Golf And Girls – What Could Be Better?
The debate still rages between my fellow readers of Stick's site of whether Bangkok and Thailand in general is in decline, staying the same or even starting to get better. The troubles with the ruble may be causing a welcome fall in the number of Russians coming but maybe, as Stick mentioned, to be replaced by the Chinese. From observations in other countries that may be a case of be careful what you wish for.
I am full of admiration for those that have re-located to LOS and try and live the good life either in the countryside or the cities. Some real entertaining pieces recently on what it's like to be a stranger in a strange land. I am afraid most of the guys who write in have much more patience than me in dealing with what seems endless demands from the families. Likewise we are still getting a few of the "I've fallen in love with a bargirl – what should I do?" type submissions. The Stick is much too polite with some of the advice he gives – engage your brain and get the f**k out is the only advice needed. Likewise some good observations from the man himself about his impending departure and the changed land he will leave behind.
As an iterant visitor I still love the place. Sure it's changing but it's still a great place to visit. As one contributor said "have your two years of fun in five days then get the hell out" is still a good piece of advise. I certainly try and do that, treat people with respect, act responsibly and leave worries at the border, soon to be the subject of a TV programme on BBC based at Bangkok airport. Sure there will be many people hoping not to appear on that, coming through Immigration when they said they were spending the holiday in Spain! What is certainly happening is that Thailand is changing and fast and income is rising as this little tale may help illustrate. However, beware as it's another tale of being mugged for gifts by a lovely Thai maiden, and here was me in previous submissions saying I would never fall for it….
On this occasion it was a quick flying visit to Bangkok purely on business and unfortunately only for 2 days and nights. The one lucky thing about it was that although we had to do some business in the office we were also doing some relationship building which allowed us to play a couple of games of golf. Despite previous visits I had never had the pleasure of playing in Thailand before so was looking forward to it. I have also never really seen golf mentioned in any submission so maybe it's not foremost in his readers thoughts.
First up was Lam Luk Ka on the first afternoon. It was fine, a little ruffled around the edges but what I would say was a fairly standard modern golf design despite some authentic touches you could pretty much have been anywhere hot playing golf. However, this was my first time with a lady caddy which was also an interesting experience. Although I consider myself a reasonable golfer (5 handicap) I obviously did not meet her standards as I don't think she smiled once. Her favourite saying to me was "50% chance water" as my ball disappeared (mostly) in the direction she had pointed out only to end up feeding the ducks. Her next favourite was "100% chance water" with the occasional grunted "well hit" although sometimes in the same sentence. However, it was a fun time and a bad day on the course is always better than a good day in the office.
I had a business dinner that night in Bangkok so little chance to sample the nightlife. The next day we played in the morning at Muang Kaew which was a notch up from Lam Luk Ka. Lovely setting, clubrooms, well organised and in good condition. For a start the caddy was delightful, a great advert for the LOS. She was a lovely smiling tactile lady who thought I was a wonderful, "big strong man" as she was fond of saying. Given a long carry over water for a shot I would normally hesitate to take on she would edge me on saying "easy shot, big strong man". As the ball inevitably fell short into the water she would give me a look of complete bewilderment as to how such a thing could have possibly happened…it must have been the Thai golfing gods were in a bad mood that day. It obviously worked on my ego as she got a tip much bigger than the first caddy. She sealed the deal when, as I had played the previous day and got up early, followed by a long car ride to the golf course, on the second tee I sort of gave my back a little stretch to try and loosen it off. From then on at every tee and as the others were playing she would stand behind me and give my back a little massage. Brilliant! Can't see that catching on amongst the rough tough caddies of St. Andrews. I did ask if she did the massages after the golf but she declined, which was a pity.
I am from Scotland, the home of golf with many wonderful courses and relatively cheap to play but I did get a bit of a shock as I did consider that these courses were expensive. I know golf is a sport for the middle to upper classes in the Far East (although as we will find out maybe even that is changing). There was not much change of about £100 each ($160) for each day which seemed expensive especially compared with where I am based in India. Maybe the same economic model of trying to get more cash from fewer people also applies to golf courses. Also, like the add-ons that you are getting in bars (lady drinks etc) it's also happening on the golf course. The headline green fee is pretty reasonable but the compulsory cart, caddy, water and food all makes it add up.
Anyway, I did have a free night and rather than do a bar troll I went to my favourite bar, the Biergarten on Soi 7 for a drink. Sure enough one of my favourite, more mature ladies was there and after a couple of drinks I decided that I could not really be bothered shopping around so paid for a LT and we went back to my room.
As there was no rush we started having a nice glass of dry white when she saw my golf clubs in the corner of the room and she said, oh, I like golf. I thought ok, not what you expect from a lady from the Biergarten but maybe she must like to watch it on the TV or something or she liked golfers as they were big tippers. To my surprise she went over, naked, took out a club and did a very good impression of someone who knew how to hit a golf ball. I asked her to do it again and there was no doubt that she could hit a ball. Bit of a weak left hand grip but I soon sorted that and she said that she was taking lessons but was having trouble putting. Now I would not encourage naked golf lessons in the UK or anywhere else for that matter but I gave her a few tips (as in pieces of advice dear readers!) on putting and very enjoyable it was as well.
Sometime later as we were chatting the dreaded words were spoken, "You give me gift?"
I thought, oh here goes…what does she want? I have a strict no gifts policy but she only asked for golf balls, tees and gloves. Since I was not playing again before home I emptied my bag of ProVIs and other stuff and gladly gave them to her. If anyone comes across a Thai lady playing golf with a blue St Andrews Links ball marker, that's my friend!
So there you have it, a perfect example how Thailand living standards are growing. The ladies from the bars are taking up golf. Long may it continue in my view.