Architect Kevin Ramsey of Golfplan is putting the finishing touches to the first nine holes of his course at Anvaya Cove in the Philippines.
The holes on the course, which is being developed by Manila firm Ayala Land, will be grown-in and ready for play by the end of 2011. The second nine will begin construction so soon as the front nine is finished.
“Architects are somewhat obliged to talk about how wonderful their client's property is, but Anvaya Cove requires no such lip service. This is the best site I've ever worked on, full stop, and I expect the finished eighteen here to be the highlight of my career,” said Ramsey. “This is a singular piece of terrain, and it takes about ten minutes on site to gain that understanding. The mountains frame everything and the ocean is so close. The golf holes we've created both sweep down to the beach and sit high above the surf, on exposed bluffs, with 180 degree views of the Pacific and the mountains across the bay to Bataan.”
The development schedule at Anvaya has been deliberate. The ownership has dictated that during construction, no more than two holes may have exposed soil at any one time, to avoid the threat of soil erosion in the rainforest environment. When all is said and done, Ramsey reckons this unusually careful approach will add a full year to the construction process.
“Green golf course design and environmentally sensitive course construction are easy to talk about but difficult to do,” he said. “Time is money, and the longer this course takes to build and grow in, the longer the developer must wait to sell memberships, tee times and housing shares. So I applaud Ayala for its patience and far-sighted approach. Consider the road design: they are splitting the roadways in many locations across the resort, creating one-way loops that save individual trees and create more narrow, less intrusive the right-of-ways. Where trees have been impacted, they have made a huge commitment to replanting those trees — the largest I've seen on any resort project that I know of. They talk the talk, and walk the walk.”
Ramsey reckons highlights of the holes that have already taken shape include the par five second and the one shot eighth. “The design evolves as you play it,” he said. “It fits together as one piece. The front nine starts out going toward the mountains, heads to the sea, then changes character as it travels back to the clubhouse through several micro-climates: grasslands, rain forest, ridge tops. The back nine is different: immediately dramatic. It heads directly from the clubhouse to the coast. I won't call them signature holes, but people will remember 11-13. The eleventh is a short, driveable par four that plays along the cliffs above Anvaya Cove, while the twelfth is a long par four that sweeps right down to the beach. We're talking wind and sea spray on your cheeks!”