“Golf Flight”

In my early years of playing golf, my officer’s rank then was a Major. I can still remember that my classmate, Ernie B, would call me through our landline phone at Headquarters Philippine Army and invite me for a game of golf during Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, being considered as our Athletic and Physical Fitness time/period for all the Officers and Enlisted personnel. Most of the time, our assembly time was 12:00 Noon and we would take a simple lunch at the Clubhouse and we should be driving our first ball at Hole No. 1 before 1:00 PM.

In a group of four players, it is called “four-some”. During these athletic periods, the management of the old Fort Bonifacio Golf and Country Club would strickly impose “four-some” in every “golf flight”. “Golf Flight” means a group of golfers (at least “four-some”) that go together and tee-off on a scheduled time.

My “golf flight” always consists of my friend Ernie B, Jun E, Ebbie P, and myself. Ernie B and Jun E are my classmates in the Philippine Military Academy while Ebbie P is a civilian businessman who is a very close friend of Ernie E. Ebbie P is a handicap 12 golf player when we started playing golf in the early 1990s. The membership of this golf flight was a permanent and we go from one golf course to another during weekends in the military camps and sometimes to golf courses outside Metro Manila.

It was almost 4-5 years that we played golf together and became closer to one another. My golfmates were good in golf, very good in telling golf jokes, and good in talking to the lady caddies and umbrella girls. They were all cigarette smokers! They fart when you are putting on the green. And worse was, they always beat me and I had to lose some money to them.

I could still remember the “always repeated three questions” Ernie B would asked to the lady caddies and umbrella girls whenever we play golf—(1) Who was the former seminarian/priest among us who opted to leave the church? (2) Who was still single among us? and (3) Who was the “playboy” and could easily attract ladies among the four of us? Because I have a flat stomach, very silent but with a smiling face (?), didn’t get angry when I had “bad shots”; and wearing colorful golf shirts; almost always, the lady caddies and umbrella girls always point their fingers to me!!!The caddies and the umbrella girls were all wrong in their answers.

Today, we seldom play in a “golf flight” the way we used to play when we were still with the rank of Majors in the Philippine Army. Ernie B just retired from the active military service last 15 February this year as the Commander of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Davao City. Jun E is the present Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines whose retirement was extended up to 09 May 2008. Ebbie P is still playing golf but his business had been delegated to his children. As for me, I will be retiring on my 56th Birthday on 17 May 2008.

Soon, this “golf flight” will be revived again and I am sure those lady caddies and umbrella girls will point their fingers at me again once Ernie B will ask those three questions. I am sure also that these guys will not completely bring home my bet/money. This time will be a “payback time”!  


Good-Looking Lady Caddy and/or Umbrella Girl

Pinoy Golfers are the most pampered and well-served players in the world. In the golf courses that I’ve seen and played in the United States and other ASEAN countries, most of their golf courses do not have any caddies, moreso, no umbrella girls. But in the Philippines, any golfer can enjoy both–a caddy and an umbrella girl.

The Philippine Army Golf Course has lady caddies and umbrella girls. The rest of the military golf courses in Metro Manila (Camp Aguinaldo, Philippine Navy, & Villamor Air Base Golf Course) have male caddies but they offer umbrella girls. In other “high-end” golf course outside Metro Manila, they have both lady caddies and umbrella girls (like Fontana/Clark Golf Course; Fairways & Bluewater Golf Club in Boracay; and others).

The Pinoy Golfer likes to play with a lady caddy and an umbrella girl. Not only that, they want a good-looking lady caddy and/or an umbrella girl. It is my personal observation that the “looks” of the lady caddy/an umbrella girl has a direct connection with the result of my golf game. If I have good-looking caddy/umbrella, I have a better rythym and a better score. It had been tested and I proved it to be true! I usually call this “Jovie’s Theory” in playing golf.

Visualize this, what is your temperament if your caddy is ugly? Of course, your concentration and focus to your game are affected and it will lead to your worst round of golf. You are not relaxed and comfortable because you are mad why in a hell that Caddy Master gave you an ugly one! In golf, you must be cool, relaxed and your body muscles are loose. The main opponent in golf is yourself! So, if you are mad and “hot-tempered” because you don’t like the face of your caddy or umbrella girl, be ready to lose with your bet or re-negotiate with your golfmates on your bet.

On the opposite situation, if my caddy and umbrella girl are “good-looking”, I am 100% sure that I have a nice game and sometimes win some money for an “extra tip” for them. 

In one instance, I heard an old golfer complaining to the Caddy Master why he was given a “not so good-looking & chubby” lady caddy. The old golfer said to the Caddy Master that he does not want that “as if his wife is guarding him all the time up to the golf course and telling him what to do!”. The old golfer had a valid reason and he got the youngest and most beautiful among the lady caddies. After 18 holes, I lost Five Hundred Pesos in my game to this old golfer!  

