A jewel in the rough. That perhaps is the best way to describe the Royal Northwoods Golf Club. Located in the rice field confines in the quiet town of San Rafael, Bulacan, this golf course has more than meets the eye.
As a project conceptualized and built by the Northwoods Realty and Development Corporation, operation of the golf course first started with only nine holes last 1999. To the acclaim of many, the course then expanded into an 18 hole challenge by the year 2001. Since then, several notable tournaments have been held in the course, with ICTI tourneys as occasional and well-attended highlights.
Being a so-called “jewel in the rough”, it’ll take literal perseverance to get to this place. As compared to southern metro golf courses (wherein most player tend to point their clubs toward to, and perhaps because where most investors/players are based at), the Royal Northwoods has to make with its location. However, according to its Operation Manager, Ireneo Marcelo, recent road improvements (with the new Mindanao exit in the North Expressway) and the addition of a new hotel in the club’s vicinity has made visiting this place a truly memorable moment. Also, the greens speak for themselves – natural beauty and challenging plays are expected in this course, making this place a must visit for golfers to test their mettle.
Even though the Royal Northwoods golf course is considered relatively short (6,989 yards) as compared to its contemporary courses in the country, overlooking its main features is definitely a no-no. The bunkers are not only large and deep, but they are also placed in such a way that can intimidate even the most professional golfers. Aside from the that, the greens can also be difficult to read, especially with all their subtle humps and spaces. Be sure to prepare yourself well when you take on this course as it is a mix of pure pleasure and pain.
Here are some of the holes that you should look forward to when you play at the Royal Northwoods golf course:
The course welcomes you with the most difficult hole– the 417- yard par 4 second hole. With only 1 handicap, this hole needs a perfect drive if you want to overcome it and be on your way to a great scoring round. A water hazard awaits if you hit too far left; while giant bamboos block the the view of the green if you hit too far to the right. And with a stream running across the fairway, you’re definitely in for a challenging treat.
You’ll think the previous holes a breather once you get to the ninth. This unforgiving 427-yard par must be played a little over thirty yards uphill and overcome the strong winds.
Be sure not to miss the right shots when you play the thirteenth hole. This 520-yard par 5 hole features an enormous acacia tree that can be your biggest enemy if you are not able to drive perfectly. A small stream running across the fairway almost in front of the green, is unseen from the fairway, also adding to the excitement in playing this hole.
With a stream crossing the fairway, from the tees up to the front of the green, fourteen is indeed a beautiful hole- perhaps the most beautiful one in the entire course. You get to access the green with the old-fashioned bridges made from old railroad ties. However, see to it that you make a good tee shot if you want to avoid the large bamboos bordering the stream.
Considered as the designer’s signature hole, eighteen is a short uphill, par 4 hole that lets you end the round in the most exciting and fashionable way. It has its unique features, mainly the banana trees growing in one of the corners of the huge bunker placed in the dogleg. The two-tiered green can be a little tricky so be sure to read it well to have a good score.
Visitors not only get one of the best golfing experiences in the country at the Royal Northwoods Golf Club. The clubhouse amenities are specifically designed to provide easy-access and manageable time, just so players can get the most out of their visit. Sporting a Mediterranean look, one can easily feel in his or her most relaxed state in here.
A key highlight, just like Mr. Marcelo mentioned, is the inclusion of a hotel in the club’s vicinity. The El Masfino, a first-class escape from the confines of the busy metro, provides visitors not only the best in overnight stays, but also as a venue for all sorts of activities. One can get a dip in the cool swimming pool, or enjoy a relaxing massage by the open-air spa huts by the pool side. For an even more extreme adventure, Mr. Marcelo suggested trying out the dune buggy trail – a fast-thrilling relieve from a good round of golf!
(We would like to thank Mr. Ireneo Marcelo. the club’s Operations Manager for accommodating us during the interview and for providing substantial information about The Royal Northwoods Golf Club.)