Hanoi’s newest golf course is the Korean owned and designed Sky Lake Golf & Resort. The largest-ever golf tournament in Vietnam was scheduled to be held there September 19, 2013. However, the Asian Tour event is now postponed until next year.
Fortunately for me, I was able to play the course last week. Located just 20 kilometers from town, I travelled to the Hanoi golf course by new 4-lane super-highway. The journey to Sky Lake took only 45 minutes. Driving up to the club I passed what looked like an active quarry on the left. This was in fact another 18-hole course (Lake Course) under construction. A modern clubhouse with fresh caddies greets visitors upon arrival and the existing course (Sky Course) is located directly behind the clubhouse.
At first glance the course looked excellent. Large elevation changes, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, and seeing the skyscrapers of Hanoi in the distance temps visitors with great first impressions.
Course design is extremely challenging. The back tees play to over 7,700 yards, which surprisingly is too far for even golf professionals. Sharp fairways lead to severe catchment areas, which almost insures even well-struck shots, will end up with an uneven lie. The greens were all severely undulated almost to the point of forcing one to putt at a 90 degree angle to the hole in order to have a chance to get down in two putts. Paspalum grass greens were running around 6 on the stimp meter and several were under repair the day I played. I suspect the greens’ slowness is what prompted the tournament postponement.
The scenery around the Sky Lake golf course is fantastic and the land plot is probably the best piece of golf course land I have seen in Hanoi. The clubhouse is also excellent, especially the locker rooms with changing, bathing, and sauna facilities fit for a king.