Now that the country has opened for tourism, Vietnam is set to regain its position as a leading golfing destination.
Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing golf markets globally. This is attested to by the numerous accolades won over the years. These include being named the World’s Best Golf Destination 2021 by the World Golf Awards. This is the second year that Vietnam has been honored as such (2019; 2021), after overwhelming votes from the media, golfing experts, and the public. The international association also named the country Asia’s Best Golf Destination for five consecutive years, from 2017-to 2021.
According to Adam Calver, Director of Golf at Laguna Lang Co Resort in Danang, “Asia’s top golf destination is not just recovering following the pandemic: it’s getting even better.” In an article in Golf Business News quoted, Calver, says: “Before [the pandemic], I would’ve said that anyone serious about golf travel should be coming to Vietnam at least once in their life. With world-class courses opening all the time, I would revise that to say that you’d need to return every few years to do the place justice.”
Vietnam has plenty of stunning golf courses to choose from – some of them designed by legends in the golfing world. In addition, some newer courses were developed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking for your next golfing holiday destination? Here are some of the country’s top options, plus luxurious stays nearby:
WHERE: About 8km from Hoi An, Central Vietnam
This links course was designed by golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., who comes from the renowned family of golf designers. Golf enthusiasts of all ability levels will appreciate the stunning sea-side setting. The course has been designed to have as little impact on the sandy terrain as possible. So holes play between Casuarina trees and within dunes. The Hoian Shores Golf Club experience includes 18 holes as well as a 19th ‘gambler’s hole’. Total yardage is 7401, with par values of 71. The luxurious clubhouse rewards players with 360-degree views of the surrounding scenery.
STAY AT: Hoiana Hotels & Suites; New World Hoiana Hotel; or Khos Hoiana
WHERE: 125km south-east of Ho Chi Minh, South Vietnam
This links golf course, designed by Vietnam tourism ambassador Greg Norman, replicates those found in Scotland. It’s known for being rather challenging, so first-time players here are advised to appreciate the epic ocean views, rather than focusing purely on their scores. Of the course, Norman has said: “The Bluffs is one of those rare courses that you can integrate elevation changes, and wind direction that changes 180 degrees at certain times of the year. No two rounds at the Bluffs are ever the same.”
STAY AT: The InterContinental Grand Ho Tram or Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort
WHERE: Dalat, Central Highlands
With its cool climate, Dalat offers respite from Vietnam’s summer heat. This climate also makes this the only golf course in the country featuring Bent grass greens and fairways, like you’d find in European locations. Originally built by the French in the 1920s, the course was restored in 1994. It’s well maintained, running between majestic pine trees and including many elevation changes. The course has 18 holes, with a 72 par and yardage of 7,009. Stay for an unforgettable meal at the Tudor-style clubhouse, built in the 1950s.
STAY AT: Dalat Palace Heritage Hotel or Dalat Edensee Lake Resort & Spa
WHERE: 15-20 minutes from Danang, Central Vietnam
Oceanside fairways, sand traps, and undulating greens define this 18-hole links course, also designed by Greg Norman. Much of it plays out on the sand, rather than next to the water, so it’s referred to as ‘the dunes course’. As it’s beautifully integrated into the surrounding nature, players are advised to keep it straight: You could end up among the pines if you drift off line. Wind conditions and the sheer variety of holes will keep players on their toes throughout. The changeable winds at par-3 16th make this a favored hole.
STAY AT: Mangala Zen Garden & Luxury Apartments or the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort
WHERE: About 20 minutes from Danang, Central Vietnam
Named after Colin Montgomerie, the Ryder Cup hero who helped create it, this course is set within the shadows of Danang’s spiritually significant tourism attraction, the Marble Mountains. This challenging course includes many sand dunes and some serious bunkers, offering an enjoyable experience for all levels. Play proceeds through picturesque parkland with plenty of contour on the greens. Be warned: The second part of the 18-hole course gets tricky.
