Buoyed by a two-day site inspection of his new design near the storied sands of China Beach, Colin Montgomerie predicts great things for The Montgomerie Links Vietnam. “I think this site, this golf course, will become world renowned,” Montgomerie said of central Vietnam’s first layout.
Montgomerie addressed the local media during a press conference held at the nearby Nam Hai Resort. Though torrential rains the previous week had caused widespread damage throughout central Vietnam, The Montgomerie Links Vietnam is on track to open its driving range next month.
Under Montgomerie’s direction, more than 150 local labourers are coaxing a world-class links-style track from this tropical dunescape. The routing moves boldly over a striking landscape of wispy casuarinas pines, a fitting but more exotic substitute for Scottish gorse. The site’s towering sand dunes afford long views of the Marble Mountains and South China Sea.
Montgomerie grew up at Royal Troon on Scotland’s west coast, and compares his home to this stretch of Vietnamese linksland.
“The weather’s warmer here,” said Montgomerie. “In regards to design though, we found land that is hugely similar to what we find at home. Actually, it’s surprisingly similar to Scotland and the rugged nature of the Scottish coastline.”
Sure to be talked about is The Montgomerie Links Vietnam’s 11th hole, an uphill, false-fronted par-3 heavily fortified by bunkers. It’s reminiscent of No. 5 at Australia’s Royal Melbourne, one of Montgomerie’s all-time favourite courses.
“This is an exciting area, Vietnam, especially this particular region, China Beach, the historic nature of it and what we can do here,” Montgomerie said. “It’s a beautiful beach, a beautiful golf course site. To find a course site like this, these days, is very rare. To have this opportunity – to build a course here that carries my name – is something that couldn’t be resisted.”
Course developer Indochina Capital has committed $45 million to The Montgomerie Links Vietnam project, breaking new leisure ground in the most promising resort region yet developed in Vietnam.
Last December another Indochina property, an up scale, super-resort and spa dubbed The Nam Hai, opened to worldwide acclaim on a site just five kilometres south of the Montgomerie Links. The most prestigious hotel groups in the world, including Raffles, Banyan Tree, Kor and Hyatt, are now developing resorts in the region.
While 15 golf courses are now open for play in Vietnam, mainly around Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the first in this central region, The Montgomerie Links Vietnam, will open to instant demand.
Limited memberships, by invitation and interview only, will be available with the remainder of the play offered to tourists and locals from the Danang and Hoi An area. The current schedule calls for a soft opening of 9 holes by early 2008 with the full 18 hole grand opening later in 2008.
“We have more than a dozen ongoing projects amounting to more than $1 billion in development cost throughout Vietnam,” said Peter Ryder, CEO of Indochina Capital, “but what’s special about this one is that we, with the help of Colin’s expertise, are creating something that will take golf to a whole new level in this country.”
In addition to the clubhouse and range, the 70-plus-hectare development will include 60 spectacularly designed villas for sale on 38,000 square metres called The Montgomerie Links Estates.
Montgomerie currently has seven original course designs open for play worldwide and more than ten courses in design or construction. The four courses to bear the Montgomerie brand name – a title reserved for layouts where the site and development partners were personally chosen by the golfer himself – are located in Dubai, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Colin Montgomerie www.colinmontgomerie.com
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