SINGAPORE: The Singapore Golf Association says it is sad that some golf courses may disappear in the near future, but understands Singapore’s land constraints.
On Thursday, the government announced in its Land Use Plan that land with lower intensity uses like golf courses may be recycled to achieve higher land productivity.
Mr Bob Tan, President of Singapore Golf Association, said: "Well I think it is sad, but I understand fully that we have limited land. We’re land scarce so we have to make use of the land that we’ve got. Golf has become increasingly popular among the youth. The elderly, the retirees have taken up golf too for recreation.
"And with less golf courses, obviously access is going to be more of an issue. But I think we’re all pragmatic and realistic and at the end of the day, if it’s between housing and golf, I think housing obviously takes priority."
There are currently 18 golf courses in Singapore, occupying about 1,500 hectares of land.
The Ministry of Law says golf courses in Singapore are generally on a 30—year lease.
The majority of their leases will expire between 2021 and 2030.
And for golf courses that will be phased out, their lease will not be extended.
Mr Tan estimates the leases of about 50 per cent of golf courses will be up by 2021.
The leases of golf courses, including the Singapore Island Country Club and Tanah Merah Golf Club, are expected to expire in 2021.
But the Tanah Merah Golf Club told Channel NewsAsia it has not been contacted by authorities so far regarding the renewal of its lease.
It added there has also been no indication that their lease will not be extended.
"If there are less golf courses for golfers to get tee times etc. In time to come, we will definitely see less golfers. Or they will make a concerted effort to go to the neighbouring countries and play there, take Malaysia for instance, rather than playing in Singapore," added Mr Tan.
When contacted, the General Manager of Tanah Merah Golf Club, Mr Kok Min Yee, said authorities had not contacted them regarding the renewal of their lease to date.
He added that there had also been no indication that the lease would not be extended.
A spokesperson from the Singapore Island Country Club said it had written on previous occasions, and again in September 2012 to PUB to enquire about the status of the renewal of their land lease.
The club added it is awaiting their latest response and will keep its members informed of the status.
Jurong Country Club and Keppel Club declined to comment when contacted.
Analysts add what the land is used for in the future will depend on its surroundings.
Mr Nicholas Mak, Executive Director of Research & Consultancy at SLP International, said: "If that golf course is located near a reservoir, then that area may not be suitable for redevelopment into an industrial estate because there is a risk that the reservoir may be polluted. Perhaps other possible uses for that golf courses could be high—rise residential, since residential homes with views of reservoirs or other waterways are very popular in Singapore."
The Ministry of Law said it is working with the planning agencies over the next few months to firm up the long—term plans for the sites occupied by the various golf courses. It said it will initiate discussions with the individual golf courses regarding lease extensions, only when that exercise is completed.
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