As the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail blows out the candle on an award-winning first year, one of its most popular links has positioned itself to capitalize on the adventure’s enormous exposure.
At the end of May, the entire back nine of Kings’ Island Golf Club’s renowned Mountainview course will be lit for evening play. The front nine should be lit by the end of June. And then work begins on the illumination of the club’s Lakeside course.
“We’re blazing all kinds of new ground in Vietnam,” said Joe Millar, director of golf at Kings’ Island. “We were the first course to open in the north of Vietnam, and now we’re the first in Vietnam to let there be light at night. This adds a whole new dimension to the game in the tropics, where many golfers would just as soon wait for the sun to mellow out before teeing off.”
Kings’ Island plans to keep the lights burning until 10 p.m., extending play throughout the year by three to four hours per day. Though plans do not call for work-week lighting, it is already clear to Millar the club needs more light on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“If you tee off at 5 p.m., you’ll get out and back before we pull the plug,” said Millar. “And if it’s just a twosome, and they’re cooking, they’ll make it all the way even if they start at dusk.”
In play since 1994, Kings’ Island pioneered the game in the environs of Hanoi. The club keys on two 18-hole courses – one routed close to the shoreline of a 1,100-hectare lake and the other on heavily wooded upland terrain – accessible only by boat.
Workers at the course spent two months raising the 18-metre masts and rigging the metal halide lamps. A single mast rises over every teebox. Others march down the fairway at intervals of 50 metres to the greens, where two more shed light for putting.
There are 15 golf courses in Vietnam, with more than 30 projects in some stage of construction.
Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail www.hochiminhgolftrail.com