Here at THAILAND JING JING I've got my finger on the pulse (which is possibly why people keep telling me to pull my finger out.) In late breaking news -- OK, it was back in November but, hey, that's just, what, two months or so back -- the International Golf Travel Market was staged in Spain. Here the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (which goes by the snappy and memorable acronym IAGTO) dished out their annual awards.
And guess what? I was named best golf writer of the year. No, guess again. Thailand was named
Golf Destination of the Year' for Asia & Australasia. Well, I could've told you that. In fact just about each and every one of the 20 million avid golfers in Asia could've told you that. Still it's nice to get an official pat on the back.
We interrupt that newsflash with another breaking story just, ooh, weeks old: In a separate awards function on the other side of the world, the Golfer Choice Awards, Thailand's 260 fantastic golf courses earned the Kingdom the 'Choice Vacation Destination 2009' gong. The Golfer Choice Awards are jointly organized by the Hong Kong Golf Association, the Europe-Asia PGA, and Golf Vacations, the Hong Kong-based golf publication. (Is it just me, or do you think the award should be the Golfers' Choice Awards given that there's probably more than one golfer voting?)
Dee-de-de-de-dee-dee-deet! We interrupt that interruption with more breaking news from, er ... October. We now cross live to the newsroom at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit in Kuala Lumpur where several Thai golf courses walked away with top prizes (they were later stopped by security and told to return them. Only kidding.):
Best New Course in Asia-Pacific: Banyan Golf Club, Hua Hin.
Best Maintained Course in Asia-Pacific: Siam Country Club (Plantation Course), Pattaya.
Best Clubhouse in Asia-Pacific: Thai Country Club, Bangkok (see photo).
'We think it's instructive to look at the totality of what's happening re Thailand, its golf product, and how they're both perceived and promoted,' said Mark Siegel, managing director of Bangkok-based Golf Asian, Indochina's top golf tour operator and a "Golf in a Kingdom" member. 'Thailand has always delivered value for money, but this message is clearly reaching a larger, broader audience,' he said in an exclusive interview with THAILAND JING JING and about a hundred or so golf writers who were themselves clearly getting larger and broader thanks to the sponsor's booze and buffet spread.
To make travel plans for a tour of 'Golf in a Kingdom: The Thai Golf Experience', visit www.golfinakingdom.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Just don't expect a prompt response -- they're all out enjoying Thailand's 260 golf courses.