Montgomerie Links, Danang – Vietnam’s Golf Coast

By: David Bowden

Montgomerie Links, Danang

Danang (also spelt Da Nang) in Central Vietnam is staking its claim for the title of Vietnam’s Golf Coast. With three new 18-hole signature championship courses within an hour’s drive of the city, Indonesian golfers now have three good reasons to pack their clubs and head north to one of the region’s most exciting golfing destinations. Montgomerie Links opened up Danang to golfers and was the first course in what is emerging as an international golfing venue. Danang Golf Club (www.dananggolfclub.com), designed by Greg Norman, is close to Montgomerie Links on the road heading south from Danang to the historic port town of Hoi An. Head northwards towards the imperial city of Hué for Laguna Lang Co (www.lagunalangco.com), Vietnam’s first integrated resort complex on a private bay along a sandy stretch of beachfront. Sir Nick Faldo designed these challenging fairways and greens, which have just opened.

In the 1960s, Danang was a base for United States Air Force bombers, which f lew military air raids over North Vietnam. During this confrontation, more munitions were dropped in Vietnam than in the whole of World War II. Now the only things dropping into Vietnam are tourists who come to enjoy the sights of China Beach and Hoi An to the south plus Lang Co and Hué to the north. Over the past two decades especially, Vietnam has really blossomed as a tourism and golfing destination.

Many Vietnamese weren’t even born when the Vietnam War (called the American War in Vietnam) raged and devastated the country and their lives are now firmly set on the future. It is an optimistic nation, where visitors are most welcome. Danang has been earmarked as a focus for tourism and there are many things to see and do with direct international f lights providing ease of access for foreigners.

Monty’s Baby

Colin Montgomerie came and fell in love with the beachside location along the famous China Beach. Scotsman Colin ‘Monty’ Montgomerie’s course closely follows his design philosophy of working closely with the site’s natural characteristics. Danang is known for its wind-blown dunes, sandy soil and vegetation dominated by local pine-like casaurina trees.

Located along Ha My Beach (which forms part of the legendary China Beach) the 7,200 yard, par 72 links-styled course is one of Montgomerie’s favoured courses. With 110 bunkers (including a whopping 17 on the signature 12th hole) some golfers may think they’re playing along the beach than on a golf green. Director of Golf, Taylor Murphy recognises that bunkers of golden sand are a feature of this course but that it is a course for golfers of all abilities.

Its sea isle supreme paspalum grass is another feature and something that Murphy says is perfect for the salty conditions and one that plays very smoothly.Montgomerie Links, DanangVIETNAM’S GOLF COASTThree stand-out holes are the third, fourth and the signature twelfth. The fourth is the course’s shortest par 4 (321 yards) played from an elevated tee to a hidden landing area. Water on the right adds to the challenge and a temple is a reminder of the course being located in a country that is predominantly Buddhist.

The par 3, fifth is a short water carry but with a receptive green. While the hole is guarded by a bunker to the front most golfers shouldn’t have too much difficulty although those who drive long will see their ball ending up in the casaurina covered dune at the back.

The most favoured hole is the signature twelfth despite many golfers possibly cursing one of the 17 well spaced bunkers which are sure to trap even the best golfer. This par 5 hole requires three strategically placed shots onto the green and precision putting on the expansive but undulating green.

What is most fascinating about this recently constructed complex is just how quickly it has been recognised by golfers. Since the first nine holes opened in just 2008, the course has received accolades rarely bestowed upon a course so young. While it only officially opened in 2010, the course was immediately awarded the ’2011 Best Leisure Development in Vietnam’ by Asia Pacific Property Awards.

In 2009, Vietnam Golf Magazine recognised it as the ‘Best New Course in Vietnam’ and the ‘Best Par 5 in Vietnam’ for the 12th hole at 527 yards. Asian Golf Monthly nominated it in 2009 as the ‘Best New Course in Asia’. Its most recent award was for ‘One of Asia’s Ten Most Elite Golf Courses’ (Forbes Travel).

Montgomerie Links, DanangFull Facilities

Montgomerie Links has been developed by Indochina Land and includes 60 on-site luxury pool villas. Facilities here are comprehensive with kiosks on holes six and fourteen. Birdies Restaurant and Bar serves Vietnamese and Western favourites and arrangements for halal food can be organised with sufficient notice. While Vietnamese food isn’t as spicy as many other Asian cuisines extra chilli is always available for those who appreciate a little spice in their life. The food of Central Vietnam is spicier and saltier than food found in the rest of Vietnam. The staple, noodle soup (‘Pho’ and pronounced fur) is served everywhere and a steaming bowl is very affordable.

A driving range of 345 yards with 30 covered bays includes five target greens and the golf academy has features such as video swing analysis. Links Café here provides refreshments.

World Heritage Site

Danang is within driving distance of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Hoi An, Hué and My Son Sanctuary). Montgomerie Links is situated just off the road to the very popular riverside town of Hoi An. The course is adjacent to My Khe Beach voted by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’ ten most stunning beaches. Hoi An’s pedestrian-only historic streets make for a refreshing change from the traffic madness of Vietnam’s larger destinations.

Staying in Style

Danang is undergoing an explosion in tourism and hotel development. The brand new Hotel Novotel Danang Premier Han River (www.novotel.com) is a 323-room deluxe hotel of 37 storeys located in a prime downtown location.

For resort-styled accommodation, the five-star Pullman Danang Resort (www.pullman-danang.com) is fabulously located along My An Beach (known to most as China Beach). Guests at this 187-room luxury resort can surf the waves or relax in the spa on the beach. There’s a butterf ly garden to entertain all guests and a dedicated kids’ club. Sunset cocktails, including passionfruit martinis on a glass of liquid nitrogen, are reason enough to visit.

The Grand Mercure Danang (www.mercure.com) is almost as new and ideally located for those who want to explore the city’s attractions and enjoy the vibrant night scene. This deluxe property features services and facilities that many five-star hotels would be happy to offer their guests. Premium guests enjoy the facilities of the 21st f loor club lounge and rooms overlooking the Han River.

All three properties are less than 15 minutes from the international airport and offer their guests preferred golf rates at Danang’s golf courses.

Many would argue that the Montgomerie is the right course for Danang and developed at the right time.

Montgomerie Links, Danang

TRAVEL TIPS

Arriving

There are no direct flights from Jakarta to Danang so a journey there involves a transit with Singapore offering the best option. From here, SilkAir (www.silkair.com) flies a few times a week directly to Danang with the flight taking 2.45 hours. Return flights travel via Siem Reap in Vietnam and adds additional time to the flight. The alternatives are to fly to either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi and then domestically to Danang.

Contact

Montgomerie Links Vietnam
Ph. +84 510 394-1942
www.montgomerielinks.com

About David Bowden

David Bowden is a freelance photojournalist specialising in travel, golf, food, wine and the environment. He is an Australian national although he has been based in Asia for well over a decade. He has written various children’s books, travel books and guides including the Globetrotter’s Guide to Taman Negara which is the definitive guide to Malaysia’s largest national park. He is also the author of various travel books in the Enchanting Series to Asia including his recently published book Enchanting Bali and Lombok (John Beaufoy Publishers, UK).

One Response to “Montgomerie Links, Danang – Vietnam’s Golf Coast”

  1. Ivan mendis says:

    Good one it was. I am so appreciated in this post I want to be there so soon. Thanks for this useful post.

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