Crème de la crème of Malaysian golf recognised at Malaysian Golf Awards
By SYAMA RAMASAMY
There are award ceremonies, and there are award ceremonies – think The Academy Awards versus The Golden Globes. Both events, highly anticipated come awards season, honour the finest in film – actors, directors, screenwriters, etc – and host elaborate, star-studded red-carpet razzle-dazzle, which in themselves are “shows” that reel in celeb and fashion fiends season after season for some serious stargazing. Though there are some significant differences between The Oscars and The Golden Globes (for example, the latter honours TV talents as well), the much-sought-after ‘golden man’ trumps the ‘globe’ any day. And when it comes to Malaysian golf, the Oscar categorically goes to the Malaysian Golf Awards for being the region’s best and only industry-wide golf awards.
Formerly known as the ParGolf Awards inaugurated in 2011, the Malaysian Golf Awards, held in partnership by the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) and ParGolf Magazine, recognises deserving individuals and organisations that have excelled in the various aspects of the Malaysian golf industry – the best golfers, golf clubs, equipment brands and corporations that have each played a significant role in raising the standard of golf in the country.
After months of groundwork and eager anticipation, the evening of Friday, April 24, finally arrived, summoning the who’s who of the Malaysian golf industry to the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel, located just 25 minutes’ drive from the Kuala Lumpur city centre. The red carpet welcomed award nominees, panellists, industry bigwigs and special guests – all decked out in their snazziest evening attire, complemented by the best accessory one could ever have on … a wide, unbridled smile.
And soon the foyer was teeming with merry chinwag as guests rubbed shoulders with one another, reigniting old friendships and forging new ones over chilled beer, whisky and wine, courtesy of Carlsberg Malaysia and Luen Heng F&B Sdn Bhd. By the time the guest of honour Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin Yassin arrived at 8pm, the sprightly crowd had filled up the ballroom, which was fittingly and elegantly laved in majestic gold and timeless black, the theme for the night.
“Formerly known as the ParGolf Awards, the Malaysian Golf Awards celebrates the best golfers, golf clubs,
equipment brands and corporate
companies that have greatly contributed to the development of the sport in our country,” said Suzannah Gun Palmer, the publisher of ParGolf, in her opening speech. “We hope these awards will further encourage each nominee to reach for even greater heights and be an inspiration to all.”
There were a total of 22 award categories, comprising 11 ‘Voted Awards’ and 11 ‘Special Awards’. The Voted Award winners were selected by a 50-strong panel of golf industry personalities appointed by ParGolf and the MGA, combined with an online poll for selected categories. Meanwhile, the Special Awards were selected by the ParGolf management team and the MGA executive committee.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin also took to the podium to impart a few words before the evening’s first segment of awards was rolled out. “I see many of our top professionals, amateurs and juniors here tonight and I am sure all of you dream of representing our country in the Olympics. I truly hope that some of the golfers present here today will become Olympians one day and keep the Malaysian flag flying high – if not in the Rio Olympics next year, then certainly in future Olympics,” he said.
Kicking off the trail of award categories was ‘Malaysian Amateur Golfer of the Year – Male’, with Gavin Kyle Green bagging top honours, while Nur Durriyah Damian landed the ladies equivalent. (Gavin was unable to attend the gala night due to his collegiate duties at the University of New Mexico, USA.)
In the ‘Malaysian Junior Golfer of the Year – Male’ category, it was yet another Green – this time Galven – who snatched the winner’s title ahead of his peers. The girls category, meanwhile, saw Natasha Andrea Oon being named ‘Malaysian Junior Golfer of the Year – Female’.
In the professional category, Arie Irawan and Kelly Tan bagged the Malaysian Professional Golfer of the Year – Male and Female awards respectively. The latter was one of two new awards introduced this year, along with Best Overall Golf Experience which was claimed by The Els Club Teluk Datai.
The Golf Club of the Year award was won for the fifth consecutive year by Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, who also shared the Best Maintained Golf Course award with Kota Permai Golf & Country Club. Kota Permai has won the Best Maintained Golf Course award since it was introduced in 2012.
Over in the ‘Most Improved Golf Course’ category, it was Staffield Country Resort’s turn to snag the award and soak up the honour.
The MGA also recognised eight clubs for their excellent handicap management by presenting them with USGA Handicap System Club Compliance Awards.
“We are very pleased with the success of the inaugural Malaysian Golf Awards and would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners. Through these awards, we hope to spur the Malaysian golf industry to greater heights and eventually attain worldclass levels of excellence,” said MGA president Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor.
Other highlights of the evening included the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Merit Award For Services To Golf, which were both presented posthumously to former MGA president Tun Dato’ Seri Abdul Hamid Omar and Capt William Eustace Van Geyzel respectively. Apart from indulging in a scrumptious eight-course Chinese dinner, guests also delighted in the pleasing performance of The Siblings, a seven-piece band made up of – yes, you guessed it, siblings.
With the evening’s last cluster of awards handed out, the ‘Wall of Fame’ in the foyer once again became everyone’s favourite backdrop, with cameras and phones clicking away, capturing gleaming smiles, radiant faces and the night’s unforgettable experience.