The new PGA Garden course, designed by Greg Norman Golf Course Design, at PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet in Vietnam, has opened for its first full season of play.
Construction of the 7,100-yard layout was completed in August 2021 and opened earlier this year. It joined the resort’s other 18-hole course, the PGA Ocean course, also designed by Greg Norman’s design firm, which opened in April 2021.
The two-course project is part of a huge development – led by Novaland Group – of a coastal area in the southeast of the country named NovaWorld Phan Thiet. When complete it will include luxury golf villas, sports and wellness complex, an amusement park, retail, restaurants, bars, hotels and more.
On both layouts, Greg Norman Golf Course Design has worked alongside PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet, Flagstick Golf Course Construction Management, water feature designer WR RockGroup Construction and Sports Turf Solutions, which supplied, planted and grew in Primo Zoysia on tees and greens, and Zeon Zoysia on fairways and rough.
The Garden course will provide a base for PGA students in Vietnam to play and practice. “Greg and I both commented on how much the property reminded us of Australia the first time we walked the site, so we knew right away that the sandbelt courses would be the inspiration for our design,” said Chris Campbell, senior vice president of Greg Norman’s design firm. “We put a lot of emphasis on creating a continuous flow of contours not just on individual golf holes, but throughout the entire property, and making a similar transition from maintained turf to natural areas. All this factors into the playability and gives golfers a ton of options, especially as you get closer to the greens.”
One of the course’s standout features is a winding stream that crosses many of the first nine holes, working on both an aesthetic and strategic level. Construction wrapped up on the Garden course in August 2021, with RockGroup completing work on a stream project for the fifth hole, a 173-yard par three that has a 78-yard carry over a lake.
The Ocean course offers panoramic views over the East Sea, with all 18 holes winding between a mix of parkland- and links-style land, with rugged bunkers lined with native grass and undulating fairways.
‘Mini fairway tees’, measuring up to 100 metres in length on some holes, allow for a variety of teeing options. Several holes also have speed slots incorporated in the design to provide further options for players.
There is also a par-three nineteenth hole on the Ocean course that sits between holes 13 to 15 in a low-lying area where rainwater from that section of the layout is collected – this area also has long-range views across the Eastern Sea. The design team added this hole, water catchment and wetland as a creative way to solve any potential water issues. The hole has a starfish-shaped green that was created to add something unique and would relate to the ocean, which the course is named after.
The nineteenth, which uses the fifteenth’s back tee, opened in March 2022 and is only available on weekdays.
“With such a stunning piece of property to work with, it is no wonder those who have been out to play the new courses have been taken aback by what they have seen,” said Greg Norman.
Andrew Bowles, managing director of Nova Golf Clubs, said: “Golf is central to the wider offer at the NovaWorld Phan Thiet integrated resort, and as more people come to visit, we are excited to demonstrate the outstanding course conditioning, playability and unique challenge offered by both the PGA Ocean and Garden courses.”