The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip
The Greg Norman designed Bluffs Ho Tram Strip golf course is located 80 kilometers southeast of Ho Chi Minh City in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on the southern Vietnamese coastline. It takes around 2 hours to reach by a mix of highway and local roads from Ho Chi Minh City. The Bluffs Ho Tram is a unique links style par-71 golf course on a rugged site often accompanied by strong onshore breezes.
In fact, the Bluffs Ho Tram Strip has some of the best geographical traits for a top golf course layout. For example, the whole site sits on a coastal plateau with 50 meter elevation changes from the highest to lowest point and holes are routed among towering seaside sand dunes. The course was built on sandy loam soil with native crawling vegetation. This creates excellent drainage and turf conditions. Next, being exposed to high sea winds at certain times through the year plays havoc and creates extreme challenge for even the best seasoned golfers. The links course also makes for a golf experience that's as much a feast for the eyes as it is a challenge.
While the highest point of the rugged, windswept property is 50 meters above sea level, on the 15th green, one of the most spectacular spots comes earlier in the round, on the signature 4th hole. From here players are treated to a spectacular 360 degree view, including the course itself, the lush surrounding forest and wildlife, the expansive Vietnam coast, and the Grand Ho Tram Strip, Vietnam's first integrated casino and golf resort.
The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip facilities include a three level 2,300 square meter clubhouse with an array of dining options to complement the championship golf. The onsite PGA golf academy and driving range with more than 3,000 square meters of practice and training facilities is also a great place to warm up before any round. The complete Grand Ho Tram Strip golf and resort development has a 541-room 5-star hotel, 10 restaurants and entertainment outlets, and a convention center.
The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip was designed by a true legend of the game: Greg Norman. The 'Great White Shark' as he's lovingly called, spent an astounding 331 weeks atop the world golf rankings and won the Open Championship twice. His Florida-based design firm has conceived more than 70 international-standard layouts worldwide. But if you ask him, few compare to what he has created at The Ho Tram Strip.
"We begin each new golf course design with a least-disturbance approach. Our design team dedicates time and effort to finding the most desirable natural features of a site and incorporates them into the routing. Streams, rock features, vegetation and undulating topography are a few natural elements that can provide a golf course with its own unique feel when incorporated into the playing strategy"
"This is one of only two pieces of land of this quality and character I have ever been given to work with -- the other being Doonbeg [in Ireland]," Norman said. " I'm a firm believer in using what Mother Nature gives us on a particular site. This one has it all."
Hole by hole
Hole 1 - Par 4
Stroke Index: Men: 13 Ladies: 15
Much like the opening hole at storied St. Andrews, the 1st is a par 4 that shares a fairway with another hole (the 9th), making it a very manageable start to the round. But the straighter the tee shot, the more straightforward the approach. Favor the left side of the elevated green with your second, as there's good chance a miss in that direction will still kick onto the putting surface.
Hole 2 - Par 3
Stroke Index: Men: 5 Ladies: 7
The first of the short holes at The Bluffs is also one of the most difficult. While it plays downhill, it's very well protected -- national forest left (out of bounds), water right and a large front bunker and another behind the green that are ready for any miss clubbed shots. Play the yardage and make a smooth, confident swing. A relatively flat green is the reward for those who manage to find it
Hole 3 - Par 4
Stroke Index: Men: 15 Ladies: 13
Don't be fooled by this straightaway par 4's 'blind' tee shot; there is more room out there than can be seen from the teeing area. Left-center of the fairway offers the best angle to come in from, as the green is guarded all along on the right by a large, deep bunker. The green also slants toward the trap, so any chip or putt attempted in that direction ought to be played with soft hands.
Hole 4 - Par 3
Stroke Index: Men: 3 Ladies: 5
The second par 3 is considerably shorter than the first, but with an extremely steep trap front left reminiscent of the 4th hole bunker at Royal St Georges, and a pot bunker front right, it's extremely well defended. It's also more exposed. Give extra consideration to the wind's strength and direction before selecting a club. Then take aim at the middle of the green, whether the pin's there or not. Par is an excellent score.
