BA RIA VUNG TAU, Vietnam — The most anticipated new golf course in Asia will call its first golfers to the tee March 14, when The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip opens for preview play along Vietnam's south-central coast.
Designed by legendary golfer Greg Norman, who spent an astounding 331 consecutive weeks atop the world golf rankings, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip trades on geographical traits that course architects dream of.
"This is one of only two pieces of land of this quality and character that I have ever been given to work with, the other being Doonbeg in the south of Ireland," said Norman, who also conceived the award-winning Dunes Course at Danang Golf Club, on Vietnam's central coast.
Routed over and around towering seaside sand dunes less than two hours southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip is one of the few championship-caliber links courses with significant elevation changes, making for a golf experience that's as much a feast for the eyes as it is a challenge to tame.
While the highest point of the rugged, windswept property is 50 meters above sea level, on the 15th green, one of the most spectacular spots comes earlier in the round, on the 4th hole.
From there, players are presented with a 360-degree view of the course, of the surrounding national forest that's a haven for wildlife, of the expansive shoreline and of The Grand Ho Tram Strip, which opened in July 2013 as Vietnam's first international luxury casino resort.
During the preview phase, golfers are invited to play the course for US $100, about half of what the greens fee is likely to be come grand opening time later this year.
"This course has all the elements necessary to be ranked among the best in the world," said Ben Styles, General Manager of The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip. "It's golf in its purest, most traditional links form, in a setting that has no rival."
When finished, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip will include an elegant, 2,300-square-meter clubhouse housing an array of dining outlets and a PGA-staffed driving range with more than 3,000 square meters worth of practice and training facilities.
Limited golf membership opportunities will be rolled out later this month.
The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip is among several components of The Grand Ho Tram Strip's first stage of development.
The ambitious project already features a 541-room upscale hotel, over 10 restaurants and bars, a spa, nightclub, convention center and casino with 90 gaming tables and over 600 slot machines.
To learn more about The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, visit www.thebluffshotram.com, which is scheduled to go live this month.