Situated less than an hour’s drive from Phu Cat Airport, FLC Quy Nhon Beach & Golf Resort offers visiting golfers a fabulous 36-hole experience, with two courses fashioned amidst a thrilling landscape of pine forest and dunes by the reputable companies of Nicklaus Design and Schmidt & Curley.
Overlooking Nhon Ly Beach and the South China Sea, both layouts were built in record time by Flagstick, one of the region’s foremost golf construction companies, who have extensive experience working in China, Japan, the Philippines and Thailand. The Nicklaus Design Ocean course was first to open for play in 2016. The Schmidt & Curley-designed Mountain course opened in February 2017.
The returning front nine on the Ocean course plays through woodland then the back nine holes are routed around more open terrain, separated by pine trees from an element of residential properties on three of the holes. Platinum paspalum grass is used on every hole, presenting golfers with a consistent playing surface throughout the layout.
Jim Wagner from Nicklaus Design kindly supplied us with the following exclusive comments:
FLC Quy Nhon is a special resort project. There are luxury villas overlooking golf on the back nine with views to the sea. There is also a large resort hotel on the property which I believe has 400 rooms. Schmidt and Curley have designed a second course above ours on a more challenging site in terms of elevation change.
The Ocean course is built on a tremendous site. To put it in perspective, it’s quite possible I will never work on a site this good moving forward. The front nine is carved through a pine forest at a higher elevation than the back nine and five holes on the front side have ocean views so it’s spectacular stuff.
Our concept was to have wall to wall fairway with no rough, but we did expand the width of the fairways to allow for fair and friendly play. Off the fairway, you go into a sand and pine straw look, which is very nice and very natural. We also brought pine straw and native material into the back of bunkers to enhance the visual interest of the course.
The site is all sand and it percolates
extremely well. In fact, the only wash outs we had during grow-in were areas
coming off the cart path. We have no storm drainage apart from maybe
fifty sumps throughout the golf course. We also didn’t need to develop
USGA greens so, like our other new course at Samson, we have straightforward
The back nine is open to the ocean with the left side of 10-12 having a pine buffer between golf and the luxury villas. We have superb ocean views on every hole on the back nine. We did import thousands of shrubs, which were found across the road from the property and we planted more pines to fill some voids.
We didn’t move much material at all during construction. I think we had four or five areas with 2-3 meter cuts over 100 meters or so to help us achieve necessary visibility into features and green sites. I would wager we moved only 50,000 cubic meters, if that.
Once we cleared the trees, we discovered amazing natural movement. All we did was massage it so it could be mowed. We preserved everything we could out there. All bunkers were cut into natural features and it just so happened they worked wonderfully with the strategy, which was all developed in the field.
The green sites were basically just lying there and we manipulated them to create pin areas and feed in slopes in what was a truly unique experience. I believe Quy Nhon could easily be seen as one of Asia’s best courses.
I played the Ocean Course before I played the Mountain Course and overall I would place it slightly above the Mountain course, although rating wise they will be the same.
I teed off in a hurry on the 10th hole being a single golfer trying to beat the traffic of a Vietnamese 4 ball who were already on the tee. For that brief moment with the resort and garden sort of surroundings I thought I was in an IOI Palm garden kind of golf course. Thankfully that feeling did not last too long and I was treated to some sensational albeit tough golf holes. The wind was a considerable factor and the dunes were in play. I was bruised and battered but I enjoyed the course a lot. The elevation changes, the dunes ( a special hole is the 1st hole where you can try carrying the dune on the right or stay clear of it by being left) and the greens. In fact there were precariously positioned greens or at least parts of it - I wished I remembered the hole nos. Nevertheless it added an extra element of challenge. It's one thing to see contoured greens with different levels - here one of the greens really had two storeys as opposed to two levels - and the pin was in the basement at the back left. Some would say gimmicky, but I found it to be a lot of fun. The course was in great condition considering how new it is and the very little traffic it gets.
To read more about this course visit my blog https://www.golftripz.com/blog/quy-nhon-golf-ocean...
Nicklaus Design must have been pinching themselves at their good fortune in landing the design job on this site. It really is an outstanding piece of land for golf with big sand dunes covered with pine trees, and with views of the South China sea from many vantage points. But it is one thing for a site to have potential and quite another for it to come to fruition as an outstanding course. Pat yourself on the back Jim Wagner and team- you have produced a course that will be regarded amongst the best in Asia, if not THE best!
The front nine heads into the hills behind the clubhouse and covers some gorgeous golfing terrain with narrow rolling fairways framed by mature pine trees, and bold use of bunkering which fits the land like it was always there. It's dramatic golf and challenging. There are blind shots, elevated greens, and lots of sand.
