Danang’s four fabulous courses, its pristine coastal location and proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An makes it the next ‘it’ destination for golf in South-East Asia.
In south-east Asia, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to tropical golf destinations. Bali, Phuket, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta boast a fine selection of golf courses, not to mention a plethora of off-course activities. But if you consider the trifecta of accessibility, luxury accommodation and quality of courses, then Danang in Vietnam is hard to beat.
With four championship courses all within easy reach of the international airport, Danang is fast becoming the next go-to destination for golfers. Combine it with a wide spectrum of accommodation and the UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An at its doorstep and you have the best of all possible worlds.
Ba Na Hills Golf Course is the latest to open, doing so last April. Located 30 minutes inland from Danang, design credit lies with former world No.1 Luke Donald. Where the other three Danang courses are closer to the water, Ba Na Hills is all mountains. Elevation changes, mesmerising backdrops, strategically placed streams and bold bunkering are features of the nascent layout, which now almost forces touring golfers to stay in the area longer – in more ways than one.
Floodlights are Ba Na Hills’ point of difference. All 18 holes are floodlit – the only course in the region to boast the night-golf option. By allowing play to continue after the sun sets, Ba Na Hills remains open until as late as 10pm. The course’s management recommends a tour of the front nine during the dusk hours then an under-lights lap of the inward half. It’s quite a way of seeing out the daylight hours.
Laguna Lang Co Golf Club is situated about an hour north of Danang. Designed by Nick Faldo, the golf club sits on 80 hectares of land and is part of the 280-hectare Laguna Lang Co Resort developed by the Banyan Tree Group. In every sense of the word, this will be the first fully integrated coastal resort in Vietnam (think Laguna Phuket in Thailand with its many resorts and golf course situated in one designated area).
Dunes and thick vegetation juxtaposed against Lang Co Bay couldn’t have lent itself more appropriately to a golf course.
“This is a stunning and very diverse piece of land with gently rolling terrain, splashes of sand throughout and an impressive array of natural design features,” Faldo said when he began the design process. “Our layout will incorporate sand dunes, rice paddy fields, trees and scrub, wonderfully-exposed rock formations as well as a section of dramatic coastline and a routing that will visit each of these features on both nines.
“For this part of Vietnam, it’s a real hidden gem. We have the opportunity to create a very strategic golf course that offers golfers an abundance of shot and route options. Players will need to plot their way through some very picturesque surroundings. The course will sport a rugged, handsome look with a real sense of place.”
About the Destination
To find out more about Danang and its environs, visit www.centralcoastvietnam.com. Central Coast Vietnam serves as an independent, non-profit membership organisation dedicated to building awareness for this exciting destination. As the newest alternative in Asia for leisure travellers, its overall mission is to promote the long-term, sustainable development of tourism for the region and to be recognised and valued by visitors as the region’s leading coastal destination.
It has been three years since Lang Co opened for play, and it has matured beautifully into the 6,362-metre par-71 layout that will test golfers of all handicaps. The playing surfaces from tee to green are as good as any in this part of the world.
The par-3 fifth stands out as the likely signature hole. The greenside chocolate-drop mounds may seem a little hyperbolic, but they do make a statement as they mirror a mountain peak in the background. If Augusta has Amen Corner, then you can perhaps call Laguna Lang Co’s eighth through 12th holes as the Deadly Turn. This quintuple challenge offers holes that are beautiful to behold, yet pose challenges to any scorecard.
The par-3 148m eighth calls for you to survive a slew of bunkers fronting the green; the ninth at just 305m asks that you survive two swaths of bunkers along the fairway; hole 10 is a fine par 4 with a split fairway; 11 is a dainty par 3 with boulders as protectors; and 12 demands a tee shot over water, evading bunkers in the middle of the fairway to a green that sits next to a stream. To be warned is to be prepared.
If you survive this wonderful string of holes, you may be a little forgiving of yourself if you don’t play Laguna Lang Co’s long and arduous 18th to your expectations. This par 5 runs ‘just’ 567m long with myriad bunkers along the way that force you to take a less-than-direct route to the green. This is a four-shot hole for most mortals when playing from the back tees, and getting away with a bogey here is cause for celebration at the grand, two-storey clubhouse that greets you at the end.
Laguna Lang Co Golf Club is a hop, skip and jump from Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co, making multiple rounds while staying in the development a great convenience. The Laguna Lăng Cô Resort is situated near Lang Co Bay, framed by a three-kilometre beach in the Chan May region of central Vietnam, an area renowned for its pristine coastline, natural scenery and proximity to UNESCO World Heritage sites (Lang Co is a 1.5 hours from Hue to the north, and Hoi An to the south).
Unrivalled Views with World-Class Spa Facilities to Match
Novotel Danang Premier Han River’s location has been designated by the central government to be the core city of the Key Economic Zone in central Vietnam – the entrance to the UNESCO World Heritage sites and the terminal point of the East-West Corridor linking Laos, Thailand and Myanmar. It is the first upscale, internationally managed hotel and serviced apartments in Danang. The views across the city and beach [below] are breathtaking.
Situated in Danang CBD, on the western bank of Han River and in the immediate vicinity of the Danang Administration Centre, Novotel Danang Premier Han River provides world-class accommodation for both business and leisure travellers.
