In her 50’s, Katsuko Blalock – no question is off limits except her precise age in print – is a woman who just keeps moving.
She’s not restless. “I just like to keep on the go. Why waste a second of time?” That means she does leg lifts in bed the moment she opens her eyes and squats while watching TV. She sleeps five to six hours a night, and never naps.
That’s just for starters. Katsuko golfs three to four times a week (she used to scuba dive and is competent at several sports), cooks most daily meals and enjoys entertaining at home. She’s adept at needlework and sewing. More recently she turned to painting on porcelain plates and miniature paper Mache lacquered boxes. Already, there’s a filled display case with exquisitely painted objects.
Discovered at 16, in her home city of Kyoto, Katsuko was a successful commercial and print model for close on 10 years which probably accounts for her effortless grooming and enviable fashion sense.
A member of Sentosa and Warren golf clubs, Katsuko is easily recognisable on the local fairways. She’s the 1.65m, reed slim (45kg), colourful, coordinated and sexily dressed golfer who favours large hats.
The current 13 handicapper started playing in college, quit when she had her now grown-up daughter and two sons, only to pick up the game again when she moved to Singapore 10 years ago with husband Bob Blalock, a Bio-Tech executive.
Here she shares her passion for golf and happiness in life.
Do you play often with Bob?
Not as often as I would like, but I enjoy a round [with him]. We play off similar handicaps so it’s an even challenge. He gives me welcomed advice and I do the same…I think.
Do you travel often together to golf?
Yes, several times a year. Before it was to scuba dive but now our holidays are centred around places with great golf courses and vineyards. Our two passions: golf and wine. Our most recent vacation, late last year, was to South Africa.
Memorable rounds of golf?
The first was six years ago at Warren. I was playing with Timothy Low, the now pro golfer and sports presenter, and he was like ‘Katsuko, you are going to have a fantastic round.’ Up to then, I wasn’t focused on the score. I returned an 82. I won’t ever forget it.
The next was my first HIO in 2010 at Sentosa, followed by my second HIO at Warren in 2013.
Which is your ‘money’ club?
My Maruman shuttle two wood. I can really kill it, anywhere; off the tee, in the rough, even the bunker.
Your favourite golf courses?
Definitely Serapong, Sentosa. And while there are so many I love, the close seconds have to be Torrey Pines, TPC Sawgrass and Le Golf National.
Female golfers you admire?
Lexi Thompson who is incredibly powerful, and more recently, Jessica Korda. She has, to me, a beautiful swing. Being a visual person I admit to favouring golfers who look good and dress well.
Initially, I was just happy to play, but something slowly changed over the years. Now, I really want to be a better golfer. I want to play to a single digit handicap. I’m always inspired after watching professional women golfers, especially the recent HSBC Champions event. And, I actually do play better afterwards! I become more focused. Watching LPGA tournaments on TV have the same effect.
The most satisfying aspect of being on the Sentosa Golf Club women’s committee?
I most enjoy helping with arranging women’s golf games and events. It gives me pleasure to see women bonding over golf. And I will take pains to dress to themes and on occasion over-the-top if it’ll make the women smile and be happy.
Grooming and beauty regime?
I’m not loyal to any beauty products. I’ll even use samples. I hardly wear makeup, and it was only when Bob pointed out I should take better care on the golf course because of the sun, that I now use sunscreen and makeup when I play. Of course some makeup for dress up evening functions.
Your nails are works of art!
I like creating things. After 25 years of having weekly manicures, I thought I could create as good nail art as the professionals. You could say my nails are my first venture into painting.
PS: To coordinate with the issue’s emphasis on a floral theme Katsuko painted her nails around blooms just for us
Personal dress style?
I always want to look beautiful and be a beautiful person. I love to be surrounded by beautiful things and creating beauty is second nature.
My personal style is sexy and sensuous. I don’t do loose or baggy. Even my golf attire is body fitting. Favourite golf brands now are JL, Le Coq Sportif and Lululemon. I prefer skirts to trousers or shorts.
I always wear jewellery. I used to buy lots of shoes but the humidity in Singapore is bad for leather, so better to have fewer pairs. The same with bags. Now I focus on important timepieces. I like Chopard.
You used to have really long hair. Why did you recently cut it?
I had early-stage breast cancer some years ago and spent a lot of time in the hospital. Seeing children go bald with treatment affected me. I wanted to do something and decided to donate my long hair for wigs. I eventually hooked up with a Japanese hairstylist here and he explained how to go about it and he cut my hair…52cm.
Life right now?
When I was young, I didn’t think much, or too deeply, about life and living. Whether I was happy, or not. Now, I look at life as really wonderful. I feel so so happy. I feel so lucky. I give thanks every day for my parents, my husband, my children and good friends.
What’s In The Bag?
Maruman Woods (2,3,5)
Scotty Cameron Putter
Titleist Pro V1 Balls
Katsuko Blalock is featured on the cover of Golf/Women Volume 10.
Photography by Mark Law, by Mark Law Studio (www.marklaw.com.sg). Assisted by Alwin Oh.
Styling by Shaun Chen
Hair & Makeup by Marc Teng using Shiseido Professional
Special thanks to Mouawad for supplying jewellery and timepieces, and Tyan, Le Coq Sportif and FootJoy for the wardrobe.