As pressure from green groups on private clubs with large land-holdings rises, the General Manager of Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club points out that the club is available to the public on week-days. Peter Downie said anybody can play six holes at the new Golf Academy for $150. After golf you may eat and drink at the Oasis bar-restaurant with its views of an immaculate lawn, playground, greens of the Academy with the sea and Tong Lung island beyond.
“Come and enjoy,” Peter said as he showed us around on his golf-cart labelled D.o.G. (his other title at the club is Director of Golf). He jokes, “I would prefer the letters the other way around.” Peter is a host who can turn on the charm. As he strikes around the golf course it is obvious he’s proud of his domain. He smacks his lips, “It’s pristine.” He means the condition of the course. You can see why the club committee invited him back, after his seven years at Sentosa Golf Club, for a second term as management boss.
Public use of the Golf Academy — it is less than a year old — on week-days is hassle free, Peter says. You need no handicap and the dress code is relaxed. “All we ask is that you should book three days in advance.” The six holes of the Academy are open from 8am until dusk. Prices: six holes $150, 12 holes $250, 18 holes $350. He explains you can play 18 holes because each hole has three tees making every hole slightly different as you play from a new angle.
The public may also play the 18-hole main golf course on week-days. But there you must have to have a valid handicap. One round costs $1900 at this time of the year, but if you are a Hong Kong resident with an ID card there are summer specials at $1200. Other costs: golf cart $125, club hire $500 a set, golf shoes $80.
Peter said the golf facilities are generally available to schools, sports clubs and charities mid-week. Christian Action’s Three-Legged Race fund-raising event will be held there on March 17.