Whenever I play golf at the Philippine Army Golf Course, the Caddy Master always provide me with the best-looking available caddy and umbrella girl. This gives me the pleasure to play more concentrated and focused on my golf swing and more positive ball strikes with my golf club. Having a “good-looking lady caddy & umbrella girl” will also be a source of envy from your golfmates in a “golf flight” and this will distract the concentration of your opponents to the game of golf.

My advice? Get the Best and you will end up as the Best Player!

This was one of the first few memorable experiences I had when I started to play golf at the golf course. Yes, I hit my caddy with my golf ball at the golf course! It was an embarrassing experience but It was also a learning experience on my part and with golf caddies.

If I can remember right, it was my third time to play golf in a golf course with my classmate/friend, Ernie B and with a civilian male friend who runs a business in Metro Manila. We were playing at the Philippine Navy Golf Course in February (birth month of Ernie B) of 1990. We were at the fairway of Hole #2 and I was hitting my second shot after a nice drive at the center of the fairway. I was using a 4-Iron club for me to be able to bring the ball over a water drainage canal and hopefully praying that my ball will land on the slope before the green. My caddy was about 50 yards away (infront) from me of about 30 degrees on my right side, if I am facing the green. To my surprise, I hit my ball with a “shank” shot and the ball went directly to my caddy! My golf ball hit the upper chest of my caddy and he slowly dropped with his face down to the ground!

I was shocked seeing my caddy hitting the ground and I ran towards him. The other caddies ran also towards him and he was conscious but he was complaining of the pain. We stopped the game and I brought my caddy immediately to the Fort Bonifacio Hospital. I personally supervised his medical check-up and X-ray and I was glad that no bones had been damaged and his breathing and blood pressure were normal. There was a purple-black color on his chest where the ball hit his body. The doctor at the hospital gave him antibiotic & anti-inflammatory tablets. I also gave my caddy additional money for his medication; 500 pesos; and his caddy fee. From the hospital, I brought back the caddy to the Golf Course.

Since then, my friend Ernie B and the rest of my golfmates would tease me and give me the news that my caddy died because of my “shank” ball. Anyway, this unfortunate experience forced me to spend more time at the driving range after office hours up to closing time. Since then, I haven’t experienced any “shanks” in my golf shots!

My caddy at the Philippine Navy Golf Course is still an active caddy at the same golf course and he smiles at me whenever he sees me. My golf buddies no longer remind me about this unfortunate incident.

Latest Golf Set

I can consider golf as a rich-man’s & old-man’s game where the player is considered to have the resources to use or spend. The golf set being used by the Pinoy Golfer is also one of the center of discussions and talk among golfers in the golf course or at the Clubhouse. If you have the latest model of a certain brand, you are the “best” golfer in the group. You are also the object of envy from the golfers.

Pinoy Golfer has the tendency to buy the Golf Set of the Champion of the Masters Golf, US Open Golf or any PGA Golf Tournament because he believes that the technology of the Golf Set had greatly contributed to his winning the tournament, not knowing that the golf set was professionally “fitted” to the player and spent hundreds of hours with them in the driving range and in the golf course. However, he can still brag to his golfmates that his new golf set is the golf set of a certain professional golfer as the Champion of one of the PGA Championships lately. The more that he will brag on his new Golf Set if it is featured in one of the glossy Golf Magazines as recommended by experts or professional players.

Because of the presence of “copycats” from China, don’t fall the trap of buying these golf sets as it would be a waste of money and you will just lower your status with your golfmates. Golfers would appreciate the latest golf sets bought from the United States of America from your Driver up to your Putter and Golf Bag.

So, if you want to gain respect from your golfmates, you can buy an affordable second-hand golf set which is 1-2 years old and fiitted to your physical built and style of swing. Such golf sets are still new. To be safe, get the Callaway brand from the Driver to its Putter. Lastly, “groove” your swing with your golf set at the driving range and spend so much hour hitting balls with the assistance of a “professional/pro” before using it on the golf course.

Basic Golf Etiquette

The first thing that a person should know before driving/hitting golf balls at the driving range and getting to the golf course to play is the basic etiquette in golf. These are very basic but most of the time, older golfers would violate these “time-tested” rules of courtesy and finesse. After knowing the basic golf etiquette, every player should know the Rules of Golf. However, I will first deal with the basic golf etiquette I’ve learned.

1) Maintain Silence—When a player is addressing a ball before hitting it, you should maintain silence.

2) Keep yourself “Out of Sight”—Do not stand at the sides of the player hitting the ball or immediately infront of the player.

