oddity, but a fascinating challenge for any golfer. Dong Mo Lake – at the foot of Ba Vi Mountain – is a beautiful setting, and you can choose between two challenging courses, the Lakeside and Mountain View. It’s one of the oldest courses in Vietnam, (despite only opening in 1993!), and it’s a real favourite of mine when I’m staying in Hanoi.

Robert Weider 

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Preview: The US Masters – Robert Weider

Preview: The US Masters – Robert Weider

The US Masters preview - robert weider

I love Augusta and the US Masters. I, of course, enjoy the competition and the golfing challenge it represents, but I’m also fascinated by the history of the place and by the unique atmosphere this tournament generates. For me, it one of those signs that spring – and maybe even summer – is on its way. There is something truly special about the sights and sounds of this incredible event, from the spectacular displays of azaleas to the roaring crowds in the evening sunshine as the new champion pulls on their green jacket. It’s just pure sporting magic. So, what’s in store for the US Masters for 2018? Here are my thoughts on what to look out for in Augusta this year.

Can 2018 top 2017? And will this be Rory’s year?

Last year’s Masters provided some fantastic entertainment, with Sergio Garcia winning his long-awaited first Major victory after finally beating Justin Rose in an exciting play-off.  There are certainly enough storylines this year to keep fans gripped right to the end – not least, whether Rory McIlroy will finally be able to complete his career Major Grand Slam. This year’s US Masters will be the fourth time that Rory returns to Augusta with the Grand Slam in his sights, and his recent 64 at Bay Hill to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by three shots from Bryson DeChambeau suggests that he might be hitting form at the right time. Whether he does it or not, let’s just hope that it all comes down to as exciting a finale as last year’s Masters.

The unknown quantity: Tiger Woods

I admit it – it seems completely ridiculous to call someone who is pretty much the most famous golfer of all time an ‘unknown quantity’, but in many ways that is exactly what he is as we head towards the US Masters this year. His troubles over the last few years – on and off the golf course – are well documented, and so I’ve been delighted to see him back in action in recent months. But which Tiger Woods will turn up at Augusta this year? Will it be the player who looked a shadow of his former self at the Open in 2014, or will it be the revitalised and occasionally sparkling player who has been thrilling the crowds again since his recent return to competitive golf? As a golf fan, I certainly hope it’s the latter.

Can the Brits do it again?

Remember Danny Willett’s remarkable win back in 2016? In one of my favourite moments in recent Masters history, Danny became only the second English player to win at Augusta. While asking him to repeat that fantastic effort this year might be a step to far, it might well be the year that another Englishman, Justin Rose, finally stops being the bridesmaid at the Masters. He’s been runner up twice, in 2015 behind the winner Jordan Spieth and of course last year in the playoff. He’s clearly got the talent to take on Augusta – let’s just hope that he holds his nerve to claim to the top prize this year. Apart from Justin, keep a close eye on fellow Brits Tyrrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood.

Will Dustin Johnson finally win at the Masters?

He’s been world number one for what seems an age, and is widely accepted as the world’s best golf at the moment – but Dustin Johnson has had some rotten luck when it comes to the Masters. He missed the 2012 event due to a back injury he suffered at home, and then in 2017 the curse struck again, as he fell down a staircase in the house he was renting in Augusta before the tournament and didn’t even make the first tee. He was the big favourite, and most probably will be again, but it will be fascinating to see if he finally delivers. Maybe just don’t go upstairs for a while Dustin…

I’m convinced that this year’s US Masters is all set to be an absolute classic – there are enough top players involved this year who will really feel they have something to prove on this most testing of stages. But as ever, it will all come down to that last, tortuous round, and to who can hold their nerve as the shadows lengthen on the final day. I personally can’t wait.

Robert Weider 

Posted by Rob Weider on

Robert Weider: The most inspiring golf book I’ve read

Robert Weider: The most inspiring golf book I’ve read

Robert Weider

I wanted to share a book with you: don’t worry – it’s a golf book – and it’s one of the most inspiring on golf that I’ve read.

A bit of context first, though. One of the great advantages of living in Hong Kong is its proximity to some incredible destinations. An example is somewhere that has become one of my favourite places on the planet: Mongolia. Just four hours flight from Hong Kong, it’s a country that I’ve dreamed of visiting for many years. Most people outside of the larger cities still live traditional lives – as they have since Genghis Khan’s time – in a wild and remote natural environment. To anyone who has ever yearned to travel across vast, wide open spaces, Mongolia is their idea of heaven. So, I was delighted to be able to visit this incredible country with my family a few months ago – and it was everything I’d ever dreamed of. One thing kept occurring to me, however, which brings me to the book I want to tell you about.

The world’s biggest fairway

Of course, as a golfer, I love the idea of all those endless expanses of grass. So when I eventually arrived in Mongolia, I couldn’t help thinking about how many golf courses could be built in the country by only having to add a bit of dirt and cutting the grass a bit shorter. It seems however that someone else has already had the same idea – an incredible young American called André Tolmé.

In his remarkable book I Golfed Across Mongolia: How an Improbable Adventure Helped Me Rediscover the Spirit of Golf (and Life) he tells the inspiring story of his unique journey across Mongolia in the summer of 2004. To a fellow golfer, it is quite a tale. Armed with his 3-iron, some golf balls and his Mongolian caddy Khatanbaatar, André set out across the whole of this vast country, playing it as if it were an 18-hole golf course. He’d hit his ball as far as he could, and then he and Khatanbaatar would run off to try and find it. As you’d expect, it’s an epic undertaking and it makes for a thoroughly entertaining read.

Special memories

I was struck by a few things when I read about André’s adventures. The first was the fact that it shone a light on so many parts of this incredible country that I’d like to visit again myself. My time there was only brief, but reading about André’s journey across Mongolia was a fantastic way to prepare me for some of the stunning places and people I encountered while I was there. And André has such a great, easy-going way of approaching even the most challenging situations that I think is a real inspiration to all of us who like to travel. I’d even say that you don’t actually need to be a golfer to enjoy this book – anyone who enjoys travelling and discovering new countries and cultures will find something to enjoy in this adventure. It’s also hugely funny – André’s adventures are very entertaining (I particularly enjoyed the episode where our golfing hero gets stuck in the middle of a cross-country horse race) – and his ongoing terror of running out of golf balls is probably a fear that is familiar to many of us.

A universal challenge

Most of all, I enjoyed an aspect of André’s challenge that I think is an essential part of being a golfer – and perhaps even a human being – a willingness to try something that is many ways absurd, and to approach it with an open-hearted optimism and firm belief that you’ll succeed. The task that André had set himself is essentially ridiculous – but the journey he goes on personally as he hits 3-irons across Mongolia (and then tries to find the ball) – is truly inspiring. It’s a lesson in what is possible when you put your mind to it, but also in what is important in life – a sense of fun, an openness to other cultures, and sheer determination.

 Robert Weider