Amid the rising popularity and accessibility of golf, the Hong Kong Golf Association, partnering with Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling, announced that the first secondary schools golf tournament will take place in May.
The tournament, supported by the Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation, will be open to all secondary schools, local or international, entering as individuals or teams of a maximum of four players. Competition will be divided into boys and girls under the 18-hole individual stableford format. The maximum handicap for the two groups is 25 and 32 respectively.
“A number of initiatives have been taking place to help schools to promote the sport,” Danny Lai, CEO of the Hong Kong Golf Association, says. The initiatives include golf orientation classes and competitions for physical education teachers, and sponsorship of golf clubs, equipment and training facilities to teachers and students. Exchange opportunities are also on offer.
Last year, about 50 physical education teachers joined the orientation programme, 12 went on to receive regular training. Each year, 500 students in Hong Kong are taught to play golf under the association’s “Golf for Schools” programme.
According to Ian Gardner, general manager of the Hong Kong Golf Club, the club with more than 100 years of history, has been working closely with schools, especially those in the North District, and the community, to provide teachers and students from all backgrounds with the opportunity to experience the joy and the “manners” the sport offers.
More competitions among schools are expected in the future. “We would like to see the appearance of more talented young players such as Tiffany Chan and Leon D’Souza,” Lai says.
The 24-year-old Chan became the first golfer from Hong Kong to qualify for LPGA Tour last December. She finished second to Nasa Hataoka of Japan at the qualifying tournament at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida. D’Souza, 19, a former Renaissance College student became the third player from Hong Kong to make the cut at the UBS Hong Kong Open last year, a feat previously accomplished by Jason Hak Shun-yat and Tim Tang.