Long Bien Golf Course is the newest addition to the Hanoi golf scene. To reach Long Bien Golf Course from the center of Hanoi, cross the Vinh Tuy Bridge and its right there, across from the Hanoi IT Park. This makes Long Bien the nearest course from Hanoi city, which is a big plus.
The Vietnamese military affiliated Him Lam Corporation owns and operates the new Hanoi golf course as well as the new Tan Son Nhat golf course in Ho Chi Minh City. While this may seem strange, they do a very good job in terms of service and style (read on).
Nelson & Haworth was commissioned to design Long Bien and opted for Paspalum grass on fairways and roughs. The grass is very good now, but may prove to be problematic for maintenance in the cooler months with less sun, especially January and February. Tifeagle Bermuda grass is on greens which is the best choice nowadays. The course is floodlit and the last tee time is 6PM. The intention is to eventually provide 24 hour golfing, which would be a first as far as I know. Long Bien is a public course with reasonable rates (US$110 weekdays and US$130 weekends) that include green fee, caddie fee, and a shared golf cart.
Service at Long Bien is very good. There is a large lobby area, like a hotel, and in fact the whole clubhouse is gigantic, one of the largest in Vietnam. Staff speak decent English, greet golfers by name, and escort players to the proper areas for check-in, changing, and starting. Locker rooms are large, brightly lit and have full size lockers for everyone.
Despite being officially opened for only 2 month, Long Bien is in very good condition. Irrigation and drainage is excellent and grass is in top condition. Even drink kiosks and landscaping around the course is complete and fully operational.
This Hanoi golf club is definitely a city course with views of only large buildings in the distance and roads and an airport surrounding the course. Fairways generally run parallel to one another with out-of-bounds areas around the perimeter of the course. Bunkers are well positioned around 200 yards from the tees to catch errant drives and once in one take a great shot to get out from. They are very deep and are filled with soft sand. Greens are large and undulating, but roll out true. Again, for a new course, the greens are in very good condition and are rather slick. There are lay-up areas around most greens so there’s room for error on shots in. However, most of the greens are raised, which means a good short game is a big advantage to get close and have chances to save par.
Overall, Long Bien Golf Course is well laid out, provides high quality service, and is an excellent new addition to golf in Hanoi.
Portions of this article were written by my good friend and longtime Hanoi resident Barry Knaggs.