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From the PGA to Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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From the PGA to Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Golf is a sport that has surrounded Michael Brasier all his life. His father, Brett, is a PGA professional and growing up, Michael would watch him teach golf at various clubs around the world, including the Vines in Australia.

It was only natural that Michael would follow his father into the sport: playing on the PGA tour, teaching golf and managing golf courses.

The Phuket Gazette spoke to Michael recently at the Red Mountain Golf Club, where he now works as the sales and marketing manager/head PGA professional.

Phuket Gazette: Why choose to move into golf as a career?
Michael Brasier: Initially, I didn’t. I was playing tournaments once I turned professional, trying to earn a living that way and it wasn’t easy. You really have to be able to shoot a 69 with your eyes closed and that should really be a bad day.

After about two years of trying to make it on the tour I turned to teaching. I did a one year teaching course in Lithuania. Then I came back to manage a golf course in Bangkok called Lotus Valley when I was 22. It was an old course that was being redesigned and I was involved during the construction stage, training the staff, which gave me an insight into golf management.

I came to Phuket about five years ago with my father on a golfing holiday. Red Mountain was not officially open at that time, but we were able to play it and that was how I came to know Red Mountain.

What’s your proudest accomplishment in golf to date?
About two weeks ago, I was on the third hole at Red Mountain. I had my eight iron, the wind was softly coming in from the east and the ball landed three feet behind the hole and rolled straight in. It was my first hole in one, so I was very happy.

Which is your favorite club in your bag and why?

Probably my five iron. It’s normally a very easy 190 or a strong 200 yard shot and I feel very confident with that club. I wish I felt that comfortable with a wedge because I would probably finish a round with a much lower score.

What’s a typical day for you and how much does your job change from day-to-day?
Basically, the hospitality business changes. One day I might be on the golf course with the superintendent dealing with problems on the turf such as drainage issues; the next day I could be preparing for a big tournament, sorting out the caddies and arranging the F&B.

In terms of the day-to-day operations, it changes based on the volume of golfers we have. My job as sales and marketing manager is looking for new clients and we tend to target corporate groups from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia.

What’s the hardest part of your job?
Managing staff and keeping everyone happy. It is the most difficult and time consuming part of the job, but it is also the most rewarding if you can do it correctly.

If you could change one aspect or rule about golf what would it be and why?
I would say the ruling on mismarking your score. There have been a few cases where professional golfers have submitted their score cards, and not because they wanted to, but mistakenly wrote an incorrect score and therefore a penalty was given.

I feel that is a bit harsh. With the scoring officials on the course and TV, technology pretty much takes care of scoring now. The aspect of having to physically write down your score should not be binding to your final score.

What’s golf’s greatest asset?
Integrity. The game definitely has some great traits: respect, being gracious whether you win or lose. But I would say integrity.

If you only had one round of golf to play in your life, which course would you play and why?
St Andrews, just because of the history.

What do you enjoy doing outside of golf?
I love wake boarding. I love being out on the water on a boat or surfing.

How would you classify your golf teaching style?

A lot of professionals try to correct the mistakes of their students straight away and try to make them look like Tiger Woods, with the help of a video camera and computer. That’s definitely not my style. No one’s swing as an amateur is going to be perfect. Build on their strengths and try to minimize their faults.

If you look at some golfers, Jim Furyk for example, does not have a picture perfect swing, but he can still hit the ball and have a great round of golf. Drills and exercises are a good way to see the motion a persons swing takes. Muscle memory and putting the student into a certain position and trying to get them to feel the movement also helps.

What’s your favorite hole at Red Mountain? Why?
Hole 17, which is Red Mountain’s signature hole. It’s about 150 yards and has a 150- foot elevation from green to tee box. Golfers hit down the valley to the green and it’s quite spectacular.

Why choose to work in Phuket and at Red Mountain?
Why Not? I feel very privileged to have been here since the beginning of Red Mountain. Phuket itself is a great place to live: great beaches, great people, the traffic is getting worse but it’s not nearly as bad as Bangkok. The air quality is great.

Who’s your favorite golfer at the moment and why?
Rory McIlroy. His swing looks unbeatable. It’s the Tiger-Rory rivalry which everyone is talking about.

I personally feel that Tiger still has a lot of great golf left and we will see that sooner or later but Rory is up for the fight and he won’t roll over.

Who’s your favorite all time golfer and why?
My father Brett Brasier. He taught me everything I know about golf so it would have to be him.

What do you hope for the future of Red Mountain?

Building on the brand. It’s been very successful since 2008. More golfers come every year.

The next step is to build on that and maybe improve our current hotel facilities. We are adding on a swimming pool, fitness center and bar to create more of a resort feeling, along with developing residential properties which has been something that we have put on hold.

Over the last two years, we have added an on-course hotel. It’s a 47-room hotel located on the first hole at Loch Palm. We are pushing to market it as Phuket’s best golfing hotel.

https://www.redmountainphuket.com/

— Andrew Scott

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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