Singapore Island Country Club (SICC)
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The Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) was formed in 1963 after the merger of the Royal Singapore Golf Club and the Royal Island Club. It has since then been one of the most prestigious country clubs in Singapore. It is mainly known for its fine golf courses which have played host to numerous tournaments.
The Golf Club (the original name of the Royal Singapore Golf Club) was formed in 1891. Its members played the game on the race course owned by the Singapore Sporting Club located at Race Course Road where Farrer Park is today. With business activities growing in the area, the Golf Club moved to a new home at Bukit Timah in 1924. On 12 November 1938, when King George VI became the patron of the Club, its name was changed to the Royal Singapore Golf Club.
The Race Course Golf Club (the original name of the Royal Island Club) was formed in 1924 and comprised members of the Sporting Club and those of the Royal Golf Club who did not want to join the club when it moved to Bukit Timah. Asians who were members of the Sporting Club could not join the Royal Golf Club as it was exclusively for Europeans. But now they could now tee off by joining the Race Course Golf Club (also known as the Turf Club Golf Club, as the Sporting Club was renamed the Turf Club in 1924). In 1932, the Race Course Golf Club opened their new golf course in MacRitchie catchment area, and the club was renamed the Island Club. Membership was opened to everyone though the bulk of it was made up of members of the Race Course Golf Club, which was liquidated in 1932. The clubhouse of the Island Club was officially opened on 27 August 1932. The occasion, officiated by the Governor Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, was historic as it marked the beginning of the first truly multi-racial club in Singapore. As with the Royal Singapore Golf Club, the gracing of the Island Club by a British royalty in October 1952, led to its renaming to the Royal Island Club.
After the war, the Royal Island Club flourished because of its cosmopolitan and friendly outlook. The Royal Golf Club however, by hanging on to its exclusively European and colonial mentality, not only dwindled but was viewed as anachronistic amidst Singapore's strive for her own nationhood and national identity. The Royal Golf Glub approached the President of the Royal Island Club then, Dato' Loke Wan Tho, for a merger between the two clubs.
On 1 July 1963, the merger between the Royal Singapore Golf Club and the Royal Island Club proceeded, and the new club was named the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC). The last evening when the two clubs were to exist as separate entities witnessed two different kind of celebrations at the clubs; merriment at the club at Thomson as members of the Royal Island Club looked forward to new experiences, and gloom at the club at Bukit Timah as members of the Royal Singapore Golf Club lowered the Union Jack and bade farewell to a privileged era.
After the merger, golfers preferred the Bukit Timah and Sime Road courses that used to belong to the Royal Singapore Golf Club as they were superior. Hence, the ex-Island Club's location was subsequently less used. The increase in membership brought about a need to construct a new and better course to serve their needs. In 1964, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) granted permission for the building of a new course. British golf architect, Frank Pennik of C.K Cotton and Company, was given the job of constructing the 7,000 yard (6,500 m) course. It took three years and cost $700,000. The fist nine holes were opened for play in August 1968 but it was only officially opened in 1970 by then Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin.
The SICC's crest, a combination of a lion and a sea eagle surrounded by a belt, was designed by C. d'O. Pilkington Jackson, a British sculptor, showed the key elements of the Island's and the Royal's crests.
Besides golf, the club also provides other recreational activities, including tennis, squash, swimming, bowling as well as other activities like bridge and dance classes.
Potential members in the year 2000 would have to pay between $130 000 to $135 000 for a local ordinary (transferable) membership in the open market.
The club now has four 18-hole courses at two sites, called Island and Bukit, only a short drive apart and located in the center of Singapore island. The 6,482-yard Island (Old) course and recently renovated 6,991-yard New Course each winds along the Peirce Reservoir with stunning water views. The untamed feel is enhanced by the lack of visible link-side housing and the club's decision to eliminate signage from the tee boxes, and the monkeys playing in the trees along the fairways.
At the club's Bukit location are two courses with hilly layouts; the 6,276-yard Bukit Course, a major tournament site that rarely allows visitors, and the 6,538-yard Sime Course.
Gabriel Tan, 2001
Reutens, L. (1993). The Eagle and the Lion: A history of the Singapore Island Country Club. Singapore: The Club.
(Call no.: RSING 367.95957 REU)
Singapore: SICC to upgrade golf courses as part of S$60m plan. (1992, October 30). The Business Times, p. 2.
The information in this article is valid as at 2001 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.