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My Favorite Golf Courses - Sherwood Hills Golf Club


It is no surprise that Sherwood Hills Golf Club holds a special place on the list of my favorite golf courses in the Philippines. Sherwood Hills is a two-time winner of the Golf Digest Architectural Award, so there are many that share my sentiments.

Of the three signature Jack Nicklaus courses in the country, it is Sherwood Hills that holds the Golden Bear’s favor.

The great one was in the country on one of his site visits to his twin courses at Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club, when Freddy Campos asked Nicklaus to visit a nearby site. The supposed concept for the golf course was a 27-hole layout with one nine each designed by each of the big three; Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Nicklaus himself.

After touring the property on the back of a flatbed truck with Campos, Nicklaus turned to him and offered to cut his fee in half if Campos allowed him to design the entire golf course. A deal was struck, and the resulting golf course is a stunner. It’s not flashy or meticulously landscaped, but it’s a player’s track.

Nicklaus could see the golf course lying there just waiting to be uncovered. The land on which the golf course sits was a natural for a championship golf course.

The par fours are its strength – all but two are over 400-yards. The greens are small, and in typical Nicklaus fashion, sit at an angle to the intended approach shot which puts a premium on ball striking. All but one of the par fives are getable and offer the best chances for a birdie or better. The par threes are a good mix but sixteen is clearly the standout.

The greens seem relatively flat, but their subtle breaks require a deft touch and a good eye to figure out. This is a golf course that has no weaknesses and requires a complete game to play well.

It is also beautiful in its simplicity. Nicklaus dubbed it an “inland links”. It makes the most of the natural terrain and uses indigenous flora to best effect. The club matches its natural beauty with superb playing conditions.  

It presents the golfer with superb variety. No two holes are even remotely alike. Each is presented wonderfully; many seem to be set in their own little corner of the property. The short holes present tantalizing challenges - given the right conditions and from the appropriate tee, both are drivable but will penalize you severely if you go astray.

The two closing holes on either nine hold the most notoriety as they are the two hardest holes on the course. But to my mind, seventeen is the gem – a 447-yard double dogleg to a heavily guarded green. It is an incredibly beautiful hole of golf.

It is easy to babble on about every hole here; the golf course is that good. It deserves every accolade it has received and a special place on my shortlist.

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