When the greens turn gray

When the greens turn gray

Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2020 - 12:00am

Top golf courses bear brunt of taal’s wrath

MANILA, Philippines — A number of championship golf courses south of Metro Manila were forced to temporarily close operations after Taal Volcano’s eruption last Sunday rendered the venues unplayable or roads leading to them impassable, affecting hundreds of caddies, workers and personnel.

Tagaytay Highlands, Summit Point in Lipa, Batangas, Riviera in Silang, Cavite, Sta. Elena in Cabuyao, Laguna, Canlubang Golf and Manila Southwoods in Carmona, Cavite were among those hit while maintenance personnel of Taal Splendido in Laurel, Batangas, Ayala Greenfield in Calamba, Laguna, The Country Club in Sta. Rosa, Eagle Ridge in Gen. Trias, Cavite, and Alabang Golf Club in Muntinlupa were doing round-the-clock cleanup the past two days.

Highlands, which includes the Midlands and Lucky 9 courses, has been severely hit by the ashfall for its proximity to the “crater lake,” which can be seen from the ridge or highlands of Tagaytay.

As per Highlands advisory, electricity was shut off with the volcanic ash measured at one-inch level from the ground and only four-wheel drive vehicles allowed to pass. Club facilities were also closed and employees, guests and Highlands/Midlands residents were stranded Monday.

Southwoods, on the other hand, has advised its members that “due to the volcanic ash and course conditions, the club championship qualifying set today (Wednesday) has been postponed until Jan. 22.”

The qualifying on Sunday will push through subject to any further volcanic effect on Southwoods.

The volcano spewed ashes and steam again yesterday with the wind blowing southwest this time.

The eruption also forced the Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. to call off two major tournaments slated this week and the next at Eagle Ridge, just 20 kilometers from Tagaytay.

“We were blessed, the ashfall were minimal,” said Splendido golf manager Bobby Chico, advising players to take the Amadeo road to get to the course.

“The course is now playable, as of 6 a.m. today (yesterday),” said Ayala Greenfield golf manager Buddy Resurreccion.

Eagle Ridge general manager Antonio Ocampo had earlier said the sprawling ERGCC, which boasts four courses, is in shape despite the ashfall and is actually ready to host the cancelled PGTA events. In fact, it was business as usual at the country’s largest golfing facility last Monday with hundreds, mostly foreign golfers, playing a round or two.

Taal Volcano, the second most active volcano in the country with 34 historical eruptions, spewed clouds of ash across Tagaytay and nearby cities last Sunday. Seismologists warned that a major eruption could happen at any time.

More than 24,000 people have been evacuated from the volcanic island and the area immediately around one of the most popular tourist spots in the south, also known as “little Baguio” for its cool weather.

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