Vietnam’s Courses Hailed by Tour Operators

Vinpearl Golf Phu Quoc in Vietnam (Image: Vinpearl Golf Phu Quoc)

Vinpearl Golf Nha Trang is located in a cove of Nha Trang Bay. (Image: Vinpearl Golf)

Thanks largely to outstanding new courses by Colin Montgomerie and Greg Norman, Vietnam was voted the top golf destination in Asia and Australasia for 2015.

Vietnam’s almost decade-long bid to become a power in golf tourism received a major boost when, for the second time in four years, the country was named Golf Destination of the Year for Asia and Australasia by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

The announcement was made in Tenerife, Canary Islands, at the conclusion of the 2015 International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), the global golf travel industry’s annual trade show.

“As recently as a decade ago, there weren’t but a handful of options in Vietnam for golfers,” says Niklas Robinson of Vinpearl Golf, a golf development company prominent in the local market. “Times have definitely changed, and not just from a quantity perspective. The quality is outstanding.”

Bluffs Ho Tram Strip in Vietnam

Bluffs Ho Tram Strip is a Greg Norman design southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. (Image: Bluffs Ho Tram Strip)

Vietnam saw the launch of several new courses in 2015, including Vinpearl Golf Phu Quoc, the first course on the island of Phu Quoc; Sky Lake Golf Club, near Hanoi; and 27-hole Tan Son Nhat Golf Club, next door to the airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

But the most publicized recent debut was the October 2014 unveiling of the Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, a Greg Norman-designed links-style layout two hours southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. In December 2015, the venue hosted the Ho Tram Open, a $1.5-million(US) Asian Tour tournament billed as the richest sporting event in Vietnam’s history.

Vietnam’s rise as a golf destination began in 2007, when a marketing push by some of the country’s top courses and hotels led IAGTO to vote it Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year.

Soon international-standard courses began opening throughout the country, including two on the central coast that immediately joined the ranks of Southeast Asia’s best—the Colin Montgomerie-designed Montgomerie Links, and Norman’s Dunes Course at Danang Golf Club.

The addition of those courses, as well as Nick Faldo’s stunning Laguna Lang Co, just north of Danang, helped Vietnam win IAGTO’s Golf Destination of the Year award for Asia & Australasia for the first time in 2012.

Today, there are 35 golf courses in Vietnam, with an estimated 65 projects in various stages of development, planning and construction.

The IAGTO awards were established in 2000 to reward exceptional contributions to golf tourism. IAGTO’s 450-plus golf tour operators from 60 countries vote for five regional winners around the world based on criteria such as customer satisfaction, the quality of the golf courses and accommodations, value for money, the professionalism of suppliers, the level of support from the local tourism industry, and tee time accessibility.