3) Distance of Ball From the Hole/Green—The player who has his ball farthest from the green/hole, plays first. The same etiquette is observed in the putting green.

4) Correcting One’s Swing/Telling One’s Fault or Mistake—This is the most memorable golf etiquette I learned from Ernie B, my classmate and golf buddy. He does not tell me my mistakes or fault while we are playing golf on the course. He waits until we finish the game and gives me suggestions where I could improve my swing and game. Most of the players immediately make comments and feedback on what went wrong with your swing and also give you corrective measures.

5)  No Movements—Do not move when a player is addressing the ball.

6)  Use Your Own Golf Set—While playing golf on the course, do not ask to use any club from the golf set of another player.

7)  Asking a Player What Club He Used—After making good shot and hit on the ball, you are not supposed to ask the player what club did he used to have the ball landing on the green or near the green.

8)  Complimentary Words—Always say words of praise to nice shots made by your co-players. Words like “Nice shot” would be a praise appreciated by the player.

9)  Honesty is paramount in the game of golf.

10) Cursing and Shouting—Strictly, there should be no shouting or cursing of a player who just made a bad shot or a miss putt.

11)  Shouting of “Fore”—Make sure you shout “Fore” if your golf ball “on play” appears to hit a player or players or persons ahead of you. The shouting of “Fore” gives a warning for an incoming wayward ball towards another person.

12)  Playing Golf always follow the “Summer Rule”—Always make the practice and habit to play your golf ball where it landed on the fairway. Do not try “to secretly fix” the position of your ball with your club or shoes.

After the old Fort Bonifacio Golf Course was demolished and whose area was sold by the Bases Conversion Development Authority in promulgation of a Law enacted by Congress, a new Fort Bonifacio Golf Course was established within the 100-hectare retention area for the Headquarters Philippine Army. It took at least one year to replicate the old golf course but because of the problem of sustaining the overall maintenance of the 18-hole golf course as it was a gargantuan task for the Philipine Army, the course was reduced to an Executive 9-hole course. Such golf course is now what everybody see along the Bayani Road.

The 9-hole golf course was named as the Kagitingan Golf Course but it was later re-named to Philippine Army Golf Course four years ago. It is being managed by a retired Brigadier-General of the Philippine Army and a small staff of active officer and enlisted personnel. It is being closely supervised by Headquarters Philippine Army through a Committee of senior officers and an Accountant of the Command.

There was a time that I was designated as the Chairman of this Committee. This Committee meets at least twice a month to oversee the administration and operations of the Golf Course. It was during my time that the drainage/canal system at Holes # 1 & 4 were concreted and improved; the construction of concrete fence at Hole # 3; the planting of more trees & creation of a “nursery”; and the removal of illegal settlers/”squatters” within the golf course. Lastly, the revenues of the Golf Course reached its high earnings during that time.

It is nice to play in this 9-Hole Executive Golf Course as it is entirely planted with bermuda grass. A player could finish 9 holes comfortably in two hours. The course is an all-weather golf course. It has a Driving Range and a Restaurant. The caddies are all women and there are umbrella girls available. Lastly, the “green fee” is very affordable to Philippine Army personnel and to the civilians.

I will be posting more details about this golf course soon. 

Rolex Watch

The only distinct jewelry the Pinoy Golfer can wear in a round of golf is the wristwatch. For him to make a statement to his golfmates is to wear an expensive Swiss Watch. Rolex Watch is the most prestigious and known watch by Pinoy Golfers. It symbolizes prestige, power, success, strength, and accuracy. To a Pinoy Golfer, he makes judgment or opinion about the background or status in the society on another golfer from the kind of watch he is wearing. Wearing an expensive watch, like Rolex, would invite respect & good impression about the wearer. 

If you are wearing a Rolex Watch, there is no need to brag about it. Moreso, there is no need to wear gold or two-tone or with diamonds Rolex watch in golf games.  A stainless steel Sports or Diver’s Rolex is enough.

Sometimes, if there are no more topics to be discussed after the game of golf, Rolex watch becomes the topic of discussion most especially when most of the golfers on the table are wearing such. If you happen to ask someone, how much he paid for the watch most especially if it is the later model, he will answer that the watch was a “gift” from his wife and that’s the end of discussion. If a Rolex watch is a “vintage” one, you can conclude that it was inherited from the parents or old folks.

It is suggested that if you play golf with somebody or invited to play with the members of the corporate world or foreigners for the first time, you should wear a Rolex Watch. However, beware not to wear a fake one because your golfmates will conclude that you are also a “fake”.

So, if you want to gain respect in golf courses and in the game of golf, invest, at least, in a stainless steel Rolex Watch.