Golf Course Architecture - Issue 58 October 2019

15 A new golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II at Hoiana Shores Golf Club in Vietnam has opened for preview play. Robert Trent Jones Jr said that when he first visited the site in Hoi An, he was immediately struck by its potential: “I thought, ‘my god, I’d kill for this.’ Architects are lucky to get a single property like this one in an entire career.” Six of the holes come into direct contact with the beach, with views of the East Vietnam Sea and Cham Islands in the distance. “The rhythm of the holes is tremendous,” said Jones. “The front nine is more crafted and man-made. The back nine was a matter of just laying the course down on the earth. It will seem like movements from the same symphony.” “Everyone talks about the ocean holes, but the inland holes show more high-quality golf architecture, in my view,” said Bruce Charlton of RTJ II. “We’ve done some very creative things on the water at Hoiana, but these holes right out of the box are really good. You’ve got the handshake on the first, but then two, three and four are as good as anything out there. I was blown away by the strategy. We also had a long ridgeline of dunes that provides a great sense of scale to holes two, three and six, and part of the fifth. We wanted to give the player the feeling they are playing in big-time width – the Pine Valley concept where, in other words, if you can’t hit it on a golf hole that wide, then you pay a price.” Jones said: “Width makes the course manageable and fun for resort players. It’s not like a private club where members know every inch of the place. Resort players need to be able to hit it, find it and hit again. That said, we really opened up the sand dunes and allowed the greens to settle into them. I wanted greens nestled into the dunes early in the round. When players get closer to the water, we wanted to open up vistas to the sea. But you can’t overdo that! You can’t ever forget the invisible hazard – wind – on a site like this, because then it will play an undue role.” Construction began in late 2017 under direction of Hong Kong-based course builder Linksshape, led by Stuart Stone. “On the sixteenth and seventeenth, where the wind is coming right off the sea, our fine shapers carved out the shapes, and then we let Mother Nature further shape it,” he said. “Then the team came back, refined it and finalised it. Ultimately, we created truly windswept areas there that were quite different from the original shapes.” “The client asked us to create a championship golf course that would be fun for resort players and still maintain a good pace of play,” said Trent Jones, COO of RTJ II. “On the other hand, they wanted a course that allows for a wide range of set-up options should Hoiana host a major tournament. Our designers created wide undulating fairway corridors that present players with a variety of strategic options. Large gallery logistics TEE BOX The fourth hole on the Robert Trent Jones II-designed course at Hoiana Shores Photo: Gary Lisbon