Around the HKGA
A round-up of news and other events from Hong Kong
The President of HKGA expresses his opinion about the controversy of the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling in a letter to all the HK golfers.
The Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling is one of the oldest and finest courses in Asia. Built in 1911, it has hosted many marquee events throughout its 97-year history. Fanling is the mecca of golf in Asia and the envy of many neighbouring countries. Golf legend Gary Player said in January, “This world-class golf course deserves to be preserved for generations to come”.
Recently, there has been heated discussion in Hong Kong calling for the Government to take back part of or even the entire Fanling site for housing development. I, like many in the golf community, would like to ask the Government’s Task Force on Land Supply: Why there are only two options for the public to consider? Why isn’t there a third option to preserve historical heritage? Before making this recommendation, have people thought carefully about the consequence – that once heritage is gone, it can never be replaced?
Perhaps there is insufficient awareness and understanding of golf’s development in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s golf history started from private clubs, which have been supporting local golf development for the last 50 years. Over this time, they have helped grow the sport from nothing to a point where young local talent is making its mark on the international scene. Tiffany Chan, for example, competed in the 2016 Olympics and went on to qualify for the LPGA Tour. None of this could have happened without the support of private clubs, who provide their facilities to national squad members for free and host more than 30 golf tournaments every year. Taking away any part of Fanling would suffocate our sports development, dim our light on the world stage and destroy the history we have worked so hard to build.
It is worth noting that facilities like Fanling benefit far more people than just private club members. The Hong Kong Golf Association has more than 15,000 registered members representing virtually all corners of society, including people who do not belong to private clubs. Many of them play at Fanling to enjoy the experience of playing one of the world’s most famous courses.
As a longtime resident of Hong Kong, I certainly share the concern that we need more housing. But I would also like to ask the Task Force to look at the other equally important aspect of this discussion, and that is the need to preserve Hong Kong’s historical heritage.
Would a New Yorker consider building on Central Park for more real estate development? I don’t think so. They would look for other appropriate places first before destroying the city’s oasis.
I feel that there is currently a severe lack of appreciation for the Fanling site’s value and history. Destroying Fanling would be a huge loss and shame not only for Hong Kong but for the global golf community as well. I sincerely hope that the Task Force will stop, think and reconsider its current position. The upcoming public consultation on the future of Fanling can only be fair, credible and complete if the third option of preserving this historic site is put to stakeholders to weigh and judge.
If you would like to express your views, please email to The Task Force on Land Supply: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For and on behalf of the Hong Kong Golf Association
President, Hong Kong Golf Association