PHOTO: TOM EUBANK
Vietnam’s most impressive golf course implements program to preserve key characteristic
Members of Greg Norman Golf Course Design and the maintenance crew at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip are working to bring a key feature of the acclaimed, coastal course back to the forefront.
Since construction began on The Bluffs in 2012, vegetation has overtaken some of the dunes, diminishing the natural, sandy look the links-style layout possessed when it opened to great fanfare in 2014.
“We’re clearing some of that vegetation, which will also help with air-flow onto the greens and, in turn, improve how the putting surfaces play,” said Daniel Grassi, a senior design and projects manager for Greg Norman Golf Course Design (GNGCD) interests in Asia and the Middle East.
GNGCD and Bluffs representatives are also removing the 419 bermudagrass between and around many of the course’s tee boxes.
“This will not only enhance those areas visually,” Grassi said, “it will reduce the cost of maintaining them.”
Work has already begun on holes 12 and 18. The entire project is expected to be completed by October.
“We take great pride in the fact The Bluffs is among the world’s 100 greatest courses (according to Golf Digest),” said Sonia Huong Mai, the club’s general manager. “If we want to remain in elite company — and we most certainly do — we can’t rest on our laurels. We have to always be stepping up our game.”
Since debuting less than three years ago, The Bluffs has succeeded in garnering the attention of players, journalists and major golf organizations alike.
In 2015 alone, the course won ‘World’s Best New Golf Course’ at the annual World Golf Awards and served as site of the Ho Tram Open, which attracted a slew of international stars — including eventual winner Sergio Garcia — and was voted the Asian Tour’s ‘Event of the Year.’
The Bluffs is located two hours by car from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s commercial capital.
The course is part of the Ho Tram Strip, a multi-billion-dollar integrated resort complex that also includes the 550-room Grand Ho Tram Strip Hotel & Casino and a budding collection of single-family luxury homes called The Gallery Villas.
A second hotel tower at The Grand is currently under construction, and a 244-key condotel is scheduled to break ground later this year.