DANANG, Vietnam — Four months after opening on the outskirts of Danang, Ba Na Hills Golf Club is already poised to lead golf’s growth in Vietnam by embracing technology in a way no other course here has and rolling out one of the most impressive practice facilities the country has ever seen.
With British PGA Class AA professional Mathew Pryke at the helm, Ba Na Hills Golf Academy debuted last month with TrackMan at the core of its instructional program and a game-improvement center anchored by a fully-lit, 310-yard driving range with 18 covered, fan-cooled hitting bays and five, bunker-guarded target greens simulating on-course conditions.
“Every club has a responsibility to grow the game of golf, and we plan to do that here at Ba Na Hills by targeting potential new golfers of all ages, specifically juniors,” said Jack Hedges, Ba Na Hills GC’s general manager. “Through the use of Trackman — a tool that, to our knowledge, no other course in Vietnam has thus far implemented — we can help accelerate that process.”
All over the world, TrackMan has become an important tool in the teaching arsenal of a growing number of instructors. At Ba Na Hills Golf Academy, golf swings are analyzed using TrackMan 4, the Danish technology company’s latest product and the most powerful and accurate launch monitor ever invented. Its standout feature is dual-radar technology. As one radar tracks the movement of the club, the other tracks the ball.
“Watching a player hit shots with one club and then trying to assess swing flaws along the way has become an antiquated teaching method,” said Pryke, Ba Na Hills GC’s head golf professional. “It’s just not as effective as this kind of video analysis, and our course’s designer (golf legend Luke Donald) would attest to that. He swears by the technology.”
A graduate of the University of Birmingham in England, Pryke came to Ba Na Hills from China, where he served as Golf Coach & Business Development Assistant at Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen and then as Golf Operations & Retail Manager at The 27 Club in Tianjin.
With the help of TrackMan 4, Pryke can quickly identify a player’s strengths and weaknesses and then make informed recommendations for how to improve.
“As a PGA golf professional, I know the difference between a good golf academy and a excellent one,” said Pryke, who is also a certified Titleist club fitter. “Here at Ba Na Hills, we really do have something very special — an academy that offers the perfect environment for people of all ages and abilities to learn and practice, night or day.”
Pryke aims to generate more interest in the game by staging fun events, camps and clinics for juniors, families, women and businesses, using SNAG (Starting New At Golf) equipment to entice beginners and working with local schools to schedule ‘open days’ at Ba Na Hills GC.
“The idea with ‘open days’ is to get youngsters up to Ba Na Hills Golf Academy so they can get a feel for the environment and what golf has to offer,” Pryke said. “As everyone knows, if you don’t know what you’re missing, you’ll never get involved.
“Introducing new golfers to the game and growing golf within Danang is one of my main priorities. We have the facility, space and equipment to introduce the youngest, least-experienced golfers to the game and potentially mold them into champions.”
To ensure golfers look no further than Ba Na Hills for any of their golf needs, Ba Na Hills Golf Academy also offers club fitting and club repair services, a sleek pro shop stocked with gear from all the top brands and an expansive short-game practice area.
Since opening in late March, Ba Na Hills GC has earned the reputation in Vietnam of a golf pioneer. The first course in the world designed by former world No. 1 Luke Donald, the challenging, parkland-style layout is also the first in central Vietnam located away from the coastline — in the shadow of the spectacular Annamese Mountains — and the first in the area to offer night golf. The comprehensive lighting system, which was switched on in May, allows for play until 9 p.m.
Ba Na Hills GC is managed by IMG and owned by Sun Group, one of the leading investors in Vietnam. Other hospitality projects in its portfolio include InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Novotel Danang Premier Han River and Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort, site of the longest, single-wire cable car system in the world.