SINCE I collect bag tags, the first thing I did when I set foot last week at South Links was to ask for one from the locker roomboy.
“We don’t have it,” he said. “Sorry, sir.”
I went to the pro shop. None, too.
Located in Alabang, Muntinlupa, along Daang Hari, South Links is a golf course of modest edifice and bereft of elitist features.
And yet, it is owned by the wealth-wrapped Ayalas of Forbes Park/Alabang Village fame.
Compared to the Ayalas’ state-of-the-art golf courses in Laguna (Ayala Heights) and Bataan (Anvaya), South Links is what you may call the “poor man’s golf course.”
But be warned.
South Links possesses out-of-this-world characteristics that mostly defy conventions.
“This is a golf course that has broken virtually all the rules on how to properly maintain a golf course,” said Joe Dagdagan, the no-nonsense sergeant major turned golf course manager.
He was just being honest.
The par-72 layout sits on a tiny 19-hectare prime lot, which is literally a spitting distance away from the booming and bustling Alabang Center.
Stunningly, the course subsists on only 20 percent of its water needs all year round. And yet, its teeing grounds and greens look evergreen 365 days a year—with big help from a friendly creek nearby. And, amazingly, the fringes feel like carpet walking on them.
Each front part of a fairway is brown, unwatered grass, stretching almost 150 yards.
It makes sense since that patch of land is out of play, anyway.
Because of Joe D’s innovative approaches, South Links has won as “The Most Sustainable, Environment-Friendly Course in Asia” three astounding straight years.
Was I glad Tey Sornet, the nation’s genius in vehicle business operations from Calatagan, Batangas, invited me to his birthday golf last week.
I would have missed unearthing South Links’ beauty hidden in the wilderness of Alabang.
Because of its immense trees, I told Joe D: “Why don’t we rename it the Ipil-Ipil Golf Course?”
“Why not?” he said. “But first, come back.”
Sure. Joe D’s papaitan (goat innards soup from Bong Ramos’ kitchen) is world-class.