Clearwater Bay Open

US PGA Tour and Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club breaking new ground on and off the course

This week’s Clearwater Bay Open allowed both organisations to highlight their corporate social responsibility and community outreach programmes around the inaugural China Series event

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 November, 2016, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 November, 2016, 12:01pm

This week’s Clearwater Bay Open has not only broken new ground for the China Series as the first event played outside of the mainland, but has also allowed it to align its charity footprint with what the PGA Tour is more accustomed to back home – and that is largely down to the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club.

Having struggled to find suitable charitable causes in China since the circuit started in 2014, this week has finally allowed the PGA Tour to flex its corporate social responsibility (CSR) muscles with this week’s hosts.

The club regularly works with local charities and has raised over HK$80 million for local causes, while it also donates 14 days a year for organisations to run their own fund-raising events.

And this week’s event kicked off with a World Vision “Walk for Syria” event which saw 1,500 participants raise HK$1.5 million for the charity which works with children, families and communities living in poverty.

“This is one of the most stunning courses in China and has one of the most exceptional management structures,” said PGA Tour vice president and greater China managing director Greg Gilligan, who was at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club this week with the venue listed as the “preferred golf destination of the PGA Tour in Hong Kong.”

“The club is so dedicated to giving back to the community with their charitable efforts. There are so many things that line up well with Clearwater Bay’s vision and leadership and what we do on the PGA Tour China Series. As we thought about growing the tour and being in other parts of greater China, this was just a fabulous opportunity.”

Watch: Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club

The club, which also hosted the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, lists nine charity partners as well as a long list of sponsored organisations under its community outreach programme.

The golf days, which are fully underwritten by the club, are often the main source of income for a charity, with Hong Kong-based Mother’s Choice regularly raising around HK$800,000 from their day.

“We are a private members club, but we want to give back to the community and that is a common theme for the past 10-15 years, hence the CSR programme,” said club golf committee chairman David Hui.

“We do a couple of things with bigger charities, but most of them are Hong Kong and local community because that is where we feel we can add most.

Watch: PGA Tour China Series Clearwater Bay Open

“We try to rotate the charities. We get requests and we have themes including for young people or children. We don’t change every year; we keep it for three years and then look to do something else.”

Hui is also the chairman of the Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA) junior and international subcommittee, with the club also donating HK$200,000 to their junior foundation ahead of this week’s event.

“The golf theme has been trying to increase grassroots participation and help with the development of junior talent,” added Hui, who has been a member of the club since 1999.

“If you look in the last 10 years in terms of its juniors, we have done better and better and the HKGA and all the clubs that make up the association have been a strong supporter of junior development.”

Hong Kong number one Jason Hak Shun-yat has benefited from the support of the HKGA, and was earlier this week signed up as Clearwater Bay’s first-ever ambassador in his maiden endorsement deal as a professional.

“Jason has come through the junior programme and has represented Hong Kong many times as an amateur and we just want to help him as it is tough when they switch from being an amateur, where everything is provided, to turning pro when nothing is provided for them,” said Hui, with Hak free to practice and use the club facilities when needed.

“It is not a huge amount of money, but enough to support him with travel, accommodation and some living expenses and also give him some confidence. This is his first contract so we are happy to support him.”