Golf Vacations (Malaysia)

TIME FOR ME TO FLY

After almost eight long months together, Cass Chen and Sharmistth­a Yoogan have finally arrived at their final lesson. Where will they go from here?

- BY BENNY TEO PHOTOGRAPH­Y BY IVAN TEIK, BRANDON LAU & JOHN TAN

It isn’t something that often happens but when it does, it usually foretells a future that sparkles bright like a shining star in a cloudless night sky. No one could actually have guessed how it would turn out when Sharmistth­a Yoogan and Cass Chen, both former beauty queens who have moved on to different aspects of life, came together to share a common bond – to learn golf.

From the start, both ladies had been completely dedicated to the cause, throwing their all into learning a game that cannot be mastered, spending hours upon hours drilling hundreds of balls down the driving range, sometimes alone, sometimes together, and in the case of Shar, it has become an activity from which to bond with her two younger siblings.

In the case of Cass, she has really turned a corner in her game. Practising mostly alone, she has doggedly ploughed on into the nights after a long day’s work at the brokerage, and yet enjoying every moment spent, that cathartic exertion turning the day’s stresses into 70mph release each time it fires off her dainty hands.

They are the most hardworkin­g batch among all and are determined to make golf a part of their life,” he exclaimed, continuing, “from the start, they were already practising on their own despite their busy schedules and most importantl­y, continued all the way.

Coach Chong Chee Ming, an MST Academy staff profession­al, has been patiently instilling in them the tenets of golf, from skillset to etiquette and rules. He is extremely content with his latest beauty queen cohort and sees them continuing their journey well after their sessions with him are over.

“They are the most hardworkin­g batch among all and are determined to make golf a part of their life,” he exclaimed, continuing, “from the start, they were already practising on their own despite their busy schedules and most importantl­y, continued all the way.”

“All they need to do now is to get out on the golf course and start playing. Yes, I think they are ready,” he concluded.

Despite the enthusiasm and diligence, the girls had a difficult time playing the Awana Genting Golf Course, as described in the previous issue. It was not an easy course for even an intermedia­te player to get on, let alone a beginning golfer who’s only stepped out on the teebox and fairways their very first time in life.

Both had different takeaways from that session – Cass having been able to hit a few good shots and made an approach onto the green was already looking forward to playing more golf on the course.

Shar, on the other hand, had been full of confidence before but had undergone what even the most regular of golfers go through, which is the yips. It had taken a while but eventually, she also managed to hit some great shots that helped encouraged her continuing journey in the game.

Now, three months after that fateful day in the highlands, Shar and Cass are about to become bonafide golfers. The journey has come to its conclusion, and yet, they are unwilling to let it go.

“We kept postponing the final lesson, first it was me, then Cass, then coach, it seemed like we didn’t want this to end,” smiled Shar.

Cass, already on a whirlwind trip to Europe to visit her father and uncles who run a bespoke tailor outfit catering to film sets out of London, had thoughts of golf on her mind as she traverses across the lands where golf had lived for centuries before.

From the English capital, she made her way to Krakow, Poland and found herself, inadverten­tly on the fairways of the Krakow Valley Golf & Country Club. However, she was not there to play but instead observe an amateur event called the Space Open, a tournament held across Dubai, Scotland, Poland and Spain since 2015.

“I would love to play golf in such a beautiful environmen­t,” she chuckled over an overseas call from where she hopes to one day tee off from. “The weather is so nice and cool, and I thought Genting was chilly!”

I would love to play golf in such a beautiful environmen­t,” she chuckled over an overseas call from where she hopes to one day tee off from. “The weather is so nice and cool, and I thought Genting was chilly!

While she had a friend for company in Poland, her journey had taken her to Prague thereafter and she spent days alone wandering across the old, romantic streets of that old European city. It is clear by now that she does not mind being alone, and experienci­ng the joys of life and travel whenever she pleases.

“My father had left for London some years back to join my two uncles at their business. It was getting harder to do what he does well in KL but London offered a new opportunit­y and a ready market for hardworkin­g individual­s like him to succeed,” she explained.

“A few years after he left, I have been going over to visit every year to spend some time with him and see my uncles, as well as take the opportunit­y to travel across Europe.

“And now that I’ve picked up a new sport – golf – I can experience the continent in a more wonderful and personal way than I ever did before!” she exclaimed.

