An eagle eye for quality
October 16, 2017
VGM catches up with Sam Thomas – Golf Development Manager of Golf Environment Organization (GEO), about golf in Vietnam highlighted through rigorous course inspections.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT GOLF IN VIETNAM?
Golf courses in Vietnam vary greatly in scale, quality and experience. They range from the historic Dalat Palace course from 1922 to the very modern Bluffs Ho Tram, from golf high up in the jungle like Dalat at 1200 or right alongside the coastline at Laguna Lang Co. In that sense, a visiting golfer to Vietnam can experience golf in many forms if they are willing to travel and seek it out.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT CRITERIA WHEN RATING A COURSE?
For a great golf course, you must look at the entire property – maximizing the value and wider contributions that it can deliver. Land is a valuable resource and it is always great to visit a golf course that has carefully and resourcefully used its land to provide the best golf it can, while minimizing the change it has made to the landscape’s character, health and qualities. We like to see golf courses that remain true to their surroundings, so that the golf course feels genuine and unique to that location.
WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GOLF COURSES IN VIETNAM AND THE UK?
Golf is different in Vietnam. The courses are generally bigger, more expensive and longer than we typically see in the UK. In the UK, the average course length is around 6,600yds, in Vietnam the courses we visited averaged 7,350yds and as long as 7,800yds in some cases. So, it is challenging to draw clear similarities between golf courses in the two countries, but certainly the golfers you meet and play with in Vietnam share the same enthusiasm for the game of golf.
HOW SHOULD VIETNAMESE GOLF COURSES PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT?
Golf courses in Vietnam, new and existing, can embrace the natural and native environment they have around them. Protecting the environment is about conserving and looking after what we have got. In Vietnam, you have some of the most spectacular landscapes for golf and if that can be protected and embraced by golf courses, Vietnam has the opportunity to create true Vietnamese golf experiences, which you would not find anywhere else. Our mission as GEO Foundation™ is to help guide, support and recognize those existing facilities, new developments and tournaments who are doing exactly that – fostering more nature, doing more to conserve resources and creating more value for communities and in the long term strengthening golf’s image and vitality.
ABOUT GEO FOUNDATION
GEO Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting the global golf community to foster more nature; do more to conserve resources, and create more value for communities. For more information, please visit www.sustainable.golf