SUBIC BAY, The Philippines -- Anvaya Cove, the first leisure residential project from Filipino development giants Ayala Land Inc., has scheduled a December grand opening for the highly anticipated Anvaya Cove Golf & Sports Club, a members club whose 18-hole Golfplan design many view as a "coming of age" golf project for The Philippines and its fast-growing economy.
Located 2 hours west of Manila, on extraordinary seaside property south of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Anvaya Cove Golf & Sports Club was sited, designed and constructed with clear ambitions -- not merely to be the nation's best course, but the first Filipino course to be considered truly world-class.
The foundation of any such ambitions is enabled by the natural terrain and location. At Anvaya Cove, the property's 3.5 kilometers of coastline, 130 meters of elevation change, and long, sweeping views across Subic Bay to the mountains of Bataan all meet or exceed the elite standard.
"Course architects are somewhat obliged to talk about how wonderful the client's property is, but Anvaya Cove requires no such lip service," says Golfplan partner Kevin Ramsey, whose firm has designed more than 150 courses in 60 different countries, including The Club at Nine Bridges, in South Korea, one of only four Asian courses ranked on GOLF Magazine's World Top 100 -- and the only one to be built after 1940.
"This is the best site I've ever seen or worked upon, and I expect the finished 18 at Anvaya to be the highlight of my career. It takes about 10 minutes on site to appreciate just how special the terrain is," Ramsey continued. "What makes it special are the distinct environments golfers will experience: High grasslands atop the ridges; tropical rainforest on the inland portions; holes right on the beach and others perched on bluffs 40 meters directly above the surf with 180-270 degree views of the West Philippine Sea and the mountains across the bay to Bataan. The mountains frame everything, yet the ocean is so close -- visible from everywhere on site."
Golfplan's tour-de-force design is the centerpiece of Anvaya Cove's 470-hectare development, an exclusive residential community of stately homes nestled in distinct and secluded tropical neighborhoods. Ayala Land Inc., the country's most trusted and accomplished real estate developer, is the force behind Anvaya Cove, just as Ayala Land was the commercial development force behind Makati, Manila's premier business and lifestyle district. The firm has also developed several of the country's most sought-after residential projects (developed under the Ayala Land Premier brand) and a pair of new luxury hotels in the capital, the Fairmont Makati and The Raffles Makati.
The same economic forces that fuel Ayala Land's growth have primed the Philippine economy as a whole. During the last decade, the government here has matched or exceeded International Monetary Fund recommendations, thereby capitalizing on the nation's economically favorable demographic growth potential: Here is a nation with the youngest population age and most historically stable fertility rate in Asia. It has paid down debt and its gross domestic product has grown to one of the highest in the region. In the first quarter of 2013, the economy here posted GDP growth of 2.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. Year on year, the GDP expanded by 7.8 percent, the fastest growth rate since the second quarter of 2010.
Goldman Sachs estimates that by the year 2050, the Philippines will be the 14th largest economy in the world. Goldman Sachs also included the Philippines in its list of the Next Eleven economies. According to HSBC, the Philippine economy will become the 16th largest economy in the world, 5th largest economy in Asia and the largest economy in the Southeast Asian region by 2050.
The Philippine economy remains robust thanks to the ardent construction of transportation, energy, water and sanitation infrastructure. All of these help explain the success of real estate ventures like Anvaya Cove -- and complement the inherent potential for golf growth here, where English is widely spoken and strong Spanish/American cultural ties suit the game's Western heritage.
And lest we forget, this is an equatorial archipelago bathed in tropical temperatures and boasting more stunning coastline than any country in the region.
Anvaya Cove is Ayala Land Premier's first venture into leisure development, and the debut has been auspicious. The Seascape Ridge and Sea Breeze Verandas are elegant in their design yet highly unobtrusive -- virtually invisible from each other and the golf course itself.
"Anvaya doesn't feel like a real estate development," Ramsey said. "Standing on the 5th tee, there are houses right there -- but you don't see them or feel them for the thickness of the vegetation. Even the way they've woven the roadways through the site, saving specimen dita and cuphon trees between the lanes... These sound like small things, but they add up to something organic and striking."
Anvaya Cove boasts a striking Beach and Nature Club complete with two restaurants, a water sports pavilion and pool complex. Though they are essentially two clubs in one location, members of the Anvaya Cove Golf & Sports Club enjoy the amenities at both clubs.
"Our first priority in developing Anvaya Cove Golf & Sports Club is to residential homeowners. It's to follow-through on Ayala Land's promise to enhance and secure the investment those homeowners, Filipinos and foreign nationals, have made in Anvaya Cove," said Paolo Viray, Project Development Manager of Anvaya Cove. "That said, it's always been clear to us the property at Anvaya Cove would produce a golf course of extraordinary quality. This is one reason we saw fit to retain Kevin Ramsey and Golfplan -- they have proven with Nine Bridges that, given the proper terrain and support, they can produce golf courses of the highest possible quality.
"With a great deal of effort, environmental deliberation and Kevin's skill, we feel we've done exactly that here at Anvaya Cove. We are most proud of the finished golf product and we want to share the experience with traveling golfers who value that optimum experience. We cannot wait for the grand opening."