| Fi­nal Shot

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Charles McLaugh­lin

Bri­gadier Christo­pher Ham­mer­beck, for­mer Bri­tish mil­i­tary of­fi­cer and busi­ness­man talks about his best ever round and favourite cour­ses.

Charles McLaugh­lin talks to the for­mer Bri­tish mil­i­tary of­fi­cer and busi­ness­man about his best ever round, favourite cour­ses and how he made his hole in one.

When did you start play­ing golf?

I started to play golf with a very old set of wooden shafted clubs in­her­ited from my fa­ther’s cousin on the Tid­worth Golf Course when I was serv­ing with air­borne force and based in the Gar­ri­son in 1969. I was a fair cricket bats­man and ap­plied my stroke play to the clubs and then as now over hit hence my cur­rent handicap of 29! How­ever, the com­bi­na­tion of ex­er­cise, fresh air and good com­pany was and is com­pul­sive! The only time that I have taken lessons was with my late wife on the Gold Coast of Australia.

How of­ten do you play?

I try to play ev­ery week as I am a mem­ber of the ‘Dad’s Army’ group at the Shek O Coun­try Club. In re­al­ity, we sim­ply get to lunch but en­joy it none­the­less. In ad­di­tion, ev­ery two years we make a golf tour, and this year we shall be head­ing to Dornoch for a five-day trip.

What’s been your best ever round?

Dif­fi­cult one to an­swer this as it is dif­fi­cult to sort the wheat from the chaff as there have been so many medi­ocre rounds. How­ever, I think the best that I can re­call was in Sanya, Hainan, when I was play­ing with a group of Chi­nese busi­ness­men and Se­nior Cadres back in1999 when it was not dif­fi­cult to shine. The most memorable event on the round was on a par 5 hole. When hav­ing driven off to a rea­son­able dis­tance, I saw a per­son in the mid­dle of the fair­way who stub­bornly re­fused to give way, when we shouted at him in Pu­tonghua and English. Some of our four ran over and found that it was one of the gar­den­ers who had a King Co­bra trapped un­der his rake. One of my part­ners us­ing his wedge re­moved the head with a fine stroke. Then an ar­gu­ment en­sued as to who would have the car­cass for soup. Mean­while, I went down with a bo­gie!

Hole in one?

I achieved this on the 17th hole at Shek O with a 5-iron when play­ing alone. But there was a team of green­keep­ers who wit­nessed it, and the Sec­re­tary ac­cepted. I al­ways play this hole now with my 5-iron but never get close enough!

Do you have a favourite course?

My favourite course is the Sul­tan of Brunei’s Pri­vate Course, which I was lucky enough to play as a friend of mine was the chief of Staff of the Royal Brunei Army. The at­trac­tions be­ing that any ball that went into the jun­gle was placed in the mid­dle of the fair­way, and the ar­rival on the green was cel­e­brated by a team of young ladies serv­ing ice-cold drinks and de­li­cious snacks! If that is not good enough, then the won­der­ful links at Hes­keth Golf Club in South­port where on a breezy day your drive starts to re­turn!

Who would be in your dream four­ball?

Cap­tain John Felice RN, Squadron Leader Olaf Ham­mer­beck (he trained but never got to play a round) and Chris­tian Ham­mer­beck (my son) with my late wife Joyce mark­ing my card!

Hes­keth Golf Club in South­port

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