Paul Albanese collaborates with KJ Choi for new Vietnam course

  • Amber Hills Vietnam
    Albanese & Lutzke

    Paul Albanese and KJ Choi are collaborating on the new Rock Valley course for Amber Hills Golf & Resort in Vietnam

  • Amber Hills Vietnam
    Albanese & Lutzke

    Albanese says Choi will bring a thoughtful approach to his role on the project

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Construction of a new golf course at Amber Hills Golf & Resort in Bắc Giang, Vietnam, will begin this October.

Formerly known as Yen Dung Resort & Golf Club, the resort was renamed when it was taken over by investment company Amber Group in April 2022. The new Rock Valley course is a collaboration between Paul Albanese, the architect that designed the resort’s Hillside layout, and professional golfer KJ Choi, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour and winner of The Players Championship in 2011.

“The first course came out great,” said Albanese. “For the second course, the resort wanted a professional golfer’s name attached to it. Due to KJ’s immense popularity in Korea – he is one of most well-known athletes in that country – coupled with the number of existing Koreans that visit the resort, partnering with KJ was a no-brainer. I contacted him and it was great to hear that he was very interested in going down this golf design road.

“KJ is one of those very thoughtful golfers, meaning that when he plays, he takes into account every detail for the shot he is hitting — wind, slope, sun, angles and more. This is the type of detail he’ll bring to the design process.”

Rock Valley will be built on a very hilly site near the Nham Bien mountain range, with areas of the course having panoramic views across the property, to nearby rice paddies, a neighbouring village and the city.

“The grades will be the most challenging to deal with,” said Albanese. “The goal will be to ensure golfers are able to play up and down in a manner that is not too cumbersome, but will be strategic as well as affording great views to the city of Bắc Giang and the surrounding countryside.

“The goal for this course is to be very friendly to golfers yet maintain a strategic interest and challenge. We will incorporate a set of back tees that will certainly challenge professionals. The fairways on this course will be much wider than on the first layout due to the fact there will not be as many boundaries and slope constraints.”

Speaking at a signing ceremony to launch the Rock Valley project, Le Hung Nam, vice president and general secretary of Vietnam Golf Association, said: “I am very pleased to see that Vietnam’s golf movement is growing strongly. I believe that after completing the second course, Amber Hills can meet the increasing demands of golfers, become a tourist attraction for foreign visitors, and propel economic development of the Bắc Giang province.”