The award-winning Angkor Golf Resort in Siem Reap is well known as one of Sir Nick Faldo’s classy designs.
It is also the home of the six-time Major winner’s annual grassroots development initiatiative Faldo Series, the second edition of which concluded two weeks ago.
If the present director of golf at AGR, David Baron, carries out his own master plan for the development of the game, the resort could well house a purpose-built international golf academy in the near future. What is driving Baron is the passion he shares with the resort in promoting golf through junior initiatives.
“As a member of the PGA I am happy to be a part of this and willing to give my time and use of the AGR facilities to enthusiastic kids who want to learn,” Baron, who is from Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, told the Post in an exclusive chat yesterday.
With a wealth of experience both as a PGA professional and top level management executive behind him, Baron, who has extensively coached juniors in Hong Kong and China, is setting out to help Cambodian youngsters who are keen on developing their golf skills,
“I taught hundreds of junior golfers at the prestigious Hong Kong Golf Club. However, golf is more mainstream and accessible to kids in HK with a strong golf association backing,” the AGR director of golf pointed out.
Another well-structured golf body Baron had worked with was in China, where he opened a PGA-endorsed academy as the first Jack Nicklaus-branded academy.
The first phase of his long-term plan is already in motion. He has been spending his time in imparting basic golf lessons at the AGR to students from several Siem Reap schools to spread the game’s appeal among the youth.
In the weeks and months to come, Baron hopes to organise regular golf clinics and nine-hole tournaments in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to follow up on the splendid efforts being made by former Australian amateur team captain Roger Hunt, who has been serving the Cambodian Golf Federation as an adviser for the past five years in a purely voluntary capacity.
Baron considers support from other clubs and the CGF vital to the success of his mission. Using golf, Baron is also helping a major health initiative by partnering with Cambodian Diabetes Association, encouraging the local NGO to bring kids to the resort for educational classes on the dangers, causes and prevention of diabetes.
A free golf clinic will be conducted for the benefit of these children with an emphasis on fitness. The leader of the NGO, Lorraine Fraser King, is fully supportive of this partnership.