There are two golf courses laid out within the extensive residential and recreational complex at Tagaytay, Midlands and Highlands, each with its own clubhouse and membership.
In addition to the golf here, there are plenty of other sporting facilities for the non-golfer, including squash, badminton and tennis courts, a skating rink, go-kart circuit and horse riding ring.
Designed by the American architect Richard Bigler, the Highlands course is routed over challenging terrain that is largely characterised by dramatic changes in elevation – so much so, the club has installed a cable car system to help transport golfers from the 9th and 18th holes to the 1st and 10th tees.
Offering wonderful views of Taal Lake, Batangas Bay, Mount Makiling and Mount Banahaw, the fairways of the Highlands course weave round the contours of the rugged Tagaytay landscape, culminating in a back nine that throws up tough back-to-back par fives at holes 14 and 15 and an intimidating 150-yard carry across a gully to the home hole green.
Tagaytay Highlands GC is a very hilly resort course with severe elevations changes. Located 700 meters (2300 ft) above sea level, it is cooler than courses around Manila. The courses can be quite fun with some unusual courses and lots of elevation changes. Although the overall distance is short, many holes are narrow, and five man-made ponds, some bunkers, numerous valleys & hills will come into play. So accuracy, not distance, is the key to success at Tagaytay Highlands.
After playing good par-4 1st and par 3 2nd, par-4 3rd and par 5 4th are stunning downhillers. The two holes drops as much as 120 meters (400 ft). The remaining 5 holes in the front nine are fairly straightforward. The back 9 also has a lot of ups and downs and features two tough back-to-back par-5s, Fourteenth & Fifteenth. The routing is not that great as there are too many downhill holes, the difference in elevation between last and first holes of each nine is so huge, a gondola cable car lift will ferry players from 9th green to 10th tee. When the cable car is out of order, a big bus is a substitute.
The Par 3 197-yard 2nd is built on a narrow ridge with valleys on the left and right. The green has drop-offs on both sides and an errant shot has a possibility of rolling down to the valley beyond. Hiding in the forest in front, you can't see the left side of the green off the tee sloping from back to front. The actual distance is much longer because of the uphill. The par 5 533-yard 4th is a slight dogleg with the very demanding tee shot. The green drops nearly 100 meters from the teeing ground where the fairway looks very narrow with the hazards both sides. In fact, the landing area off the tee is tight and the tee shot has an option anything from a driver to a seven iron. With the long & accurate tee shot, you can hit the green in two shots probably with an iron. When you decide to lay up, the landing area is tight as with trees and bushes on both sides. The green is wide and protected by two bunkers in the front. Tagaytay Highlands is not the course you would want to play every day, but sometimes you would like to play this hilly course to enjoy 360-degree panoramic views including Lake Taal in the cool air. To read more about the course at Tagaytay Highlands GC, click here to visit my website.
Very scenic mountain course with extreme(!!!!) elevation changes and a lot of blind shots. The terrain is so extreme that a golf cart is mandatory to make your way around. It can get plenty windy too, especially on 1 and 10. Tough the first time you play it, but gets a lot easier once you learn where you should hit it. Shorter than it looks.
Its a love it or hate it type of track that can get a bit gimmicky at times. But as long as you see it for what it is (and don't really spray your shots) you will have a good time.