Opened in 2012, the Long Thanh-Vientiane Golf Club, better known as Long Vien, is set within a 1,360-acre economic zone on the outskirts of the capital in Laos. This enormous residential development – which will eventually include a hotel, school, hospital and trade centre – is expected to be completed in 2020, providing more than three thousand jobs for local people.
The master plan allows for two 18-hole courses in the middle of the property, each of which will comprise two 9-hole circuits that return to a central clubhouse. The two loops of the first (fully floodlit) course, known as Long Thanh & Lao-Viet came into full operation in 2012 and the third nine, called Vientiane, opened for play in late 2016. The fourth and final loop of the 36-hole facility is scheduled to open in 2018.
It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago, this largely flat, featureless site comprised of nothing other than thick forest and swampland. When it’s finished, the golfing element of this hugely ambitious project will rival, and perhaps surpass, anything that neighbouring countries can offer.
Long Vien Golf Club currently offers 27 holes on a flat terrain. The Long Thanh & Lao-Viet course (7,534 yards) opened in 2012. Another 9 holes, the Vientiane course (3,520 yards) was added in 2016. The each 9 holes of the original 18-hole layout resemble one another because of water coming into play on many holes, the same long distance, and the similar layout with mature trees. On the other hand, the Vientiane course not only offers players water hazards but also dunes that help to enhance the interest of the course. Besides, the new 9 has the nicest layout among three 9-hole courses, although it is a little shorter than the other two. The Vientiane and Long Thanh course is the best 18-hole combination at Long Vien Golf Club at the moment.
The par 6 738-yard 4th is unique. It is over 700 yards curving to the left and further to the left. Parallel ponds flank the fairway for the tee and second shot and the landing area for the second shot is narrow. Players must make a decision on the third shot whether lay-up short of the pond crossing 150-200 yards in front of the green or hit heroically over the pond. The green slopes from back to front and is protected by bunkers on the front left and the back right. Big dunes run along the entire left side.