Sorry for the silence here recently. I just got out from under a variety of deadlines, including my latest story for Golf World. That piece, like several of my recent efforts, features China’s Hainan Island, perhaps the busiest place in the world in terms of golf course construction. Coincidentally, I happened upon an episode of Discovery’s Man vs. Wild the other day that was filmed in Hainan — the wild jungles in the middle of the island — a part of Hainan that most golf tourists never see. (Curiously, the word “Hainan” is never uttered throughout the episode. They don’t even use the word “island.” They simply say “Southern China.” Is such vagueness normal for Man vs. Wild? Or is something else going on here?)

The episode, filmed during Typhoon Ketsana in the fall of 2009, is worth watching (and thanks to the wonders of Chinese piracy, it’s available in full at — it’s also embedded in this post).

A little digging tells us the show was shot for $250,000 and that it represents the start of a 52-episode sponsorship of the series in China by Snow Beer.

A little more digging and we are blessed with this gem of a quote from Wang Qun, managing director of Snow Beer: “Bear Grylls and the Man vs. Wild series demonstrate strong determination and the strength of the human spirit in overcoming tough environments and difficulties, which embodies the brand spirit of Snow Beer.”

For those unfamiliar with Snow Beer, it’s awful. If you are offered Snow Beer for free at a hot pot restaurant, refuse it. But don’t take my word: puts Snow in the 8th percentile for pale lagers and it gets a D- over at, where one reviewer noted: “Aroma smells faintly of steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Hints of plastic like chemicals.”

Perhaps Snow chose Man vs. Wild for a reason. Anything’s got to taste good after eating rats, bats and still-twitching frogs.