Do we need so many golf courses?


“There are 13 private golf clubs plus another 3 public golf courses. Each club standard with 18 holes. SICC is the biggest with 72 holes or 4 courses. We have a total of more than 20 golf courses.”

My friend, an avid golfer was relating this to me when I casually asked him how many golf courses in our tiny Red Dot. I goggled on the net and I found very little literature on the subject. I can’t produce the exact figures or statistics about our state of golf courses.

One thing for sure is that our land is limited. We are using up more and more scarce land against the needs of nearly 6 million people. We used to have only about 2.2 million when we became independent in 1965. Now it is more than 5.3 million and keep growing. Our population density is already the highest in the world having overtaken Hong Kong. Precious land, besides housing is already set aside for natural water catchments, public parks, more roads and highways and other social amenities etc. The tearing down of Bukit Brown Cementary, despite a huge public outcry to make way for a new highway is an excellent example of the competing needs of a growing population on this piece of 710 sq km land.

Some may argue that golf courses are similar as parks. It is akin to nature and greenery to cushion off the concrete build-up of our society. My answer to that is if it’s a public park, no one would fault it. But the fact is that golf clubs are private exclusive clubs catering to the powerful elites and top 2% of the sporting community. Money will give you access to that privileged membership of exclusiveness. I am not against it in principle. But do we need so many to cater to the rich and powerful of our society at the expense of the remaining 98% of the population? That is the question!

If they tear down public icons such as Bukit Brown Cemetery, Aljunied Cemetery, Rochor Center, Pearl Centre etc, what about those private golf clubs all over our tiny island? Is it becuz they possess clout that they are untouchables? Why are they so special and exclusive? Do they have the special privilege in our land scarce country? Will they stop building more golf courses which is a well known fact that 18 hole golf courses are water guzzling greens or maybe reduce the number in view of our exploding population to cater to the growing needs of the majority in our society? Or is it another case of let market forces decide where money is the ‘king’ and the deciding factor? No money no talk is it?

I am not a city planner. I am no expert on land use. But I know that as a tiny country with only 710 sq km, we should not increase any more luxurious private golf courses! It is as simple as that. But then, pure common sense can be blurred by powerful vested interest groups of the land at the expense of the poor and dispossessed! What do you think?

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About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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54 Responses to Do we need so many golf courses?

  1. What is golf? says:

    Many golf courses? Many or even too many are subjective words. But what really matters is who say it.
    5.3 million population may be too many people to some but PM Lee said even 6 million is still OK.
    With 60% majority votes and 93% seats in Parliament, they are given a strong mandate to decide how many is too many or even not many. And of course not just golf courses.
    As ordinary folks, so what if we think is too many, not many or even too little?

  2. This usual lamentation about golf course is so pathetic. golf courses are located near Airport or water catchment area on land that cannot be used for alternatives anyway. It’s just so pathetic for individuals to pick up this topic with cries of elitism, unfairness etc….there are lots of golfers who golf at NSRCC or Orchid Country Club who are just everyday Singaporean.

    There are probably more than >1.000.000 games played per year on Golf Course all over Singapore, members or guests or visitors inclusive. Compare this to visitors to our nature reserves and you will see how it pales against this number. Golf clubs are also places where other recreational activities take place as well.

    The argument for nature conservation is anyway a lame one, for all the Bukit Brown activists that are active in Bukit Brown regularly “enjoying the nature and history? There will be 10 if not 100 golfers exercising on the golf course space provided. BTW do you know how many signature were there for Bukit Brown Conservation?

    Let me enlighten you, it started with a target of 100,000 Signature…

    Revised to 5000 Signature

    Till date : a pathetic 1333 signatures…

    I can bet with you that if there is a national consensus for another golf course, there will be more signature than 1333….memberships alone exceeds 35,000 nationwide. Let me assure you, golf is played by few, but aspired by many!

    Nature lovers alike should just add themselves to be counted, on any average weekend at Sungei Buloh or Chek Jawa, you can count the sparse visitation easily…Check the visitor numbers at Sungei Buloh and prove to me that I am wrong! Golf Courses may not benefit a big number of Singaporean, 1.9% is still way more than regular visitors (at last count a pathetic 100.000/yr) to place like Sungei Buloh. Since there are no official numbers for Bukit Brown, I assure you it is much lower.

