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Golf's Unsung Heroes : Sta. Barbara's Master of the Greens - Yeng Palabrica

Golf is a sport that usually attracts much of the attention to the players.  Even here in the Philippines, we have our share of stars and rising stars.  For this weekend article of Play It Right, we draw the spotlight to the unsung heroes who make the stars shine. 

We're putting the spotlight on the guys who are Masters of the Greens in a different way.  In Iloilo's Santa Barbara Golf Club, the master of the greens is Yeng Palabrica.

Born Hernee Gift Palabrica, in Passi, Iloilo in 1990, Yeng began his studies in San Enrique Central School, and the Central Philippine University Development High School.

As he stepped into college, he took up Environmental Science for two years at the Central Philippines University.  However, with certain obstacles with his studies, he had to transfer to the Iloilo State College of Fisheries - San Enrique Campus (ISCOF-SEC) where he finished a degree in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Crop Science. 

After receiving his degree, Yeng went to the Goducate Training Center, an NGO in Iloilo province where he worked as an agriculturist for one year.   This was where an opportunity opened up for him.   Yeng had been chosen to train in the United States of America through the Worldwide International Student Exchange (WISE Foundation).

Yeng Palabrica in training at the Carolina Golf Club.

Yeng in Washington DC, taking a quick break from work at the Carolina Golf Club.

Smoothing out the greens

From March 2015 - December 2015 Yeng was trained in turf management in the US as hosted by Carolina Golf Club in partnership with Fairway Solutions.  The chance to work at the Carolina Golf Club (est. 1929) opened this young man's eyes to the world of golf and saw how he could best use his God-given talents in agriculture for the fairways.

While in Carolina, Yeng received praises from the Certified Golf Course Superintendent of the CGC, Mr. Matthew Wharton for the various tasks he had done at the club.

Yeng went back to Passi in January 2016 but it was not easy to apply what he had learned in the US.  So he kept himself busy some rice, sugarcane and doing some vermiculture.

After 9 months of doing so, Yeng was finally able to discover the Pinoygolfer Facebook Group and made his intro there.  He also applied at Iloilo's Sta Barbara club and on November 2016, was hired as an extra.

With his dedication and perseverance, he was hired on April 2017 as a regular employee with the position of Asst. Ground Supervisor.

Fast forward to 2018, the Iloilo club awarded Yeng with a plaque for his excellence in greenskeeping which was highlighted during that year's  “Bamboo Tee” .

Today, Yeng Palabrica is now the Operations Officer and Head Greens Keeper of the Iloilo Golf and Country Club, the oldest golf course in Philippines built by English and Scottish expatriates in 1907! 

So when you are out playing at Santa Barbara, remember, it's Yeng, the Millennial Agriculturist who sets the stage for you to enjoy your game.  


Photo by Yeng Palabrica, Head Greens Keeper of Iloilo Golf Club.

Photo by Yeng Palabrica, Head Greens Keeper of Iloilo Golf Club.

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