Around the HKGA

A round-up of news and other events from Hong Kong

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Nishi Yoshi­hiro

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.

Dear 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: tfls@devb.gov.hk.

Yours faith­fully,

For and on be­half of the Hong Kong Golf As­so­ci­a­tion

Nishi Yoshi­hiro

Pres­i­dent, Hong Kong Golf As­so­ci­a­tion

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