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Vietnam golf scene on road to recovery, say country’s leading clubs

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Two of Vietnam’s leading clubs, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip and Laguna Golf Lang Co, are backing the nation to reassert its reputation as one of the world’s hottest golfing destinations as the country eases its COVID-19 lockdown.

Golf was in hibernation in the Southeast Asian nation throughout April. Courses were shuttered as part of Vietnam’s push to impose social distancing and flatten the curve of infections caused by the global pandemic.

But with the nation now tentatively opening back up for business and its economy clicking back into motion, clubs including The Bluffs and Laguna Golf Lang Co are now ready to welcome back golfers: albeit under changed circumstances, with enhanced hygiene standards now front and centre of operations.

With international travel still in flux, golf courses around Vietnam are shifting their focus to the domestic market for the moment. Even so, members of the country’s golf community believe that Vietnam’s widely-praised handling of its COVID-19 situation will stand it in good stead when international visitors begin to flow back in.

“The Vietnamese authorities took swift and strict measures to contain the virus,” said Gary Dixon, General Manager at The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip. “That gives me huge confidence that we can capitalize on the positive place Vietnam is and the position it has found itself within the global hospitality and tourism markets.”

Vietnam has a head start over other nations in emerging from the crisis. Measures such as a suspension of all foreign entry, mandatory 14-day quarantines for returning nationals and targeted lockdowns have all proved effective with the country reporting under 300 cases nationwide and no deaths as of May 6.

Nevertheless, no one in Vietnam is being complacent about the threat posed by COVID-19. In order to safeguard against the virus, stringent standards of health are in place at both The Bluffs and Laguna Golf Lang Co.

Precautions include mandatory temperature checks before entering the resorts. Other protocols include mandatory hand sanitization and mask-wearing. Visitors are also required to present a medical declaration stating that they are free of COVID-19 upon arrival at the clubs.

“So far, everyone – from our membership to the staff and all our resort guests — have been very supportive of any initiative we’ve put forward for extra protocols and hygiene standards,” said Adam Calver, Director of Golf at Laguna Golf Lang Co. “Vietnam has prospered by maintaining vigilance throughout this crisis and there’s a palpable determination not to drop the ball at this stage.”

With the two clubs now open for play, visitors will be able to acquaint (or reacquaint) themselves with all the attributes that make them so special.

At The Bluffs, designed by Greg Norman, guests can sample an authentic links experience on a layout ranked #76 in the world according to Golf Digest’s latest list of the World 100 Greatest Golf Courses.

Further north, on the nation’s central coast, Laguna Golf Lang Co – the work bears the signature of Sir Nick Faldo — threads between trees, over rice paddies and streams, through rock features and alongside the azure East Sea

Off-course, the situation is just as agreeable. At Laguna Golf Lang Co, two award-winning resorts – Angsana Lang Co and Banyan Tree Lang Co – round out one of Asia’s most attractive stay/play packages. At Ho Tram, meanwhile, The Bluffs is complemented by The Grand Ho Tram Strip, a luxury 541-room hotel that ranks among the region’s best golf hotels.

“Golf presents a wonderful opportunity to get out of the city to enjoy the fresh air and to forget about your worries,” added Calver. “That’s really important at the moment.”