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6 km SW of Luang Prabang
The golf course at Luang Prabang Golf Club is situated in northern Laos, on the south bank of the mighty Mekong River, just outside Luang Prabang, where this ancient city – which is best known for its many Buddhist temples – was regarded as the nation’s royal capital up until 1975.
The course was hewn from a thickly forested landscape and it’s played in two distinct anti-clockwise loops that each return to the clubhouse, with no parallel fairways in operation. Playing corridors are relatively tight, sometimes only 35-40 yards wide, so keeping the ball in play is an absolute essential.
A few ponds feature on the front half at holes 3, 5 and 7 but golfers really need to be rather wayward for any of them to impede their progress. On the back nine, the routing touches the riverside at the par three 17th before swooping uphill towards the clubhouse and the home green.
I played the highland resort course at Luang Prabang Golf Club yesterday. The course is located 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level, so it is cooler than the capital, Vientiane. The course is laid out across relatively flat land in the mountain region. Players can enjoy an abundance of lush vegetation and panoramic mountain views.
The fairways are generous on most holes and the layout is not that difficult. Holes 14 to 17 run parallel the riverbank of the magnificent Mekong River and there are superb river views of the 16th green and the 17th hole.
Water is evident on nine of the eighteen holes but really only comes into play on holes 3, 5, 7, and 14. There are many interesting holes on the back 9. The Korean course designer, Tea Hwa, died several years ago and used to work in a shipping company. As an amateur designer he did a great job choosing the course routing, shaping the land, placing the well-positioned bunkers and water hazards, and making nice green complexes.
The Par 3 202-yard 17th is the signature hole playing right along Mekong River’s edge. The tee shot is slightly downhill over a tributary of the river onto the gently sloped two-tiered green that is protected by a bunker and the river on the right. You will enjoy not only the powerful Mekong River but also a steep mountain slope beyond the green on this charming hole.
Luang Prabang is a World Heritage town. The quiet Luan Pabang streets form the spiritual capital of Laos – scintillating architecture and fine dining are found in abundance. Luang Prabang Golf Club is a 15 to 20-minute drive from the town to the golf course.