The Fanling Course of the Hong Kong Golf Club was honoured at the recently announced UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. The Fanling course, which is the oldest golf course in Hong Kong, received the Award of Distinction for its efforts to conserve the site, which is designed along the lines of traditional Scottish courses such as St Andrews, and is home to rare and protected trees considered critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The golf club applied for UNESCO consideration earlier this year in an attempt to prevent the government from building public housing on it. The jury reviewed 48 project entries from eight countries across the Asia-Pacific region, and selected 12 projects based on their understanding of place, their technical achievements, and their sustainability and impact.

hong kong fanling golf course nature walk and butterflies
The Hong Kong Golf Club organises nature walks to educate visitors about its diverse flora and fauna (© UNESCO)

Two other sites in the region received Awards of Distinction: Dongguan Garden Residences in Yangzhou, China, and Karnikara Mandapam at Kunnamangalam Bhagawati Temple in Kerala, India. Three other places in Mainland China were also recognised by UNESCO — Yan Nan Yuan, at Peking University, Beijing and Pan Family Residence in Suzhou were bestowed with Awards of Merit, while the Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts went to Erlitou Site Museum of the Xia Capital in Luoyang.

Earlier this year, 32 hectares of the golf course that included part of the Old Course were returned to the government. This section now operates as a park managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and has facilities such as an inclusive park for pets and a walking trail, as well as a two recently renovated 5-a-side hard-surface soccer pitches that are open to visitors every day.

hong kong golf club fanling
Non-members can visit the Old Course at Fanling every Sunday (© Hong Kong Golf Club)

However, the park, which the government refers to as the “park located east of Fan Kam Road”, occasionally returns to the Hong Kong Golf Club when there are tournaments, such as the recently-held Aramco Team Series in October, and the Hong Kong Open. In addition, the first three holes of the Old Course, which are still run by the Hong Kong Golf Club, are open to the public every Sunday as part of its Heritage Park programme.

Hong Kong has sites that have previously been acknowledged by UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage Conservation Awards, such as the Lai Chi Wo Rural Cultural Landscape Project (Special Recognition for Sustainable Development), Tai Kwun — Centre for Heritage and Arts (Award of Excellence), the Blue House Cluster (Award of Excellence), Revitalization of the Former Tai Po Police Station (Honorable Mention), and the Saltpans of Yim Tin Tsai (Award of Distinction).

See also
10 Best Heritage Buildings In Hong Kong That Will Take You Back In Time

Header image credits: UNESCO

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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