Greg Norman's new Links opens soon in Vietnam
30th January 2010
Norman's Dunes Course at Danang Golf Club set to open in April on Vietnam’s central coast
While not quite finished, The Dunes Course at Danang Golf Club already possesses the characteristics that will allow it immediate entree into conversations about the best links layouts in the world. Firm and fast fairways that bleed gently into wild seaside vegetation, rugged waste areas, swales, hollows, even briny ocean air comprise its DNA.
“This will be different from anything anyone’s ever seen in Southeast Asia, I can assure you that,” Howie Roberts - General Manager of the club - says. Looking out over an azure East Sea to the Cham Islands off Vietnam’s central coast you can see what he means.
"Links golf hasn't traditionally exerted the same allure among Asian players as it has with golfers in other regions," Roberts observes. "But that's about to change, and I think Danang Golf Club will be a pivotal element in that transformation."
The welcome mat gets rolled out in April, when Roberts officially cuts the ribbon on this Greg Norman design.
And what a design it’s shaping up to be. In addition to the breathtaking 16th, the minimalist layout features 17 more holes that could just as easily be lifted and placed in Bandon, Oregon, or Doonbeg, County Clare, the homes of a few of golf’s most compelling modern links.
“Like Bandon Dunes or Doonbeg (another Norman design), Danang GC is going to look as if it’s been here for centuries,” said Roberts, who’s worked at internationally acclaimed golf venues such as Gary Player’s Cascades Course at Soma Bay, in Egypt. “That’s the type of course we were after, and I think we nailed it.”
Danang Golf Club is designed by Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD) to blend with the existing landscape and look as unlike a new course as possible. Set amid 280 hectares of tropical linksland, the Dunes Course was crafted in the spirit of the world’s most recognizable links including the Moonah Course at The National in Australia and the aforementioned Doonbeg in Ireland — GNGCD designs that rake in awards for their creativity, quality and environmental harmony.
“Terms such as ‘links-style,’ ‘linksish,’ and ‘links-like’ are indiscriminately applied to coastal courses these days, but this is the real deal,” said Harley Kruse, senior architect of GNGCD. “It’s wild and exotic and lends itself to the development of the kind of golf course the likes of Old Tom Morris was playing on in Scotland almost 200 years ago. For someone in the golf business, the chance to work with terrain like this is like winning the lottery. And that's how lucky we feel.”
With the addition of Danang Golf Club, the central coast solidifies itself as a bona fide golf destination. The Dunes Course gives the region two tracks, including the Colin Montgomerie-designed Montgomerie Links next door that opened in August of last year. A third layout, by three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo, will soon break ground next to a bay less than an hour north of Danang.
Some of the world’s most recognizable hotel management brands, such as Hyatt, Raffles and GHM, are either digging in or already there.
“The area has long had the fundamental ingredients for a world-class destination,” noted Roberts, “with golden-sand beaches and nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Great golf is a perfect fit and it’s exciting to see the pace of development blossom to match the region’s inherent potential.”
When complete, Danang Golf Club will also feature a 3,800-square-metre clubhouse by Sydney-based award winning architects; a practice facility with swing studios and a custom club-fitting lab — both firsts for Vietnam; and 190 luxury ocean villas.
Blueprints call for a second championship-standard course and an international-brand, 5-star hotel, in due course.