Winter Golf Getaways: Green Peace
VIETNAM BLOSSOMS AS A GOLFING DESTINATION.
During the vietnam war, members of the 70th Engineer Battalion often hit golf balls into C-ration cans that the soldiers scattered along the beaches near Hoi An in central Vietnam. In August, with the opening of 13 holes outside of Hoi An, the Montgomerie Links, Vietnam, became the central region’s first official golf course. But the Colin Montgomerie–designed layout is hardly an anomaly in Vietnam, which is fast becoming one of Southeast Asia’s premier golfing destinations.
In 2007, seven courses in Vietnam’s northern and southern regions organized to form the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail, a network that stretches from Hanoi to Saigon. The trail includes the Dalat Palace Golf Club, which dates to the 1930s and was restored in 1994, and the Ocean Dunes Golf Club, a Nick Faldo design in the beach town of Phan Thiet. Several of Vietnam’s top hotels, such as the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon, can arrange golfing trips that include accommodations, meals, and transportation, and tee times at courses on the Ho Chi Minh trail.
The Montgomerie Links, which will be completed in 2009, will join the trail in January. The 7,200-yard course is owned by the proprietor of the nearby Nam Hai, a stylish new resort outside of Hoi An. Across the street from the Montgomerie Links—which weaves around the region’s sand dunes, rice paddies, and at least two bunkers left over from the war—developers are laying the groundwork for central Vietnam’s second course, to be designed by Greg Norman.