For all its merits, golf has never been the easiest of sports to take up in Singapore, with a full 18-hole round usually taking up half a day and costing anywhere between $75 and $250.
But that may be about to change, with Marina Bay Golf Course launching a par-24, six-hole putting course in a bid to widen the game's appeal.
No miniature putting course, the Marina Bay Putting Course features careful contouring, undulations, and a mix of par-three, par-four and par-five holes ranging from 20m to 62m in length.
"Marina Bay Putting Course opens up new possibilities for people of all ages and skill levels to play and experience golf on real greens. Even families can enjoy a fun-filled round together and bond over a game of golf," said Ng Ser Miang, chairman of NCI Golf, which owns Marina Bay Golf Course.
Participants at the my golf kaki 15th anniversary event over the weekend had the first look at the 211m, par-24 course, which opens to the public today.
"It's a very interesting course that makes you think and of course you only have your putter in play," said company director Anil Raina.
"It's good fun if you can get a few friends together and have a mini-challenge, and getting the short game right is important for golfers of any level."
The hope is that the more casual nature of the putting course will attract more juniors to pick up the game. The Singapore Golf Association estimated in January that of the 27,000 active golfers registered here, only about 10 per cent are aged 35 and below.
"I found the course fun but challenging. Unlike other conventional putting greens, there are varied distances for golfers to practise their strengths and plan their strategies," said student Gerald Chong, 12, who plays off a handicap of 22.7.
NCI Golf is also exploring more unconventional ways of play to cater to varying demands.
If playing six holes on the putting course is not satisfying for some, they could be given the option of reversing the course. Or they could be allowed to play on the putting course followed by three or six holes on the main golf course, instead of the full 18.
Playing on the putting course costs $15 on a weekday from 8am to 7pm, and $18 from 7pm to 10pm.
The weekend rate is also $18.