| Golf Travel
Golf has taken Vietnam by storm - the recently opened 18-hole Links Course at KN Golf Links in Cam Ranh is a good example. Designed by former world No. 1 and two-time Open champion Greg Norman, this is his third golf course design project in the country,
KN Golf Links, Greg Norman’s third Vietnam links course, recently opened in Cam Ranh.
Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD) has officially opened KN Golf Links Cam Ranh in Vietnam. Located in Long Beach, Cam Ranh City, the 18-hole par-72 championship golf course plays along stunning natural sand dunes with breathtaking views of the South Sea. Defined by dramatic topography and dramatic bunkering, this true links course offers varying degrees of playability and measures over 7,150 yards from the Championship tees.
Norman attended the Grand Opening in late October, joined by KN Investment Group Chairman Le Van Kiem, VIP guests, international media including HK Golfer, and other dignitaries.
“It’s not an Irish-style golf course. It’s not an Australian-style golf course. It’s not a Scottish-style golf course. It’s just a damn good links golf course,” said Norman, who won his two Majors in the 1986 and 1993 Open Championship.
KN Golf Links is one of only a handful of true links courses in Asia and is part of an 800-hectare mega-project to be developed at KN Paradise, an ambitious integrated resort that will also feature at least three 5-star hotels, an array of luxury real estate opportunities, a marina, and a beach club among other entertainment facilities. The course is 5-minutes from the Cam Ranh International Airport and 20 minutes from the resort city of Nha Trang.
“I would put KN Golf Links up there in the top 10 in terms of unique properties I’ve ever been able to work with,” added Norman, “I’m looking forward to the world actually getting to experience playing this fantastic golf course.”
Indeed, over the last couple of years, more than 30 hospitality projects have either gone up or broken ground along Long Beach, the southernmost end of which is the only real estate that sits between KN Golf Links and the ocean.
“The goal is to set a standard here by which
all other projects to come will be measured. Having 27 holes in Cam Ranh by one of the game’s all-time greats is a major step in that direction,” said Le Van Kiem, Chairman of KN Cam Ranh Company Limited, the course’s developer, whose company also owns Long Thanh Golf Club, an award-winning 36-hole venture on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City.
“Cam Ranh is on the cusp of becoming the next great hot spot in Southeast Asia and having a Greg Norman Golf Course Design of this calibre is only going to speed that process,” said Simon Mees, general manager at KN Golf Links. “This course will surely help to strengthen Vietnam’s standing as an emerging must-visit golf destination, and we are thrilled to share it with the world.”
This links course was created on top of rolling dunes with some 50 meters of elevation change from highest to lowest point. The existing coastal dunes, features, hazards, and views of the ocean form an integral part of the hole routing. The natural topography of the property lends itself beautifully to a great variety of golf holes, and there are sensational views from tee boxes of most holes. The layout is devoid of trees and resembles a links courses in Scotland rather than Asia.
Playability was another factor that went into the design because the links course represents the true style of golf. Cam Ranh plays links because there’s a lot of up and down and natural contouring. Run-off areas feature on most holes which adds to the strategy. Also, being near the sea, wind speed and direction provides constant challenges with the more elevated holes affected the most when the wind is up.
Boasting firm and fast fairways with rolling contours and elevations, the ball will run and fly there. Sand dunes cover the surface as much as shrubbery to punish wayward shots, but the course is fair and will reward smart play with good scores. Another critical feature is the ample run-off areas around the greens and massive boulders surrounding the course, some of which form a striking backdrop, such as at the par-5, 17th hole. Two of the best holes are the 10th and 15th, a pair of par-4s that play downhill towards the ocean and three small islands about 10 kilometres offshore.
Professionally managed by IMG, the KN Golf Links runs like clockwork and offers 5-star service. The well-equipped clubhouse provides spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and out over Cam Ranh Bay itself. Why is it that new golf courses keep popping up in Vietnam with such high
quality? I believe it is to do with land on offer and the professionalism of the designers and people involved, in this case, GNGCD and the developer and his team at the KN Golf Links.
“The first thing that stood out to me about the Cam Ranh site was the massive scale of the property. We are not often given sites this big to work with, so we wanted to make sure we made the best use of the land when laying out the course,” said Norman. “This resulted in a very special links course that is one-of-akind in this region and will undoubtedly stand among the best in Asia if not the world.”
KN Golf Links is working closely with the Anam - a luxury 12-hectare resort overlooking 300 metres of Long Beach - to unveil sublime golf and accommodation packages. This independently owned and operated resort encapsulates both colonial-era charm and the relaxed atmosphere of a seaside holiday. It features 77 villas and 136 suites and rooms, as well as four restaurants, two bars, a 10-treatment room spa, three large pools, a ballroom, conference rooms and more.
(LTR) The opening par-5 followed by the 2nd par-3
Norman makes the inauguraltee shot
(LTR) Greg Norman with KN Investment Group ChairmanLe Van Kiem
The Anam’s design was inspired by Vietnam’s bygone Indochine era
The Anam overlooks 300 metres of beachfront on Vietnam’s scenic Cam Ranh peninsula