Hanoi is one of Asia's top tourist spots and is quickly rising up the rankings for golf lovers too
Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and second largest city in the country. It is one of the most rapidly developing cities in the whole of Southeast Asia and combines the perfect mix of East and West.
Hanoi can be split into two distinct areas which are the old Hanoi, featuring four districts and the new, Western Hanoi, which also has four districts and is home to modern skyscrapers and shopping malls. Hanoi did not suffer a lot of damage during the war and the old quarter is a lovely place to visit and contrasts nicely with the French architecture in the Hoan Kiem District.
Home to some of Hanoi’s top sights, such as Hoan Kiem lake, Ngoc Son temple, The Huc Bridge, the Grand Cathedral, Hanoi Opera House and several museums, you must take time to visit the Hoan Kiem District during your stay.
However, thanks to the significant investment in Hanoi and the surrounding area, many top quality golf courses have been established over the years. Hanoi is consistently ranked as one of the top places to visit in the world for tourists and the its quickly rising up the rankings for golf lovers too. The Noi Bai International Airport, which is located to the north of the city is well connected and the terminal is clean and modern.
When planning a visit to the best golf courses in Hanoi, you must take note of the climate. Hanoi experiences wet summers and cooler, dry winters. The wet season usually starts earlier in the north than the south and the best time to visit this region of Vietnam is usually between December and February. During this time of year you can expect to see mainly dry weather plus lower humidity and temperatures in comparison to other times of the year. You will find the hottest and wettest period of the year between May and September, so if you want to enjoy the best of Hanoi’s golf courses, try and avoid this period. Furthermore, be prepared during the winter months, as temperatures can drop to around 15 degrees at night, which will feel cool so bring a light jacket or jumper to wear.
Having selected the perfect month for your trip to Hanoi, it is time to take a look at the best golf courses in this area of Vietnam.
Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club
Considered one of the best golf courses in Hanoi, you should not leave Vietnam without playing a round here
This course will require you to make a trip outside the city if your accommodation is based there, as its located in Sao Do town, some 65 kilometres away from Hanoi city but is easily reached and well worth the trip. This was the venue for the first professional golf tournament in North Vietnam, which was played at the course in 2004, just a year after it was opened.
As you reach the golf course you will quickly understand why the journey was worthwhile as forested rolling hills combine with lakes and creeks to complete a fantastic looking golf course. With a large lake acting as the centrepiece of Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club, water comes into play on several holes. Some holes feature island greens, whereas others require tee shots which must carry water to find the fairway.
The par-4 2nd hole is one of the best at Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club, with a well-guarded elevated green and a long carry over water from the tee. If you are enjoying a good round with a low score, do not get carried away as the toughest test is left to last on this course. The 18th hole is a monstrous 680 yards and is played uphill, so make sure you have something left in the tank before heading to the clubhouse for a well-deserved drink.
The greens at Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club are smooth and fast and the whole course is kept in good condition throughout the year. In addition to the water, the rough makes a difficult hazard to avoid and when left to grow long is tough from which to escape. Keeping your ball on the fairway is the only chance you have to register a low score.
Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club is one of the best golf courses in Hanoi and makes for a great day trip from the city.
BRG Kings Island Golf Resort
There are three 18-hole golf courses to enjoy at BRG Kings Island Golf Resort, the Lakeside Course, Mountain Course & the new Kings Course
Competing with Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club for the title of most scenic course in Hanoi is BRG Kings Island Golf Resort. Situated on the outskirts of the city, the course takes up an enviable position on the shores of the Dong Mo reservoir and access to the course is by boat, which provides a nice and unique touch.
The Lakeside Course was the first of the two to open and sits across two islands and a peninsula in the reservoir. There are superb views of the Ba Vi mountain range and as you would expect from a course based on a reservoir, water comes into play regularly and features on 13 of the 18 holes. Your most difficult task will be to hit the hidden greens, which often require carries over the lake or shots over gorges, such as the 13th hole. Both the 7th and 14th holes are memorable, with a double dogleg and elevated tee, in addition to tremendous views of the Ba Vi Mountain from the highest point on the golf course.
