Golf Club Verandah’s – The Very Special Hong Kong Golf Club Verandah.

Verandahs. Golf club verandahs.

In particular the Hong Kong Golf Club verandah and host club for this week’s prestigious Asian Tour Hong Kong Open.

It’s a strange golfing subject and very much a first for this golf journalist.

This week is the 67th edition of the Hong Kong Open that was first staged in 1959 and with the club sharing an honour the club with legendary Augusta National, as being the only two clubs in the world to host the same professional event continuously for over 60-years.

I’ve attended the Hong Kong Open many times since the early 2000s when the event became co-sanctioned with the now-named DP World Tour.  The club itself is located about a 30-minute bus drive from downtown Hong Kong in suburban Fanling and it became a regular Tour stop for me as I could then travel on from Hong Kong to Australia for the Australasian Tour season, and also spend the Christmas festive season at home with family and friends.

The three Hong Kong golf courses, the Old, the New and the Eden, are special. They’re each traditional, old-style golf courses and not one’s where the ‘bomber’s in today’s modern game will thrive. It’s also a peaceful place despite the presence of towering blocks of home units.

A little history of the club is that it was founded in 1889 and with the club originally sharing golf with other sports at Happy Valley.

The Old Course at Fanling was built in 1911. The Old Course is the oldest 18-hole course in Greater China. It was followed in 1931 by the opening of the New Course and in 1969 by the addition of the Eden Course. All three are 18 holes, internationally acclaimed championship golf courses.

There were initially no trees on the Old Course, aside from some located close to the now third hole, and so vastly different to now.

The still stately-looking clubhouse was opened in 1914 and is a Grade II Heritage Building. The need for a more permanent home was addressed with the building of a small 9-hole course at Deep Water Bay, before the Club eventually moved to its current location in Fanling.

Not many will be aware that up until 1996 the club was also known as the ‘Royal’ Hong Kong Golf Club. The ‘Royal’ was dropped from the name of the club in advance of the transfer in 1997 of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China though I still recall clubhouse logos featuring saying ‘The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club’ when I was present in those early 2000s.

Now let’s make our way to the verandah of the Hong Kong Golf Club, a place at the club that just lives and breaths relaxation, overlooking, as it does, the practice putting green and also the closely located to the opening tee of the Old Course along with the final green of the adjoining New Course.

Yes, you can be at Augusta National and sit under the huge oak tree that for one week of the year in being the world epicentre of golf but then access is for the privledged few while there’s nowhere to sit outside to either meet or unwind in playing the Old Course at St. Andrews, nor is there, when you come to think about it, such a facility at so many golf clubs around the world.

My own club at Crail in Scotland has a clubhouse that enjoys a stunning view over the closing few holes of the Balcomie Links course and while there is a small outdoor area, but with Scotland being Scotland, it’s often too windy and besides it’s a very small area and very rarely used.

I have played the Valescure course in the south of France on a handful of occasions and the stately-looking clubhouse also boasts a great verandah overlooking the practice putting green.

There’s just something special about sitting out on the verandah at the Hong Kong Golf Club watching the players work on their putting before the short walk to the first tee while, as mentioned, you can see those winding-up their rounds (outside of tournament week) on the close-by 18th green of the New Course.

And TV golf reporting legend Dougie Donnelly kind of agrees, as he posted on his ‘X’ account earlier this week.

Comments are closed.