Ayala Greenfield Golf and Leisure Club World class from the ground up
By Mike Besa – FEBRUARY 4, 2017

When the Ayala Group starts something, rest assured the end-product will be world class. Ayala Greenfield Estates is a perfect example of this vision. The Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course is serviced by a clubhouse that redefines the amenities one should come to expect from an exclusive club for residents. The structure was designed by Architect Ruben Payumo, and utilizes indigenous materials to stand in harmony with the tranquil Laguna landscape. The feel of the clubhouse is more that of a luxurious home than one of a private club.

One of the undisputable requisites for a great golf course is a great piece of land to build it on, and Ayala Greenfield Golf and Leisure Club is set on one of the most picturesque sites in the country. Set at the foot of the majestic Mount Makiling on the border of Calamba, Laguna, and Santo Tomas, Batangas, the property features some of the most majestic views of the storied mountain and some of the most unique holes in Philippine golf.

Most courses are designed to appeal to a particular golfer profile. Most amenity or resort courses are designed more for recreation than competition. And rightly so; most golfers are out for a good time with their friends, loved ones or business partners. The majority of them are less concerned about the game and more about the quality of the experience on the course. This golfer profile far outnumbers serious golfers in any market.

But such a course will quickly lose its novelty as the golfer improves. All golfers will, at some point in their golfing lives, look to challenge themselves on the links. It might be the result of playing more regularly or the benefits derived from lessons and a rededication to the game. It is here where most resort courses fall short and Ayala Greenfield Estates begins to shine.

Though the course is short overall, it is not without holes that will bedevil all that come to play. The three opening holes are all birdie chances for the more accomplished golfer. They are short and offer ample opportunities to score. The course tightens up on holes 4 and 5; both of which require long, accurate shots off the tee to put the oneself in scoring position. After a quick respite on the short par-3 6th, the three finishing holes on the front nine are testy, requiring precise placement from tee to green.

It is on the inward nine on holes 13, 14 and 15 are where Ayala Greenfield Golf and Leisure Club comes into its own. These three holes are the course’s own Amen Corner. All three holes are beautiful, and will thrill and challenge the golfer at the same time. Thirteen is a 563-yard par 5 that plays steadily uphill. Because of this it feels longer than its published yardage. The tee shot from the golf tees requires a carry of 220 yards just to get to the fairway. Playing the forward tees significantly lowers the degree of difficulty, but does nothing to diminish the beauty of this golf hole. The green is set in the buxom of the mountain at the top of the hill and will, thus, play blind from the fairway below.

Fourteen is a 197-yard par 3 that features a drop of about a hundred feet from tee to green and plays over water all the way to the green. A bailout area right sits there for those weak of constitution, but you’re giving up at least one stroke to par from there. It is a stunning golf hole. I would be perfectly content to picnic on the tee and survey the hole with a bottle of fine wine and properly aged cheese.

Fifteen is the hardest hole on the course; a 480-yard beast of a par four from the tips. It is also one of the most beautiful holes on the golf course. The tee shot plays over water to a narrow fairway running diagonally away from you, challenging you to take on as much of the water hazard as you dare. Bailing out to the left is not without its hazards; the rain forest just beyond the cart path that borders the fairway is out of bounds. If these holes don’t get your pulse going, you’re probably dead. Of course, if you don’t feel like challenging yourself, playing one of the forward tees changes the complexion of these holes, altogether.

It is a rare course that can challenge the low handicap golfers and provide pleasurable recreation for everyone else. Shot memorability here is high as is the course’s resistance to scoring from the appropriate tees. The serenity and beauty of the golf course is off the charts matched by few courses in the country today. The only beef I have with the course is that it’s not easy to walk but it’s a minor complaint when contrasted by the variety of shots and the beauty of the terrain that you get to play.

Ayala Greenfield Golf and Leisure Club is the complete package combining beauty and playability; a tribute to the genius of Jones and his crew and to the vision of Ayala Land Inc.