“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?