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There and back again

In the long and winding 20-odd years that Robert Bicknell has been living, working and developing golf in Vietnam, there still only one place that he calls home: Kings’ Island
Twenty one years and six or eight golf courses later, Kings’ Island in Dong Mo continues to be my spiritual home. My attachment to this project began in 1992 and has played a pivotal role in both my professional and personal lives.
In 1992, I stepped off the Vietnam Airlines flight from Bangkok and into history as the first golf professional to work in Vietnam since the war, and the first ever in northern Vietnam. Other pros like to tout their achievements, this is one of mine and nobody can take that away from me.
However, my associates in Bangkok neglected to tell me what the weather in Hanoi was like in December, so like a dummy I was wearing what is normal for Bangkok. Big mistake on my part, but the Vietnamese were saying “how strong I was”.
I guess they didn’t see my lips turning blue or my teeth chattering.
I remember the problems we faced in the beginning: an unstable BOD, unstable funding, changing water levels and all the expected problems to be found in Vietnam as the country opened its doors to outside investment. I will give the government of Vo Van Kiet a lot of credit for doing everything they could to try and set up a system that promoted investment and made investors a bit more comfortable.



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