Robert Rock shares his Top 20 courses
European Tour star lists his favourite courses at the opening of his new Golf Academy in Vietnam
England’s Robert Rock, a two-time European Tour winner, recently launched his Golf Academy at the Greg Norman-designed Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, our No.1 golf course in Vietnam. This is the third Robert Rock Golf Academy to open, joining forces with two English facilities at Darnford Moors Golf Club in Staffordshire and Kings Hill Golf Club in Kent.
We thought it would be fun to ask Robert to list his favourite courses. After much thought and deliberation, the golfer with the enviable swing came up with his personal Top 20.
Most of us would include the odd course that is close to the heart and Robert is no exception. On his list is Ingestre Park, a scenic parkland layout that's nestled in the rural countryside near to Stafford in the English West Midlands. It was here at this tree-lined track where as a junior member Robert honed his swing. Unfortunately Ingestre Park narrowly missed our Staffordshire Best In County rankings, but every other course on Robert’s Top 20 is listed somewhere within our extensive worldwide golf course listings.
Robert Rock’s Top 20 follows and we’ve highlighted where each course is currently ranked:
1. Kingsbarns [ranked 6th in Scotland]
The official release on the new Robert Rock Golf Academy at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip follows:
Robert Rock Rolls Out Golf Academy in Vietnam
European Tour star and swing expert heads instructional ‘dream team’ at the new Bluffs Ho Tram Strip
Robert Rock, a two-time European Tour winner with one of the most enviable swings in professional golf, has launched The Robert Rock Golf Academy at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, one of the world’s most acclaimed new courses.
Rock’s academy officially opened last month with the commencement of a 10-week junior golf program led by Australian Patrick Kelly, the course's head professional and a former winner at the highest level of US collegiate golf.
Kelly is shaping the academy with input from Rock and Luke Ringrose, mentor of some of the world's best players and an instructor who prides himself on his ability to make “anyone who’s coachable a great ball striker.”
"It’s my dream team,” said Ben Styles, The Bluffs’ general manager. “In Robert, Patrick and Luke, we’ve got the makings of something very special here. With these guys leading the way, I firmly believe The Bluffs is poised to make the next generation of Vietnamese golfers a force to be reckoned with.”
Rock, an Englishman who describes himself as a “swing nerd,” became a world-class player after spending years elevating other people’s games.
In addition to competing on one of golf’s biggest circuits, he has helped boost the careers of tour pros such as Charley Hull and Oliver Wilson, who claimed the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews last October after receiving some sage pointers from Rock a month prior.
Rock made a name for himself as a player in 2012 when he outplayed Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in the final round to win the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. He finished third at the Lyoness Open in Austria last month.
Ringrose is based in London and currently working with Felipe Aguilar and Fabrizio Zanotti, both of whom have at least one European Tour victory.
To facilitate the learning process, The Robert Rock Golf Academy at The Bluffs features a spacious, open-air room with impact bags, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and an array of monitors -- tools Kelly uses to great effect.
“The lab, as we call it, really allows us to illustrate the correct positions and angles a golfer needs to understand to form a dependable swing,” said Kelly. “If you’ve got that understanding, you’re on your way, because many of the same principles apply to other facets of the game, such as chipping and putting.”
Lessons at the academy -- the third Robert Rock Golf Academy in the world and the first in Asia -- are available to anyone. But the primary goal for the foursome behind it is to make golf accessible for kids, and ultimately produce champions on the professional level.
“No one knows how good they can be at something unless they get the opportunity,” said Styles. “We fully support junior golf. We want youngsters to come and try golf, like we all got to when we were young.”
Designed by legendary golfer Greg Norman amid towering sand dunes two hours northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, The Bluffs has received high praise since debuting in October 2014.
In January, GOLF Magazine USA hailed it one of the best courses to open last year. In May, HK Golfer wrote that “geography aside, the course could host the U.S. Open and earn plenty of plaudits. It’s that good.”The Bluffs will receive another significant measure of coverage Dec. 3-6, when it hosts the inaugural Ho Tram Open, the most lucrative, single-sanctioned event (US $1.5 million) on this year’s Asian Tour calendar.
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