Some golf courses to make way for redevelopment plans

Golf courses make up two percent of Singapore’s total land area and this number is expected to drop as golf clubs make way or make adjustments for redevelopment plans.

Keppel Club and the Marina Bay Golf Course will not get new leases when their current ones expire while the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) will lose one of its 18-hole courses.

This was announced by the Law Ministry on Sunday.

Singapore has 17 golf courses -14 private and three public – most of which operate on a 30-year lease.

Nine of these have leases which will expire in the next 10 years.

Authorities said that Keppel Club – whose land is needed for housing development – will not be offered a new lease when its current one expires in 2021.

The plan was announced in 2001 in the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Concept Plan.

If keen, it will be offered an alternative site to operate as a club without golf facilities.

The Law Ministry and the Singapore Land Authority said discussions on a possible location are ongoing.

Similarly, the public Marina Bay Golf Course will not get a new lease when its current one expires in 2024.

Instead, one of the Singapore Island Country Club’s two 18-hole golf courses at its Bukit location will be reallocated as a public golf course once its current lease expires in 2021, and will be operated by the labour movement.

This will make sure the public gets continued access to golfing facilities when the Marina Bay Golf Course is phased out for redevelopment.

SICC’s other golf course at the Bukit location will be offered a new lease until 2030 on the condition that the club works with the labour movement on how the courses can be reconfigured and the facilities shared.

Both sides have till February next year to work out an agreement.

Two golf clubs located close to Changi Airport — Tanah Merah Country Club (TMCC) as well as National Service Resort and Country Club — will also see their courses affected, to accommodate the airport’s expansion plans.

The government will acquire about 10 hectares of TMCC’s land – which now includes six holes of its Garden course – as the space is needed to build new taxiways. It will also lose three tennis courts and two storage sheds.

And some 26 hectares from the National Service Resort and Country Club will go to airport expansion and related road works. The club’s 9-hole Air Force course already sits on State land on a short fixed term and is renewed on a yearly basis.

TMCC will be compensated for the acquisition.

Still, TMCC and the National Service Resort and Country Club are two of seven golf clubs which will have new leases for their golf courses.

The other five are Changi Golf Club, Orchid Country Club, Seletar Country Club, Sentosa Golf Club, and SICC’s three other courses.

These leases will end between 2030 and 2040.

But, it is likely that golf courses with leases ending in 2030 – such as Orchid Country Club – will eventually have to make way for redevelopment.

Golf courses occupy lots of land, and authorities say there is a need to balance the competing demands for land in Singapore.

What this means is that the amount of land that is set aside for golfing will have to be reduced over the years and the space set aside to meet the needs of the wider public such as for housing and public infrastructure.

Currently, golf courses sit on some 1,500 hectares of land.

Following this review, the figure will drop to about 1,300 hectares.

Other golf clubs, which currently have more than 10 years left on their leases, are still being reviewed by the authorities.

The Law Ministry said that golf club leases are for a fixed term with an end date.

This has always been made known to the public and to those who become golf club members.

When the lease ends, the land reverts, by law, to the government. This applies for all State leases, whether they are for residential, commercial, industrial or other uses.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 16 Feb 2014

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