When playing golf at the BRG Kings Island Golf Resort you also have the option of a round on the Mountain Course. This course was designed by Pacific Coast Design Ltd and makes full use of the surrounding trees, mountains and water. If you wish to play both courses, perhaps you could book an overnight stay at the resort and make use of the other facilities, such as the swimming pool and sailing or fishing on the Dong Mo Lake.
The Kings Course is the most recent addition to the resort at Kings Island. It was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened for play in 2018 and is a typical Nicklaus layout with wide fairways and extensive bunkering protecting the greens. The course has less trees than the other tow courses and is much more open
BRG Kings Island Golf Resort is home to three of the best golf courses in Hanoi and should feature on every Hanoi golf holiday itinerary.
BRG Legend Hill Golf Resort
The first Jack Nicklaus design to open in Vietnam
Located just 20 minutes from the Hanoi airport and the 3rd golf course to open from the same owner as the Kings Island Golf Resort, BRG Legend Hill Golf Resort was the first Jack Nicklaus design to open in Vietnam.
The course nestles invitingly in the foothills of Soc Song District, close to the Soc Temple which was made famous by Saint Giong. In fact, the golf course has been named Legend Hill out of respect for Saint Giong. Having opened in 2015, not only was BRG Legend Hill Golf Resort the first golf course in Vietnam to be designed by Jack Nicklaus, it was the first in the country to feature two greens on every hole.
So, there are 18 holes to play but with 36 actual holes in total, which is a unique concept and the idea is to give golfers the opportunity to experience a different round of golf each time they visit the course. You will notice immediately how much greenery surrounds the golf course and there are trees present on both sides, some of which cover hills close to the edges of the fairway. Most of the fairways are long and thin, meaning good driving accuracy is required to score low. The greens are both fast and true plus there is a lot of water present around the course, especially down the sides of the par-5 holes, so anything wayward off the tee has a good chance of getting wet.
The contemporary clubhouse sits on top of a hill and overlooks the golf course and surrounding mountains. Being so close to both the city and airport, BRG Legend Hill Golf Resort is one of the best golf courses in Hanoi for reaching quickly upon arrival and is very well kept, making it a great place for a round of golf.
Long Bien Golf Course
The newest golf course in Hanoi and the closest to the city - also one of the best maintained
Long Bien Golf Course is a 27-hole layout which was designed by Nelson & Haworth designed layout. This Hanoi golf course opened early last year and is one of the closest golf courses to the centre of the city. The course covers an area of 350 hectares and runs alongside the Dong Nai River and is very close to the military airport and it can get quite noisy when the jets take off.
The fairways on the course have been seeded with Paspalum and the tee boxes and primary rough have been planted with Tiff Eagle Bermuda grass. The course is in immaculate condition and in terms of maintenance on of the best of any Hanoi golf club.
The course shaping has created some large mounds and many of the holes are lined with palm trees. Several streams wander across the course which enhances the landscape whilst adding to the challenge. The course is quite short and only measures 6,700 yards from the back tees however the courses designers have compensated by adding out-of-bounds areas and some deep fairway bunkers. You will not be able to blast your driver on this course as it rewards accurate iron play and the elevated greens make chipping difficult.
The clubhouse at Long Bien is very plush and one of the best in Hanoi and includes a full-service spa and massage area, a very well-stocked pro shop and a restaurant serving some excellent local and international dishes
Phoenix Golf Resort
A course which is regarded as being one of the most scenic in Vietnam
Travelling slightly further outside Hanoi you will find Phoenix Golf Resort, a course which is regarded as being one of the most spectacular in Vietnam. The area in which the golf course is located is known as ‘Halong Bay on land’ and those familiar with the bay, will know immediately that this is a golf course you must visit when in Hanoi.
There are many limestone outcropping which frame and come into play on many of the holes, of which there are 54 in total. Designed by Ronald Fream, Phoenix Golf Resort is the largest golf course facility in Vietnam and the second largest in Asia. Only Mission Hills in China can boast a bigger golfing resort.
There are three golf courses to choose from and each of them features undulating fairways and greens. Weaving in and out of the limestone cliffs, both Japanese and Korean design have been used to give the courses the stunning impact they have on all golfers who have the pleasure of visiting.