The back nine is routed through slightly quieter territory nearer the beach, and on 3 holes luxury villas border the holes. Perhaps because of this I was thinking that the back nine might not compare favourably with the front-- but bang!- the closing holes are very strong.
The critic in me looks at a course of this quality and rates it a little harder- and in that respect I thought that perhaps the course might be too challenging for the typical resort guest...
I thought the night lights were an ugly addition to a wonderful golfing landscape. While the course is very walkable, as a resort course it will more often than not be a cart course and cart paths don't improve the look or playability of a course- especially when the carts stay on the paths...
Another beef of mine is where developers cash in on housing adjacent to the beach, and route the golf through the housing...
With that off my chest I can say the course is challenging but entirely playable, and that every effort has been made on this course to hide the cart paths with pavers with grass cover winding through the rough and hidden side of dunes so that the visual impact is minimal. And the housing? I have a sneaking suspicion that perhaps the land used for the golf holes was just superior land, notwithstanding the immediate beach views. Holes like the par 3 fourteenth just don't pop up everyday!
Although the nines cover different terrain the look and feel of the course is consistent throughout with carpet like fairways merging straight into sand and pine straw inside the tree line. Similarly the pine straw and local vegetation has been used to adorn the bunkering- giving a dash of colour and texture to complement the sculpted white sand, and rich green fairways..
Notable holes include:
- the downhill par 3 fourth hole, with a very long green running left to right from the golfers view and with a striking splash bunker running across in front.
- the twisting, turning, heaving par 5 fifth hole with lovely elevated green
- the no 1 rated par 4 sixth hole with an 'in your face' green set behind a steep slope and bold bunkering
- the long roller coaster par 4 seventh hole
- the attractive downhill par 3 eighth hole
- the downhill par 4 thirteenth hole with the South China Sea as a backdrop
- the 'all world' par 3 fourteenth hole
- the long downhill par 3 sixteenth hole with it's 'ring of sand' bunkering, and ocean backdrop
- the rocking, rolling par 5 seventeenth hole with ocean views and wonderfully sculpted green
This is a course that will reward multiple plays.
Not just because you would know where you were heading the second or third time around- but also because these green complexes have some pretty neat pin positions I would just love to explore.
With an international airport opening here soon, and a pretty decent sister course I would plan on staying quite a few days!! In my view The Ocean course is one of the very best in S/E Asia
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
This is the first of two courses at a new resort situated on a peninsula about 20km out of Quy Nhon this is a very windy location blowing in excess of 35km/h each of the four days I was there, speaking to the staff they told me it was like that more often than not and while I enjoy playing in windy conditions these were quite extreme.
The front nine of the Ocean course is situated at the bottom of the mountain below the Mountain course and is more sheltered from the wind than the back nine that runs down toward the beach between villas.
The problem I had with this course is that it doesn’t really take into account the prevailing wind particularly the back nine which starts with 4 holes in a row directly into the wind including a par 5 followed by the longest par 4 on the course then when you finally turn around and have the wind at your back you are greeted with par 3 this stretch of holes is screaming out for a short par 4 but there is none to be found. There is also a very strange 100 yard drop shot par 3 with the wind at your back on the front nine this hole looks jammed in and entirely out of place the Ocean course also lacks the width that the Mountain course provides. It seems to me they were eager to build holes closer to the beach and while this photographs well it certainly doesn’t help the playability. I realize many people would be thinking windy conditions by the water is exactly what they are looking for but Driver, 3 wood, 3 wood on consecutive holes gets old pretty quick and to put things in perspective I hit my PW 180 yards on the par 3 with the wind at my back.
On the plus side this course has large greens with considerable movement many of them have large undulations which breaks the greens into sections the course was in excellent condition and there are several interesting holes including the par 5 17th with a sunken Biarritz green there is a manually operated traffic light that gives you the go ahead to approach the 17th. There are also splendid views from many parts of the course.
Overall I wouldn’t put this course in the to 5 in Vietnam and if I had 10 rounds at this resort it would be a 7/3 split in favor of the Mountain course.
The resort itself is still expanding the hotel is very nice and quite cheap but there were very few people staying there and the only people playing golf aside from myself was a Korean youth team on a training camp I found the lack of players strange as the other courses around Vietnam were packed with various nationalities escaping the winter. Quy Nhon is difficult to get to unless you are travelling from Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi the 300km from Danang turned into a 7 hour drive however they are building a new airport which will have flights from more places.