What is there to say about a golf club that brought in one of the most famous golf course designers in the world to build a private playground that exuded class and elegance? Nothing but the best, it seems.
If you are a true golfer and appreciate the history of golf and its storied past, there is no way that you would not want to play Luisita and experience the first golf course designed in Asia by Robert Trent Jones Sr.
That’s SENIOR, not Junior. Junior has designed a lot of outstanding courses in the Philippines like Sta. Elena, Canlubang and Pueblo de Oro but he was not the revered designer then who had designed almost 500 courses around the world in 35 countries through the heyday of golf in the years after World War II.
Trent Jones Sr. designed Luisita at the peak of his career. In 1964 the Cojuangco family wanted to improve the 9-hole golf course that they already had in Hacienda Luisita, and they turned to the designer who was arguably the best of that era.
Completed in 1967, Luisita embodied his concept of “penal golf” where every hole was a difficult par but an easy bogey. His liberal use of bunkers and water continue to intimidate even the best of golfers even up to today.
But that doesn’t mean the ordinary golfer won’t enjoy the course. Trent Jones Sr. subscribed to the concept of creating risk-reward situations on the golf course—if you wish to take the risk of a penalty and pull off the shot, then you are rewarded with a good score. However, he always presented a safer option to play the hole and, obviously, you wouldn’t score well if you always played safe.
That becomes pretty evident by the way he places bunkers on the inside track of the doglegs. If you can fly your ball over the bunker you are rewarded with a shorter shot to the green but if you fail and end up in the bunker you have practically no chance to go for the green on your second shot. Play away from the bunkers and you will be faced with a longer and more difficult shot to the green. Risk-reward, difficult par-easy bogey.
It is, however, the water that will make or break your day in Luisita. Water will come into play in twelve of the 18 holes so you will have to lose your fear of water. The par 3s are protected by water and the Seventeenth hole is a legend in Philippine golf where you will have to play over 2 ponds to get to the green. This par 3 hole leaves an indelible mark on anyone who has played Luisita.