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Forest Hills Palmer Course


The Palmer Course at Forest Hills provides a suitable compliment to the Nicklaus Course. It's not as long or as difficult. What sets it apart is the terrain on which it sits.

Situated on one of the hilliest parts of the Forest Hills property, the Palmer course winds up and around the hills above the opening nine of the Nicklaus Course.  The Palmer Course relies on clever design and diabolically fast greens to provide resistance to scoring. The fairways are narrow and precise placement of the golf ball off the tee is imperative here. This is a golf course on which you’ll have to think your way around.

It is the newest of the King's designs in the country. With Palmer's passing, the course represents his last signature design in the Philippines. It's a design worth of his legend; there are a many memorable holes here.

Five is a simple hole on the face of it. The fairway is a long way below the tee box and only part of it is visible from the tee. The best line is over part of the forest canopy but you challenge the hazard in doing so. The fairway is ringed by the hazard so it’s essential to keep your ball in the fairway. Having found the fairway, the next task is to club appropriately for the approach into the elevated green. This green sits at an oblique angle to your approach. Only be best shots will hold, those less than perfect will trundle off the back.

Six is a gorgeous par four. A good drive up the left side of the fairway just over the right side of the bunker there will put you in the mayor’s office, the perfect place from which to attack the flag. The rolling fairway gives you a great look at the green framed by bunkers and the forest beyond.

The first and last holes of the inward nine on the Palmer Course are cosseted in the most scenic part of the golf course. The juxtaposition of forest habitat with manicured fairway are a visual feast from the elevated tee box. What an appropriate setting to begin and end nine holes of golf.

They both a challenge to play. Both start from elevated tees and play to elevated greens. The difference is that number ten plays uphill all the way while eighteen does not. They are not only gorgeous but they will test your skills. The three finishing holes present the gauntlet; the true test of this golf course. 

Sixteen is a Rubik's cube of a golf hole. The relatively short par five shows you just a sliver of fairway from the tee box. The tree in the fairway marks a pond placed surreptitiously in the middle of the fairway. You'll need to carry two hazards with your second shot to mount an assault on the elevated green.

Seventeen is the true test here. At 447-yards long, it was always going to be a handful but having to play over a ravine to the green while unsighted puts the degree of difficulty of this hole off the scale. It is a ludicrously difficult hole for the amateur. If you have your wits about you, you'll play defensively here. 

Eighteen is an incredibly beautiful hole. The elevated tee shot looks confining as the fairway is ringed with trouble but as with so many holes here, finding the short grass is just the first part of the task - the green sits well above the fairway and demands another forced carry over one of the catch ponds.

I have a special affinity for mountain courses, never mind the difficulties which they present. They offer you the chance to play some amazing shots, both off the tee and coming into the greens. The greens are often difficult but nothing that you can't get used to. The Palmer Course at Forest Hills serves as a great example of the genre.

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