Hong Kong Golf Club has done little to help young local talent

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 August, 2013, 5:24am

I am the parent of a young man who was trained up by the Hong Kong Golf Association over a number of years.

To be fair, and it is a matter of fact, the association has done its very best in nurturing potential golf talents for Hong Kong. With limited resources, they have been working extremely hard in finding training grounds for the sport in every possible corner of the city.

The association even has to conduct training outside Hong Kong, in mainland China for example. Each trip requires sponsorship from the foreign clubs so that parents like us do not have to pay much.

On the other hand, the Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling has done very little to help aspiring young golf talent in Hong Kong. Their driving range facilities have never been available to these young golfers for practice, at least during my son's eight years in the HKGA training scheme. And of course that's not to mention the three 18-hole golf courses that they possess.

In contrast, the Kau Sai Chau public golf course, off Sai Kung, is always willing to offer as much help as possible to these young golfers, even though their booking rate is high.

The St Andrews Old Course on the east coast of Scotland is regarded as the spiritual home of golf, yet even that fine course is open to the public.

My family visited and played there two years ago, freely and most importantly with great respect. It is even cheaper to play there than Fanling, and while you pay so much to play at Hong Kong Golf Club, you are treated like a mouse.

You are not allowed to go here, there and everywhere because it's for members only, and there are some arrogant members who look at visitors with disapproving eyes. This is an attitude that really annoys fellow golfers.

Ironically, many Hong Kong Golf Club members come to play in Kau Sai Chau, especially the East course which might be the public course with the most spectacular view in Asia. But they are generally treated well and made welcome.

Luckily, my family have played on many exclusive golf courses in the world but every time we are treated like VIPs.

Old gentlemen come out in St Andrews, advising us how to swing, and course marshals in Arizona comfort us, saying "no need to rush, enjoy your game, take it easy..." In New Zealand's South Island, on a very beautiful golf course, the pro-shop owner even let me borrow his golf bag for free.

With its HK$1-a-year nominal rent from the government, the Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling has made extremely little effort in promoting golf here. It's the HKGA and Kau Sai Chau who deserve our respect.

Tommy F.K. Hui, North Point