DANANG, Vietnam (March 19, 2010) — Golf course architect and World Golf Hall of Fame member Greg Norman visited Danang Golf Club, his first Vietnam golf course creation, and pronounced himself fundamentally pleased with the product.
On site Wednesday for a ceremonial contract signing on behalf of Southern Cross Developments, his company’s real estate division, Norman also toured all 18 holes of the Dunes Course layout, specifying tweaks to accompanying design and construction team members.
“We’re right where we should be,” said Norman, aka Great White Shark, regarding the golf course, scheduled to open April 30. “Ongoing adjustments on a project this size are inevitable, but the holes fit into the landscape as we had envisioned they would, so the big picture is right.”
Norman, a two-time British Open champion who won 86 international titles, also downgraded attempts to categorize the Danang Golf Course’s design as “links,” “Sandbelt,” or something else.
“The fact is, you’d be doing a very poor job to make a boring course out of a site like this,” he laughed, “with colossal dunes, oceanfront, great native vegetation. Sure, the firm and fast conditions will remind many players of links golf, but the concept was to design the track that’s right for the location.”
From the first hole, a 407-yard par 4 from the Shark tees that plays to a landing area flanked right y a mammoth, two-tiered bunker cut into the dunes, the course evokes an experience often found in seaside courses in the British Isles and southeastern Australia.
But make no mistake: This is Vietnam, as evidenced by the traditional, long-tail fishing boats that troll the warm waters of the East Sea and, along with the picturesque Cham Islands in the distance, provide a distinct backdrop to the signature 16th hole, a par 3.
Other notable characteristics of the Dunes Course include an old French pillbox between the 16th green and 17th tee box — a historical feature the club plans to restore and convert into a refreshment stand.
The Dunes Course is the centerpiece of a 260-hectare, VinaCapital-owned project called Danang Beach Resort, which will ultimately include a 3,800-square-metre clubhouse by renowned Australian architecture firm HASSELL; a comprehensive, technologically sophisticated golf academy; four- and five-star hotels; and multiple residential enclaves totaling up to 300 luxury residences.
The Southern Cross component will be known as Norman Estates at Danang Beach Resort. The Estates, for which the master plan is still being refined, will occupy some 7.2 hectares with roughly 42 villa homes, three- to five-bedroom units, most overlooking the 15th fairway.
Danang Golf Club is currently developing an official Web site that when finished next month will offer an array of useful and compelling features, including multimedia elements and dynamic hole-by-hole descriptions. To be notified when it launches, visit www.dananggolfclub.com and submit your email address in the designated field.