I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Danang, Vietnam with a group of friends. We stayed at Hoi An and on the last day I was sitting on the beach and this lady came up to me with a form, asking a few questions about our time in Danang.
As I was merrily ticking the boxes, the last question had me stumped and I didn’t know how to answer. “What didn’t I like about Danang and would it affect me travelling to Danang again?”
This got me thinking over my whole trip from the start.
The flight from Bangkok to Danang was a bit over two hours and we arrived into a new airport. The visa on arrival was fast and painless, and the luggage was spinning around on the carousel when we got down there including the golf clubs so I didn’t have to go elsewhere looking for them.
Our driver was waiting outside for us in the pre-determined area and within 40 minutes were at our Hotel, the Little Hoi An Central Boutique Hotel. A quick check in and I was in the room and ready for golf in the morning.
Day 2 exposed the hotel to me and what a great hotel it was. Breakfast was a great affair with everything you would expect from a 5-star hotel: five different fruit juices available, staff circling with tea and coffee refills, live cooking stations to do your eggs, bacon, noodles, etc., just the way you want them. Except we are staying in a 4 star hotel in the ancient city of Hoi An, does it get any better than this?
Golf was at Ba Na Hills, approximately 40 minutes drive and it was worth the drive.The golf course opened in 2016 and was voted best new golf course in 2017, a quality testament to the design by Luke Donald and IMG that manages the facility.
The golf course carves its way through the mountains and rarely do you get a flat lie, or a straight away shot. It’s either over bunkers, mounds, or the water hazards that creep in throughout the course. Ba na hills is quite different to all the other courses in Danang that are relatively flat, and the others in the group were quite impressed after just a few holes
The most punishing hole is the 5th, a par-5 measuring 708 yards from the Black tees and just 539 yards from the whites. For most, three good hits–missing the water and fairway bunkers–and hopefully you can two-putt for your par.
Ba Na Hills’ signature hole is the 16th, a blockbuster par-3, with high elevation hitting down to a green surrounded by water. Quite intimidating and is a daunting tee shot! Once hitting the undulating green, you have a tricky putt ahead.
After the round, there was plenty of discussion about the golf course, and most suggested that you need to play this course a few times to learn the way around it.
Day 3 sees us make the one-hour drive to Laguna Lang Co and again the group wasn’t disappointed with the surrounds that you see from the check-in counter down over the 18th Hole.
Designed by Sir Nick Faldo and opened in 2012, the golf course meanders through the wetland areas and rice paddies in the area. It’s a mix of links, with the moundings, desert with the huge wasteland bunkering, and parkland with the trees flanking the fairways.
I have to say this is one of my favourite golf courses to play, as from the first hole it doesn’t let up on you and you need to be on your game if you don’t want to lose a dozen balls and shoot many more than your handicap.
The 9th is a shortish par 4 with the bay all the way up the left hand side. I like to hit my tee shot and the turn left and walk along the beach until I get to my ball and then hit on the green. Not many golf courses in the world where you can do that.
Day 4 saw us head just down the road from our hotel to play at Montgomerie Links, designed by Colin Montgomerie. What he has built on a flattish piece of land with scattered trees and some water, this man is a magician. This course is a real challenge and it’s a definite no-no to stray with wayward shots, as you get sandy lies in the rough, or hindered by the casuarina trees that line the fairways. Every golf course is easy from the centre of the fairway and Montgomerie Links is another one of these.
I had been talking up BRG Danang Golf Club saying that it was the pick of the bunch all week to the guys, so as usual they were a little skeptical. The day had arrived and we set off to tackle this, the best of the courses, the jewel amongst pearls. Well, it was hard not to be absolutely impressed with what we saw. The welcome was smiling efficiency and once again the attention to detail spot on.
Well, the guys said Danang Golf Club was every bit as good as I had said. The Greg Norman design was tough and challenging but oh so playable and an absolute delight. A great finishing course for our delightful week of golf in Danang, Vietnam.
Thailand Golf Tours is hosting a 10 day tour to Danang Vietnam starting 4th March full details www.thailandgolftours.com.au/tourdates or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(by Mark Penfold)