    • agongkia says:

      Mr Jeffrey,do you know that before they have the golf courses like Laguna and Tanah Merah etc.. built near the Airport ,how many simple folks like my Ah Kong,Ah Pa , me and many others gave up their livelihood as a farmers,fishermen,poultry…..and we are resettled just because of having golf course built ?.
      Me,a simple innocent Somapah boy think that the place will be well develop and only find out that that spot that I stayed was left breeding mosquitoes for over 20 years.They started to do something only lately.
      To resettle those Telok Paku,Tanah Merah ,Mata Ikan ,Koh Sek Lim and Somapah villagers like me just to built golf course ,I would prefer they built a LEEGOH Land like the one our neighbour has and let our Singaporean or even tourist have another site to visit .At least the rambutan trees,durian and kangkong that my Ah Kong gave up is worth the sacrifice.

      I rather have the place turned into a military base,or terminal 5 and 6 and leave it redundant than seeing it turn into golf clubs.

      • That’s what I say no land is useless in our tiny Red Dot! We have competing needs. Is it fair that a small minority grab so much land against the common good of the larger society? That’s the question. How much is too much? Is there a cap or limit to more golf courses? Or money decides the issue? We shld reflect on this given the fact that now we have 5.3 million on 710 sq km with a density of about 8,000 per sq km – highest in the world.

      • patriot says:

        I meant 10 points to Agongkia.


        • Patriot,
          Just becuz Agongkia is your orang kampung from Somapah is it?

          • patriot says:

            Because the Village of my original abode was cleared of settlers liked many others. Many of the cleared lands are now protected place or state land. No trespassing, even teenagers cannot catch spider or do fishing in them as hobbies.



          • But they can build another golf course for the privileged and elites? Top 2% according to the statistics.

          • SG Girl says:

            I thought those cleared land were meant to build HDB flats for us common folks.

          • Sg Girl,
            If it’s too near to airport or catchment areas can’t build high rise flats. Not suitable.

          • patriot says:

            Hi Sg Girl:

            When You travel outside the city
            You will see many empty protected
            and state lands. These lands are
            cleared of all villagers some dating
            many years back.

            They are now breeding mosquitoes
            and You might have read of illegal
            activities in some of them.

            Another area where there is an overkill
            is that it is an offence to go into these
            place to collect fruits, flowers, faunas,
            fishing or just to experience the environment.
            Yet, when our boys are conscripted, they are
            train in similar environment.


          • Patriot,
            What an irony? Can’t go into protected state land to catch spiders but can train there to fight a war! You meant having “chicken farms” in those bushes like the one kena raided near to Yishun / Sembawang? Lol!

          • agongkia says:

            Sorry,side track a bit and may need to langgar with some of you.
            We need to understand that due to land shortage,certain areas which are reserved for military training especially those gazetted as protected area or places ,should
            be avoided by civilian.Entering such area poses some risk and disrupt military training.

            There are many places to catch spider,collect fruits or catch longkang fishes.
            Spent my quiet morning alone today at Lim/Chua Chu Kang for some fresh air.Those who loves nature should pay a visit there.Its not a protected area .
            As citizen we must give full support especially on defence and NS conscription.

          • Poor Agongkia,
            Got to go Lim/Chua Chu Kang to enjoy some fresh air with the dead! Soon that also be gone due to precious limited land. Enjoy whilst you can. Langgar!

          • agongkia says:

            Hehe..Specially went all the way there and hope to find better mango than the one that you claim its the best in your TM depot …….for you to give someone here lah…

          • You still remember her ah? Pls don’t frighten her. She told me she is scared of you.

          • SG Girl says:

            Didn’t know TM depot has mango trees. Are they as good as those honey mangoes from Thailand? Drooling…

          • Oh it’s so sweet and delicious. Those trees are so short and overgrown with honey mangoes. Partly due to NeWater plant nearby, the soil is so fertile that so much mangoes are grown in the depot grounds. Agongkia will oblige you anytime with mangoes if only you ask. But, let me clean your salvia first! Lol!

          • agongkia says:

            SG Girl
            Those Koh Sek Lim mangoes can be good but Gintai can only make your saliva drop . There should be 2 such trees in that nearby golf course but like that depot,access restricted.So far only the 2 angmo can enter to do their colourful art painting.

            Shh…dun tell anyone..I discovered one mango tree that bear fruits that tasted like the one my Ah Kong planted in Somapah. Betterer than the KSL one.Got Kuehnee smell some more.
            One can only enjoy fruits plucked or drop directly from the tree and share among themselves.The experience is really different.I can show you the location n share the fruits with you but dun let Gintai knows.He may blog about the location and no more mango for us to pick.

          • SG Girl says:

            Hi Agongkia

            Thanks for the info but will we get caught plucking mangoes (mango tree’s not our property leh)? Don’t want our names published in papers and Gintai would blog about us getting fined for plucking mangoes. I could even imagine he titled it: Is it worth it?

