GOLF FOR LEISURE. The Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club to open soon.
MANILA, Philippines – Over my less than mediocre golfer career, I’ve played a lot of golf courses - from the USD20 public courses around the American Northeast to the site of the famous 2008 US Open, Torrey Pines (South) in San Diego. Visiting and being able to see first hand the architectural beauties of different golf courses around the world is often more enjoyable than actually playing. Because no matter how terrible my golf game is, nothing can compare to being outdoors amongst the trees and fresh grass hacking up the fairways. I have hundreds of courses on my bucket list that I hope to one-day play. Filtering it down, here is my top-10, if time and money are not an issue that is.
10. Pine Valley, USA
Rated the number one course in the world by Golf Magazine in 2012 and 2013, Pine Valley is situated in my home state of New Jersey and one of the most difficult to get a tee time to. Exclusive to only club members (1,000 only) and invited guests, Pine Valley is all about the golf, and thus has no swimming pools, tennis courts or large banquet halls. Considered one of the more difficult courses in the world, Pine Valley’s fairways and greens are guarded by sand, rough, dense pine trees, water, and steep falloffs. A full round is said to require players to use every club in their bag. Pine Valley is said to be both physically and mentally challenging and a must play, that is if you can a way on.
9. Mission Hill, China
Had trouble picking just one course so I went with the whole lot. Mission Hill Shenzhen, the largest golf facility in the world, features 11 championships courses and a 18 hole par-3, which were all designed by famous golf personalities, including: Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Annika Sorenstam, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo, and David Leadbetter. Property owners, The Mission Hills Company, recently opened a second facility called Mission Hill Haikou on Hainan Island, which just played host to a private one-on-one tournament between world number 1, Tiger Woods, and his fellow Nike endorser, Rory McIlroy. My dream one day is to take a break from work for a month and play all 33 courses.
I have yet to travel to Australia but if, no, when I do, I’m begging my way into the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Host to the 1998 and 2011 Presidents Cup, the West course’s beauty is in its simplicity. A relatively short course at just over 6,000 yards from the blue tees, Royal Melbourne’s design features bold contours and dramatic sandhills and bunkers. Wide, sweeping fairways are said to make it fun for hacks like me yet challenging for low handicappers who will need precision short iron shots to get it close to the flags.
Who wouldn’t want to play on an 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course situated on a remote island off the coast of Africa? Designed by Bernhard Langer, Le Touessrok was ranked one of the top-10 best golf courses in the world by Golf World Magazine and one of my top-10 dream courses to one day play. A short boat ride from the hotel is required to get to the course. Once there, lush greens and picturesque scenery comprised of endless ocean, jungle mangroves and background volcanoes will accompany you throughout the round.
Designed by Greg Norman, Jumeirah – Earth is considered the best golf course in Dubai and was host to this year’s DP World Tour Championship. Super long at 7,675 yards, the course features greens and fairways manicured to perfection and way too many bunkers – 102 in total and all long and deep! I hate bunkers but am adamant about playing golf in the UAE so this will remain on my list until Jumeirah’s Wind course, which is said to be even better, opens in a few years.
Voted by ABC News as one of the top golf resorts in the region, Kawana is often referred to as the Pebble Beach of Asia. Its two courses are built along the red cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with the majestic Fuji Mountain in the background. With undulating fairways and elevated plateau greens guarded by thick woodlands, Kawana is a tough course so I’ll be sure to bring lots of balls when I manage to save up enough money to afford the expensive USD300+ per round greens fees.
Legend Golf and Safari Resort is an environmentally friendly championship golf course in the open plains of South Africa. The world-class course is one of the longest in the world at 7,700+ yards and features flowing fairways and grassland and strategic bunkers and rolling greens. Each of the 18 holes were designed by a notable professional golfer, including: Justin Rose, Colin Montgomerie, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk. Perhaps what intrigues me and every other wannabe longball hitter is the extra hole. The Extreme 19th hole is the highest and longest par-3 in the world at just over 900 yards. The tee box is set 470 yards up at the top of Hanglip Mountain and is only accessible by helicopter. A gimmick hole but the nevertheless, something I NEED to do!
This is one course in Asia I've been longing to play. Expected to have its grand launch member's only event this December, Anvaya Cove is Ayala Land Premier's seaside residential community in Morong, Bataan. In addition to a full beach and nature club, the golf club features a par 72, 18-hole, all-weather 7,000+ yards championship golf course designed by master golf course architect, Kevin Ramsey, of the California-based architecture firm Golf Plan Inc. This golf course represents the best of both world -- from stunning sea views, mountain ridges and the property's own lush open space. The signature is a long par 4 12th hole aptly called "Intensity" plays downhill across the fairway and down Anvaya's private beach. The course encourages golf play across all ages and genders with multiple tee boxes making it a perfect place to take the entire family. Though I'm not a family man (yet), I'm a big supporter of junior golf. Anvaya Cove is said to be exclusive to members only so I must find some new friends I can play with when this beauty opens.
One of the oldest golf courses in the world, the Old Course at St. Andrews is considered by many to be the birthplace of golf where the sport was founded in the early 1400s. I’ve always wanted to play an original links course and St. Andrews is by far the most famous of them all. Frequent host to the Open Championship, the greens are massive and often blend seamlessly with the fairways. Probably the most iconic feature of the course is its massive 10ft deep bunkers. I’m always told that every gung-ho golfer needs to play at least one round at St. Andrews. I am no exception and will definitely find myself walking over the iconic Swilcan Bridge one of these days all while speaking in a fake Scottish accent for added effect.
Augusta National is one of, if not, the most famous golf course in the world synonymous with the annual Masters Tournament – the only Major Championship that returns to the same course every year. Tiger, Palmer, Player, Nicklaus, and Sneed’s illustrious careers were all solidify with wins at Augusta. For many, the coveted green jacket is the be-all end-all in golf. I MUST play here before I die. Only problem is that Augusta has only 300 members at any given time and they’re all top players…. If anyone reading this is tight with Bill Gates or Condoleezza Rice, contact me!
Will Hsu is an economics graduate from Tufts University who worked in finance before relocating to Manila in 2006 to chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He currently manages a public relations agency and in his spare time can usually be found landscaping the local golf courses with his 7-iron. Track his golf woes on his Instagram account and at www.mulligang.com.
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