HO TRAM, Vietnam — Five months after celebrating its highly anticipated grand opening with an exhibition match featuring Robert Rock, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip signed a three-year partnership agreement with the two-time European Tour winner to become its brand ambassador and touring professional.
The deal between the acclaimed Greg Norman-designed links course on Vietnam’s spectacular south-central coast and the sweet-swinging Englishman marks the first time in history that a Vietnamese course has sponsored a touring pro of such caliber.
Rock, who finished in the top 10 at the Tshwane Open in South Africa last month, will wear polo shirts emblazoned with a Ho Tram Strip-affiliated logo during any event he plays in through the 2017 season.
He will also make at least three promotional visits to The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, a course GOLF Magazine (USA edition) hailed in January as one of the best to open in 2014.
“It’s a match made in heaven,” said Ben Styles, General Manager of The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip. “Robert is not only a great golfer, he’s a class act and possesses a style all his own. That meshes perfectly with what we’ve got here at The Bluffs — a course built to an extremely high standard and with an immense amount of character.”
Rock, whose most impressive victory to date was at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Championship where he shot a final-round 70 to beat Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, became enamored with The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip when he played it back in October with an injured Norman serving as spectator.
“It’s just spectacular,” said Rock, who grew up playing in Great Britain, home to some of the world’s finest links. “It’s definitely challenging, but it’s also fair. I could play here every day. That’s not something you can say about most courses.”
Routed over and around towering seaside sand dunes less than two hours from Ho Chi Minh City, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip provides a setting and views reminiscent of southwest Ireland. The highest spot is 50 metres above sea level, on the 15th green.
One of the most breathtaking vantage points is at the par-3 4th hole, whose green is perched precariously on a bluff backdropped by miles of dense national forest, the East Sea and the 20-story Grand Ho Tram Strip, which opened in July 2013 as Vietnam's first international luxury casino resort.
Other standout holes include the par-4 8th, which plays downhill to a fairway split by a natural water feature; and the par-4 13th, whose green is partially guarded by a large, broccoli-shaped Acacia tree.
The opening of The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip marked the end of the first phase of the Ho Tram Strip development, which is being implemented by the Ho Tram Project Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada-based Asian Coast Development Ltd.
When finished, the Ho Tram Strip will include three more 5-star hotels, an oceanfront condominium tower and a discreet luxury villa community on the golf course.