7 TOP TIPS FOR GOLFING IN VIETNAM
Vietnam has been developing excellent golf courses for a number of years and now with two of them being recognised in Golf Digest’s World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of the lack of tourists and try out the fantastic facilities for yourself
Whether you’ve been playing for years or have never swung a club before, here’s 7 Top Tips for what to expect when Golfing in Vietnam.
1) All golf courses in Vietnam are of top quality
There are now around 80 courses across the country, most being semi private and designed by the best golf architects in the world. The Bluffs in Ho Tram, was designed by Greg Norman and is generally considered to be the best courses in the country. However, Cam Ranh Links, another course designed by Norman, is building an excellent reputation for being a fabulous course in the south of the country, whilst BRG Kings Island Golf Resort near Hanoi is considered one of the most beautiful courses in South East Asia.
2) The Caddies are wonderful!
At Vietnamese golf courses, caddies are mandatory, so make the best use of them. Most will speak English and want you to enjoy them, plus learn more about you. Don’t forget to give them a tip at the end of the round, because their salaries are low and they rely on tips to supplement their income. A minimum of $10 (220.000 VND) is the norm and more if they have done well. They will point out hazards and other places not to hit the ball and they will be disappointed if you hit off line or miss a putt.
The best time to book tee times is early in the week, or after 2pm. As the golf clubs are members clubs, they will be really busy at weekends or there may be a tournament being played. It pays to check with the golf club or their website to see what offers they have. It also gets incredibly hot, especially around 12 noon, so make sure you have lots of water and put on plenty of sun cream.
4) Try Before You Buy
All golf clubs will have rental clubs and shoes. Some clubs will offer premium sets at a higher price. As most courses have a driving range, it is also advisable to hit some balls before you tee off. Diamond Bay, Nha Trang, has a range where you hit golf balls to the sea and it is well worth the experience of trying this out.
Video source: Quyên Nguyễn
5) Dress to Impress
There are no municipal golf courses in Vietnam available yet, therefore, strict dress codes are in force. This means no tee shirts and proper tailored shorts; each golfer must have their own set of clubs – no sharing – and soft spike golf shoes. Being aware of these rules saves embarrassment and extra costs. However, it is well worth shopping at the golf shops, as they will have a great supply of logoed shirts for sale. They will also stock golf balls, tees, gloves and golf balls.
6) Make the Most of All of the Facilities
The clubhouse (or 19th hole as it is often termed) is a great place to relax, drink and eat after your round of golf. There is nothing nicer than an ice-cold drink after your game. Golf clubs will also have changing and shower facilities and some will offer Jacuzzi and steam rooms and even a spa. The restaurants will offer local and international food at very reasonable prices.
Whether you are a seasoned pro or just starting out, make sure you take time to just enjoy playing on Vietnam’s spectacular golf courses. Most courses are very playable and situated in wonderful locations so each round gives you an opportunity to take in some of the sights of this wonderful country.
Danang has three golf courses near the sea and at Vinpearl, Nha Trang, every hole boasts stunning ocean views. Other inland courses are surrounded by forests and mountains where there may be exotic wildlife to be seen. Royal Golf Course in Ninh Binh province is the home of many hunting birds, with hawks and eagles soaring around in the breeze.
There are snakes on most courses but they will not bother you, as they tend to hide away in the deep undergrowth. If you hit your ball offline, then send the caddie to look for it!
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