Monday, July 19, 2010

Shek O Golf Club

In my first few weeks here I was invited by a few Toro Equipment guys to visit Shek O Golf Club with them. It was very beautiful, but first, I need to talk a bit about golf in general in Hong Kong.

Here are some numbers to consider:

Iowa = 56,272 sq miles
Hong Kong = 426 sq miles

Iowa = 3,007,856
Hong Kong = 7,055,071

Population Density:
Iowa = 53.5/sq mile
Hong Kong = 15,737.9/sq mile

Golf Courses:
Iowa = 441
Hong Kong = 5

People to # of Courses ratio:
Iowa = 6820 : 1
Hong Kong = 1,411,014.2 : 1

# Courses : Land (sq miles) Ratio
Iowa = 1:127
Hong Kong = 1:85

Hong Kong Golf Club: ~2400
Shek O Golf Club: ~350

Just by looking at these data, we can easily make some obvious conclusions. First off, population density was amazing for me to think about. When I grew up at my parents house on the farm, there was about 10 people that lived in our square mile. Now I live in a place that averages over 15,000 people per square mile! I never thought of Iowa as a really big state, but it is 132 times the size of Hong Kong! In my small hometown of 8,000 people, we had one public and one private golf course. I always thought there were quite a few courses in Iowa as they were always fairly easy to get to, but per land area, Hong Kong is more densely packed with courses.

However, getting to play one of these courses is the hard part! There is only one public course here in Hong Kong, which I plan on visiting later, and the others are private. Hong Kong Golf Club has a 25 year waiting list to become a member, and I have no idea how long you would have to wait to become a member of Shek O Golf Club.

The area of Shek O is extremely exclusive, and wealthy. I noticed as I drove down, how the cars became nicer and nicer, and the number of Porshes, Rolls Royces, and Ferraris increased quite a bit. The houses were larger, and the landscape more mountainous. On this side of Hong Kong, many real estate tycoons build their houses, and many of the business people live here as well.
Ok, enough about the area of Shek O...back to golf. Shek O Golf Club is a very short course, with no carts allowed. Many of the fairways overlap each other, which creates very unique, large, odd shaped areas of fairway. This course seems very difficult to play as it is located right on the South China Sea, so you always have a breeze to contend with, and many of the shots are very difficult.

Irrigation water for this course is collected from mountainside run off, and is then channeled in to a man made river system that runs through the course and acts as a water feature, as well as a water containment area.
Irrigation water stored in this man made river/water hazard.
(They had just topdressed this area, hence the stressed and thin look of the grass. I can assure you, the rest of the course was in pristine condition.)

Overall, this was a very unique and beautiful course. I have plans to visit all of the courses here in Hong Kong during my stay and if I am lucky enough, I may even be able to get in to China to visit a few there. I'll keep you updated on my travels!
Data Sources:


  1. Great story, loved the comparative stats! Hong Kong has it's own golf magazine, you can check it out at

  2. Nice story and great story telling. Love it! Just like Sherwood Hills Golf Club