            I’ll just buy from Cold Storage lah….

          • No worry. Tomor is my last day of blogging. I won’t blog anymore. Taking a break. Lol!

          • Google Protected Areas and Protected Place Act. These places need not be specific for military training. Vital installations such as power stations and I think MRT depots, can also be Protected.

          • Yes. MRT Depots are protected places. If you sneak in to catch spiders, you will be arrested and charged in court for trespassing.

          • patriot says:

            Please tell which stupid enemy will come into our mini mini garden to fight with us?

            Just send a few bombs into Shenton Way and Orchard Road and the Whole Island will be abandoned by SINKIES.

            Oni the Daft will remain behind.


          • Patriot,
            You are wrong. Sinkies will stay and fight. Those immigrants will run back to their own country. Where can we go? This is country and our home. We got no place to go? We will perish here with our country.

          • patriot says:


            Gintai and Agongkia stand a chance
            to share the Island.

            Despite wat i said, me am of the view
            no one will want to fight a war with us.
            They can buy it, why fight?


          • If what you say is true I feel sad. Fact is that majority of us got no place to go. Tell me where to go? No country will want us unless you are young, talented or rich. Most of us will have to dig in whatever you may say, think or imagine. Do not hide, run or deny the facts. Hopefully our rulers won’t lead us to Timbuktu!

          • patriot says:


            For me, being an unfortunate OLD DAFT SINKIE, there is no choice but be stuck here peace or war. I can oni pray that if there is any enemy which i doubt so, i could be accepted as a translator or old slave for my life to be spared. If not accepted, then jusr too bad, the other party can have me for dinner. That must be fated.


          • patriot says:


            You are absolute right.
            If anyone stays here to fight,
            definitely perish for sure.


          • Martin says:

            I find it insulting to refer to yourself and your fellow Singaporeans as “Sinkies.” Why are you doing this to yourself? It’s so not cool. Have some self-respect lah. The whole world is already laughing at us and you have to call yourself names too?

          • Martin says:

            Patriot so you feel so inferior that you have to refer to yourself and fellow SIngaporeans as “SINKIES”? And you even spell it in caps/upper case. With SIngaporeans like you who needs enemies?

          • Someone told me it’s not worth the expenses and international ire to launch a military aggression on Singapore. We have no natural resource. If there’s a war, most infrastructure will be destroyed. Then what? The enemy converts Singapore into a seaside resort?

          • SG Girl says:

            Hi Patriot

            Thanks for the info.

          • patriot says:

            Sg Girl:

            You are most welcome.

            When You move about, do look out
            for the cleared places around, especially
            if You are on the MRT.


          • agongkia says:

            Patriot from Somapah? I guess he hang around in Somapah in those days but he should be a Gulega boy if I didn’t guess wrongly. Gulega and Somapah are neighbours.

          • Patriot’s family used to own land bigger than 5 or 6 football fields where the NeWater plant is sitting at Koh Sek Lim road!

          • agongkia says:

            Read elsewhere.At least he can claim credit that his family make sacrifices and we can have a MRT depot and Newater plant built.
            Not like me,that land now redundant,occupied by FWs,
            But …occupy by FWs still better than golf course.

          • Agongkia,
            You are worst than me. So anti golf club & golf course. If there is no exclusive private luxury golf clubs for our top 2%, the rich and famous, where can they go on weekends? You don’t expect them to squeeze with the rest of us in public parks, public swimming pools, cinemas, passar malam, hawkers centre etc? Come on. You got to be fair to them lah.

          • agongkia says:

            Pls lah Gintai
            If we can harbour the thought of recommending our elderly to stay in nearby JB,you think those orang kaya, healthy and financially independent dun know how to go nearby JB or Batam for golf?
            Citizen interest must be given priority.If self interest can be given priority ,then I can oso want more Geylang than having to travel to JB or Indonesia to meet passionate oriental beauties.

          • Agongkia,
            I didn’t suggest that. It’s one of our leaders who said it. Anyway, he’s speaking the truth. It’s just that we can’t handle the truth! That’s why we cowpeh and cowbu.

          • patriot says:

            No interest in the credit nor any sacrifice to talk about, the bitterness will last till my last breath.

            Was and is of the view that the NeWater Plant shld be built at the shore of Mata Ikan or Padang Terbakar. Hundreds of villagers were deprived of their livelihood from primary productions of farming and fishing.

            By the way, do read up the thread which Gintai blogged about a fellow villager hanged himself bcos he was too affected by the resettlement.


