Danang, Vietnam, December 6, 2011 — The design philosophy behind a Vietnam golf course named in November as the best new layout in Asia/Pacific could be a template for the future, according to Australian golf course architect, Harley Kruse.
Kruse, who designed the Dunes course at Danang Golf Club for Greg Norman’s golf design company, says the strategic approach, including making maximum use of the natural landscape and minimising environmental impact may be “the trend and reality of future course design” in Asia and beyond.
In winning Asian Golf Monthly’s ‘Best New Course in Asia/Pacific’, the Dunes beat two high-profile new courses in China – Leaders Peak at Stone Forest International Country Club near Kunming (designed by Schmidt-Curley) and The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula on Hainan Island (Weiskopf Designs).
The victory came a month after Vietnam Golf Magazine named Danang Golf Club as the best new course in Vietnam, and less than a year after Golf Magazine in the United States identified it as one of the top 15 new courses to open worldwide in 2010.
Harley Kruse says the minimalist approach adopted at the Dunes not only saves time and cost, but with increasing pressure on water resources and the need to protect and restore indigenous landscapes, the same strategy could become “almost a necessity” for new golf course developments.
The Dunes is a traditional links layout, similar to those in Scotland, Ireland and the sandbelt of Melbourne, Australia, where the Presidents Cup is being played this week at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
“Hopefully, this award will help put Vietnam and Danang on the golf tourism map,” Harley Kruse said from Sydney, where he has teamed with another former Greg Norman Golf Course Design architect, Bob Harrison, to form Harrison + Kruse. Bob Harrison, who worked with Greg Norman for more than 20 years, has been involved in numerous projects recognised in previous Asian Golf Monthly awards, including the Nirwana Bali golf course.
“I am very proud with what was achieved in creating The Dunes,” Harley Kruse said this week. “It is a true expression of the site’s local landscape and subtle beauty. It was a joy of a project. The routing was worked very carefully. Utilising the natural dunes land, we had almost 16 completely natural golf holes with only the rendering needed to create the final results.
“The native landscape of the Dunes, with its rolling sand dunes was every golf course architect’s dream. We not only saved time and construction costs, but the course looks as though it has been there for years. Golfers won’t be disappointed with the wide strategic fairways and excellent turf conditions that provide hard and firm playing surfaces rarely seen in Asia and which are more akin to links golf of Britain.”
Harley Kruse says that although sand-based golf courses are rare in Asia, the awards show how well the design approach has been received.
“The Dunes experience shows there can be an acceptance of a more natural golf course landscape in Asia. Even in major cities where flat sites often mean the golf features are totally manufactured, a golf course can and should be more than just a place to play golf. It can also make an important contribution to the urban environment through the use of recycled water, absorbing storm water flows, and be a large-scale sanctuary for a wide bio diversity of flora and fauna.”
He describes the Dunes as “a beautiful course where manicured turf, tees, fairways, and greens make their journey through a contrasting unkempt natural landscape dominated by casuarina pines of sandy waste. The classic rolling ground and seaside location, where wind plays a role, is reminiscent of British links golf”.
Having witnessed a positive reaction to the Dunes design and observed the Vietnam government’s decision 1946 that allows 89 golf courses to be built by 2020, Harley Kruse is upbeat about Vietnam’s golf future.
“Vietnam could become one of Asia’s premier golf destinations,” he predicts. “The country is blessed with stunning potential golf course sites and a long coastline, excellent hotels and resorts, plus appealing local culture and relatively low costs for inbound tourists. It has all the right ingredients.”
Kruse believes Vietnam may be better placed than now-mature destinations – such as Thailand and Malaysia – were at the same stage of their golf development 20 years ago. Technology and a sophisticated and mature golf industry fostered in these earlier times means that Vietnam golf can tap into a very high level of skills and expertise.
“It will require inbound tourism to be successful, economic prosperity and quality courses,” he maintains.
For more information on Harley Kruse and Bob Harrison’s golf design business, visit www.harrisonkruse.com
Photo download: Danang Golf Club’s 16th hole.
For photos of Danang Golf Club’s Dunes course or other details, contact:
Paul Myers, Asian Travel Media, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (0) 84 125 1894 (Thailand) or +61 407 738 453 (Australia)