HO CHI MINH CITY — A major push to attract more golfers and tourists to Vietnam is underway, and it’s being led by the largest listed owner and operator of hospitality initiatives in the country.
Vingroup, whose market capitalization is approaching US $6 billion across six varied business interests, is currently developing courses near Hanoi and Haiphong and plans to do the same in Quy Nhon and Can Tho.
“It’s the most ambitious move anyone here has ever made to put Vietnam on the world golf map,” said Niklas Robinson, director of sales and marketing of Vingroup’s golf division, Vinpearl Golf. “The landscape here has always been conducive to golf. We are committed to unlocking its potential and delivering a suite of products as good as any you’ll find elsewhere.”
Vinpearl Golf currently has two golf developments in its portfolio: Vinpearl Golf Nha Trang, a hilly, resort-style layout overlooking a secluded bay on Hon Tre island, just off the coast of Nha Trang; and Vinpearl Golf Phu Quoc, a 27-hole facility that opened last year and is situated within an old-growth forest on the north end of Phu Quoc, the country’s top island destination.
Both courses were conceived by IMG, one of the world’s premier golf course design companies. And the next Vinpearl Golf project to come on line will have the firm’s fingerprints on it, as well.
Located near the city of Haiphong, northern Vietnam’s most important seaport, Vu Yen Golf Community will offer two distinct championship courses, with one routed through marshland and the other featuring an abundance of lakes.
Both courses are expected to debut in October.
“IMG’s goal in Vu Yen was to take full advantage of the site’s natural features, and that’s exactly what they’ve done,” Robinson said. “Golfers are going to love the style differences that exist between the two courses.”
On the outskirts of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, another multi-course Vinpearl Golf complex is taking shape that, when finished, will include 54 holes along the storied Red River.
IMG, nine-time major champion Gary Player and three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo were commissioned to design one layout each.
Robinson anticipates that construction will begin first on the Player course — a links-style design stretching more than 7,800 yards — and that all three will be open for play by 2018.
Vinpearl Golf is also talking to potential partners about creating additional opportunities on Phu Quoc, and has purchased property in Quy Nhon and Can Tho for the sole purpose of attracting golfers to two of southern Vietnam’s most compelling destinations.
“What’s in the works right now is really just the tip of the iceberg,” Robinson said. “When all is said and done, I think the name Vinpearl Golf is not only going to be synonymous with course development in Vietnam, it’s going to be a major reason why the country is mentioned in the same breath as all the other great golf destinations in the world.”