This program has completely changed me – it has put golf into my psyche – and that of my family. It has gotten me my first sport, and I am so glad for it.

Back in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Sharmistth­a Yoogan may have been practising less, from three times a week to once every fortnight but that had been due to a change in her workload. She has recently been reassigned a new role that requires her to travel more often, and thus taking time away from the Kota Permai range that she almost calls home the past half year or so.

Except that she doesn’t actually visit Kota Permai as much anymore, apart from having meals with clients.

“David Tang, owner of David Tang Custom Fitting, has relocated to Glenmarie Golf and Country Club and so now, it takes me much longer to get there,” she surmised.

David had been instrument­al outside of the program, in getting her siblings started, particular­ly her brother. She has also been able to loan his various clubs to try as she has gotten rather bored of her 7-iron.

“Even though I’m just practising every fortnight, it’s getting good. We had putting sessions some two months back and I’ve been practising at home or at Glenmarie; the range closes at 8pm but the lights don’t go off until 945pm so it works out great,” she said.

“My sister is far more active than me in golf and she’s got this friend from Kashmir who’s teaching her. This boy plays nationally for golf so he’s teaching, Misha, my sister now.

“He’s a medical student and so is she, and he just wants friends. She wakes up around 6am to hit the range and that guy really teaches her well. He’s a single handicap golfer,” she explained reiteratin­g the fact that there is nothing romantic about their sessions and that his girlfriend sits with them while at practice.

Her skillset is still there and when she plays, she feels less pressured these days as she doesn’t overthink her shots. Her brother has continued to be active in practice and now, so is her sister.

“This program has completely changed me – it has put golf into my psyche – and that of my family. It has gotten me my first sport, and I am so glad for it,” she purred.

“It’s finally the last session tomorrow, I think we’ve really saved the last one, there were so many obstacles that came through for this last one that it seemed like the game wouldn’t let us go. It has kept us active, so tomorrow is a the last one and I hope it will be a very good one,” said the former Miss Indian Malaysia.

And from the looks of things, the journey for both Cass and Shar is only just starting, rather than ending.

 ??  ?? RIGHT PAGE: A profession­al swing manufactur­ed through years of hard work and tournament play.
RIGHT PAGE: A profession­al swing manufactur­ed through years of hard work and tournament play.
 ??  ?? LEFT PAGE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Teacher and students sharing a light moment in between practice; On a more serious note afterwards; Coach Chong showing Cass what a follow-through should look like.
LEFT PAGE FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Teacher and students sharing a light moment in between practice; On a more serious note afterwards; Coach Chong showing Cass what a follow-through should look like.
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? LEFT PAGE FROM LEFT: Cass Chen striking a reflective pose; A nice follow-through is always a thing to be
much admired.
LEFT PAGE FROM LEFT: Cass Chen striking a reflective pose; A nice follow-through is always a thing to be much admired.
 ??  ?? RIGHT PAGE, TOP: symmetrica­lly serious
in practice.
BOTTOM LEFT:
Coach Chee Ming refining Cass’s setup. BOTTOM RIGHT
FROM TOP: The Space Open amateur event at Krakow Valley Golf & Country Club; Cass taking a stroll along the track of Krakow
Valley in Poland.
RIGHT PAGE, TOP: symmetrica­lly serious in practice. BOTTOM LEFT: Coach Chee Ming refining Cass’s setup. BOTTOM RIGHT FROM TOP: The Space Open amateur event at Krakow Valley Golf & Country Club; Cass taking a stroll along the track of Krakow Valley in Poland.
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? LEFT PAGE FROM RIGHT:
Sharmistha Yoogan focusing on her next shot; Shar caught in a pensive moment on
her backswing.
LEFT PAGE FROM RIGHT: Sharmistha Yoogan focusing on her next shot; Shar caught in a pensive moment on her backswing.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? RIGHT PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hours and months
have been spent drilling at the range;
Putting lessons showed them another aspect of the game;
Deserving smiles from both girls for their hard work and dedication; Coach Chong giving final touch ups to Shar.
RIGHT PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hours and months have been spent drilling at the range; Putting lessons showed them another aspect of the game; Deserving smiles from both girls for their hard work and dedication; Coach Chong giving final touch ups to Shar.
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia