The best view of the tallest mountain in the country will be in the early morning, on a clear day, while sipping a cup of coffee at the Apo Golf Clubhouse. It is a spectacle to see the rays of the rising sun strike the summit first and, ever so slowly, the peak reveals itself.
That should be the signal for you to start your round on Davao’s premier golf course, amid the rolling terrain south of the city proper. Apo Golf was founded in 1964 by a group of wealthy businessmen and was one of the first golf courses built on the island of Mindanao.
Its down-to-earth beginnings (no British or American expats here) bode well for Philippine golf as Apo did not turn into a snobbish, exclusive club. Apo was also lenient with its caddies and allowed them a day of the week to play the course. This resulted in a lot of them growing up and excelling as amateurs and professionals.
Top Philippine pros like Cassius Casas, Antonio Lascuna, Elmer Salvador and Cesar Ababa who have represented the country in international competition and later dominated the local professional circuit are all Apo born and bred. With the Luzon golf courses now hiring female caddies, the talent pool for Philippine golf used to come mainly from Apo.
Apo Golf is the perfect training ground for aspiring professionals. It is a long course at 7,000 yards and can play considerably longer when the fairways become soft and soggy and long approach shots will be the norm.
The greens are huge and aptly protected by bunkers, but it is the penalty areas crossing the fairways that will cause concern especially with your tee shots. The majestic narra, acacia and fire trees frame the fairways and continue to squeeze the doglegs as the years go by.
Apo hosted the 1995 Philippine Open won by Mexican Carlos Espinosa and it is the last remaining classical golf course in the Davao region.