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Meet Nicolas Joakimides

This month VGM enjoys an engaging chat with Nicolas Joakimides and learns why this professional golfer and golf course designer is interested in Vietnam.

 

How long have you been in Vietnam?

I have been in Vietnam with my family only since early October. Since I was 20, my dream was to live in Asia. A few years later, I fell in love with a French woman of Vietnamese origin. We had two children and were living in France. After our third visit to Vietnam, we started talking about living there in a few years. But, I had nearly finished my job in France, so we decided to move to Vietnam much more earlier.

What are your first impressions of golf in Vietnam?

I have played 11 courses so far from Ho Chi Minh City to Dong Hoi and I would say that all the courses I played are of high quality in design, maintenance and service.The only downside, in my opinion, is there is no option to walk the course and when you ride a golf cart, most of the time, you must stay on the car path. I think it would be a better experience if you could walk or drive straight to your ball.

Teelal Golf, Morocco

Being a professional golfer as well as a golf course designer, why are you interested in Vietnam market?

I am interested in the Vietnamese market because golf design is my passion and there might be some opportunities to build new courses. Vietnam also has a huge advantage - a long coast with sandy soil. When drainage is less of an issue, you can create great courses with punchbowl greens and a lot of contours. As a player, Vietnam is a good place to train and play all year round because the courses are in very good condition and the weather is perfect which is very rare in Europe from November to April. I lived close to Paris. In the winter, temperatures are not far from 0 degree Celsius, fairways are muddy and greens very soft and slow.

You have mentioned that Asia seems to be lacking courses that would be easily accessible for beginners, average players, ladies, juniors and seniors. So, should Vietnam invest in developing such courses?

In Scotland, for example, you will find short courses everywhere. And there are many kinds of “short courses”. It can be a putting course, a chipping course of 20-60 yards, pitch and putt course of 40-110 yards, a 9-hole 2,000 yard compact course or simply a par 68, 5,000 yard course. It also has the modern 7,500 yard “championship course”!

All players that are not very powerful would really enjoy these types of courses. It would help to get more people to golf, especially families. More women playing means more husbands, more children means more parents or grandparents and so on. Besides, short courses are less costly to build and maintain. More people would be able to afford a few rounds of golf. You would also be able to play a golf course in less than three hours!

What more can we do to develop golf in Vietnam?

Short courses should be created close to cities and be affordable, fun and relatively easy for beginners and be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Also, give juniors the possibility to practice and play for free to create future champions!

Navarrenx Golf Club, France

THÔNG TIN CÁ NHÂN

H tênNicolas Joakimides

Ngh nghipGolf th chuyên nghip (t năm 1993) và nhà thiết kế sân golf (t năm 2004)

Đã tng chơi400 sân golf

Websitenicolasjoakimides.com

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