Serangoon Gardens Country Club



The Serangoon Gardens Country Club (SGCC) was established in 1955 as a sports club for residents of the Serangoon Gardens estate. Many of its original members were British servicemen and their families who left Singapore in the 1970s, and the club was redeveloped into a country club in the 1980s.1 SGCC is now positioned as a family-focused social and recreational club with a vision to “be Singapore’s best family club for recreational and social activities”.2

History
In April 1955, British property developer Steven Charles Macey, together with some residents of the Serangoon Gardens estate, established the Serangoon Gardens Sports Club.3 Macey, who was managing director of the property company which developed the Serangoon Gardens estate, set aside 2.26 ha of land for the building of the club.4 Membership cost $2 and was restricted to residents of Serangoon Gardens.

The club opened in 1956, with most of its members being British servicemen and their families. Its main activities then were sports like football and hockey, and indoor games such as billiards, darts and tombola.6 By 1972, the British had reduced their military presence in Singapore and local members renamed the club Serangoon Gardens Recreation Club.7 With its membership reduced, the club’s facilities suffered from a lack of maintenance.8 

In 1980, Lau Teik Soon, the member of parliament for Serangoon Gardens, suggested the redevelopment of the recreation club into a “first-class” country club. The club was renamed Serangoon Gardens Country Club and Lau became its adviser.9 In 1983, before its redevelopment, the club had 185 members and its facilities consisted of a clubhouse, a football field, a lounge and several billiard tables.10

The decision was taken to upgrade SGCC’s facilities at an estimated cost of around S$10 million. The redevelopment was to start from 1983 and be implemented in phases.11 The three-storey main clubhouse building was developed under the first phase, and comprised a landscaped atrium, a computer games room, a chess room and a discotheque.12 The new clubhouse, which cost S$4.2 million and featured arch-roofs, was opened on 5 April 1986 by E. W. Barker, then Minister for Law. It had 1,420 members, half of whom were Serangoon Gardens residents.13
 
The atrium roof of the new clubhouse won second place in the characteristic steel elements category of the Nationale Staaprijs (National Steel Prize) awarded by a steel industry association in Holland; it was the first time the prize had been awarded outside the Netherlands. The roof had been co-designed by Dutch company Octotube Space Structures and local firm Akitek Tenggara.14 

The second phase of SGCC’s redevelopment involved the construction of an Olympic-size swimming pool, spas and squash courts.15 In the third phase, a new building housing a jackpot room, a 10-lane bowling alley, a new restaurant and a 200-seat auditorium was added. By this time, the entrance fee had risen to S$55,000, making SGCC membership the costliest amongst non-golf country clubs in Singapore.16

In 2008, SGCC commenced an extension and enlargement programme of its clubhouse’s right wing.17 The works, completed in August 2009, added a sports bar, a dance and music lounge, a jackpot room, a karaoke hall, mahjong rooms, a reading room and a function room to the club’s facilities.18

Community programmes
In 1996, SGCC began awarding tertiary scholarships to members and their children. The scheme cost an estimated S$60,000 per annum and was funded through the club’s cash reserves of around S$10 million. SGCC was one of the first country clubs to offer a scholarship scheme.19

During the club’s 50th anniversary celebration dinner, it was praised as an exemplary institution with strong family values. Its fund-raising efforts to help the less fortunate was also highlighted by Lim Hwee Hua, the club’s patron and then Minister of State for Finance and Transport.20 SGCC has continued to organise programmes such as Charity Dinner cum Auction, Charity Zumba Party, TGIF Charity Line Dance and Charity Movie Night as part of its community programmes.21



Author
Lim Siew Kim




References
1. Country club hopes to trace founder. (1985, February 11). The Straits Times, p. 11; History of the club. (1994, August 16). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Serangoon Gardens Country Club. (n.d.). The club – vision and mission. Retrieved 2016, August 8 from SGCC website: http://www.sgcc.com.sg/club/vision-mission
3. Serangoon Gardens Country Club. (n.d.). The club. Retrieved 2016, August 8 from SGCC website: http://www.sgcc.com.sg/club; History of the club. (1994, August 16). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. History of the club. (1994, August 16). The Straits Times, p. 2; Country club hopes to trace founder. (1985, February 11). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Serangoon Gardens Country Club. (n.d.). The club. Retrieved 2016, August 8 from SGCC website: http://www.sgcc.com.sg/club
6. Serangoon Gardens Country Club. (n.d.). The club. Retrieved 2016, August 8 from SGCC website: http://www.sgcc.com.sg/club; History of the club. (1994, August 16). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Country club hopes to trace founder. (1985, February 11). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. History of the club. (1994, August 16). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Country club hopes to trace founder. (1985, February 11). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Teo, L. H., & Ooi, S. (1983, September 5). Club members defeat attempt to get them to pay moreThe Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Serangoon Gardens $10 million club will be ready in 1985. (1984, February 7). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. History of the club. (1994, August 16). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Tan, S. (1986, April 6). Country club lifestyle comes to estateThe Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Club’s atrium roof wins Dutch prize. (1986, November 28). The Straits Times, p. 19. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Institute of Architects. (n.d.). Member firm listing: Akitek Tenggara. Retrieved 2016, August 8 from Singapore Institute of Architects website: http://sia.org.sg/member-firm-listing.html?pid=2&sid=90:akitek-tenggara
15. Shahrir Ariff. (1985, January 3). Serangoon Gardens club to raise entry fees again. The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Tuminah Sapawi. (1994, August 16). Club ups its membership fee againThe Straits Times, p. 2; Lo, T. Y. (1994, March 26). Club expands to fit more facilities. The New Paper, p. 75. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. President message. (2008, September/October). Clubspirit: A monthly magazine of Serangoon Gardens Country Club. (Call no.: RSING 367.95957 C)
18. A&A updates. (2009, June/July). Clubspirit: A monthly magazine of Serangoon Gardens Country Club, 76, 8. (Call no.: RSING 367.95957 C)
19. Yeo, S. (1996, December 14). Country club offers scholarships to membersThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Serangoon Gardens Country Club praised for emphasis on family values. (2005, October 9). Channel News Asia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
21. Serangoon Gardens Country Club. (2015). Annual report 2014–15, p. 21. Retrieved 2016, August 8 from SGCC website: http://www.sgcc.com.sg/sites/sgcc.com.sg/files/SGCC_AR2015_online.pdf; Serangoon Gardens Country Club. (2016). Annual report 2015–16, p. 18. Retrieved 2016, August 8 from SGCC website: http://www.sgcc.com.sg/sites/sgcc.com.sg/files/SGCC_AR2016_online.pdf



Further resource
Powell, R. (1989). Innovative architecture of Singapore. Singapore: Select Books, pp. 52–55. 
(Call no.: RSING 722.4095957 POW)




The information in this article is valid as at 2011 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.

 

Subject
Sports and games
Recreation>>Sports
Organisations
Country clubs--Singapore
Recreation centers--Singapore
Sports, recreation and travel
Organisations>>Associations
People and communities>>Social groups and communities