HK Open helps city stay on top, says Fanling golf club

Golf club argues that if Fanling loses its courses the city could lose its status as Asia's World City

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 July, 2013, 4:08am

The Hong Kong Golf Club has appealed to the city's positioning as Asia's World City as a defence against suggestions its golf courses in Fanling be redeveloped for housing.

The club, which runs the three 18-hole courses that some say should make way for a new town, urged the government to consider the impact on the city's standing as a leader in Asian golfing.

In a statement yesterday, it stressed the importance of the site in hosting the annual Hong Kong Open.

"Apart from the Macau Grand Prix, the Hong Kong Open is the only world-class sporting event with a history of more than half a century in the region, and is one of the few world-class sports events held annually in Hong Kong at the same venue," it said.

The international event promoted the image of Hong Kong as an international city with top-tier golfing facilities, attracting overseas viewers and making it possible for talented local golfers to compete with the best players in the world, the club claimed.

In the overall interests of the community, it said, it would respect the government's decision over the land use of the 176-hectare Fanling site. But it would "strongly urge due consideration be given to maintain Hong Kong's position as 'Asia's World City' with golfing and sporting facilities appropriate to its international status".

The club also appealed for public support by highlighting the non-exclusiveness of its Fanling facility.

Some 800 indigenous villagers enjoy free access because of a deal their ancestors struck when they sold the land to the club's owners decades ago. Last year, those villagers played almost 14,000 rounds of golf on the courses, the club said.

That was in addition to the more than 30 per cent of the club's total rounds played by other non-members, including local and international visitors.

Earlier, the Hong Kong Golf Association - whose members include the Hong Kong Golf Club, Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club, Discovery Bay Golf Club and Shek O Country Club - made a similar claim about how the Fanling site was indispensible for the HK Open.

The association spoke up last week after lawmakers passed a non-binding motion asking the government to develop the Fanling site instead of razing existing villages for new towns in the northeastern New Territories.