Looking back: Review of 2023

The golf season is of course never over here in Thailand – but for me it unfortunately ended before the end of the year.

In mid-November, I made a detour to the Katathong golf course and had to stop after 12 holes due to pain in my left hand – the weather surprised me with a rain shower anyway, so it was twice as easy for me to abandon the round.

A week later I played my favorite club Blue Canyon again and my hand was still hurting. I hadn’t expected that!

Then I stopped playing for another 3 weeks without any improvement. So I had to see a doctor. The hand specialist at Bangkok Hospital here on Phuket suspected inflammation due to overuse. Laser and ultrasound therapy should improve the situation.

Today is the 5th of 6 treatments and things have improved a little. 5 test swings in the courtyard went reasonably smoothly.

Review part 1 – private

My wife and I have been living in Phuket near the center since February. We are completely deregistered in Germany. Of course this is a change: banks, insurance, visa, earning money, finding new friends and a golf course, getting used to the weather and the heat. It takes a lot out of you.

My father had already emigrated here in December 2022 (from Ukraine) and I was quite happy to have him here and spend time with him again. In the last 10 years, we only saw each other irregularly and rarely.

Unfortunately, he was involved in a car accident in April. As a pedestrian, he was hit by a van not far from his apartment. The van had swerved because he was looking at his cell phone. 5 weeks later, my father died in hospital.

Looking back, this event was a huge challenge. Communicating with the hospital, hospital costs (my father was a stubborn 81-year-old and had no insurance), several meetings at the police station about the protocol, clearing out his apartment, organizing the funeral, etc.

In addition, my stepson had his wedding in Bangkok while my father was in hospital. We were preoccupied and, of course, not on top of things.

The grieving process is still not complete – of course. But I’m coping better and better (even though he left a mess behind, he was like a good friend to me over the last few years). The fact that my sister neither visited him in hospital nor came to the funeral from Germany makes me sad. But her life is at least as chaotic.

Looking back – Part 2 – Golf

I started my first golfing ventures alone, but I soon found a Facebook group that organizes tournaments once a month. I joined at the beginning of April and started together with Michael Lesch. He looked familiar to me somehow. And later I knew why – he is a German actor who emigrated to Phuket in 2017 🙂

A lovely person with whom I experience great moments on the golf course. He’s a member of the Blue Canyon Club – so I usually play there, even if it takes a little longer to get there.

Unfortunately, the practice facilities at the driving range nearby are very modest. The balls are terrible and the mats are like stone. Putting and chipping are okay, but the other short game, which I was able to practice so well at my home club in Germany, is impossible.
I also found a good coach on Michael’s recommendation. He also has a fitting studio at the Country Club Golf Course, not far from me.

In half an hour he got my swing (with the hated 5 iron) from 65 to 73 mph.

Officially, not much has happened in terms of handicap, as I’m not a member anywhere here (apart from my long-distance membership in Germany). I therefore use truehandicap.com for my Thailand handicap. However, it will be a while before the 20 rounds are calculated for the correct handicap. Only 9 rounds are currently recorded.

In total, I have probably played 20 rounds of golf – about as much as I played in Germany in a month.

Due to the climate (and also the costs – in Thailand you still pay a green fee and caddie tip at most courses despite being a member), I will certainly never reach this number. But I hope to get at least over 40 rounds in 2024.

Conclusion on 2023

Apart from that, I already feel very comfortable in Thailand – and sometimes I am very grateful to be here. My wife in particular is happy here; she was never 100% happy in Germany.

The costs here are very low (except for golf). On a rough estimate, I only need 35% of what I spent in Germany. Only the rent is very high (around 850 euros for a house). That’s because of Phuket, in other parts of Thailand you can live comparably for 300 euros, with the exception of Bangkok of course.

Even if the traffic on Phuket is a disaster, the people here are very friendly and as soon as you speak a few words of Thai, you are a star. There is hardly any xenophobia or quarrels, but a great willingness to help: one evening at around 9 pm, the motorcycle wouldn’t start. We were in the parking lot of a park and were immediately asked if anyone could help us. One of them drove off and came back with a mechanic. It was repaired and they didn’t want any money for it! We were just told to come to the garage the next day. We did – they checked it again and said everything was ok. Cost nothing – we gave them something anyway 😉

But now I wish everyone a good start to the New Year and many relaxed rounds of golf!

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