For over forty years, designers from the famous Jones firm of golf architects have been working on golf projects in the Philippines. The first course in their Filipino portfolio was the Luisita, which opened in 1967, followed by the Canlubang and Calatagan layouts in the late 1970s.
After a break from designing courses in the Philippines during the 1980s, the Joneses returned in style during the 1990s, unveiling stellar layouts at Sta Elena and Pueblo de Oro. Robert Trent Jones II then rounded off four decades of design in the region with the introduction of Ayala Greenfield in 2005 and Summit Point in 2006.
The 36-hole complex here at Canlubang was carved from a former sugar plantation and it opened in 1976 when the North course debuted, followed a year later by its slightly shorter sibling, the South. Both layouts offer fantastic views of the Sierra Madres and Laguna Bay and their wide, fairways wind their way across ravines and skirt past man-made lakes.
The two differing courses have been described on a Philippine golfing blog as “man and woman”. The North is the slightly longer layout, which uses the natural lie of the land to great effect. The shorter South course, on the other hand, is a replica design, which plays in the foothills of the Sierra Madres and benefits from exciting changes in elevation, panoramic views and coconut palm-lined fairways.
If you are lucky enough to visit Canlubang Golf & Country Club we recommend you play both courses as they are perhaps the finest pair of RTJ II creations in the country.
The North Course is in my opinion the more difficult of the Canlubang tracks. Although it is not monstrously long, sound strategy and shot-making skills are needed to score well.
RTJ really knew what he was doing in designing this coconut lined masterpiece. You will use all the clubs in your bag, as well as all the shots. There are a number of doglegs and positioning is the key. It is a scenic track (although not as scenic as the South Course) with good uninterrupted views of the countryside.
Despite sometime spotty conditions and hardpan bunkers, the course is always an absolute joy to play. Rarely crowded, it makes for a most relaxing round of golf.
Tip: If it's your first time, ignore your instincts and listen to your caddy when putting. Balls here seemingly break the laws of physics due to the aggressive grain.
Tip2: Although it is a private club, they do accept walk-ins. Member accompanied guests have a much cheaper rate.