This was our earliest start of the tour, with a departure from Hanoi set for 5:30am. Located in the coastal town of Doson (near Hai Phong) it required a couple hours to make our way there.
On arrival, we were graciously greeted by Mr. Tayler Kimura, Director of Golf and the club’s friendly golf and caddy staff. We had a quick breakfast after registration as our clubs were processed and taken to the carts. During our pre-round discussion, Mr. Kimura described the course to me as a “Florida-style” layout. A fitting description as it is a flat course at sea level, with plenty of water and palms lining each hole.
Doson Seaside has recently been rebranded by BRG as the Ruby Tree Golf Resort, by which I’ll refer to it throughout the rest of this review.
Ruby Tree Golf Resort is a par-72 course designed by the Australian firm Pacific Coast Design Company. The course has been laid-out in a manner that brings hazards into play throughout the round. With contoured greens, well-placed bunkers and fairways lined with coconut palms, the course provides a good challenge for golfers of all skill levels.
Surrounded by both sea and the legendary Dragon Mountains, Ruby Tree offers a unique seaside golfing challenge unmatched by other courses in the north. The sea-breeze is often strong enough to alter the angle of a golfer’s shot or require a change in club selection. This is where the the caddies have been very helpful. On several occasions I changed my club selection based on the caddie’s recommendation (she was often correct).
A few holes stood out during our round including the sixth hole, a par-3, 153 yards from the blue tees. A beautiful and challenging hole, it’s considered their signature par three. The sea breeze typically blows from left to right and has an impact on the ball’s flight. With water on the left, and the green protected by deep bunkers, accuracy is a necessity here.
The par-4 eleventh hole measures 381 from the blue tees, and often has a following breeze which would make one believe it would be an easy hole. Due to water hazards on both left and right, and three bunkers protecting the green, it is one of the more difficult approach shots on the course. Length isn’t the issue here, rather good club selection and accuracy are rewarded. With slopes in many directions, the green also presents added difficulty to this hole.
The thirteenth hole is also a very good test of a golfer’s accuracy and skill. Measuring 400 yards, this par-4 is a dog-leg right with a water hazard the full length of the hole. If you’re fortunate to keep the tee shot in the fairway, the second shot also requires a thoughtful approach shot to find the slim green.
After the round we returned to the modern, resort-style clubhouse for a nice lunch before making our way to our afternoon destination. Ruby Tree Golf Resort in Doson is a course I would enjoy returning to.