By Duncan Forgan
Laguna Golf Lăng Cô is transporting Scottish golf tradition to Central Vietnam in the shape of The Gongs — its epic new putting course.
At St Andrews, the undisputed home of golf, taking on the famous Old Course is a rite of passage for many golfers. Less prestigious but similarly esteemed is the St Andrews Ladies Putting Club, better known as The Himalayas.
Located a few club lengths from the Old Course, the putting layout — which earned its nickname for its lofty undulations — was founded back in 1867 and offers an unforgettable golfing experience for the entire family.
Laguna Golf Lăng Cô has taken its cues from this classic fun test in Scotland for the latest addition to its playing portfolio, which also includes an 18-hole championship course rated among the best in Vietnam designed by UK legend Nick Faldo.
The Gongs, an 11-hole putting course, sprawls over a 3,500-square-meter expanse (nearly 38,000 square feet) next to the clubhouse. Like The Himalayas, the set-up at The Gongs is both challenging and convivial.
Holes are laid out through gullies, severe contours and flatter land. The course takes its name from the small gongs placed inside the golf cups which ring out every time a putt is drained.
“The Gongs is a fantastic alternative for people seeking to practice or play, but who don’t want to spend hours on a golf course,” said Adam Calver, director of golf at Laguna Golf Lăng Cô.
Free from rules or a dress code, The Gongs is as casual a golf experience as you’ll find adjacent to a top club in Asia. The putting course is just a few hundred meters from tennis courts and the beach, meaning guests can easily split their time between their deck chair or workout and the putting course.
“It’s a fun, interesting and engaging alternative for those seeking something different,” Calver added. “The Himalayas putting course has been central to the lure of St Andrews for golfers and non-golfers alike. Hopefully, The Gongs will perform a similar role here at Lăng Cô.”
Duncan Forgan was raised in the Kingdom of Fife, a few lusty tee shots from St. Andrews. A longtime features writer the national newspapers in Scotland and an editor of travel guides in the Middle East, he is now based in Bangkok. He covers travel, golf, culture, food and other stories around Asia, where he discovers new street food and drives his motorbike to remote parts of the region.
All photos courtesy of Laguna Golf Lăng Cô.