Hong Kong: From humble beginnings in Happy Valley to its famous home today in Fanling, Hong Kong Golf Club (HKGC) is a sporting institution with an illustrious past and an exciting future.
Over the next 18 months, the esteemed club – which celebrates its 130th anniversary in 2019 – will stage a series of elite international tournaments, culminating in the World Amateur Team Championships.
Last Sunday, the HKGC hosted one of four international sectional qualifiers for the 74th US Women’s Open. Held on the Old Course, the 36-hole tournament saw 48 players compete for a place in the second Major of the year in Charleston, South Carolina at the end of May.
Teeing off today on the same course is the fifth edition of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open. The tournament was inaugurated by the Club in 2015 with the aim of providing a platform for Hong Kong’s talented young amateurs to compete with professionals from around the world.
The first ladies event in Hong Kong to offer World Ranking Points, the tournament met its initial objective in just the second year, when Tiffany Chan’s win propelled her to the Olympic Games in Rio where, competing as an amateur, she came 37th in the 60-player field.
The 2019 edition sees 123 players representing 14 nations compete over three rounds for a share of the US$150,000 purse and is expected to draw crowds of several thousand to the stunning surroundings of the famed Old Course.
Reaching its own 60-year milestone in 2018, the Hong Kong Open is widely recognised not only as the jewel in the crown of tournament golf in Asia but also one of the premier events on the European Tour’s international schedule. Attracting over 49,000 spectators in 2018, the event has been contested by many of the greats of the game and has been won on 14 occasions by a Major champion.
In October 2020, the World Amateur Team Championships returns to Hong Kong, with the Espirito Santo Trophy (Ladies) being played on Hong Kong Golf Club’s Old and New Courses and the Eisenhower Trophy (Men) on the Club’s Composite Course and at Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club. The competition is recognised as the pinnacle of amateur team golf and will see players from 80 countries travel to the Special Administrative Region of China.
Together with the Hong Kong Golf Association (HKGA), the HKGC continues to be the driving force of golf development in Hong Kong. In addition to an elite talent development programme utilising Club coaches and facilities, the Club provides golf lessons to pupils from schools in the Northern District of Hong Kong as part of their school curriculum.
One of the latest additions to the tournament schedule is the Hong Kong Inter-Secondary School Golf Championship which returns to Fanling on May 20. Introduced in 2018 and supported by the Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation and HKGA, the second edition of the tournament will see teams representing over 20 schools compete across three age group categories.
And it’s not just the golf community that benefits. From staging the equestrian cross-county for the Beijing Summer Olympic Games and annual Inter-school Cross Country Competitions, to preserving ancestral graves dating back hundreds of years and enabling children to participate in tree climbing activities, the Club continues to make a positive and valuable contribution to the community around it.
“The US Women’s Open qualifier and the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open kick off a very busy period for Hong Kong Golf Club as it celebrates its 130-year anniversary,” said William Doo Jr, Captain of Hong Kong Golf Club, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
He added: “The next 18 months will see the Club stage numerous professional and amateur tournaments and continue to drive golf development in Hong Kong while also making the Club’s facilities available to the community at large.”
About Hong Kong Golf Club
- With 44% of the site covered by trees, the Fanling property is estimated to have a minimum of 409 potential Old and Valuable Trees (OVTs), making it the highest concentration of OVTs per hectare in Hong Kong.
- The Fanling property is home to a huge variety of birds, insects, reptiles and other wildlife, including a resident colony of Common Birdwing butterflies – Hong Kong’s only protected insect species – Red Muntjac Deer, Chinese Water Snake and Leopard Cat.
- The golf courses at Fanling are irrigated without taking a drop of water from Hong Kong’s potable or ground water supplies. The Club pumps partially treated sewerage effluent, which would otherwise be discarded into the Shenzhen River, to the Club along a three-kilometre pipeline from Shek Wu Hui Sewerage Treatment Works.
- The Club is home to a number of listed Heritage Buildings including the Clubhouse at Fanling, The Pavilion on the Old Course and Fanling Lodge, which was built in 1934 as a residence for Governors of Hong Kong, is used to this day as a residence for the Chief Executive.
- The Club’s facilities are open to the public from Monday to Friday (except public holidays) throughout the year. In 2018, a total of 116,744 rounds of golf were played on Fanling’s courses, 44% of which were played by non-members.
- Since 1979, the Old Course has been the venue of the Hong Kong Schools Cross Country Championship which is contested by some 3,500 runners from over 150 schools and running clubs.
- The Club staged 17 amateur golf tournaments in 2018 on its Fanling and Deep Water Bay courses. No green fees are charged for participants in these events.
- In December 2018, organised by ISA Hong Kong Chapter, the Club hosted the first Tree Climbing Championship cum Arbor Fun Day on the Old Course. The event was open to the public and attracted more than 2,000 Hong Kong residents.