Golf in the Lion City roars back to life

Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course recently reopened after extensive renovations. Pictured here is the iconic 5th hole

It has been a year of upheaval and unprecedented disruption, caused no less by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Normalcy has taken on a new meaning, with life in many parts of the world coming to a standstill. Heightened restrictions and lockdowns have made many yearn for the familiarity and comforts of the past.

While the pandemic may have slammed the brakes on some business operations, it has not gone into hibernation mode for Sentosa Golf Club, one of the most established golf clubs in Asia which has played host to several high-profile events including the Singapore Open and HSBC Women’s Championship. 

After being closed for renovation works since March, the club’s highly-acclaimed Serapong Course officially reopened, spotting an even fresher look with new bunkering style, refreshed fairways and upgraded greens.

It is the brainchild of Andrew Johnston, Sentosa Golf Club’s general manager and director of agronomy, as well as resident golf course designer. The American knows the challenges of keeping the course in its pristine condition.

“Being located in a sub-tropical climate means the golf course ages faster than an ordinary one, and these renovations are crucial to maintaining the quality of the playing surfaces, as well as the conditions and high-standards that we pride ourselves on here at Sentosa, 365 days of the year,” said Johnston.

Hole 14, Serapong Course, Sentosa GC

The renovations are headlined by creative, artistic serrated bunkers to enhance Serapong’s character and strategic design. A total of 6,000 tonnes of new sand were used during the renovations to reinstate consistency, texture and tournament-ready compaction for improved playability.

Pandemic or not, Johnston is determined to ensure Sentosa Golf Club, which has consistently garnered awards each year, stays ahead of the competition.

“The last time the Serapong was renovated was nearly 14 years ago and since then the course has grown to become one of the world’s best, picking up multiple accolades in the process.

“Despite the challenges presented by the worldwide pandemic, we have found a way to pull the Sentosa family together within the safe working restrictions to complete the works. This has been a very exciting project that was well overdue, and we are confident the changes implemented will only enhance the golfing experience for our members and guests,” said Johnston.

Like Sentosa Golf Club, the newly opened Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore is also preparing for life after the pandemic as it establishes itself as the only urban golf resort in the Lion City.

Located on the same grounds as the Laguna National Golf & Country Club, Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore is just 10 minutes away by car from Changi Airport and 15 minutes from downtown. It is the first resort to offer direct access to two championship golf courses in Singapore and also marks the first property for Thai hospitality chain Dusit International on the island. 

“Following this year’s signings and openings, the arrival of Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore marks another important milestone in our sustainable expansion, and we are delighted to make our debut in one of the world’s most respected business hubs and showcase our new brand DNA with such an exceptional property,” said Suphajee Suthumpun, group CEO of Dusit International.

Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore (rendering)

“While this is certainly a challenging time for our industry, Singapore previously recorded four years of consecutive tourism growth, and we remain confident that the market will bounce back strong. Until then, we will do our utmost to aid in its recovery by establishing Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore as a must-visit destination that brings enduring value to all stakeholders.”

The strange lexicon of Covid-19 might have completely changed the way the world lives today but, when the war against the virus is finally won, the deliverance from the dreaded disease will be very liberating … just like hitting that sweet spot with your swing at these golf clubs where the red carpet already awaits!

By Calvin Koh

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