Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Going Golfing in the Mekong Region

Image courtesy of Pun Hlaing Golf Club

The Mekong region has a surprisingly long relationship with the golf world, thanks to the British colonial presence in Myanmar and the golf greats’ modern work in the region, creating world-class golf courses using the region’s rivers, mountains and plains as gorgeous backdrops for the game.

Even in some of the more out-of-the-way destinations in the region, golf enthusiasts will find all they ever wanted and more: courses set out among some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes; luxury accommodations paired with the course; and equipment rental and caddy services at their fingertips.

Golf in Yangon, Myanmar

The British colonial authorities left behind a healthy golf culture in Myanmar, with many world-class courses clustered around the old colonial capital Yangon. The second-oldest course in the country, the Yangon Golf Club, dates back to 1909; only the nine-hole Thayet Golf Club in central Myanmar is older, dating back to 1887.

The newer courses around Yangon offer a fun challenge for visiting golfers. The Pun Hlaing Golf Club, for example, was designed by Gary Player, and has hosted national tournaments like the Myanmar Masters Tour and the Myanmar Open.

Located on the meeting point of the Hlaing, Pun Hlaing, and Yangon Rivers, the Pun Hlaing’s 7,012-yard championship course uses the local waterways as hazards, and some parts of the course offer panoramic views of Yangon.

Two caddies walk along the greens of The Banyan Tree Golf Course in Lang Co, Central Vietnam.

Golf in Da Nang, Vietnam

Da Nang, Viet Nam’s wind-swept slopes provide a surprisingly environment to golf’s original home, Scotland. No wonder that many of golf’s greats have come to Da Nang to design world-class courses for avid golfers: Greg Norman, for example, designed the 150-hectare BRG Danang Golf Resort to take full advantage of the local dunescape, creating a 7,160-yard, 18-hole, links-style layout that looks and feels like a Scottish golf course.

Alternatively, golfers can visit the Sir Nick Faldo-designed Laguna Lang Co Golf Club, which lets them tee off with the South China Sea and the Marble Mountains as a gorgeous backdrop. This 18-hole, par-71 championship course allows players of all levels to enjoy.

Image courtesy of Angkor Golf Resort

Golf in Siem Reap, Cambodia

The temples in Angkor are some way away from Siem Reap’s fairways, but the golf scene around the city is still spectacular; the world’s top designers have adapted the flat and waterway-riven landscape into a few challenging courses worth trying out.

Consider the Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort: opened in 2007, the course maintains excellent playing conditions year-round thanks to its resilient Paspalum-grass turf, while the bunkers, water hazards and undulating green provide a stimulating puzzle for golfers to work out. If you just want to work on your strokes, visit the Angkor Golf Resort’s 300-meter long driving range.

Alternatively, there’s the Phokeethra Country Club: the course integrates many cues from Cambodian culture and history, such as the restored “roluos” bridge between the 9th green and 10th tee. To best experience the course, stay a few days at the connected five-star hotel, a Khmer-French architectural marvel with 238 rooms and Cambodia’s largest free-form swimming pool.

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