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Golf Australia Express : October 2014
I T’S NOT EVERY DAY YOU WALK OFF A COURSE AFTER A NIGHTMARE ROUND WITH A SATISFIED SMILE ON YOUR FACE. But a grin still remains firmly imprinted upon my face when I think of a recent trek around the magnificent Angkor Golf Resort, located in Siem Reap in the northwest of Cambodia. As I readied myself to take on this visually imposing Nick Faldo designed course that stretches 7279 yards from the black markers, there was something in the air that day that made me think it was going to be an average round. First, it was hot. Seriously hot. Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam kind of hot. Then as I noticed water on practically every hole, a quiet calm came over me at the thought of some heat relief. For a moment, anyway. Historically speaking, water and golf have not beenagoodmixforme—the prognosis for what was supposed to be a relaxing round was becoming more troubling by the minute. That’s when the third threat to my game emerged — deep bunkers as long as the eye could see, positioned perfectly for someone who hits it long but rarely straight off the tee. (That’s me in a nutshell.) Yet while the Cambodian heat, sparse water hazards and seemingly unfair sandtraps might ordinarily detract from a round, it was these elements combined that actually made the experience such a memorable one. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like you’ll get beaten up for four hours here. The lush and soft fairways at Angkor verge on perfection, large- tiered greens play fair and true, and the local caddies make it an out-of-the-ordinary experience. But surprisingly, it was the unique aspects of the round taking me out of my comfort zone that’ll be remembered most fondly. As far as the caddies go, that’s an experience on its own. Having arrived at Angkor Golf Resort from our hotel at 12.30pm, we got dressed and ready for our hit. But first, there was the caddie selection — a rather daunting task. Seriously, how do you choose one young woman caddie over another without seeming like a dirty old man? My strategy went with the theory that the caddie with the biggest smile would be the friendliest. Words by STUART NORMAN
OTG Express 121