The Bluffs GC was designed by Greg Norman and opened for play in October 2014. It is located 82 miles south east of Ho Chi Minh City- about a 2 1/2 hour transfer by road, depending on traffic conditions.
The golf course is part of a significant commercial development along the Ho Tram strip- a sandy tract of land between national forest and beach, and which includes The Grand Ho Tram- a luxury hotel and casino.
The golf course is sited in large dunes a few hundred metres back from the beach, and is a tight, hilly site. The sandy ‘bluffs’ provided the name for the course. Appropriately bluffs are also a gambling term. Norman has done a remarkable job in routing the course through this territory. At times the purist will grumble- the distance from the third green to the fourth tee is not ideal, but in reality the club system is for the caddies to ride the carts, so the walking golfer need only hitch a ride for a minute. No big deal in my opinion.
At various times of the year the weather can be warm and humid, and given the course has some significant elevation change- particularly in the back nine- it really is more of cart course for most punters.
I really enjoyed the course- it provides a roller coaster ride from start to finish, with wonderful views of the coast and the The Grand hotel from nearly every hole. Originally Norman had planned to route a few holes on the flatter sandy land right on the ocean, but this part of the property was retained for future property development- not golf.
As you would expect with a sand based course by the sea, Norman has designed a links style course where different wind conditions are very much expected, and part of the game. A variety of tee positions can be utilised to make the course playable, and the greens are designed- like most links course with larger greens, nice movement, and a number of pin positions.
The front nine eases you into the round, with an ideal gentle opening hole, and then a succession of dramatic, and fun holes. If you are scoring well, don’t get too carried away- the back nine is more testing...
The tenth hole is long, tight and uphill- it’s a difficult hole. The par 3 15th, and par 4 18th hole are also long, difficult, uphill holes, but these are nicely balanced by some delightful shorter holes
Notable holes include:
- the par 3 second hole, a severely downhill mid length par 3 with water right
- the short par 4 third hole
- the par 3 fourth hole with it’s skyline green and beach and hotel background
- the par 3 seventh hole, playing as a bookend to the fourth hole
- the delightful par 4 eighth hole with water carry off the tee and bunkering splitting the fairway
- the par 3 eleventh hole- another skyline green!
- the short uphill par 4 thirteenth hole with fairway pinched by dunes at the driving area, and green set in a dell in the dunes protected by trees
- the magnificent par 5 sixteenth, a downhill par 5 with spectacular bunkering on both sides of the fairway demanding decisions from the golfer on lines of play.
The Bluffs is a significant addition to the golfing landscape in Vietnam. It offers a different type of experience to many of its counterparts in Vietnam and Asia in general.
It is a links style course with a sense of adventure.
I thought it was great fun, and a must for a repeat round
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Vietnam to suit your group. For itinerary suggestions please see Great Golf Destinations: Vietnam- Ho Chi Minh City & The South East
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