with Robert Bicknell
For a while, it seemed like the driving ranges and golf courses in Viet Nam might become a ghost town with all of the unexpected "excitement" over the last few weeks and the recent exodus of Taiwanese who decided to take a break for a while. Just until things cool down a bit.
While nobody likes to see things like that happen, it does change the scenery a bit and open up a lot of tee times for the rest of us. As you might imagine, some golf courses are scrambling to fill empty slots and this means there might be a few really good bargains floating around.
What golf course owners are beginning to belatedly understand is that it costs the same amount to maintain a golf course regardless if there are 5 players per day or 500 players per day. So, it is in their best interest to get as many bodies out onto the course as possible. Every dollar counts and if you cannot have the whole pie, one slice is better than none.
I have heard that Twin Doves is a bit quieter than usual, so it might be worth the effort to give them a call if you're looking for a tee time. They might also have some special packages on offer during the quiet time.
But, if you really want to get away and just enjoy yourself, you cannot beat Ho Tram and the new Greg Norman course down there. With a 5-star (closer to 6-star if you ask me) oceanfront hotel that has a casino, huge pool, a slew of great restaurants and a world class golf course, the Bluffs and The Grand are a tough combination to beat.
For me, the best part is the secure Children's Play Area which is loaded with great games and knowledgeable staff who can keep your kids entertained while also keeping them safe. Hey, schools out for summer and that mean kids at home, bored and looking for ways to drive you nuts. Why suffer when you can toss the whole family into the car and head to the beach for a few days?
The good news is that The Grand / Bluffs are offering some fantastic deals for the summer. I don't know about you, but I plan to make a trip down and decompress with the wife and kid for a few days. I might even try my luck at the craps table…just a little.
The best thing to do is to check the websites of the various golf courses and resorts to find the best deal. I have also heard Da Nang is a bit slower than usual, so you might want to check out the Greg Norman designed Danang GC, or the Colin Montgomerie designed Montgomerie Links. If you really want to go high end, check out Laguna Lang Co. If you can get a villa, do it. They are definitely worth the price. I stayed in one during the pre-opening and felt like a rock star. I could definitely get used to that lifestyle.
Summer is here and it's time to party.
There has been a lot of speculation how a "Tigerless" US Open will fare in terms of spectators and I really don't see it being much of a problem. There will always be great players competing. Golf is not about one course, one ball, one club or one man. Golf has been around for 250 years and will continue to be and the rest of the world had better get used to golf tournaments without Tiger Woods… at least for the foreseeable future.
The question is whether Jordan Spieth will step up this time around. He had a great Masters tournament and looks to break into the winners circle for a major in the near future. Could the US Open be the one? If not, can "The Open" (British Open for the Yanks reading…) be the one.
Nothing is certain, especially in golf, but the lad does have the game to become one of the greats, but he does need a bit more experience, especially when near the lead on the back nine on Sunday. This is where man and boys are separated.
As for the others, I think the US Open is too close to call without Tiger, and that's what makes it exciting. — VNS