22 October 2009

Hanafil starts $5-M renovation of Subic golf course

In a simple “dirt pushing” ceremony, Subic golf course operator Hanafil Golf and Tour Inc. began on Wednesday a one-year renovation program designed to upgrade the fairways here to world-class standards and bring in more foreign tourists next year.

Leading the ceremony on Wednesday night at Subic’s Binictican area was Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza, SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga, Hanafil chairman Jay Kim, Hanafil president Benjamin John Defensor III, and Netforce International president Bong Arguelles.

Arreza, who drove a bulldozer at the project site to kick off the dirt pushing rites, described the event as “a momentous occasion” to mark the reconstruction of the prized Subic facility.

“We want to upgrade the golf course here, put it at par with international standards, and place it at the forefront of SBMA’s effort to further enhance the tourism market in Subic,” Arreza said.

“We believe that Subic Golf has proven its capability to bring in more tourists to Subic after its highly-successful junket flight program that brought in more than 1,800 Koreans to play golf in the freeport,” he added.

Arreza also said that the renovation of the Subic golf course will prepare local tourism establishments “
for more opportunities coming their way.”

According to Defensor, the $5-million renovation program to be implemented in a year is just part of the overall $48-million development package that Hanafil intends to implement in Subic.

Reiterating Hanafil’s commitment to the SBMA to fulfill its development plans, Defensor said more projects would soon follow after the renovation.

“We are committed. In the bigger picture of things, the golf course will only be one of the attractions that
we are going to build,” Defensor said.

Defensor said that
Hanafil, which is now one of the largest companies in Subic in terms of committed investment, has contracted out the renovation work to Netforce International, the country's number one golf course builder and designer.

“We chose Netforce, a company which has an extensive experience in building golf courses, because we would also like to support the economy by hiring Filipino companies like Netforce,” Defensor added.

Netforce officials, meanwhile, revealed that in renovating the whole golf course, the company would reshape the existing greens, using paspaplum grass for the greens and Tifton 419 for the fairw
ays. Completion is scheduled for November 2010.

Defensor said the renovation is timed to be completed “just when it starts getting cold in the northern countries.”

Hanafil, which mainly targets golfers from South Korea, will resume its junket flight program immediately after the golf course is fully renovated.

Defensor said the firm’s first junket flight program with Jeju Airlines has proven to be a success, with about 1,800 Koreans participating in three-day golfing holidays organized by Hanafil.

Defensor also said that during the renovation period, the whole 18-hole golf course would be closed “so that w
e could fully reconstruct the whole area.”

He added that the company is coordinating with Netforce and other construction firms to ensure that golf course employees who would have to be laid off during the renovation stage, could be absorbed by the contractors.

Hanafil is a Philippine corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is backed by Hanatour, the biggest tour co
mpany in South Korea. (SBMA Corporate Communications)


[1] SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga (second from right) and SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza (third from right) join Hanafil officials in launching the $5-million renovation program for the Subic golf course. Also in photo are (from right): Hanafil chairman Jay Kim, Hanafil president Benjamin John Defensor III, SBMA senior deputy administrator for support services Ramon Agregado, SBMA deputy administrator for business development Raul Marcelo, and Netforce president Bong Arguelles.

[2] SBMA administrator Armand Arreza drives a bulldozer during the “dirt pushing” ceremony to start the $5-million renovation program of the Subic Bay golf course.