Hong Kong golf course redefines 'world class'
Set against a tremendous view of the Sai Kung harbor, The Hong Kong Jockey Club's Kau Sai Chau 250-hectare public golf course is one of Hong Kong's oldest and most scenic. Now it's fast becoming the most eco-friendly course in the world.
Two weeks ago, Kau Sai Chau revealed its 205-strong fleet of solar-powered golf carts made by Danish engineering company SolarDrive. By the end of this year, the Hong Kong golf course will also launch solar-powered ferries designed by Australian company Solar Sailor to transport players between the Sai Kung pier and Kau Sai Chau island.
In this video, reporter Helen Crouch says that "comparative cost is key ... Hong Kong signed up to buy the ferries when the cost of oil was 140 bucks a barrel ... when the cost of going green becomes cheaper than the alternative, that's when we're likely to see a real shift."
Not only will the ferries cut carbon emissions from the ferry route to the Hong Kong golf course by half, they will also save US$6 million in fuel costs over a projected 15-year lifespan.
Beyond the immediate bottom line, going green is also critical to the longevity of golf's popularity in Asia. According to the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO), Asian golf will "redefine world-class" by emphasizing the eco-friendly side of the game and securing its "unequivocal recognition as a social, economic and environmental asset, driving lifestyles and livelihoods that are profitable and sustainable."
In other words, golf needs a fast image green-over that economically mired U.S. and European developers may not be able to deliver.
The GEO uses Kau Sai Chau as an example of the magic that can happen when the holy trinity of golf, eco-awareness and profit come together.
Kau Sai Chau's solar-power technology shopping spree is part of an HK$350 million initiative by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to make the city more environmentally conscious. Other ongoing projects funded by the inititative include Project WATERMAN, a GPS and Internet-based system that forecasts water quality around Hong Kong, much like the Air Pollution Index tracks air quality.
The Jockey Club's Kau Sai Chau public golf course