Grade A Architecture - The Serapong Course, Setosa Golf Club

The 6th on the Serapong Course, Sentosa Golf Club

Located in Singapore, The Sentosa Golf Club provides 36-holes of golf, but building the second 18 - called The Serapong Course - was initially a daunting proposition.

Architect Ron Fream was the man chosen for the effort and upon his first viewing realised the sizeable task faced.

“The future land for The Serapong Course was primarily sea water when I visited by ferry and small motor launch in early 1978. More than 3 million cubic metres of sand was pumped and dredged from shipping channels to raise golf from sea and swamp. This reclamation was not a sheet fill, but formed the individual hole shapes. The setting, now with the world’s largest container ships passing by and spectacular downtown skyline alongside, is truly a unique visual effect.”

The quality of The Serapong Course eventually earned a host role for the Singapore Open between 2005-2019. Past champions included three-time winner Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar.

Just recently updated - after a 9-month effort and spearheaded by general manager Andrew Johnston - the club used 6,000 tonnes of new sand during the renovations to reinstate consistency, texture and tournament ready compaction for improved playability. 

Highlighting the experience is a series of holes - the 4th through to the 7th - located on a narrow strip of land and named “The Dragon’s Tail.” Shot making expertise, by necessity, is certainly mandated.

Among the aforementioned stretch of holes is the par-4 6th at 444 yards. The landing area is nestled next to the water and an accurate tee shot is needed to find the well-bunkered fairway. Strong players can attempt to cut the corner of this dog-leg left, however, doing so requires the perfect marriage of distance and accuracy to reach a speed slot which can propel one’s ball to a most advantageous approach angle into the green. 

The green is defended by a rock formation situated in a left frontal bunker and appropriately named the “Dragon’s Tooth.” Players have to be ever mindful since poorly struck approach shots can mean a too close encounter.

The 11,100 square foot green also includes a vexing false front. Approach shots must be hit with sufficient carry or run the risk in being rejected via a feature called, ‘The Dragon’s Tongue’. This inclusion provided another 2,300 square feet to the putting surface.

One of the added elements for the 6th has been the elimination of mounding which was lowered when approaching the green. Players are now able to experience the view of the 7th hole in the background and has given the 6th an impactful coastal feeling by adding the ambiance of the adjoining coastline.

“The reshaping on the 6th really adds to the excitement. It is one of the holes that we put a lot of effort into redesigning throughout the renovations,” said Johnston. “It now completes ‘The Dragon’s Tail’ experience with the same type of risk and reward playing strategy as the holes in front and behind it.”

Steven Page, the man responsible for the hole’s shaping summed up matters succinctly: “I want the 6th take your breath away.” Those arriving at the 6th tee had best have their oxygen tank nearby and a spare golf ball ready for usage. Johnston summarised the experience: “The 6th now offers members and guests the proper challenge in playing a true ocean hole.”

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