Gathered in the Tian An Golf Club in Beijing on a cold Saturday morning in April, five national teams are intent on walking home the winners of the 13th Nordic Chamber Golf Tournament. But of course, there can be only one.
Even though the sun have just barely crept up on the sky, the morning of Saturday April 17, the 50 people, who are gathered on the dewy field, has been up for hours. Usually, there is not much a distinction in the nationality of these people – they know each other well and often work together on projects. But today, they are divided into five national teams. And each team is set on winning the reason they are all standing on either course A or B, respectively, at the Tian An Golf Club : The 13th Nordic Chamber Golf Tournament.
“The tee off time was 7.30, and since the weather this year is a bit cool for the season, the temperature was no more than 7 or 8 degrees,” says Fredrik Ektander, vice chairman of the Swedish board of Commerce Beijing Chapter and head of the Golf Committee. He has reason to smile himself – already early in the tournament, it was clear, that his own country team was doing indeed very well.
More popular each year
It is a tradition for the four Nordic Chambers to hold a golf tournament each year, with prizes, sponsors and a good buffet at lunch time to conclude it all. It is arranged by the Danish, Swedish and Icelandic Chambers of Commerce, as well as the Norwegian and Finnish Business Councils in China. Originally, this was a Swedish and Danish event, but the interest has been growing over the years, the three remaining Nordic countries have joined, and the event is increasingly bigger each year. However, there is no planning for force majeure, so this year the turn-out was a bit lower than usual.
“We are usually about 65 people. This year, some of the players were stuck in Scandinavia due to the Iceland volcano, so we were about 50 players,” he explains.
The tournament has been on the same venue for the last three years and was chosen again this year, because of the positive feedback from the previous games; the design is a modern stadium with large and very slippery greens – it mustn’t be too easy!
And it isn’t. Apart from the main prize, the trophy given to the team winners, there are different competitions within the tournament itself, keeping the suspense all the way through the green.
The game played is Stapleford. At two long holes, there is the longest drive competition for both men and women and at two short holes, a competition of being closest to the pin. For the individual highest Stapleford points, there is a special prize: A SAS-sponsored ticket from Beijing to Scandinavia. Unfortunately, the winner, Peter Nielsen of the Danish team, may have to wait till Ms Eyjafjallajokull is in a better mood, to use it.
Swedes take home the price
The competition itself takes about an hour – which suits perfectly with the players coming back to the club house around lunch time. This is also the time for the prize ceremony.
For the different competitions, there were an even spread amongst the four national teams of taking home the prizes. But there could be only one winner. And it is prestigious – the tradition is, that all the winners will get their names engraved on the big trophy, which is then theirs to boast proudly of till next year, where it is handed over to the new winner. Each player will get a small trophy for themselves.
The Swedish team, consisting of Nandan Mahimkar of ABB, Ellen Chen from Eastwei Relations, Gabriella Vondracek of Sony Ericsson and Kevin Ng of Deloitte, took home the team prize, with the Norwegian team as a runner up and the Finnish team took “bronze.”
Apart from these, there were a generous overflow of different prizes, ranging from bottles of wine, gift certificates and goody bags to things as specific as a Polar Electric Heart Rate Monitor from NSN, a club fitting session from Tietlest and a soft, cushy bathrobe from Radisson.
Arranger Fredrik Ektander is pleased with the way the day turned out:
“I think everything went well. There was a positive attitude and everyone turned up with a big smile,” he says.
And the trophy, now with four new names on it, has a new home – at least until April 2011 where the teams will be back on the green for another round.
Winners of the 13th Nordic Chamber Golf Tournament
Team prize: Sweden
3. place: Finland
Individual Highest Stableford – Peter Nielsen won the SAS return ticket
Individual Highest Stableford- Iren Heng
Individual lowest Gross- Andreas Friis
Longest drive, men- Carl Christian Olsen
Longest drive, women- Jeanny Fabritius
Closest to pin, women – Gabriella Vondracek
Closest to pin, men: Stefan Öhstlund
Sponsors of the tournament
SSBA sponsor of the Trophy’s
Radisson Blu Hotel
Chang & Björk
Snow of Sweden
Tian An Golf Club