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Book Review: The Complete Guide to Golf in Thailand

by Lang Reid

Asia Books have decided that Lang Reid must play golf, with a copy of The Complete Guide to Golf in Thailand arriving on my desk (Blue Mango Publishing, Bangkok, 2004, ISBN 974-91847-9-3). Their editorial staff have obviously never seen me play, or they would not have sent it. On an initial flick through, it did not appear to have a section called “How to Instantly Improve”, but it did seem to have everything else!

At a tad short of 300 pages, all glossy colour, it is a weighty tome edited by Craig Witney. This gentleman is apparently the coach for the Thailand national team and has held that position for ten years. He also is a US PGA professional coach, so is someone who knows which end of his club to hold as well as at which end of the course to begin. He is now several eons beyond my golf abilities.

Basically each course covered in the guide has one page dedicated to the contact details, address, email, etc., and then a description of the course and a scorecard showing par for each hole and the length of the hole.

The next page gives details as to the course designer, when it was opened, how many holes, the nominated ‘par’ and total yardage. Green fees for guests and visitors are given for both weekdays and weekends, plus caddy fees, golf cart fees, which credit cards are accepted and icons for the facilities offered. There is also a TGA Course Review Score (explained in the editorial at the front of the book) and a map of how to get there.

The book is divided into geographical regions, being Bangkok and Central, Pattaya and Rayong, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, Khao Yai and Nakhon Ratchasima, Phuket and Hat Yai, Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin, and then another called ‘Other Golf Courses’.

Interspersed through the geographical sections are other chapters covering the editor’s views on the Best courses in Thailand, Handicapping systems, Green speed, Professional golfers and Women’s Golf in Thailand. At the end of the guide there is also an alphabetic index of all the courses covered in the book.

Being a very amateur golfer, I gave the book to a fanatical friend who plays golf at least once every week. His initial comments were that the guide, despite its ‘Complete Guide’ title, is not ‘complete’ as there are many courses not included. The TGA ratings scale was he felt, subjective and consequently not all that relevant, but the detailed thumbnail maps were excellent, as he admitted to often getting lost trying to reach new courses.

The review copy came direct from Asia Books and the RRP is B. 795. Whilst for the (extremely amateur) golfer such as myself, B. 795 seemed a hefty price, for my seriously dedicated golfer friend this was not viewed as expensive. “B. 795 is less than the price of a round of golf,” said he. He also said, “I would probably buy it just to know where to go when I am away from home.” A (real) golfer has spoken.

Mott's CD Reviews: The Faces - A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse

Part One – Small Faces fill large places

Pawed by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew

5 Stars *****

What a glorious band. Formed out of the ashes of ‘The Small Faces’ and ‘The Jeff Beck Band’, nobody could have predicted the influence this lovable bunch of rogues would have on Rock ‘n’ Roll history.

When Steve Marriot left ‘The Small Faces’ in early 1969, he left his band mates without one half of the song writing partnership, the guitarist, singer, and front man, so on paper not much left then. However, long time band mate Ronnie Wood was keen to step into the breach (incredibly, Ronnie Wood had been playing bass guitar in the shadow of Jeff Beck in his band for the last two and a half years). He brought along his friend and vocalist from his previous gig, a certain Mr. Rodney Stewart, who at the time was so lacking in confidence on stage that he would often sing with his back to the audience. Amazing when you consider what a microphone wielding strumpet he was going to become over the next couple of years.

After brief rehearsals the band, under the shortened name of ‘The Faces’, set out on the road, recording a debut album along the way (First Steps, March 1970). Although this album was poorly received both by the general public and most of the critics, by the end of 1970 they had built a reputation as one of the most awesome and lunatic live acts on the circuit. And 1971 was to be their Year.

Going from playing gigs at concert halls and college dates at the beginning of the year, by Christmas they were selling out arenas all over the world. Record sales went the same way. Nobody has been more prolific before or since. In that one scintillating year they released three albums. First the half live - half studio effort ‘Long Player’, which stormed up the American charts, giving them their first single hit as well in ‘Had me a Real Good Time’. Then came the international breakthrough with Rod Stewart’s solo album ‘Every Picture Tells A Story’ (a Faces album in all but name), which topped the charts around the world. So did the single from the album ‘Maggie Mae’, which remained on top of the charts for weeks and was being played everywhere you went. Their appearance on English T.V. program ‘Top Of The Pops’ had to be seen to be believed. They made no pretense of playing their instruments to the music they were supposed to be miming to, instead They spent their time kicking oversized footballs into the crowd, falling off the stage, and letting English radio Disc Jockey John Peel (a non-musician) pretend to play the Mandolin solo in the middle, while Ronnie Lane mugged up behind him.

So when it was announced that there would be one more Faces album before Christmas, expectations were high, and the boys did not disappoint. Never has rock music been put across in such a charmingly fun way.

First up is ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’, a great fat slab of Rock ‘n’ Roll from the combined pen of Stewart/Wood, giving the band a chance to stretch their wings. A driving riff from Woody fires the song into life before the plonk of Ronnie Lane’s bass comes into drive. Kenny Jones’s no frills drums lend solid support to the song, while Ian McLagan - in old fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll style - sensibly sticks to the piano to duel with the lead guitar breaks. Then, of course, on top of this you have the gravel voiced whoops and yelps of that now full of confidence Rooster of the Vocals - Rod Stewart, preening his way through the lyrics with a wonderful sureness inspired a generation. After two minutes of the song, Woody slows the whole entourage down to a snail’s pace before the entire band roars back in to bring the opening song to an exciting conclusion, with each artist battling to be heard.

Continued next week…

Rod Stewart - Vocals and Harmonica
Ronnie Wood - Guitars
Ronnie Lane - Bass and Vocals
Ian Mclagen - Keyboards
Kenny Jones - Drums


Miss Judy’s Farm
You’re So Rude
Love Lived Here
Last Orders Please
Stay With Me
Too Bad
That’s All You Need

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