Fanling Golf Club ending HK$30m upgrade as land debate rages
Joyce Ng and Enoch Yiu
The Fanling golf club embroiled in a New Territories redevelopment debate is nearing the end of a HK$30 million project to renovate its facilities and improve the irrigation of its golf courses.
It had also planned to renovate its clubhouse this year - but now its future may hang in the balance after development ideas were floated that might see the place ploughed up for housing.
On Friday, the government indicated the Fanling facilities would be part of a new-town study next year. The club has not responded to inquiries from the South China Morning Post.
The club set aside HK$30 million in 2011 for renovation and construction works, its annual report last year showed. That included renovating and returfing the driving range and installing a new irrigation system in all three 18-hole courses.
"This, as all past captains know, is the best way to keep the membership happy," then captain Peter Reed wrote.
The club completed the irrigation network in September, the report showed. It awarded a tender in January for remedial works to a dangerous slope located along Fan Kam Road.
This year, its plans are to start roof works and mechanical and engineering works, and the first phase of clubhouse renovation.
The club, which manages golf courses in Fanling and Deep Water Bay, has 2,501 members. Last year it received HK$76 million in members' subscriptions and recorded an operating surplus of HK$6.2 million. Corporate membership fees are said to exceed HK$10 million on the second-hand market.
A full member told the Post he had waited 20 years for a membership, eventually paying almost HK$500,000.
"For the sake of Hong Kong as an international financial centre, we should keep golfing facilities, as foreign businesspeople working here would find it strange if there was not a decent golf course," he said. "A golf course is not just a sports venue, but a place for the who's who in town to meet and discuss business."
A part-time member also expressed support for the course. "We need world-class sports and cultural activities to attract the best working talent," he said.