Family's fond farewell to Toa Payoh Golf Range
With a hearty laugh, local professional golfer Poh Eng Teck recalled how he sometimes took half an hour to walk 15m from his Toa Payoh Golf Range office to the toilet.
The 65-year-old managing director of Poh Bros Golf Management that runs the range said: "We have an average of 500 golfers practising here every day. It is like a big family and many of us know each other.
"I can take some time to get to the toilet because some of them will stop me to ask for some pointers, which I give for free because I'm a pro but not a coach!"
That is one of his many fond memories as the driving range ends operations. Poh told The Straits Times he was informed by the authorities that the 2.9ha site has been zoned for residential use.
The Toa Payoh Golf Range was built after Haw Par Leisure Pte Ltd won its HDB tender in 1992. Group Exklusiv took over the lease at the start of the millennium, before it was awarded to Poh Bros in 2008.
Poh Bros will now focus its efforts on running the 40-bay Mandai Executive Golf Course. Their 10 staff members and about half of the 24 pro coaches in their Golfer.Sg stable will also relocate to Mandai.
Other ranges located in the heartlands include the PAR Golf Driving Range in Punggol and the Bukit Batok Golf Range.
At the range's last day of operation yesterday, Eng Teck's 55-year-old younger brother Poh Eng Wah, who coaches at the range, said: "It is sad because this is such a nice, central and accessible public range for all people of all different social status to come and practise."
The Poh Bros team, which also includes brothers Eng Huat, 69, Eng Soon, 67, Eng Toon, 60, sister Serene, 57, and cousin Emma, 53, took great pains to design and rebuild the 100-bay range, spending more than $1.2 million.
Eng Teck said: "At an affordable $4 for 60 balls, people from all walks of life can come and practise. It is never our intention to become super rich from running this place."
"It is a family business so that our family - siblings and team of coaches - has a job and can enjoy working with our golfing passion," added Eng Wah.