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18 June 2009

Subic golf course rehab begins

A $48-million project to renovate the 18-hole golf course in this free port and turn it into an all-weather facility has begun this month.

But instead of closing the whole facility as announced last month, management has left nine holes open for avid golfers.

According to Benjamin John Defensor III, president and CEO of Hanafil Golf and Tour Inc., which operates the facility, the programmed rehabilitation “will go on as scheduled.”

“We have already renovated some parts of the course, and we have to close half of the facility so that we can fully reconstruct the whole area for the additional nine holes,” Defensor said during the recent awarding ceremony for Hanafil’s “employee versus caddy” tournament, an event that kicked off the rehabilitation project.

However, because the rehabilitation will be undertaken in several phases, Defensor said Holes 1 to 9 will be left open because of an overwhelming demand by members.

“We want them [members] to enjoy their game—and some really want to play even during the rainy season. It is always our pleasure to give our utmost services to them,” he added.

Defensor said earlier the $48-million rehabilitation project will commence during the rainy season to take advantage of the period when there are less players.

The major rehabilitation, he added, would cover a six-year period. It includes an additional nine holes, as well as improvement of the driving range.

The project, Defensor said, is part of Hanafil’s agreement with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), which has taken over the facility in 2007 after the former operator reportedly failed to honor its development commitments.

Hanafil is getting ready for the total replacement of several greens and fairways after completing major portions of the nursery and irrigation system projects.

Defensor also said the project is just one of the many attractions Hanafil will build in the Subic Bay Free Port. The company also plans to build a five-star hotel and luxury villas.

As part of its commitment to Subic tourism, the Korean-Filipino joint venture has also initiated early this year a “golf junket” program that has so far brought a total of 18 planeloads of golfers from South Korea for a three-day tour in the free port.

Hanafil, a Philippine corporation registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission, is backed by Hanatour, the biggest tourist agency in South Korea. (Henry Empeno, Business Mirror Online)

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