Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Robert Bicknell, a pioneer of golf in Vietnam, has passed away following a battle with cancer.
In a variety of areas, American-born Bicknell stamped his indelible mark on the game in the country in which golf was in its infancy when he arrived in 1991.
Throughout his colourful career in Vietnam, Bicknell, a PGA professional, filled roles as golf coach, Director of Golf, General Manager, golfing columnist and blogger.
It was in 1993 that Bicknell became a part of the Việt Nam News family as a proofreader. “The editor spotted his talent and made him a columnist whose disarming, humour-laced writing unfailingly entertained legions of readers, week after week, for almost three decades,” wrote his former colleague Hari Chathrattil, in an obituary published in the Việt Nam News.
As well as penning more than 635 columns for the Việt Nam News, Bicknell also contributed to Vietnam Golf Magazine for the past 13 years.
Among his other claims to fame were the fact that he was the first golf professional in Vietnam and was heavily involved in the setting up of the PGA of Vietnam.
He also coached Vietnam’s national amateur team between 1999 and 2002, a stint that included two Southeast Asian Games golf tournaments.
Among the Vietnam clubs with which Bicknell had an association over the past three decades were Vietnam Golf & CC (Thu Duc), Kings Island, Heron Lake, Van Tri Golf Club and Tam Dao Golf Resort.
After a spell as General Manager and Director of Golf at Rose Garden Golf Club in Dalat (2011-2012), Bicknell held the position as General Manager at Dalat Palace Golf Club and Ocean Dunes Golf Club (2012-2013) and, most recently, was General Manager and Director of Golf at Trang An Golf & Country Club in Ninh Binh.
“I know I am speaking for each and every member of the Việt Nam News family when I say that our hearts are broken (by Robert’s passing), but we’ll celebrate him,” wrote Chathrattil.
Bicknell, who called Vietnam home for the past 28 years, leaves behind a wife and daughter.