Golf in Jakarta

So another major sporting event comes to town.

After the thrills and spills of A1 grand prix racing, golfers from across the globe have converged on Jakarta to take part in the Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open from March 2-5 at the Emeralda Golf Club.

After a week off in which most of the top European players participated in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in California, the European Tour resumes this week in southeast Asia at the second annual Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open. The event is co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

The purse this week totals $1 million, with the winner pocketing $1 million. The runner-up will get $110,842, with the third-place finisher receiving $62,446.

That’s all very well. But I don’t think ordinary Indonesians will give a damn. Cos if there’s one sport that highlights social inequalities, it’s golf.

But that’s not to say golf is unpopular here – there are a lot of rich people in this crazy city of the destitute.

So popular in fact that the greater Jakarta area has 43 golf courses!!!

So it is possible for the Jakarta authorities to provide wide-open green spaces for recreation – but with the little proviso that they are used exclusively by the rich of course.

Ordinary Indonesians are far less fortunate of course: about the only place for recreation for them is Ragunan Zoo (many ordinary Indonesians used to visit the park at Monas until it was decided best to keep them out by constructing a Rp10 billion fence around it. And although Ancol is another option, it’s relatively expensive).

The huge number of golf courses highlights of course the absurdities of running a city purely on a profit basis, with no regard paid whatsoever to what would benefit the people in general.

Personally, I’d take half of the golf courses in Jakarta and turn them into free parks accessible to anyone. And the rich would still be happy with over 20 golf courses still to choose from.


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