Villamor GC ready for Masters return

Philippine Air Force Commander G Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas (right) with Col. Roelito Nolasco.

TRUE to the country’s premier air base’s catchword “LIPAD PAF,” the Villamor Golf Club (VGC) has soared to greater heights the past 11 months or so with a makeover that turned the quaint military layout not just into a top championship course but also a leading golfing destination.

No less than the country’s top pros have marveled at the transformation of the tight, challenging course into one true test of golf during the recent International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Villamor Match Play Invitational.

“It’s more than ready to stage the (Philippine) Masters again,” said Tony Lascuña, who ruled the men’s side of the first head-to-head clashes on the Philippine Golf (PGT) Tour calendar.

Through the initiative of Col. Roelito Nolasco, PAF, GSC (Ret.) who was re-appointed as adviser for administration, under PAF CG (Commanding General) Lt. Gen. Connor Anthony Canlas, the par-72 course and the entire VGC underwent a major facelift to the course and its infrastructure.

“If ICTSI will include the Philippine Masters in its future calendar of events, VGC will be more than glad to support it,” said Nolasco, hinting at the success of the recent ICTSI Villamor Match Play as prelude to the Masters return on the PGT schedule starting next year.

Long regarded as one of local golf’s versions of the four Majors, ICTSI and the PGT revived the PH Masters in 2017 after a 17-year wait with Clyde Mondilla claiming the top honors and Jerson Balasabas topping the 2018 edition via playoff over Dutch Guido Van der Valk.

Touring pros hope to see it again on the calendar next year.

To make VGC more challenging and be able to bring out the best and the worst from the weekend hackers, low handicappers and even the pros, Nolasco said they plan to adjust the height of the rough, relocate pin placements and tee markers, maintain the required thickness of the bunkers, and add sand traps, water hazards and trees.

Aside from bringing back the Masters to its home, plans are also afoot to make VGC an all-weather layout like most of the country’s premier championship courses with an eye on making night golf available in the future.

“Making the golf course playable at night is also on the agenda,” disclosed Nolasco while adding installing STP (Sewerage Treatment Plant) to prevent foul odors and putting up a water dam to prevent flooding are also on the plan, including procurement of additional equipment for dredging and regular maintenance.

As it is, VGC is already vastly improved after undergoing a facelift the last couple of years, including renovation of three washrooms and setting up of path walks on every hole, among others, with Col. Nolasco citing the full support of PAF CG Canlas to all the projects he had initiated to give VGC a fresh look.

“From No. 1 to 18, path walks were put up for easy access from the green to the next hole, especially when the ground is wet, and also, for aesthetic purposes,” said Nolasco, stressing that the safety of the players is VGC’s main concern.

Newly-designed tee and yardage markers were also installed on all tee mounds with highlight on the newly-acquired PAF planes. A siren has also been set up for immediate warning against any imminent danger or for emergency notification in the area with the other club structures, including the club house, driving range and tee houses, also undergoing rehabilitation.

VGC has also acquired new maintenance equipment to ensure the fairways are kept up to par with the other championship courses while additional golf carts were procured to meet the increasing demand from the players.

The current dispensation has likewise underscored its continuing commitment to look after the general welfare of the VGC caddies and umbrella girls by holding a fund-raiser recently.

“We organized the first Charity Golf Tournament last Sept. 12, 2022 and we were able to put up a welfare fund for the caddies and umbrella girls,” said Nolasco, whose project generated a gross of P1.012 million from sponsors and tickets sold.

“To help them pursue and support their education, the VGC accommodated these students as umbrella girls,” added Nolasco, who has also drawn the full backing of VGC general manager Col. Eric Gatchalian; VGC AGM Major Clinton Cabili; officers and enlisted personnel assigned to VGC; adviser for Operations BGen. Larry Tianchon; and all VGC personnel.

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