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Golf unlikely to lose popularity despite pending reduction in courses

The number of golfers in Singapore has seen a rise of some 13 per cent over the last four years. Experts said that despite the pending reduction in the number of golf courses in Singapore, the popularity of the sport is unlikely to be affected.

SINGAPORE: The number of golfers in Singapore has seen a rise of some 13 per cent over the last four years.

Citing figures for golfers with a golfing handicap, the Singapore Golf Association (SGA) said numbers have increased from 27,649 in 2009 to 35,785 last year.

Experts said that despite the pending reduction in the number of golf courses in Singapore, the popularity of the sport is unlikely to be affected.

Following recent announcements, the government is set to reacquire land from Marina Bay Golf Course and Keppel Club.

The two courses in Singapore will go in the coming decade and possibly more will follow from 2030.

National Service Resort and Country Club, Tanah Merah Country Club and Singapore Island Country Club are also giving up part of their real estate.

SGA however, is confident that interest will continue to grow among amateurs and that there will be capacity to meet demand.

Bob Tan, president of SGA, said: "During the weekends we are full, all golf courses are 100 percent utilised. It's the weekdays where you will find most golf courses running at capacity of less than 50 percent, so in fact there is capacity."

Mr Tan added that losing the two courses will only affect a small number of golfers - up to 560 every weekend.

For them, the option may be to continue heading north to Malaysia, or south to Batam and Bintan.

One private club is considering opening its doors to the public, especially during the weekdays.

Low Teo Ping, president of Sentosa Golf Club, said: "The golf clubs in Singapore… should look into allowing weekday golfing to be made available to the public. Sentosa Golf Club is a case in point, where our golf courses are available for use by members of the public... I think that's really the way to go."

Industry experts also felt that a new golfing landscape will not impact Singapore's ability to host major golf tournaments.

Singapore currently plays host to the HSBC Women's Champions. It also staged one of Asia's biggest men's tournaments - the Barclays Singapore Open - till 2012.  

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