Hong Kong housing

Survival of golf at stake, says Hong Kong Golf Club after task force takes aim at its courses

Club argues its three courses are critically important to the development of golf in Hong Kong and holding major international tournaments

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2018, 12:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2018, 10:42pm

Hong Kong Golf Club said the “survival of golf” was at stake after the government-appointed task force’s suggestion that part – or all – of its Fanling facility be redeveloped for housing.

The Task Force on Land Supply agreed on Tuesday night that taking at least one of the club’s three courses was the best alternative to help solve the housing crisis.

Partial development of Fanling golf course could provide housing quickly, task force says

“We wish to emphasise that the three courses at Fanling are critically important to the future development of golf in Hong Kong,” club captain Arnold Wong said on Wednesday.

“They are also essential facilities for hosting major international tournaments, especially the Hong Kong Open, which has been held at Fanling for the past 59 years, and Hong Kong Ladies Open.

“In addition, the club is committed to increasing public access. The utilisation of our courses by non-members last year was 40 per cent.

“We hope the task force will listen to the golf community and not further jeopardise the survival of golf in Hong Kong,” Wong said.

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The Hong Kong Golf Association said it “deeply regrets” the task force’s suggestion of partial and full development, which will now be put out for public consultation.

The task force also turned its sights on the Tuen Mun Golf Centre, which has a two-storey driving range, and an accompanying archery field and swimming pool.

HKGA chief executive Danny Lai said: “We deeply regret the suggestions made by the task force, regarding the Fanling course and the Tuen Mun driving range.”

Lai said this “totally disregarded” the development of golf, arguing that “we need more facilities to cultivate players”.

Lai said in a letter to the SCMP on Monday they were “gravely concerned” about the threat to the city’s golf facilities.

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He cited the emergence of Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching, who learned to play the game at the Tuen Mun driving range and just made an impressive debut as a fully fledged member on the top-level LPGA Tour.

Hong Kong Golf Club has three courses at Fanling, with the European Tour and Asian Tour-sanctioned Hong Kong Open played on a composite course, made up from the New and Eden courses.

It is believed the task force’s primary target is the Old Course, which was built in 1911.