| 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,

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Louie Chan

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.”

THE ANAM

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

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