The Singapore Golf Association (SGA) is moving with the times.
In line with the current global golf trend where there is an emphasis on shorter game duration and faster pace of play, the 2017 Inter-Club League will see welcome changes.
Underpinning this development, SGA executive board member and tournament chairman Lee Lian Hong, also a member of Tanah Merah’s winning team last year, said : “The SGA always looks ahead. We continue to evolve with the global environment, and the changes are for the good of the league.”
The format for the competition has been tweaked to reduce the league season from six months to three, which translates into a cutback of Sunday league competitions from six to four so that clubs are not taxed too heavily.
Also, instead of one group of 12 clubs playing against each other, there will be two groups of six clubs. And after the group round-robin stage, the top four clubs from each group will play in the knockout stage to decide the top three spots.
The bottom two clubs from each group will play for the consolation prize. These changes will benefit the 12 clubs tremendously and their members view these changes positively.
The Inter-Club League is a major competition and it has always been viewed with great interest and anticipation as the level of participation is relatively high and the standard allows for players to work on their respective games.
All clubs and a substantial number of golfers of varying standards have always enjoyed the competition which has been in existence for more than 15 years. The competitive element aside, the league brings about a high level of camaraderie and enhances fellowship among players of all age groups.
The annual competition has evolved over time, since it began as a men-only league involving three divisions, namely A, B and C, according to handicap categories. Four players represented each division and the combined best gross scores of the top three singles players were used.
Each club took turns to host a division competition, and team bonding among each club’s league players was not as cohesive as the three divisions were like three different teams.
A change from strokeplay to matchplay was made six years ago to speed up play. Also changed was the divisional composition; instead of four singles players, the new division consisted of two singles and one two-ball pair. Furthermore, all divisions from each club would play at the same golf course as a team against another club team.
In 2015, the matchplay format was retained but the division composition was changed to two-ball pairs to encourage the participation of more players.
And a ladies’ division was added, and this brought about some color, glamour and, certainly, laughter to the competition.
The past league champions include National Service Resort and Country Club, Singapore Island Country Club and Tanah Merah Country Club. But winners aside, the league also spares a thought for the rest of the clubs and participants.
This year, all involved will remember Jurong Country Club (closed last December) and its players, some of whom have migrated to other clubs. All in the family, would be an apt tag for the Inter-Club League, for that’s the essence of this tournament: a sporting challenge within a closed-knit community. - Mr Godfrey Robert, SGA Marcom Sub-Committee