Golfers divided over monster par-6 hole at Marina Bay Golf Course

Amateur golfers have welcomed the introduction of the unique hole at MBGC, the Republic's only public golf course.
Amateur golfers have welcomed the introduction of the unique hole at MBGC, the Republic's only public golf course. PHOTO: MARINA BAY GOLF COURSE

While some look forward to the new layout at Marina Bay, others see length as unnecessary

It will be the first par-six hole in Singapore, but its creation has split opinions among the local golf fraternity.

When upgrading works at Marina Bay Golf Course (MBGC) are completed at the end of June, it will encompass a unique layout. Its 497m, par-five fourth hole will have been lengthened by more than 160m and reconfigured into a 664m par-six set-up, making it the longest hole in Singapore.

Amateur golfers have welcomed the introduction of the unique hole at MBGC, the Republic's only public golf course. Sales manager Evelyn Chong, 41, felt that such a modification will keep the sport exciting for her nine-year-old son, who takes golf as a co-curricular activity and plays regularly with his father at Seletar Country Club.

She said: "It's interesting for the younger golfers. Maybe for the older ones, they will still want the actual course layout, but it's something new and exciting for those who are trying out the game."

While the new hole might make some curious because of its novelty, experienced golfers are relishing the new challenge.

DRAWING INTEREST

It'll be a new experience for many golfers. It will be difficult and probably it will be a struggle for me too, but the hole will attract people to try it.

DION LIM, who has a 2.7 handicap, on the prospective challenge.

Said Tanah Merah Country Club's Dion Lim, 20, a Nanyang Polytechnic student who has a handicap of 2.7: "It'll be a new experience for many golfers. It will be difficult and probably it will be a struggle for me too, but the hole will attract people to try it."

Retiree Roland Cheong, whose average drive is 180m, said that golfers who are not long hitters might find it difficult to tackle the hole.

Said the 67-year-old, who has a handicap of 15 and plays at Sembawang Country Club three times a week: "It's a good break from the normal par-three, four and fives. But the amateurs and starters, they will probably end up shooting an eight or nine."

While having a par-six hole is unusual for a golf course, it is not unheard of in other countries.

South Korea's Gunsan Country Club currently holds the record for the longest hole in the world with a 1,097-yard (1,003m) par-seven hole. In the region, the St Andrews 2000 course in Pattaya boasts two par-six holes (640m and 832m).

But while the hole will be a highlight for some, other regular players say they will not be too eager to sign up for a tee slot at MBGC.

Company director Joshua Hua, 60, has played at the St Andrews 2000 course before and felt that the extra yardage presented more problems.

He said: "It will surely slow down the players.

"For a good player, they can probably hit three or four shots into the green, but for an average player who's not a professional, they might try to go for distance and so they tend to make more mistakes and wayward shots."

The owner of an Internet business start-up, Alan Muir, 51, who plays off an eight handicap, sees the inclusion as just a gimmick.

"Would I take it seriously? No.

"Traditionally, a course (comprises) only par-three, four and fives. Why change that?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2016, with the headline 'GOLFERS DIVIDED OVER MONSTER PAR-6 HOLE'. Print Edition | Subscribe