Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail Welcomes Nine New Holes

Just over one month since the inauguration of the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail, the already impressive array of golf facilities has added nine new holes at the Trail's northernmost link, Chi Linh Star Golf & Country Club.

"The new holes are tighter with significant changes in elevation," said Lars Holden, general manager at Chi Linh Star. "The greens are fast and undulating. The holes will test every aspect of a player's game and afford superb views of the surrounding countryside, particularly from Nos. 6 and 8."

For traveling golfers, the venues in this emerging Southeast Asian nation do not end at Chi Linh Star's 27 holes, but stretch south through a country as yet unplumbed by the audience it deserves. The Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail was launched July 1 with a line-up of first-class clubs and resorts and some of the most luxurious accommodations in the region. Routed north to south through Vietnam, the trail promotes golf courses and tourist attractions throughout the country.

"If you've come all the way to Vietnam on a golf vacation, it makes sense to indulge, in places like Ha Long Bay, which is a but a good long drive from Chi Linh Star," said Olivier Colomès, managing director of the Exotissimo Travel Group. "First, you cruise through one of the world's most exotic seascapes on the Emeraude, a near-replica of a paddle wheel steamer that plied these same waters early in the 20th Century, and then, en route back to Hanoi, you take in 18 or 27 holes at Chi Linh."

Located an hour from Hanoi en route to Halong Bay, Chi Linh Star's new nine crosses a ridge, a marked contrast to the original 18 that plays through a valley and along the shores of a large lake.

Holden is particularly fond of the 6th hole. The tee on this par-4 is perched on the highest point of the course, and drives arc 100 meters below to a fairway where a small bunker sits in the middle of the landing area. The second shot heads back uphill to an elevated green protected by two bunkers to the right and a large gum tree.

The new nine at Chi Linh is a boon and a bonus for the Trail. "The Trail isn't a static development," said Holden. "We're the first to demonstrate that a Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail experience is bound to be a dynamic experience, with new twists, turns and challenges on a regular basis."

In addition to Chi Linh Star, stops along the Trail include:

• Tam Dao Golf Resort, a new 18 in the highlands northeast of Hanoi, convenient to the airport.

• Dalat Palace Golf Club, sitting at a mile high, is the only full bentgrass course in Southeast Asia. It was laid out in the 1920s for Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam.

• Ocean Dunes Golf Club, a Nick Faldo design, is a "tropical links" next to the South China Sea.

• Dong Nai Golf Resort, a 27-hole track laid out by American Ward Northrup, skirts the inlets and shores of a natural lake.

• Vietnam Golf & Country Club, home to 36 otherwise private holes, sits just 20 minutes from downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

• King’s Island Country Club is Hanoi’s oldest club and the home to two 18s that stretch over most diverse golfing ground in Southeast Asia.

For more information about the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail, visit www.hochiminhgolftrail.com.