Two of Vietnam’s top clubs, Laguna Golf Lang Co and The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, are teeing up a big year to come as they aim to capitalize on the nation’s newly crowned status as the planet’s top golf draw.
At the World Golf Awards 2019, the golf industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, which was held in Abu Dhabi last month, Vietnam emerged ahead of traditional heavyweights such as Scotland, Portugal, and Spain to be named the World’s Best Golf Destination.
While those unfamiliar with Vietnam’s array of incredible golf courses may have raised an eyebrow at the nation’s elevated status, the accolade only served to confirm what many globetrotting golfing connoisseurs already knew.
Snaking down from the Chinese border to the Gulf of Thailand, the destination’s options cover a huge array of bases, with superstar designers and legends of the game shaping everything from lush parkland tests to some of the closest equivalents to classic links play in the Far East.
Prominent among the clubs powering Vietnam’s phenomenal rise is Laguna Golf Lang Co and The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, both of which had a strong year and are aiming to build on that momentum in the months ahead.
Laguna Golf Lang Co, designed by Sir Nick Faldo, forms the centrepiece of Laguna Lang Co, one of Asia’s most acclaimed integrated resorts, which also features two multi-award winning hotels (Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co) as well as exclusive Banyan Tree branded private pool villas.
Threading between trees, over rice paddies and streams, through rock features and alongside the azure East Sea, the course is difficult to categorise. What everyone agrees upon is the veracity of the challenge it offers.
It enjoyed a banner 2019. Notable moments include the club playing host to the 13th Faldo Series Asia Grand Final (one of the world’s top showcases for junior golfers), the Lexus Challenge and the 3rd Cobra Puma Charity ProAm and its leading role in the founding of the Vietnam Golf Coast (VGC) – a golf-focused destination marketing effort involving top championship clubs in Central Vietnam.
The year ended on another high when it was named #1 course in Vietnam at Vietnam’s Best Golf Course Awards. And Adam Calver, director of golf at the club, says that the club is on a roll as it heads into the new year.
“It’s been a great period for us and Vietnam as a broader destination,” he said. “Next year we’ll have the Asia final of the Faldo Series back here and we’ll be making sure that the course is in great shape to welcome visitors who want to experience golf in Vietnam for themselves.
“Furthermore we’re excited to continue driving the collaborative effort along with all the members and strategic partners of the VGC to show that Central Vietnam is one of Asia’s best areas for a golf vacation.”
Further south, at Ho Tram, an emerging enclave on Vietnam’s south-central coastline a two-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip is another club looking forward with relish to 2020. Ranked #35 in Golf Digest’s 2018 list of the best courses outside the United States, the Greg Norman-designed layout marked its 5th-anniversary last year by pushing through an enhancements-program that has the course looking and playing better than ever.
Those improvements are ongoing, with significant investment in strategically positioned cart paths for next year set to further improve the playing experience in both wet and dry seasons.
The club, too, will be boosted by the growing appeal of Ho Tram as a beach destination in Vietnam. The area now has a clutch of international branded luxury resorts with more on the horizon.
“There are big changes afoot here and we are lucky enough to be part of it,” said Gary Dixon, general manager at The Bluffs. “We are blessed to have a fantastic course in a country that is achieving deserved recognition for the quality of its layouts. We encourage anyone who hasn’t been here yet to come and try it out for themselves.”