Hole 5 - Par 5
Stroke Index: Men: 7 Ladies: 1
The first of back-to-back par 5s runs parallel to the ocean, and only about a 5-iron from it. The only bad tee shot is one that goes left. So favor the right side of the fairway, and play to the middle of the fairway with your second shot. It's a long way home here, so positioning yourself for a nice short-iron approach is key to a birdie chance. A large slope short right of the green will can be navigated to run a ball onto the green.
Hole 6 - Par 5
Stroke Index: Men: 9 Ladies: 9
The fairway on this medium-length, uphill par-5 slopes significantly from left to right. The green is reachable in two for long hitters, though a deep trough where most good tee shots tend to settle makes accomplishing that feat tricky. An immense bunker guards the front right side of the green, while anything long will trundle away considerably.
Projected for completion by the grand opening later in 2014, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip's multi-storey, 2,300-square-meter Clubhouse was conceived by Graham Taylor Designs and, when finished, will feature:
- 100-seat restaurant with spectacular views of the golf course and coastline
- 150-square-meter multi-purpose room with deck offering spectacular views of the golf course and coastline
- VIP dining suite and private Chinese dining suite
- Chic men's and women's locker rooms, each with 145 full-length lockers
- VIP locker rooms with fully private lockers and bathrooms
- Fully stocked pro shop with all the latest and greatest golf equipment
- Outdoor lounging and dining spaces, ideal for relaxing and socializing
- Easy access to two, full-size practice putting greens
With breathtaking views of the ocean, golden sand beach, resort and golf course, The Bluffs’ stunning, 5-star restaurant will provide golfers with an unrivalled spot from which to ponder what could be or what might have been whilst enjoying food and beverage items of the highest order.
Golfers will undoubtedly gravitate toward the balcony, offering ample seating overlooking the 18th green and 1st tee. A beer from this perch is one you’ll remember for a long time.
Our fully stocked pro shop offers the latest in equipment from the major brands in golf, including logo’d Bluffs apparel from FootJoy, Puma and other big-name manufacturers.
Our friendly staff have been trained to understand and assist all guests’ needs. The pro shop is currently located on the ground level of The Grand Ho Tram Strip, a short walk from the main lobby. Ultimately, the main golf shop will be located on the ground floor of the Clubhouse.
In keeping with the high standard set by The Bluffs, our rental equipment is no different. With the latest range of Titleist equipment in both right & left hand, each bag is fully loaded with driver, fairways woods and utility’s, which is complemented with your choice of iron models ranging from AP1 & AP2 for the newer golfers to the CB model and the MB for the low marker. All rental sets have a Scotty Cameron putter and a complimentary umbrella for use whilst on the course. Cobra is the club of choice for the Ladies with all sets in full graphite.
Also there is no need to bring your golf shoes with you as The Bluffs has a full size range of Foot joy golf shoes for rent in both men’s and ladies.
With spacious changing and lounging areas and amenities galore, The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip’s locker rooms are designed to meet the wants and needs of all golfers. The men’s side features 145 full-length lockers and 18 showers, whilst the women’s locker room boasts full-length lockers as well as a make-up stall and private changing booths.
The Bluffs also caters to those seeking a truly VIP experience, with two additional locker rooms (subject only to availability) offering private access and separate dining and casual spaces.
Tailor-made for anything from a glamorous wedding reception to an informal post-round awards ceremony, our banquet room is as versatile as it is spacious. One of the roomiest areas is the 1,000-sqm deck, on the top level of the Clubhouse, more than 50 meters above sea level -- an ideal location from which to enjoy the sunset.
The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip offers golfers the chance to refine their skills through one of the more comprehensive and private practice areas anywhere in Asia.
Set in a tranquil area of the property, away from any noise or disturbances, this game-improvement paradise allows every level player the chance to practice all the shots required to tame The Bluffs’ challenges. The 3,000-sqm driving range stretches 400 yards and features natural grassed tees and target greens and bunkers, making golfers feel as though they are on the course.
A fantastic short-game area lies adjacent to the range and includes tee grounds from 40 and 50 yards, a practice bunker and multiple chipping areas. The facility also offers a refreshment kiosk and food delivered upon request.
Take a day and sharpen your game at The Bluffs.