Arrivals & Departures Halong Bay hits a hole in one

Photo of Angie Tomlinson

Tee off with one of the world's most beautiful bays as your backdrop.

Perched high above the old town and with panoramic views of the UNESCO world heritage-listed Halong Bay, FLC Golf Links Halong Bay is sure to be added to the bucket list of every dedicated, occasional and "wannabe" golfer worldwide.

The world-class golf course will open later this year overlooking the spectacular limestone karst-riddled bay. Building of the 18-hole, par-71 course is at the halfway stage and is expected to be finished during the third quarter of this year.

Developed by Hanoi-based FLC Group, the course will be accompanied by a hotel, convention centre and villas. 

US-based golf course design company, Schmidt-Curley, which has designed more than 60 courses in Asia over 20 years, and fellow American outfit, Flagstick Constructions, is turning the difficult, hilly site into a course.

Four holes will directly face Halong Bay, with the others ridging a steep valley. 

"If you tell someone - golfer or non-golfer ­- there are ten places in the world you must visit for the views, this would be one of them. Throw in a year-round resort with golf and there's no doubt this will be on every golfer's wish-list," lead architect Brian Curley said.      

The course will be some 6800 yards from the tips and 6200-6300 yards from the white tees - relatively short by modern standards. There are five par-3 holes, three of which offer 180-degree vistas over Halong Bay, with two (the eighth and 12th) likely to be compared to the 7th hole at Pebble Beach, California.  

"We have deliberately created sufficient width to make it a 'find-your-ball course'. As a resort course, we don't want players to get beaten up, although it won't be a pushover either," Mr Curley said.      

Several million foreign tourists visit Halong Bay each year, as well as many more Vietnamese to experience the 2000 limestone karsts formed over a period of 20 million years, jutting from the 1553sqkm bay.    

Halong Bay is three hours by road Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital. 

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