Expanding horizons for senior golfers

The ASEAN Senior Amateur Championship recorded a maximum number of players this year.

A record 256 golfers teed off in the three-day tournament at the Singapore Island Country Club's New and Island courses yesterday morning.

Amateur golfers from six countries - Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines and Indonesia - are vying for five trophies, team and individual.

With the record participation rate, the time has come for the annual event to expand.

Speaking to The New Paper, Singapore Senior Golfers Society (SSGS) captain Terry Ng said the tournament's governing body is looking at other countries in the region to join the confederation.

"We have discussed the idea of expanding, but right now it's a bit difficult because the other countries don't have the infrastructure in place yet," said Ng, after the first round yesterday.

"Vietnam is one country which has expressed interest. It staged an Asia-Pacific seniors tournament in Danang recently, so there is interest in golf there.

"But what I mean by infrastructure is the number of golfers, and also the basic stuff to form an organisation, like an office."

The Confederation of ASEAN Senior Golfers' Associations was founded in 1983 with just four nations.

Philippines and Brunei joined in 1986 and 1989 respectively.

The tournament is staged in a different country every year, and Singapore last played host in 2008.

The Republic bagged two trophies at last year's championship in Yogyakarta, Indonesia - best team gross and best net individual (Dicky Tan).

Yesterday's opening ceremony was officiated by Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong, while Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong is slated to grace the closing ceremony tomorrow.

Ng feels that the presence of such esteemed guests-of-honour points towards golf being an important part of healthy living. "The SSGS programmes dovetail with some of the national initiatives, such as healthy living," he said.

"With the talent we have in the region, the next step is to push for more activities.

"I'm optimistic we will be able to get more participation (in the ASEAN Championships) in the future.

"Maybe in two or three years, we'll see what happens."


This article was first published on August 19, 2014.
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