- by GI Magazine
- Sep 15, 2022
SINGAPORE July 1 (Straits Times) - Lawyer Tan Chong Huat takes over from Ross Tan as Singapore Golf Association president. The intention of Tan was to make his message evolve, not revolution. As he spent two years as vice-president to out-going Chief Ross Tan as he had been an executive board member since 2018, it was a predictable choice. Tan has outlined his plans for the sport, which he acknowledged has faced significant challenges based on current years, with the government reclaiming several golf courses at Raffles Country Club, Jurong Country Club, and, most recently, Keppel Club.
In order to address the challenging situation, Tan has set three goals for his four-year term. They include improving the Singapore golf ecosystem, achieving high performance, and strengthening the financial position. Tan, one of the founding partners of RHTLaw Asia and the RHT Group of Companies, believes that it all starts with the introduction of a junior golfers inter-club league this year, in which they will compete in teams rather than as individuals. He hopes that this will encourage clubs to keep growing.
His team will also look to continue the previous team's community engagement attempts by introducing golf to community centers, as well as working with various golf clubs to promote an environmental, social, and governance approach for the golfing community. Tan said: “If we can bring more people to golf, engage the community at large with what golf is about and (convince them) that golf is more a force of good rather than being perceived as an elitist sport that would help.”
Singapore won gold in the men's team and individual events at the 2017 and 2019 SEA Games under the previous administration. Aloysa Atienza won silver in the women's competition at this year's edition. Other significant events included Jaymie Ng's qualification for the US Girls' Junior Golf Championship. Tan intends to develop these accomplishments by strengthening the support system for the country's professional golfers. This includes ensuring that there are viable pathways for them to develop both on the golf course and within the industry. He cited former national golfer Jerome Ng as an example, who later served as the SGA's general manager before taking a position at the Royal.
He is also looking to provide more support to new professionals, particularly in terms of financial assistance and career advice. While he emphasized that the SGA is in good financial shape, with $5.3 million in reserves, the goal of strengthening finances was to allow more international events to be held in Singapore. The 2025 World Amateur Team Championships (WATC), for which Singapore has already bid, is one such event. The Republic was supposed to host the WATC in 2020, which features teams of two to three golfers from over 70 countries, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic. "If we win, it will be the first time Singapore has hosted it," Tan said.