The 37-storey hotel features 327 rooms with three executive floors, extensive meeting facilities, outstanding fitness and spa facilities and engaging yoga classes, as well as international restaurants and bars. The hotel offers unrivalled vistas of the city’s beautifully illuminated bridges, the surrounding mountains and endless beaches.
The contemporary designed spa [above] creates the perfect retreat from the outside world into place of calmness, where you can relax the mind, refresh the body and revive the soul. Providing both individual and dual treatment facilities, with a sauna and jacuzzi, In Balance is located on the sixth floor and perfect for offering the a range of luxurious spa experiences. In|Balance Spa will have you relaxed, restored and revitalised.
Novotel Danang Premier Han River
36 Bach Dang, Hai Chau District, Danang, Vietnam
Tel : +84 (0) 5 11 392 9999, ext: 5210
A little over an hour’s drive south from Lang Co, along China Beach into Ngu Hanh Son District, will take you to the doors of Danang Golf Club. The Greg Norman-designed course has received rave reviews for its design, beauty and playability. And those accolades came before the clubhouse was constructed.
Today, the modern building that houses a restaurant, bar, locker rooms and function capabilities of up to 240 guests is the result of international architects Hassel of Bangkok. Contemporary touches blend with Vietnamese elements in this 3,800-square metre space, and the café terrace with its al fresco patio offers panoramic views of the course and players returning after an undoubtedly satisfactory round, regardless of their scores.
Norman continues his legacy of designing visually arresting courses while incorporating aspects of an indigenous nature at Danang Golf Club. His 6,574m layout not only offers golfers of all abilities the chance to test their games, but also serves to restore the natural ecosystems and habitats of wildlife in the area.
Playing the course allows you a chance to get up close and personal with some of the area’s fine dune topography. Norman cut strips of pristine fairway through undulating mounds of sand when putting 18 beautiful holes together. Along the way, he trod carefully around indigenous vegetation that looks untouched through the course’s construction. It appears as if very little earth was moved as he positioned the course to take advantage of the natural dune topography.
At any one hole, you’d be hard pressed to find other golfers as each is shielded from another in intimacy. The course holds surprises each time you leave a green and arrive at the next tee, lifting the curtain on another challenge that is a delight to behold, as it is to play. The 10th is arguably Danang’s strongest hole. At 576m, it has a typical Norman DNA as it calls for you to negotiate a winding fairway with a putting surface that seems enclosed by bunkers and trees.
Another of Danang’s strengths are its par 3s. Of these, the 11th (167m) and 16th (135m) come to mind, distinguishing themselves with the awesome combination of scenic audacity and shot value. When the winds pick up, these short holes can turn into monsters.
Next door to Danang Golf Club, Montgomerie Links holds its own against its three Danang brethren. Designer and legendary golfer Colin Montgomerie put together a layout that combines a resort-style nuance with challenges, and length, that can hold any professional event on a given day.
DANANG’S ULTIMATE LUXURY SERVICE RESORT
Simply put, there is no better place to stay in Danang. The luxurious Premier Village Danang Resort is the accumulation of private beachfront access, contemporarily designed, fully equipped villas and first-class service. Offering superior facilities and services, there are two choice restaurants, a beach club, private in-villa buffets as well as secluded diving pools in each residence. The resort caters to families and groups of friends looking for some serious leisure time. If you want a taste of the good life at affordable prices, look no further than Premier Village Danang Resort Managed by Accorhotels.
Premier Village Danang Resort
For more information call: +84 (0) 511 391 9999.
Book at www.accorhotels.com/9530
In comparison with Danang Golf Club and Laguna Lang Co – where the holes are framed by thick vegetation – Monty’s effort here has resulted in a more ‘open’ perspective. Fairways appear wide from the tee boxes, and while that may not be totally true, it does give you a sense of confidence to let it rip with the driver every chance you get.
A nice aspect of Montgomerie Links is that the bunkers are idyllically put together. The combination of the white sand, sharp edges and flashings that alert you to their presence are picture perfect. If only they were just as easy to avoid. On a course where there are few OB stakes, staying clear of the hazards is key if you are to play well. If not, you’d better bring your ‘A’ game in the bunkers.
While none of the holes at Montgomerie Links actually abut the sea, it makes up for it by using the fabled Marble Mountains of Danang as a backdrop. The stunning par-5 12th is testimony to this. With 17 bunkers to stay away from, and water on the left, this 482m hole requires three well-placed shots to reach the upwardly sloping green.
The modern clubhouse waiting at the end of your round is an exercise in sensibility. With its wraparound glass panels in the terrace restaurant (there are al fresco tables too, of course), golfers can tuck into a varied menu in air-conditioned comfort as they look out onto the expanse of green in the distance.
For a new golf destination such as Danang, the quality of service – not to mention the courses themselves – is an eye-opener to how good things can be if golf clubs are built and planned properly. Every step of the way, visiting golfers enjoy an attention to detail and a level of luxury that’s as good as any the world over. And when you throw in three golf courses that offer picture-perfect playability, you have a destination that will take some beating.
WHERE TO PLAY
Laguna Lang Co Golf Club
Lang Co, Hue, Vietnam
Green fees from VND 1,392,000
Ba Na Hills Golf Course
An Son, Hoa Vang District, Danang, Vietnam
Green fees from VND 1,950,000 to 2,950,000
Danang Golf Club
Son Tra – Dien Ngoc Coastal Street, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Vietnam
Green fees from VND 1,760,000
Dien Ngoc Commune, Dien Ban District, Quang Nam, Vietnam