            Just like to add here that me badly missed the camaraderie of kampong spirit and the fresh air.


      • Agongkia, you’ve just said something ape wanted to add. Lands around airport and airbases cannot support high rise infrastructure for aviation safety. However, the yield from land is perhaps highest from atas golfers who pays ‘peanuts’ to play golf. Ape fully agree with you that ape rather see the land around airports be used for terminal buildings, cargo complex, transportation hubs and other aviation/transport related industries.

        Look at Changi Airport. Where are the air cargo centres located? What it means for them to transport goods to and from airport? How many roads serve their needs? Can they expand further northwards? Or should they expand south? Who’s at the south?

        • Nature is not a commodity and this isn’t a popularity contest. It is childish to use statistics to prove that the merits of golf courses. Does nature needs visitors to justify its existence? They are there before us, at least give some respect. Nature is not a theme park for recreation or entertainment, the way you idealize your manicured golf courses.

          Since you may be into statistical fetishes, nature provides a good environment and good air for the people. That alone represents 5.3 million beneficiaries. How does your 35,000 golf members measure up?

          It is more pathetic to claim that should there be a masterplan to reduce golf courses, there will be more than 1333 signatures on that petition just because there are 35k of golf members in Singapore. For a start, even if you could get 50k signatures, it does not prove that golf courses are more important and desirable than nature. If I could be equally lame to claim that we could probably get thrice the amount of signatures or more than golf signatures if IDA decides to completely eliminate the access to porn via ISP control. Does that prove porn is more important than golf?

  3. Azizan says:

    Patriot oh wise Patriot, self-proclaimed veteran commentator on people’s blogs, he who always has something to say about anything, where are you when we need you? Is golf an elitist game played by those admired but detested by common people? Are those who blog against golf courses jealous of frivolous, self-important people contented with chasing small balls into tiny holes? Patriot, your silence is deafening. Enlighten us! We who are blur seek your wise counsel.

  4. pumpkin says:

    We do not need so many golf courses of course since our survival/happiness is not dependent on the nos. of golf course.It is better to frame your question this way: “why are there so many golf courses in singapore” The short answer is that our leaders are golf fanatics!
    Our leaders even have a short 7 holes golf course in Instana, the President’s residence. This very private golf course is enjoyed by very few and yet is maintained at public expense.

    • Correction. It’s 9-hole golf course in Istana. Golf courses come with either 9 or 18 holes.

      Like I say I’m not against golf clubs in principle. I’m merely asking “Do we need so many?” Am I pathetic for saying that? Am I asking too much for speaking the truth? Not all golf courses are useless piece of land or near to catchment areas. Anyway, there is no useless land in our land hungry city state. That’s a fact.

  5. Azizan says:

    Patriot oh wise old Patriot, self proclaimed veteran commentator on other people’s blogs where are you, you who always have something to say about anything? Is golf an idiotic game involving frivolous people stupidly chasing small balls into tiny holes, a folly pursued by a much-hated minority? Are bloggers who blog against golf courses jealous of those who are more “atas”? Patriot we who are not as smart as you await your comments.

  6. patriot says:

    I love the way Azizan described the Game of Golf.
    In full agreement with him and got nothing to add except to wish him or her peace be with You and rest well. Be the best You are.

    Do not find anything constructive from your comments thus far.


  7. Azizan says:

    Jeffrey Soh is among other things head of Cobra Puma Golf Asia and makes his living from golf so of course he disagrees with Gintai. Constructive enough for you, Patriot? Sometimes it is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be suspected of being a fool than to open it and confirm the fact.

  8. Jeffrey Soh ジェフリー says:

    No amount of your ranting will reduce the number of golf courses in Singapore.

    I think that the government does a good job of having some mix of development and nature…Look at Punggol waterway and you can find a well designed green space created for the public…Likewise, pig farmers and fish farms were evicted to facilitate it. Where are the nature lovers’ protestation?

    Golf remains a sport that more aspire to play while accessibility is still a privilege.


    PS I do not head Puma Cobra Asia and do not depend on golf as a living, I am just annoyed by generalized targeting at Golfers just because they are perceived as privileged!

    • “People support CPF cuts because there are no protest outside the Parliament.” – Lee … Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister (The Straits Times, 24 July 2011)

      “Where are the nature lovers’ protestation?”

      Assuming people are happy with a decision because of the absence of protestation reeks arrogance. You have the absolute right to be annoyed as any targeting to your interests deemed unfair. You have the right to perceive that golf courses exists without the expense of the others. Claiming your perspectives as the truth and expect everyone to agree, or else be labelled as a ‘ranter’ isn’t reasonable at all.

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