golf in vietnam
It’s not just the vibrant culture and beautiful scenery that has australians flocking to Vietnam. as Jon Underwood discovers, this ancient land is spotted with great golf courses from legendary players.
Discover why Australians are flocking to the golf courses of South-East Asia.
Tourism is booming in Vietnam, with more than five million people arriving last year, including some 200,000 australians. most of them brought their own clubs because aussie golfers have now discovered that the country has some of the best courses in asia. But where to tee off first? these three outstanding courses are a golfer’s dream, no matter how well you play on the day.
The fairways of Da nang
montgomerie links was the first of a host of new courses built in the central coast area of Da nang. it has already been voted one of the top layouts in asia, with its natural vegetation, strategic bunkering and demanding resort-style course offering a stern test.
“this is very much a thinking person’s golf course. straight down the middle is the best place to go,” said taylor murphy, director of golf at montgomerie links.
locals will tell you that the 12th is probably the signature hole, playing uphill and just chock full of bunkers. it’s hard to pick the right line off the tee and with all the trouble ahead it’s little wonder it has been described as the best par five in Vietnam.
“We like to think that when you come here and play it’s a special occasion for you, the golfer,” says taylor.
A classic from the Great White shark
little more than a well-struck driver from montgomerie links is Da nang Golf Club, which is set amid 150 hectares of sand dunes and natural vegetation. the Dunes was designed by australian legend Greg norman and has been voted the best course in Vietnam by several leading golf publications.
norman is famous for his short par fours and the seventh is a belter from the Great White shark’s bag of tricks. it doglegs slightly from right to left and is well bunkered most of the way down the left side. the long and bold players will try to reach the green in one but it requires a perfect drive.
the 16th is the signature hole and as par threes come, it’s a cracker. Players hit to a green seemingly tumbling into the east sea and with the Cham islands in the background. it’s not a long hole — it only measures 137 metres from the back tee — but it is undulating, well bunkered and gives players the best view on the course.
the nam Hai resort offers a five-star base from which to play and explore. it has 100 one-bedroom and pool villas spread over 35 hectares of tropical gardens along Ha my Beach. three dining venues, the spa and even a library make this the essential place to stay in Da nang.
Faldo’s pride in lang Co
a tick over 50 kilometres north of Da nang is laguna lang Co, which opened in 2012. it has already been described as the best course from the extensive portfolio of six-time major winner sir nick Faldo. indeed, so enamoured with the region and the product is sir nick that he has just accepted the role as the official brand ambassador for laguna Golf, which includes three golf courses in south-east asia: laguna lang Co, laguna Phuket in thailand and laguna Bintan in indonesia.
“sir nick Faldo was very happy with the golf course. He came three times during the site visits and he believes he’s got the best course in Vietnam here,” says Darren Robson, laguna lang Co club manager.
Once you’ve played the layout, it’s hard to argue with Faldo’s assessment, particularly on the ninth, which is probably the most beautiful hole on the course. it’s not long but runs alongside the beach so you’ll probably be too busy taking pictures to worry about your game.
there’s really only one word to describe the finishing hole: beastly. You’ve got a 210-metre carry off the tee, three massive fairway bunkers and a green with more slopes than a swiss ski resort. a par five here will definitely send you home happy.
the golf club is part of a secluded resort complex that offers visitors the chance to stay on site at the five-star Banyan tree lang Co and impressive beachfront angsana lang Co hotels.
Pearls of golfing wisdom
But Vietnam is not resting on its already impressive golfing laurels. Vinpearl is developing courses near Hanoi and Haiphong and plans to do the same in Quy nhon and Can tho. already up and running is Vinpearl Golf nha trang in a picturesque valley along a long stretch of pristine white beach on Hon tre island, while Vinpearl’s Golf Phu Quoc immerses golfers in nature on a championship course. Vinpearl’s next project is near the city of Haiphong, northern Vietnam’s most important seaport.
Vu Yen Golf Community will offer two courses, with one routed through marshland and the other featuring an abundance of lakes. Both are expected to debut in October.
01 Vinpearl Golf nha trang 02 Da nang Golf Club 03 Ocean views at laguna lang Co 04 mid-game at laguna lang Co 03