STAY AT: Montgomerie Links Hotel & Villas or Naman Retreat Resort
WHERE: Phu Quoc Island, Southern Island (an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City)
No trip to Vietnam is complete without a stay on Phu Quoc island, known for its pristine beaches and laid-back lifestyle. Book a golfing holiday here to play on this 27-hole course, designed by IMG Worldwide to cut through the indigenous forest of this tropical paradise. Three courses of varying challenges are available. Of the three 9s, Seaview is a favorite as it circles lakes. Seaview’s 4th features a challenging dogleg par 4.
STAY AT: At the resort itself; or the 5-star Vinpearl Discovery Coastalland Phu Quoc; or VinPearl Resort and Spa
WHERE: About a half-hour drive inland from Danang, Central Vietnam
The par 72, 18-hole Championship golf course is located at the foothills of the beautiful Ba Na Hills. It was designed by English pro golfer Luke Donald, in consultation with IMG. One of its key features is that all 18 holes are floodlit, for players wanting to play in the cooler evenings. Given its mountainous setting, you can expect plenty of elevation changes. Play gets more challenging as you proceed from the flatter parkland of the first 9 holes towards the undulations marking the next 9 holes. Take a moment to appreciate the stunning views from the tee box at the par-3 12th hole.
STAY AT: Mercure Danang French Village Bana Hills; Ebisu Onsen Resort; or the Hilton Danang
WHERE: About 35km from Hanoi, North Vietnam
If you’re looking for a golfing holiday in the North of Vietnam, this is considered one of Hanoi’s top choices. The 36 holes are divided into two 18-hole PGA-standard courses: The Lakes Course and the Sky Course. The difficult Lakes Course is for members only; the Sky Course, open to everyone, is a bit easier. Fairways undulate around several lakes, with mountain scenery adding to the beauty of the vistas.
STAY AT: Ivory Villas & Resort; Wyndham Sky Lake Resort & Villas; or La Saveur Hoa Binh Resort
WHERE: About 40km from Hanoi, North Vietnam
As the Dong Mo Reservoir surrounds it, visitors need to take a pleasant boat trip to reach parts of this 26-hole golfing complex on the outskirts of the capital. The 18-hole Kings Course was designed by US former pro golfer Jack Nicklaus. Each hole features wide fairways and complicated bunkers. The Lakeside Course, designed by Robert McFarland, has many natural water hazards; while the Mountain Course winds through tree-lined areas. The 18th hole on this course, with its dogleg par 4, is a firm favorite.
STAY AT: Tomodachi Retreat Lang Mit or Vân Sơn Garden Hotel
WHERE: 20km from Ho Chi Minh, South Vietnam
This was the first 36-hole golf club to be opened in Vietnam. As it’s so near to Saigon, it’s a great choice for travelers wanting a golf break between city sightseeing. (For this reason, it can get busy over weekends.) Two courses are set within 300 hectares of gorgeous woodland. The West Course, the host of the Vietnam Open (Asian PGA Tour Event) in 1995 and 1997, begins with challenging tee shots through tree-lined fairways. It progresses to greens of softly contoured Bermuda TifEagle grass. The East Course is 6,946 yards, with over 100 bunkers and undulating Bermuda TifDwarf greens.
STAY AT: Mai House Saigon; Sedona Suites Ho Chi Minh City; or Hotel Des Arts Saigon Mgallery Collection
WHERE: About 35km from Danang; 30km from Hue, Central Vietnam
This 18-hole, par-71 championship course was designed by Sir Nick Faldo. From the front tees, there are 5,263 beginner-friendly yards. About 7,000 yards extend from the championship tees. With the surrounding mountains and proximity to the sea, this is a peaceful location offering a truly memorable golfing experience. Play beside trees, over rice paddies, among tropical bush, and between natural streams. Of this course, Sir Faldo says: “This is probably the finest golf course in Southeast Asia”.
STAY AT: Banyan Tree Lang Co Vietnam