Property developers in the Philippines are capitalising on demand for homes with views of golf fairways, often selling them at a high premium. “Golf courses add value to nearby properties,” said Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, president of the prestigious Manila Golf and Country Club. “The real estate projects facing the club command a premium price because of the good views and the greens.” David Faulkner, managing director for valuation and advisory services at Colliers Asia, said golf courses generally boost property prices, but did not say by how much. “Residential communities with golf courses are very popular in the Philippines,” said Faulkner. According to the report Golf Around the World by R&A, the St Andrews-based golf company that organises The Open championship, the number of golf courses in the Philippines increased by nearly a fifth from 105 in 2017 to 125 this year. And builders like Megaworld Corporation are certainly taking advantage of the beautiful landscape provided by the golfing greens. Its Forbes Town project, a 15 billion peso (US$287 million), five-hectare township in the heart of Fort Bonifacio, next to the central business district of Makati, touts Manila Golf’s “priceless scenery” as one of the main selling points. “One of the best, if not the best, attractions of this particular township is its proximity to, and stunning views of, the Manila Golf Course,” said Noli Hernandez, senior vice-president for sales and marketing at Megaworld, adding that it was also the most exclusive and expensive course in the country whose membership was coveted by all golfers. “And while this is an obvious value addition to Forbes Town, for most residents in the township the greens of Manila Golf provide a welcome respite from the city’s air, noise and visual pollution.” Manila Golf is also surrounded by Forbes Park, a gated enclave developed by Ayala Corporation where some of Philippines’ most prominent tycoons and celebrities, including boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, live. Is Manila the next best location for property investment in Asia-Pacific? Romualdez, a nephew of former first lady Imelda Marcos and now running unopposed as congressman in Leyte province, in central Philippines, says golf courses usher in developments in new areas, and along with it, provide recreation to a portion of the population, and create jobs in communities. The operator of the only golf course on the popular resort island of Boracay said the course brings business to surrounding areas. “For hotel and resort properties, golf tournaments bring domestic and international golfers who require accommodation for the duration of the tournament. This likewise positively impacts the businesses that surround the golf courses,” said Catherine Marcelo, general manager of Fairways and Bluewater Boracay. While golf courses add value to real estate, they are also contentious. In Hong Kong, the historic Fanling golf course has been the subject of tension between the golfing community and the government, after a fifth of its 172-hectare grounds was shortlisted as an option to ease a local housing crunch. Manila beats Boston, Paris, Tokyo as world’s hottest luxury home market Maintaining golf courses is also not environmentally friendly as it is water intensive. A 2004 study by the WWF estimated that a one-hectare golf course requires at least 10,000 cubic metres of water, which can support a community of 12,000 inhabitants for a whole year. Fairways and Bluewater, however, said golf courses can be considered as “community assets”. “While we fulfil our commitment of protecting and preserving the environment and natural wildlife within our property, we also extend the same to the surrounding areas because we know that any environmental issues immediately outside the walls of our property will affect what we have inside. Essentially, it is not just our property that benefits from our various environmental efforts but also the communities around us,” Marcelo said.