The Master Course is a links style course, which has a very open feel to it in comparison to the other two, the Phoenix and Master courses. Both latter courses run through a more mountainous landscape but if you were to only pick one course to play at the Phoenix Golf Resort, you should choose the Dragon Course.
Be prepared to witness something special as you play the front nine holes of the Dragon Course, which is both dramatic in terms of scenery and testing in terms of layout. If you have managed to keep it together heading into the back nine holes, you will enjoy playing your way towards the clubhouse. Each of the 18 holes are very well thought out and presented and the final hole is a great way to finish a round of golf, with a deep-water ravine protecting the front-left of the green. You will struggle to find a more demanding final hole in Hanoi than the 18th on the Dragon Course at Phoenix Resort.
There is a large European style clubhouse available for refreshments after your round but in terms of accommodation, you are better off staying in Hanoi and making the short trip to Phoenix Resort before heading back in the evening. However, in terms of pure golfing theatre, you will see why the Dragon Course at Phoenix resort is regarded as one of the best golf courses in Hanoi.
Sky Lake Resort and Golf Club
You have a choice of two contrasting 18-hole golf courses, the Sky Course and the Lake Course
You cannot visit Hanoi for a golf holiday and leave Sky Lake Resort and Golf Club off your itinerary. Located just 45 kilometres from the centre of Hanoi, you have a choice of two contrasting 18-hole golf courses, the Sky Course and the Lake Course. Both courses were designed by Korean architect, Mr. Ahn Moon Hwan and received awards in 2015 for being the best championship course in Vietnam and the 5th best course in Vietnam.
The Lake Course has several holes over rolling hills and winds its way through mountains and lakes. There are lovely views of farmland to enjoy from many of the holes and both the fairways and greens are undulating. The course also plays long in comparison to others in Hanoi and stretches to 7,265 yards from the back tees. Thick rough, trees and drop-off areas line the fairways and these combine with the well protected, multi-tier greens to present a tough challenge to golfers of all abilities. Thankfully, with wide fairways, you can afford the occasional miss-hit and still enjoy a great round.
The Sky Course is surrounded by Vietnamese jungle and offers generous fairways and greens in comparison to the Lake Course. Therefore, if you would like to enjoy a more casual round, the Sky Course would be the better choice but if you are looking for a real test of golfing ability, the Lake Course is the best option for you.
Both golf courses at Sky Lake Resort are very well maintained throughout the year and the clubhouse offers lovely Korean food, making this one of the best golf courses in Hanoi.
Tam Dao Golf Resort
Water plays a significant role at Tam Dao Golf Resort, with lakes and streams a common feature throughout
Heading into the cooler climate of the mountains outside Hanoi, you will find Tam Dao Golf Resort. If you are staying in central Hanoi it will take you around an hour to reach this golf course but it is worth the drive. Due to the location, large mountains frame the golf course and you will feel as though you could be playing in the Alps.
The greens are elevated and well-guarded by bunkers and water, making approach shots the key to a low score. The first hole is a par-5 and gives you a good idea of what to expect throughout the remaining 17 holes. Water crosses the fairway some 200 yards from the green and you must decide whether to lay-up or attempt to reach the green in two shots. There is potential to start your round with an eagle but you could just as easily be over par heading to the second hole, so make your choice wisely. The 10th hole is another beauty and is a short par-4, playing to an elevated island green.
Tam Dao Golf Resort, in addition to the nearby town make for a great day out from Hanoi and the golf course is one of the best in the Hanoi region.
Some of the other best golf courses in Hanoi include Dai Lai Star Golf and Country Club, Heron Lake Golf Course and Resort and Long Bien Golf Course, the latter of which is one of the closest golf courses to the centre of Hanoi. For those who would like to experience playing a links style course on the coast, you must be willing to travel from Hanoi and if you book an overnight stay you can enjoy FLC Samson Golf Links. Situated between the mouth of Ma River and the South China Sea, the views are tremendous and it’s well worth adding this golf course to your Hanoi itinerary.
Hanoi continues to develop a great reputation for golf. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the best golf courses in Hanoi and it makes a fantastic golf holiday destination.