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Heritage

Heritage

The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club was formed on Friday 10th May 1889 by “thirteen golfing enthusiasts”. This group had difficulty finding any open land suitable for golf, but eventually obtained permission to play at Happy Valley. This area was used for football, polo, hockey and military parades, so the golfers had to take their turn at using the ground.

By 1891 the membership had grown to over 100, so a small shed was built as a Clubhouse where refreshments were served. Due to the “crowded conditions”, from 1896 ladies were only permitted to play golf on a very restricted basis.

As the pressure on starting times grew, the Captain and Club officials were forced to find an additional location. They found Deep Water Bay, which besides providing an area for a small course also provided perfect bathing.

The first lease for the land at Deep Water Bay was agreed with Government in September 1898. A Clubhouse was erected in this same year. Members used to ride round to the course in boats or ride ponies over Wong Nai Chong Gap, whilst the caddies walked carrying the clubs and picnic supplies.

In 1903 Happy Valley was turned over exclusively to the Golf Club, except for Wednesdays and Saturdays when soccer and cricket were played. Ladies were only allowed to play on Sundays.

In 1911, thanks to the foresight of men such as E.R. Halifax, the District Officer North (Taipo) negotiations took place with the Government and local farmers to secure sufficient land in Fanling to build a full 18 holes. The Old Course was laid by the end of 1911 and additional land was acquired in the late 1920’s for the New Course which was opened for play in November 1931.

The end of the War saw the Club virtually bankrupt with the courses at Fanling and Deep Water Bay in very poor condition. However, things moved ahead with strong support from members and local companies, to the extent that a third course, the Eden Course, was added in 1970.

The quality of The Hong Kong Golf Club is such that it has been the home of The Hong Kong Open since 1959.

The Club celebrated its Centenary in 1989 and has entered its second hundred years recognised as one of the leading golf clubs worldwide. In 1996, at the Annual General Meeting of the Club, the Royal nomenclature was dropped. The Club is now known as The Hong Kong Golf Club.

Past Presidents

1889 – 1891 H.E. Sir William Des Voeux, KCMG
1891 – 1898 H.E. Sir William Robinson, KCMG
1911 H.E. Sir Frederick Lugard, GCMG
1912 – 1919 H.E. Sir Francis Henry May, GCMG
1921 – 1923 A.G. Stephen
1924 A.H. Ferguson
1925 Hon. E.R. Hallifax, CBE, CMG
1983 – 1991 Sir Gordon Macwhinnie, CBE
1995 – 2001 L.C.K. Yung
2001 – 2005 Dr. George Choa, GBS, CBE, KSt.J, JP
2005 – 2009 H.C.H. Loh
2009 – 2013 A.R. Hamilton
2013 – 2014 M.K.T. Cheung
2014 – 2019 Ronald. Lu
2020 R.C.K. Lee

1889

The Royal Hong Kong Golf Club is formed by “thirteen golfing enthusiasts”. The group has difficulty finding any open land suitable for golf, but eventually obtains permission to play at Happy Valley.


1891

Membership passes the 100 mark; a small shed is built as a Clubhouse where refreshments are served. Due to “crowded conditions”, from 1896, ladies are only permitted to play golf on a very restricted basis.


1898

As the pressure on starting times grows, the Captain and Club officials are forced to find an additional location. A lease for the land at Deep Water Bay is agreed with Government, and a Clubhouse is erected the same year.


1903

Happy Valley is turned over exclusively to the Golf Club, except for Wednesdays and Saturdays when soccer and cricket are played. Ladies are only allowed to play on Sundays.


1911

Following protracted negotiations with Government and local farmers, sufficient land in Fanling is secured to build a full 18 holes. The Old Course is laid by the end of the year.


1931

The New Course in Fanling is opened for play on additional land acquired in the late 1920’s.


1941

With war clouds gathering, Government terminates the Club’s tenancy of Deep Water Bay, converting the Clubhouse and course for use as a supply depot for the armed forces, signifying the end of golf in Hong Kong for the next four years.


1947

The Club convenes its first Annual General Meeting since 1940. The Club hands over its Happy Valley property over to Government in view of the lack of open spaces in Hong Kong. Despite limited financial resources, the Club commences the rehabilitation of the Fanling course, a mammoth and costly undertaking that will continue for more than a decade.


1959

The Club hosts the first Hong Kong Open, which it continues to do to this day, over the years boasting international Champions such as Peter Thomson (1960, 1965 and 1967), Lu Liang-Huan (1959 and 1974), Tom Watson (1992), Jose-Maria Olazabal (2001) and in recent years, Rory McIlroy (2012) and Justin Rose (2015). The most decorated champion in the events history, with four wins, is Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (2005, 2008, 2012 and 2014).


1963

The Fanling Development Scheme, authorising extension of the Clubhouse and the issue of debentures to cover the cost, is approved at an Extraordinary General Meeting.


1964

Arnold Palmer stages a clinic and exhibition match at Fanling. Lu Liang-huan, the winner of the first Hong Kong Open in 1959 and a former resident professional at Fanling, scores 70 versus Palmer’s 68.


1968

The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club agrees to lease some 30 acres of land at Beas River to the Club for the development of the Eden Course in Fanling into a full-length 18-hole championship course.


1970

The new Eden Course opens for play.


1989

The Club celebrates its Centenary, and enters its second hundred years recognised as one of the leading golf clubs worldwide.


1990

The first Johnnie Walker Classic in Asia is played at the Club. Nick Faldo wins after shooting a course record 62. Not to be outdone, Bernhard Langer shoots a 63 to win the Hong Kong Open the following year.


1996

At the Club’s Annual General Meeting, the Royal nomenclature is dropped, and henceforward the club is known as The Hong Kong Golf Club.