Manila, Philippines: Conrad Benitez, a key player in golf in the Philippines for more than two decades and a major supporter of the golf turfgrass industry in Asia, has passed away.
In addition to being President and Chief Executive Officer at The Orchard Golf and Country Club, Benitez acted as Vice-President of the National Golf Association of the Philippines and the Federation of Philippine Golfers.
Eric Lynge, the Asian Golf Industry Federation’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Not only have we lost a giant of golf in the Philippines, but also the Asian golf industry.
“Conrad was a force for good in the golf industry. He was a powerful man, but always very involved in his club and the industry and happy to talk about turf and golf with everybody who shared his passion for the game.”
Benitez’s support for the turfgrass industry was evident in his willingness to host the annual Philippines Golf Course Management Conference at The Orchard, venue to the 1995 Johnnie Walker Classic.
Writing in The BusinessMirror in December 2017, columnist Mike Besa said: “I know that Conrad Benitez is a man that loves the Orchard and everything it stands for most deeply. He was on site for most of the construction and had a hand in shaping a few key holes.”
Born in the Philippines in 1944, Benitez moved to America in 1946 when his father opened the Philippines Embassy in Washington. The Benitez family returned to Manila five years later.
After college in the Philippines, Benitez travelled around Europe for 18 months. “As soon as I got home I worked as a training instructor for Ayala Corporation, one of the country’s biggest conglomerates,” he told Turfmate. “I left after a couple of years to do my Masters in Business Studies and from there went into Government, in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources to head up the management staff.
“I was there for three years, but that sort of job doesn’t keep the pockets full so I then moved in the direction of management consulting. From there I was invited to run the family holding company and that is how I got involved in Orchard.”
Benitez’s love for golf was summed up in his concluding remarks of a keynote presentation at a golf conference in Brunei in 2013.
work is our play, we play at work, at the game that we truly love. Our work has
never, ever really been work. It has never, ever been just a job, or a duty, or
an obligation. It has been a true love that was inevitably destined to be
permanent, pure passion. And we are all richer in mind, body and spirit for the
rewards of the game of golf,” said the father-of-three.