Celebrity Strokes


Two Asian stars take on St. Andrews test in style.

BY Benny Teo

In the greater scheme of things, just making a journey to the east coast of Scotland and spending a couple of days in St. Andrews and Carnoustie would make the bucket list for many a golfing fanatic. But to have been garbed head to toe in dunhill comfort is taking it another step up.

But that is precisely what happened on October 6, the day after the greatest celebrity Pro-Am in Europe, the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. South Korean actor Kwon Sang Woo and Hong Kong veteran star Simon Yam wore dunhill Links outfits (how appropriate, you might say) and went on to hack it out in Scotland’s finest links.  

And from the looks of it, they must’ve had a ball of a time exploring the heathland up on the rolling hills of the Duke’s course in St. Andrews. That picket fencing in the background with light forestation amidst a cross section of the fairway is most certainly the Par 5 18th. I remember that walk, uphill to the most arduous 50 metres thereabouts of my life after completing a round at this 7,271 yards Par 71 heathland private course.

Owned by American Herb Kohler, the clubhouse offers spectacular views of the town and the Bay of St. Andrews towards the Firth of Tay and where that other famous golf course, Carnoustie Golf Links, is located.

While I’m not sure what either had shot, I can most certainly attest that they will have enjoyed this unique experience of the Duke’s challenge. Suffice to say, while most golfers immediately wander across the Swilcan Bridge looking to tee it up at the Old Course, or test their verve against Mother Nature at the more recent Castle Course, or even play the entire Alfred Dunhill Links experience by taking on Old, Kingsbarns and Carnasty (that is certainly NOT a typo, if you’ve personally survived the Championship course at Carnoustie), few would’ve thought to take that hike uphill to Duke’s simply for the fact that is it not a links course.

That would have been a grand mistake, and if you’ve asked either Kwon or Simon, I’m sure they’d agree. The undulating fairways, the rolling greens, surprising elevation that cuts a cross section against the hillside, and a journey that takes one from open, farm-like field play to enclosed secret forestry where tall tree enclosures makes one think they are well alone with Par as the enemy.

Survive the challenge, and the clubhouse beckons with the aforementioned views and large, expansive bar with Guinness on the tap. Now, what I really want to know is who outdrank who? The Korean or the Chinese?