Any golf/residential development that reserves the best terrain on the property for the golf course deserves special mention.
Going against the usual tendency of prioritizing good areas for residential lots and leaving scraps for the golf course, developers Ayala and Greenfield gave the rolling terrain at the foot of Mt. Makiling to the golf course and developed the hillside into lots. Of course, it did help that these lots actually had a grand view of Laguna and Batangas below them.
This is another one of those Robert Trent Jones Jr signature courses and the Sixth hole will evoke visions of the Par 3s of Canlubang: a ravine in front of the teeing ground and an old tree to frame the green. If you love RTJII’s courses, you are going to appreciate the challenges that he has presented on this course.
The Front nine follows a creek that is overgrown with trees and bushes and loops back to the clubhouse while the Back nine works around a hillock that dominates the course. The vegetation is lush and noteworthy and gives an invigorating feel as you play the course.
The slopes of Mt Makiling have become a nature preserve and so the club cuts and maintains only what it needs to, and this allows the trees and vegetation in and around the course to flourish. If you hit a ball into the creek or hillock it would be best to forget going after it unless you have ambitions of becoming a pathfinder. Ayala Greenfield is an example of golf taking only what it needs.
Aside from the nature around you, there will be times when wind will make the course a beast to play. Makiling and the hillock seem to funnel and concentrate the flow of the prevailing winds on the front nine so don’t be surprised if gusts affect even your putting.
The Fifth and the Seventh holes are going to be really tough when they play against the wind but the hole you should be preparing for will be the Fifteenth which has got to be one of the toughest Par 4s in the country. RTJ has been obstinate in his defense of this hole which plays more like a Par 4.
Your tee shot will be to a narrow fairway running diagonal to the line of play and defended all the way by a huge, yawning lake. Aim to where your abilities can take you and, if you end up in the wrong spot, you will be faced with a long approach shot to a shallow green protected by bunkers that is unreceptive to long iron shots. Par on this hole is a triumph over insidious design while birdie is a miracle.