Golf Comes of Age in Danang

Laguna Lang Co Vietnam (Image: Laguna Lang Co)

Nick Faldo-designed Laguna Lang Co near Danang. (Image: Laguna Lang Co)

With marquee courses designed by Colin Montgomerie, Sir Nick Faldo and Greg Norman, the Vietnam city of Danang has blossomed into one of Asia’s hottest golf destinations.

Back in 2010, when Colin Montgomerie played an exhibition round at the new course bearing his name near Danang, golf was virtually unknown on the central coast of Vietnam.

While his score of 68 remains the course record at Montgomerie Links Vietnam, designed by the eight-time European Order of Merit winner, almost everything else about golf in the region, and even Danang itself, has changed in the ensuing five years.

Colin Montgomerie at Montgomerie Links Vietnam (Image: Montgomerie Links)

Colin Montgomerie at the 2010 opening of Montgomerie Links Vietnam. (Image: Montgomerie Links)

Vietnam’s fourth largest city has grown from a large regional centre–like many in Asia–into a thriving resort metropolis with a new international airport, upmarket beachfront hotels, and buzz-worthy downtown bars and restaurants.

More than a million foreign visitors visit Danang each year. Top local attractions include the ancient trading port of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site 25 kilometres south of the city; the former imperial city of Hue, a two-hour drive to the north; and the city’s famous My Khe beach.

Sparked by the opening of Montgomerie Links, Danang’s golf roster has grown to include three world-class courses. Almost next door to Montgomerie Links is Danang Golf Club, a Greg Norman design unveiled in 2011. An hour north of the city is Laguna Lang Co Golf Club, a Sir Nick Faldo design launched in 2012. And a fourth course, Ba Na Hills, Luke Donald’s first design project, is scheduled to open outside Danang late this year or early in 2016.

Together, the three existing courses, all members of the destination marketing co-operative Golf Coast Vietnam, hosted more than 100,000 rounds in 2014, a number expected to be easily surpassed in 2015.

Montgomerie Links Vietnam (Image: Montgomerie Links)

Parkland-style Montgomerie Links Vietnam. (Image: Montgomerie Links)

Montgomerie Links is a beautifully manicured and presented layout with native casuarina trees and ponds in a parkland environment. Also on site are villas and a modern clubhouse.

The club’s Director of Golf, Taylor Murphy, says player numbers have increased from a modest 7,000 rounds in the first year of operation to 42,000 rounds in 2014.

Locals account for 25 percent of rounds played at Montgomerie Links, with the rest arriving from around the world. “We have a very strong clientele from the Asian region, but on any given day we may have 15 or more different nationalities playing the course,” Murphy says.