It’s the stuff golfing legends are made of – being part of the talented PGA, that is. Though none of us may actually be part of such a prestigious tourney, we can all experience the next best thing. And that of course, is no other than playing at the Orchard Golf and Country Club.
Managed by Sta. Lucia Realty, the club first started construction at a Cavite mango orchard in 1991. By November 1994, two all-weather courses were opened. With each course designed by legends themselves, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer, Orchard really meant to introduce a challenging playing field for the local golfing scene.
And legendary can very well be the best word to describe the course. Just a year later after the courses were opened, the club hosted the Johnnie Walker Classic tournament. PGA players such as Nick Faldo, Freddie Couples, Greg Norman, and others too many to mention flocked the greens and showed the Philippines how golf should be played.
Perhaps this is what makes the Orchard Golf and Country Club a top golfing destination in the Philippines. Local golf giants, celebrities and politicans – most notably the former Philippines president, Fidel V. Ramos – are members and known patrons of the club.. Premier golfing can only be expected and gained when one visits the place. Coupled with the wonderful natural terrain of Cavite, with the intensive course management of its staff, only an epic game can result visiting the place, that every golfer should experience.
Palmer Course, with its well defined fairways, is indeed a championship course– requiring accuracy and does not favor any particular shot. Playing at this course will never be a bore as there are no easy holes and it is filled with strategically placed water hazards and sandtraps.
Even the opening tee proves that Palmer is indeed a championship course. You have to make a blind shot over a hill for your tee shot. The fairways leads to an extremely undulated green, heavily bunkered in every possible angle.
Four is one of the signature holes on the course, as this 470-yard one handicap hole needs a great drive to reach the green, with a cross bunker about 30 yards away from it.
Six is also Palmer’s signature hole, considered as the second hardest hole on the front side. It may be a short 509 yard par 5 hole, but playing it can sure be challenging. Not only it doglegs to the left, but the green is also heavily bunkered.
Accuracy, especially on your tee shot, is the key to playing eight. Well placed shot will bring you to the corner of the dogleg, rolling down just on the front of a small pond guarding the green.
When playing ten, always be wary of your approach shot as this is the most criticial. Reaching the green may prove to be quite difficult as this 405 yard hole has a green sitting a bit above the fairway– and there are no flat spots on it.
Thirteen is a perfectly stunning par 4 hole that has a little stream running right up to the bunker, with the green sloping from left to right.
The longest par 3 in the course, sixteen sure has the smallest green– and with the prevailing wind against it. This hole surely can be difficult.
The last hole is indeed the most difficult, the last frontier that will try to hinder the golfer in overcoming the course. This 583 yard par 5 hole is really exciting– it doglegs to the right along the seemingly never-ending water hazards, unti it reaches a heavily bunkered and elevated two tiered green.
It is such a waste to think that you should only play at the Player Course when the Palmer is not avaiable anymore– Player has its own distinct features, promising a different but equally memorable round of golf every time. Although it may be shorter than its neighbor course, every golfer still needs to bring his A-game to this course , as it requires good ball striking as well as proper course management.
With only 1 handicap, the 513-yard par 5 second hole of the Player course has its tough side. The approach shot has to be made on the right side of the fairway with three enormous bunkers, before reaching the green that more than 40-yards deep.
Always consider the wind when choosing the most appropriate club to use for the 208 yard par 3 fifth hole. Opt to play for a good chip and avoid the greenside bunkers.
Seven is another hole that challenges the player’s decision making when it comes to club selection. This hole doglegs to the left, just around a lake where you will be faced with an elevated green.
Ten is a beast; Playing this long and narrow par 5 hole is all about having the right position– but length especially for the tee and second shot are also important. Remember to avoid the huge bunker on the left of the fairway no matter what happens. The drive must make it to the right side of the fairway to have a chance to reach the tiny green.
Twelve is a short par 4 hole that will definitely put all your skills to the test. Your only chance to score on the small green is to make the second shot from a downhill, thus allowing you to a good approach.
One can enjoy the splendor of communing with nature in Orchard’s vicinity. As a designated bird and wildlife sanctuary, different flocks of birds are sure to delight visitors. The club’s location, particularly because of its access to the Daang Hari road, makes it just a sure-stop place to visit (just 45 minutes from Makati).
The club is also known for the cozy and modern ambiance of its facilities. The clubhouse’s restaurant, which is situated near the Palmer course, brings both a great view and food for guests. Cooling down couldn’t get much fresher with a half-sized Olympic swimming pool. Sports and fitness enthusiasts are definetely in for a treat, with a hardwood basketball court, a 12-lane bowling alley and indoor tennis courts to keep anyone busy.
As noted by its Golf Operations Manager, Francis Montallana, Orchard takes maintenance very seriously. Golf carts are well-maintained, with the latest models available for use. Also, the choice of grass for the courses can only mean gaming exclusivity for players. Mr. Montallana has also stated that renovations are constantly being done for the entire club, giving patrons a different and better experience each time they visit.
The Orchard Golf and Country Club enjoys a peak season from December to late March. Foreigners would often flock in, with the majority as Koreans, enjoying the many amenities that the club has to offer. Randy del Mundo, a field marshall who has been with the club for 6 years, said that almost up to 400 visitors would be in the club at any given weekend. Del Mundo, and the other staff of the club, has also shown that management has also been one of the main drawing points of the club. From caddies up to the board of directors, a sense of warm hospitality and professionalism can be gleamed from them.
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