Welcome to what I hope, (that is if I don’t run out of steam and you don’t get too bored), “The Dapper Times”, an alternative take on a golf blog, recounting my adventures around the world that are not necessarily 100% golf related. Wherever I’ve been on my travels, I’ve managed to squeeze in the odd game or two. From China to Cambodia, Australia to America, Portugal to the Philippines, the thirty plus countries I’ve managed to drive with distinction, chip with charisma & putt with panache, there’s always been a story to tell.
To start us off, I will go with golf and my first ever game in Asia back in 1991 while on business trip in Taiwan. This wasn’t my first trip to Taiwan, and on that trip back in 1987, I didn’t manage to find anyone to play with, but I did find a golf store that sold just the club heads, which is where I met my clubs for the next 10 years, a set of Jack Nicholas Golden Bear Irons. Now hauling a suitcase full of club heads back to the UK for my buddy to shaft, seemed like a good idea at the time, that is until I got to the underground and ended up having to recruiting the help of a homeless chap to drag my bags across the platform so I could make my train home.
Anyway, back to 1991 and my infamous trip with my colleague Dave kirk to Taiwan. Dave had fuelled my love of golf again on moving North to Yorkshire, and wherever we went, our golf shoes travelled with us. So, after a week of entertaining clients for lunchtimes, evenings, then well into the night, we thought our livers could do with a rest. At first all we could find was a golf range in a theme park, where the attendant wouldn’t give us anything more than a 6 iron, as he was afraid we would childishly hit our balls over the fence onto the unsuspecting locals having a family day out. So guess what we tried to do for the next hour… well we had our fun, but we were now hungry for more. The next day we made our local representative drive for 2 hours to a golf club we discovered would let us play if we crossed their palms with silver.
Now playing at a weekend in Asia is never an easy thing, due to tee times being like rocking horse manure, and when they are available, the price of a week’s skiing in France. (In 1993, we paid US$450 for a round in Tokyo, as an example back then. Well our company did with our creative expenses claims). Anyway, after a 2 hour slog through the Taipei traffic, we arrived at what could best be described as a 1980’s municipal back in blighty in terms of condition, where they rented us both a bag of knife & forks to play with. Wonderful, we now knew why it was so easy to book. As we stepped onto the first tee, we just thought, we’re here now, let’s just enjoy the day, then Dave hit his 1st tee shot. As usual, his ball sailed 280 yards down the middle, but not quite to plan, was the head of his driver sailing 100 yards into the drink. This of course was his fault and nothing to do with the 3rd rate clubs we had sold our livers for to rent. That was the last time his caddie tried to speak to him, and things didn’t get much better as a further 2 clubs decided to get divorced from their shafts during the round.
After a lengthy discussion with the management after the round, explaining that we could really play golf (Dave 11, myself 18 at the time) and we hadn’t broke the spades they had given us looking for truffles, they let us off. From then on, we vowed always to drag our clubs around Asia with us for future golfing adventures. This I did with Dave for the next 3 years before moving full time to Singapore, where the real fun started with the Singapore Lager & Golf Society.
So my question to you would be, what’s the worse set of rental clubs you have been forced to use and how did that work out for you? … answers on a postcard to below please.
All for now – dapper dan Morby