with Robert Bicknell
Remember the old, "if it's Thursday, I must be in an airport?" Well, sorry to throw you off, but I flew on Wednesday this time. Screwed up my entire life. I gotta stick to Thursdays and keep the universe in balance.
So, hello from beautiful Da Nang and the new Laguna Lang Co golf resort. OK, technically it's in Hue, but close enough. Just like my approach shots. If I hit something with short grass, I'm happy.
The resort very graciously flew in a bunch of international golf journalists and one local maniacal golf columnist (yours truly) for a few days of golf at the new Sir Nick Faldo designed 18 holes and so we could drool uncontrollably over the opulence of the villas.
How opulent you ask? How about 52-in interactive TV's in each villa, a patio, a pool and an ocean view. Yes, I could get used to this.
Sadly, if I want to stay here as a guest, I'll have to quit golf and go back to rock&roll just to afford it. It's a lifestyle level that I once new, but has since become a total stranger to me over the last 30 years, but I'd like to become reacquainted, you can bet your butt on that.
OK, I admit that being in golf has its benefits, such as being welcome at major hotels because we don't trash out hotel rooms like rockers do and the worst thing we do is putting in the hallways or get caught making a rehearsal golf swing in front of mirrors.
But then again, there is something strangely satisfying in stuffing the elevator with mattresses and sending it down to the lobby.
A... the good old days.
While the course is still growing in, it's playable and you can see what Sir Nick had in mind when he designed it. Personally, I found the back nine has more character, but it's really not a fair statement because, that's only my opinion and secondly the course isn't finished.
Once it has matured, it will look and play quite differently, especially after more trees are given to give it more definition.
The one obvious similarity between the new Laguna course and my current home at Ocean Dunes, both being Faldo creations, is that you have to play from the correct tee box and think your way around the course.
During his career, Faldo never tried to overpower a course. He thought his way around it instead and we all know the results.
Whenever I play ODGC from the blue tees, I seem to get killed, but off the black tees, it feels feel a lot more comfortable. Tomorrow, I will try the Laguna course from he backs and see if this holds true.
In the meantime, I will say that this course is a perfect addition to Da Nang GC and Montgomerie Links in forging a golfing triangle for Da Nang's golf tourism marketing angle.
But once again, this is for the high rollers as opposed to the player shopping for bargains. The golf fees will nit break your bank, but if you want to do it right, then fork out the cash for a villa rental.
It's money well spent, trust me on this…
Speaking of Da Nang GC and Monty, time permitting, I will be dropping in on Ben Styles and Jon Tomlinson at their respective courses.
I enjoy seeing how both courses are maturing.
As mentioned before, I really didn't think Montgomerie Links fit my style of game when I first played it, but after a few years I went back and found the course had matured in such a way that I found highly enjoyable. It changed my opinion completely.
But, Da Nang GC still remains my favourite course in Viet Nam (other than my own – DPGC&ODGC) because I think that Greg Norman and I have the same playing philosophy… swing hard and take chances. The difference, of course, is that he had a ton of talent and I have a ton of attitude.
OK, granted, he won a few majors, but can he claim to have stuffed an elevator full of mattresses or tossed a TV out a window into a swimming pool?
Nope, I didn't think so. — VNS