Back in Hanoi after a few weeks traveling in the south. Our first stop is at the Long Bien Golf Course, the nearest course in the north, and only a 30-minute drive from Hanoi city centre.
On arrival at Long Bien, guests first notice the large and palatial clubhouse with an entrance that resembles a 5 star hotel complete with an enormous crystal chandelier.
Our car was quickly met by club management, along with several of caddies from their all-male caddie staff. Within a short time we were escorted to the proper areas for check-in, changing, and starting area.
Designed by Nelson & Haworth, the course is in excellent condition for being a public course. Fairways generally run parallel to one another with out-of-bounds around the course perimeter. Significant mounding and rowsOverall, the course is rather short, so they have added plenty of deep bunkers, water hazards and out-of-bounds so the course is more suited to the accurate player. Generally, the bunkers are well positioned around 200 metres from the tees to catch wayward drives. Having found myself in a few bunkers, I found them to be quite deep and filled with soft sand of palm trees frame most of the holes.
Overall, the course is rather short, so they have added plenty of deep bunkers, water hazards and out-of-bounds so the course is more suited to the accurate player. Generally, the bunkers are well positioned around 200 metres from the tees to catch wayward drives. Having found myself in a few bunkers, I found them to be quite deep and filled with soft sand.
The greens are in very good condition and are rather quick. There are safe landing areas around most, allowing for some error on shots into the green. Most of the greens are raised, which gives a good opportunity for par to those with a good short-game.
A few interesting holes on the front nine include the driveable 3rd-hole, a par-4. For those who try to reach in one and miss, it become a difficult up-and-down.
The 6th-hole is one of their signature holes, a downhill par-3 that requires a tee shot over water to a tiered green. For those who reach the green in the wrong position, it would easily become a 3-putt finish.
The finishing hole on the front 9 is a short par-5 and is one of Long Bien’s easier birdie opportunities -- it requires good positioning for the approach.
On the back nine, the 14th is another attractive par-3 which can be difficult if the wind is blowing. With water left and a run off area to the right, it is a likely bogie if the tee shot doesn’t find the green.
The closing hole is the toughest par-5 at Long Bien with bunkers factoring into all three shots to the green. Accuracy is rewarded, and getting the approach right is critical, particularly with the tricky approach over water to the green.
Long Bien is a public course with reasonable rates inclusive of green fee, caddie fee, and a shared golf cart. Footlights illuminate the course into the evening, making afternoon rounds enjoyable without having to worry about the sun setting. Their intention is to eventually provide 24 hour golfing.
Upon completing our round, we joined club staff for a meal at their main restaurant which serves both local and international dishes.
With a high level of service, and good condition of the course, I see Long Bien will be a course many golfers frequently visit.