Jockey Club seeks permit for centre at Sai Kung to nurture golfers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 4:30am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 10:07am

The dream of nurturing young golfers on an island in Sai Kung has moved a step closer, with the Jockey Club asking the environment watchdog for a construction permit.

The Jockey Club has long sought to convert land near the three public courses it runs on Kau Sai Chau into a facility to nurture players, coaches and course managers, as well as beginners.

If permission is granted, the academy could be operating within two years.

The Jockey Club promises the academy will be "world class" and offer all-round training and specialist support in areas such as nutrition and sports psychology. It also will offer what could be the city's first four-year degree, diploma or certified programmes in golf management, in partnership with tertiary institutions.

The 10-hectare site at the South Course will have about 80 rooms for students in low-rise blocks.

Hong Kong Golf Association CEO Tom Phillips said his organisation was very excited.

"We have been working closely with the golf course to advise on what shape and form the academy facilities and programmes might take, with the ultimate vision of a world-class facility that will set new standards for the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

The club said in documents filed with the Environmental Protection Department that the academy was one of the objectives put forward when it was constructing the East Course on the island in 2006.

Its spokesman refused to say why it had taken seven years for it to draw up a plan. He also declined to disclose operational details, who its education partners would be and costs, saying only that it would "promote golf at affordable levels".

It will also need to modify the land lease with the government to secure a further 3,600 square metres of land for the work.

The club said the environmental impact of the development would be "limited", but estimated that 160 trees would be cut down and the project would generate about 52,000 cubic metres of waste.

Dr Cheng Luk-ki, from Green Power, said the island had once been a military range, resulting in heavy soil erosion. "I am still concerned about how the contractor gets rid of any waste generated during construction," he said.