Chi Linh Star Golf & Country Club is currently a 27-hole golf facility with a further nine holes under construction and the fairways are laid out in a fertile valley where a number of water hazards come into play during a round.
Situated mid-way between Hanoi and the seaport of Hai Phong, Chi Linh Star hosted the first professional golf tournament in the north of Vietnam when the Carlsberg Masters was held here in 2004.
The course’s TifEagle greens ensure smooth putting surfaces on every hole, with tee boxes and fairways clad in a Bermuda variant developed specifically for Hanoi’s climate.
A large lake in the middle of the layout ensures that water plays a large part in proceedings and several holes feature tee shots that require intimidating water carries, with other holes playing to tricky island greens.
The par four 2nd hole is an early tester, demanding a long approach to an elevated, well-protected green. The par five 5th is another fine hole, where side hill lies predominate all the way down the right side of a fairway that slopes into a large lake on the left.On the back nine, the toughest hole is kept until last, at the 680-yard uphill par five 18th, and golfers who can walk off the course with a net par at this closing hole will feel like they’ve ended their round with a birdie.
Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club is located about halfway between Hanoi and Halong Bay (one of the natural wonders of the world..)
We were a group of 20 on a golf and sightseeing trip, and Halong Bay was the main reason for our visit to the region. It was worth it, too! I cannot recommend a night on a junk in Halong Bay highly enough...
The road back to Hanoi is not overly long in distance, but takes over 3 hours to traverse given the condition of the road, and the traffic. So it was a welcome relief to stopover for some golf on our way back.
Chi Linh Star was established in 2003 and was designed by Australian Independant Golf Course Services. It was at once stage reputed to be the best course in North Vietnam.
The course has 3 loops of nine holes: A- Hill Side, B- Valley, C- Lake. The natural terrain consists of rolling hills, with a number of creeks and lakes being the main hazards. There is plenty of elevation change throughout the course which is very nicely maintained. Chi Linh Star has hosted professional tournaments including the 2004 Carlsberg Masters.
The course was a pleasure to play with plenty of variety. I like strategic short par 4's and immediately took a liking to the short dogleg par 4 second hole on the Hillside course with it's attractive bunkering. Holes 3, 4 5, and 8 were also nice holes.
The Valley Course- Course B- introduced water hazards a little more, and was prettier. Hole 10 over the ridge was a strong opener, but 12 and 15 were also memorable with water in play, and elevated greens.
In my opinion Chi Linh Star is a quality golf complex, and worth playing en route to Halong Bay. However it is relatively remote from other quality golf options, and not somewhere I would not necessarily recommend Travelling Golfers go out of their way to play per se.
Whilst the course is good, and is well maintained- it is not memorable enough on its own merits to warrant going out of one's way to play there. However as part of an itinerary that takes you to the area it does make for a very pleasant day..
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.