A new golf course designed by Kevin Ramsey and David Dale of Golfplan and located near the city of Cam Ranh, Vietnam, is approaching completion.
Binh Tien Golf Club will be the centrepiece of a resort development master planned by SOM and developed by the Binh Tien Tourist and Joint Stock Company.
“The course is looking great,” said Dale after his visit in December. “It has the essence of Seminole in some areas and carries a dunes feel throughout.”
Earthworks began in late 2019 and accelerated after construction management firm Flagstick was retained in March 2020. Work is now over 70 per cent complete, with grass growing on the majority of holes.
“The golf course was designed to transition from mountains to sea and, as such, the upper holes – the back nine – play out of the natural forest and rock outcrops down to the beach and resort area,” said Ramsey. “For the lower part of the site – the front nine – we have restored the dunes feel with abundant water and palm trees. The intent is to create a golf experience that meanders through the different landscapes of the site with an ebb and flow of character.
“The opening hole will make a great start and give golfers a taste of what’s to come. Holes three to five are all around the lake and will be an experience all to themselves. The ninth will be a great finish to the front nine.
“The back nine has a more natural feeling as we were able to protect some beautiful trees and rock outcrops and incorporate them into the strategy and framing of each hole. Holes twelve to eighteen incorporate ocean views from numerous points. The thirteenth will likely be the golfer’s favourite as it tees off from an adjacent hillside down to the beach with stunning views down the coastline and the islands beyond. The eighteenth provides a strong and dramatic finish directly in front of the clubhouse, which we relocated to higher ground to take advantage of panoramic views over the golf course towards the sea.”
With travel restrictions in place, the design team made use of drone footage to ensure progress on the project. Dale was able to conduct a week-long visit prior to Christmas 2020, which required him to complete a 14-day quarantine at a hotel in Hanoi.
“The site is somewhat linear on the southern end and trying to get good directional change and views to the water throughout was challenging,” said Dale. “Water storage, quality and availability were also very challenging and a puzzle as this is a fairly dry area of Vietnam with very limited seasonal rainfall.”
Golfplan designed a series of large lakes within the routing to provide significant water storage for the dry season. The eastern lakes will act as a bio-filtration system for both the golf course and a significant amount of the residential area.
Platinum TE from Atlas Turf International was planted throughout as it can handle poor quality water. The sand base will allow the soil to flush during the rainy season so there is no build-up of salinity or heavy metals in the soil.
“We are really trying to give the golfer and non-golfer alike an experience that takes them through a variety of golf hole environments, from lakes to mountains, to rocks, to beach,” said Ramsey. “Each hole will have various options as to how to approach it strategically depending on pin position, wind and golfers’ strengths and weaknesses. There is not just one way to play the holes. The idea is to engage the mind as much as the body and strategy and management of your game will be a huge part.”
The course is expected to open in late autumn this year.
This article first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.