Vietnam now has 35 golf courses in every corner of the country from north to south. Several of the Vietnam golf courses like Danang Golf Club, Montgomerie Links Vietnam, and Laguna Lang Co Golf Club are world-class standard. However, only a few locals and foreigners know this. The sport’s penetration among locals is a paltry 0.01% (10,000 golfers out of a population of 90,000,000) and foreign golf tourists number less than 30,000 per year. Why is this so?
First, golf in Vietnam is relatively expensive for locals. Green fees of $100 can be equal to 2 weeks of pay for entry level workers. Second, there is no established junior golf program in Vietnam. I have heard that Hanoi golf clubs actually discourage juniors from playing and the members look at the golf facilities as adult playgrounds away from their families. Finally, there are yet to be any professional Vietnamese golfers who have been in contention at any major tournaments. Time will of course see these trends changing as golf clubs look to the younger generation for their income and growth.
As for foreign golf tourists, Vietnam still remains a hard place to get to. With the best golf courses being located in the resorts around Da Nang and Nha Trang, the former is accessible from only a few international cities and the later not at all from any established international hubs. Also, with only 3 courses in Da Nang and 2 in Nha Trang, these are only the bare minimum number of courses golfers look for when selecting a golf holiday destination. The main city centers of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are more accessible by air and do have 5-10 golf courses each. However, most golf travelers prefer a more relaxed resort destination for their trips. In time, there will be more resort golf courses for sure, but for now the appeal of golf in Vietnam has to be 2-3 great courses in any one location with loads of history, culture, and beauty of Vietnam’s coastal resorts.