Hong Kong’s fat cat golfers want it all and more

Not content with monopolising 170 hectares of land at Fanling for an exclusive course, an alliance of golfers now wants the government to build them a four-storey driving range at Kai Tak

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 10:12pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2018, 10:50pm

The best defence is to go on the offensive. That is perhaps the strategy of fat cat golfers who have formed an alliance and are proposing to the government to build them a four-storey driving range at Kai Tak.

These are the same people who think it’s their God-given right to monopolise the 170 hectares of land for their golf course in Fanling managed by the exclusive Hong Kong Golf Club.

Seriously, I am not making this up. They are not even asking for an exchange.

“It is not a quid pro quo,” alliance spokesman Kenneth Lau Ka-lok said. “We want the Fanling course to be kept and we also want a driving range in an urban area.”

A golf facility on the prime waterfront site to promote the sport? It’s worth it, they say, because golf is an Olympic sport and officials have a responsibility to more than 140,000 golf enthusiasts and some 3,000 workers the sport employs.

“Golf is an event of the Olympic Games,” Lau continued. “It deserves more attention and support from the government.”

Build four-storey waterfront driving range in Kowloon, golfers say

I am all for promoting any worthy sport, even golf. But if the alliance’s real intention is to promote the sport among the public, why doesn’t it oppose a particularly dodgy proposal by the government’s Task Force on Land Supply? This is to redevelop a 12.5-hectare site in Tuen Mun that provides the public with a golf-practising field, a public archery range, a park and a large swimming pool.

Nary a word about that from the alliance. We all know why: those fat cats won’t be caught dead practising golf among the great unwashed in Tuen Mun.

Commenting on the Fanling golf course, Lau said: “A golf course that is cut apart is not a proper golf course. Imagine a basketball court that is cut in half to make way for flats. You wouldn’t be able to play full-court there.”

It’s an interesting analogy because the task force also has plans to pour concrete over public basketball courts and swimming pools, all of which take up a fraction of the 170 hectares occupied by their beloved golf course.

I too am against redeveloping the golf course in Fanling. To promote the sport, I have said so before, the government should take back the course from the private club when its current lease ends in 2020 and open it to the public.