Golf Courses in Vientiane & Luang Prabang
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in-&-around the cities of Laos
Dansavanh Golf & Country Club
If there is a first in the country for a modern and top of the range golf course, this is it. Located at about 1.5-hour drive north of Vientiane, Dansavanh Golf & Country Club is a major part of a complete resort, the Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort, which apart from offering other sport facilities is also a casino.
The golf course is built around the lower-right corner of the Nam Ngum Lake, also dubbed ‘Lake Geneva of Asia’. This 18-hole Par-72 7,107-yard course is actually made up of two 9’s namely Course A & B, partly revealing the evolution of course building following the openning up of the country some years back when Pathet Lao took a back seat in the country’s politics and later went into oblivion. So much so in the euphoria of the country’s abrupt turn to the rest of the world perhaps, no one remembers who the course designer actually was (A former Cadre?).
Being along side the huge lake, water features characterise the course. On last count, at least 13 holes come complete with menacing water obstacles. To add more flavour, course design took to many dog-legs, and for the shorter of such holes, trees at strategic turnings are introduced to make short-cuts less accessible!
With spectacular views of the lake on the one side and the very green but high mountain setting of the Phou Khao Khouay National Park inland, a day out at this beautiful and well manicured course will certainly be a memorable experience of what a ‘luxury golf’ is all about, what more with the casino there 24/7 to make up for what would have but sorely missed on the green!
SEA (South East Asia) Games Golf Club
Built in 2009 by Korean contractor, Boo Yang, for the SEA Games. It’s about 20 kms from the Friendship Bridge along Route 13 in 11 o’clock direction.
Over an area of about 150 hectares of relatively flat land, three 9’s with a combined total of 10,704 yards of a Par-36 each were snugly fitted in.
The main feature of the course is the numerous ponds and water ways in between fairways. It’s been described as ‘tough but not difficult’ in that the water hazards will have to be carefully studied and ‘navigated’. Good ball control skills and therefore good ball placing ability will be much in demand for most holes.
Generally the course is well maintained with trimmed edges; night golf is available too here.
Laos Country Club
Situated just west of the Nongkai-Vientiane Friendship Bridge, this 18-hole Par-72 7,303-yard course is a great make-over from its former dilapidated self, the Lan Xang Golf Club.
Recently refurbished and being near to the great Mekong River, not unlike other sister courses in the country, it touts water play as the main feature. Many holes will have water on either side of the flight path in addition to smaller pools on the way forward. Some t-boxes are even lined with such little pools more for decorative purposes than a psychological barrier. In fact there’s a general impression that there are more water on the course than the expanse of the mighty Mekong would suggest.
If you can get over the feeling of ‘golfing on waters’ and are generally confident with accurate placing you should enjoy more than others on this otherwise immaculately maintained and beautiful course.
Long Vien Golf Club
Opened in 2012, this Vietnamese-Lao owned golf course is also located along the great Tha Deua Road where there are at least 3 other golf courses nearby. Presently there are 18 holes open for business while another 18 are in work-in-progress stage.
Being new, this Par-72 18-hole 7,538-yard course consists of two 9’s, namely East and West, and features some of the most modern equipment for maintenance. Not surprisingly it is well trimmed most of the time and gives a garden-like feeling playing here. As with other courses in the city, the terrain is basically quite flat and the main feature of the course is water hazards. Bunkers dotting the fairways are added obstacles to good scores. Well-lined local shrubs mark the borders of the fairways giving an orderly feel to this very new course.
Vientiane Km6 Golf Club
Boldly claimed as a Par-72, this RTJ-designed course is in fact only a 3,480-yard 9-hole course to be played twice on each booking. It is also purportedly the oldest course in Vientiane, or perhaps in the country as well. Situated just north of the Friendship Bridge, it is one of the most popular not only for its proximity but also it has the ‘ambience’ of an old course with matured trees lining the fairways.
Unlike most other new courses in the area which built on using water ways and ponds as the main characteristics, here at Km6, as it is popularly known, water hazards feature only in 3 holes while the matured trees pose as the main obstacles not only as obstruction to straight shots but also in narrowing the landing areas thus demanding good controlled shots for good scores.
LUANG PRABANG Area
Luang Prabang Golf Club
Built some years back on the slopes of the hills on the southern side of the mighty Mekong River and only 15 minutes west of the town, Luang Prabang Golf Course is probably the last golf course to add to a World Heritage town. And, why not if land is aplenty and the golf course does not encroach into the heritage town area. It in fact enhances the status of Luang Prabang as a premier tourist spot in Laos.
Designed by Tea Hwa, this 18-hole Par-72 7,440-yard course boasts of having no two fairways being in parallel to each other like in most other courses elsewhere because of land constraint. The entire course area is closed off by lush green inland and the river fronting the rest. In fact 3 holes play along side the river bank.
The fairways are meticulously well kept and the greens are generous and well maintained. Wavy greens with breaks are the main obstacles to a good score if the usual sand pits and some water holes are not too troubling. Despite, it will still not rank as one of the toughest anywhere nearby. But with some spectacular views of the quaint heritage town in sight, it will be a memorable experience golfing in nature.