Keppel Club offered new sites, but no golf facilities

With time running out at current location, the club is exploring Batam golf options

The 2ha land parcel at Seletar Aerospace Park - one of the three alternative sites offered - comes with a historic conservation building.
The 2ha land parcel at Seletar Aerospace Park - one of the three alternative sites offered - comes with a historic conservation building. PHOTO: KEPPEL CLUB

As Keppel Club prepares for life after 2021 - when it will have to vacate its current home - it has been offered three alternative sites in Singapore, but no golf facilities.

It is exploring golf options just outside of Singapore shores - including in Batam - for its members and mulling over some tempting alliances and locations here. This includes a tie-up with Hollandse Club in Adam Road.

Among the sites that Keppel Club has been offered is a 2ha land parcel at Seletar Aerospace Park that comes with a historic conservation building that served as the camp commandant's office when the Singapore Armed Forces took over from the British in 1971.

Sites in Bukit Batok West Avenue 8 and Yishun Avenue 1 have also been offered to the 112-year-old club, which will not see the lease on its current 44ha Bukit Chermin site extended beyond 2021.

The Bukit Batok site is near the proposed Tengah new town while the Yishun site is near Orchid Country Club.

It is the site at Seletar Aerospace - which can provide for a clubhouse and tennis courts - that shows most promise, said club officials, stressing that the historic building's structure must be "untouched".

"It's really appealing because the area is going to be an aerohub, and it has many low-rise buildings and black-and-white bungalows in the area," said club vice-president Eric Tan, who is spearheading the club's efforts to find and create a new social space post-December 2021.

A move to Seletar would make the club a fraternity neighbour to the Seletar Country Club - a full-scale golf club complete with water sports facilities - which is less than a 10-minute drive away.

The club's plans and moves to thrive post-2021 were addressed by club president Lai Mun Onn at its annual general meeting last month.

The club is looking into new golf locations for its golfers who make up more than half of its 5,000 principal members.

Mr Lai said the club is looking into a new home course, possibly outside Singapore, and has been speaking to clubs in Batam, Bintan and Johor Baru about potential deals.

Last month, the club inked a significant pact with Palm Springs Golf and Country Club, allowing its members to go over to Batam to play golf.

"The challenge is in the logistics of getting members to go to Johor Baru or Batam to play golf," said the club's golf captain C.S. Kong. "Now that we have an agreement with the clubs, we will be organising trips to see members' response. We hope that all this will bear fruit."

Nearer home, the club's latest pact with the Hollandse Club in March, for reciprocal-use arrangements, could have far-reaching effects.

The Hollandse Club is located on 15,564 sq m of prime freehold land in Camden Park, near the Singapore Island Country Club's Bukit Course that fringes MacRitchie Reservoir.

Its assets include tennis and multi-sports courts, as well as food outlets and a swimming pool.

The club, founded in 1908, was initially meant to serve the Dutch community here and gradually expanded to accommodate others, including Singaporeans.

Both clubs have a similar DNA, rooted in historical heritage and a sporting culture, noted Mr Lai.

"We are both very excited, both holding hands, going to the movies already, like in a dating relationship," he quipped.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline Keppel Club offered new sites, but no golf facilities. Subscribe