NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:
Even as the golf fraternity in various parts of the world, eagerly awaits the ‘opening’ up of golf courses, many countries like the US and UK have started doing so.
Closer home (India), the golf courses in Malaysia and Thailand have started opening up. Many courses in Thailand were opened on May 3 and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, numerous courses were open for play on May 4. The response was good and one of the most popular courses in the country, TPC, Kuala Lumpur, a venue for many an international championship was all gung-ho.
Yet, by all accounts, everyone without an exception maintained the rules of ‘Social Distancing’ and adhered to the rules set by the clubs during this testing times.
Golf’s return a relief for Malaysian players and club staff and workers
By Genevieve Ling, Malaysian Ladies pro
Professional Ladies Golfer GENEVIEVE LING has playing rights on
Taiwan LPGA and China LPGA and hopes to get some starts on Korean LPGA
Kuala Lumpur: The experience of playing after not being able to hit the ball for quite a significant time, took a bit of getting used to. I managed to go to the driving range before my round, which I think made a huge difference compared to my friends who didn’t. But like riding a bike, I think we all got the hang of it after a few holes.
I feel like golf is still the same, of course we are not as sharp, but slowly as the game progressed, I think we all noticed that we were getting into more of a natural groove, which in return, helped with our scoring.
There was also a sense of relief among the workers at the course, the staff, who were happy to see players in action. It meant work for the staff and working at a golf club is their livelihood.
There were caddies available, too, and all were strictly following rules of ‘social distancing’.
There were a whole set of ‘new’ rules:
- No touching of pins- they had a special pin on the course and this kind on the practice greens (picture attached) to avoid the touching of pins.
- We could share buggies/have our own
- We could (but didn’t have to) hire caddies
- We each had our own rakes to be used for bunkers on course
- No physical score cards
- Players should only touch their own golf balls
As for getting to a golf course and actually playing a round, the experience was great. To be honest, I think golf in itself is a game well built for social distancing.
The weirdest part was not being able to “show sportsmanship” in some ways such as handing my flight mates balls to them; giving high fives and even hand shakes/hugs after rounds.
But I think that we are all just grateful to be out playing golf and it’s clear everyone missed it very much based on the conversations I heard, not only from my flight mates but from other golfers around the club as well.
I feel like golfers in general, when they are in a golf club environment, are very social and it’s very easy to talk to everyone as you are practicing in the driving range bay nearby or putting to the same hole on the putting green, so I feel like everyone was trying not to cross anyone’s “boundaries” in case they were not comfortable with that and were being respectful with allowing others to maintain their “social distance”.
I also noticed that flight mates were putting to the same hole on the putting green and were allowing others to do likewise on other practice holes on the green.
I think that we are all trying to do our part, in hopes of getting to continue playing this game we love!.
A BRIEF PROFILE GENEVIEVE LING
A Cinderella called Genevieve Ling
Malaysian pro golfer Genevieve Ling, 24, has been a pro since 2017. She has won multiple times on the local Tour and is now searching for her first international win.
After taking up the game at age 12 at her home club, Kelab Rekreasi Tentera Udara, Genevieve had a successful junior career and earned a place in the Malaysian national team, which culminated in donning the country’s colours at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore where the Malaysian ladies team placed fourth.
Her talent as a junior earned her a full scholarship to attend Boise State University in Idaho, where she played from 2014 to 2017 and competed on the US collegiate circuit, while graduating with a degree in Communications.
She reached the second stage of LPGA’s Qualifying School in late 2017, but played the regional tours on a regular basis.
But in 2018, Genevieve became a celebrity in Korea as she reached the final of a Golf Reality Show, ‘Cinderella Story’. That earned her 10 starts on the lucrative and highly competitive Korea LPGA Tour in 2018.
“I played with many top Korean players, including some who are on the LPGA now and have won Major events. It was good to be able to gauge myself against them and see what made them so good, where I stood and what I could improve on,” Genevieve told media in Malaysia.
In 2019, she qualified for the 2020 Taiwan LPGA Tour, coming through qualifying school. She also got into China LPGA Tour where she finished in the top 100 of the Order of Merit the previous season.
So, 2020 was supposed to be her big leap in Taiwan and China, before Covid19 came as a big obstacle in her way.
Pix: Courtesy Genevieve Ling