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01 February 2013

Culling Of Singapore Golf Courses



In actual fact, the culling of the golf courses has already begun earlier than said.

The site at Folkestone Road, now known as University Town, was a public golf course run by Transview Golf. Back in the day, it was where Warren Golf & Country Club was before the latter shifted to their new home in Choa Chu Kang.

Like all old golf courses, the one at Folkestone Road was still a cow grass course. A laggard from the modern Bermuda grass courses. When Transview Golf took over the site, it was so badly run (presumably due to the fact that it went from a private club to a public course) that it could not generate enough revenue to sustain the course to a respectable level. WarrenGCC barely made it decent,during their time, and was nicknamed "Padi Field" during monsoon seasons, as the ball had a tendency to bury itself into the soft ground upon landing, thus making the ball disappear.

Then there is also the Seletar Airbase Golf Club which was closed down even earlier.

I took a look at the rest of the golf courses in Singapore over a map and the following, though not exhaustive, are my thoughts (which may or may not be accurate):


1. Clubs that are going to remain untouched.

Sentosa Golf Club - Ranked, by Golf Digest Singapore (2011 edition), as the overall No.1 golf club in Singapore, this club is definitely going to stay and remain a beacon of Singapore pride. Besides, it is residing on a resort island. So even if it is converted to residential space, most folks won't be able to afford it anyway.

Tanah Merah Country Club - The Garden Course is ranked No.1 course in Singapore for the year 2011 and also host of one of the legs in the LPGA circuit. This golf course is definitely here to stay. Besides, you can't really built any residential site in this location as it is too near to the airport.

Laguna National Golf & Country Club - An excellently-maintained golf course if I may add. Being located near to the MRT deport as well as logitics hub makes it a poor site for residential development.

Singapore Island Country Club - Too many old money (as opposed to noveau riche) members here with enough influence over the lords of the land to even think about touching this site.

Marina Bay Golf Course - Very new public course to even think about taking it apart and redeveloping it. Also, it would spoil the view for the Singapore Flyer.

National Service Resort & Country Club - This one is here to stay as it is one of the rare non-elitist golf clubs to balance what otherwise is an elitist sport in this country. Like Tanah Merah Country Club, the Changi site is too near to the airport. Their Kranji site, on the other hand, may be a candidate for redevelopment.

First of all, the club is not privately-owned and as such the Board can do whatever they want with the club. There will always be the Changi site should they decided to shut down the Kranji site. The club started without the Kranji site and as such, members do not have much to complain about if it is taken away at a later stage.

Raffles Country Club - See Jurong Country Club below.

Sembawang Country Club - Located right next to Sembawang Airbase which is a restricted area making it a no-no for residentail development.

Tanglin Public Golf Course - Right next to the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and the Australian High Commission means residential projects will never take place here, due to the sensitivity of the location.


2. The 50-50 Clubs

Keppel Club - Like SICC, there is too much old money in there to get them to budge. Besides, it is a terrible location for residential development as it is too near to the shipping ports.

Afternote: On second thoughts, I think it would be an excellent location for highly sought-after waterfront private development.

Orchid Country Club - Owned by the gahmen means that the gahmen can take it back whenever it likes.

Seletar Country Club - Located across the Seletar Reservoir from Orchid Country Club, this one is 50-50 due its proximity to Seletar Airport which is more for commercial private jet use than military. Owing to Pulau Punggol on the North-East side of Seletar Airport, residential development on Seletar Country Club site will not hinder the approach and departure of relatively low air traffic.

The real problem is membership. How do you deal with existing members? Monetary compensation? Transfer to other clubs?

Warren Golf & Country Club - This is prime land for residential development. As long as a settlement with existing members can be reached, like Seletar Country Club, this is one of the top sites for urban redevelopment.

Changi Golf Club - This mickey mouse golf club is so small, it is a joke actually. Singapore won't miss it, if it goes missing the next day. Problem however, is that it is located smack in the middle of resort chalets. So it doesn't make any sense to redevelop it.


3. It's-Time-To-Go Clubs

Jurong Country Club - There has been talks of merger with Raffles Country Club for years. With this population initiative, this merger rumour may in the end become a reality with all JCC members relocated to Tuas, thus releasing the parcel of land in Jurong East back to the gahmen for more residential projects.

Executive Golf Course - Another public mickey mouse course for the beginners that is across the street from Nee Soon Camp. If beginners want to hone their skills on a practice course when Executive Golf Course is gone, there is always the executive Par-27 golf course at NSRCC Changi.

Green Fairways Golf Course - Also a nine-hole mickey, this course should go to make way for lucrative District-10 private projects.


Image Credit: http://www.straitstimes.com

- Voxeros

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