Ba Na Hills Golf Club is located in the foothills just half an hour away from downtown Danang and near the cable car station leading to Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort. The Resort and associated village high in the mountains were originally conceived and built by the french nigh on a century ago as a place to relax and get away from the heat and humidity of the surrounding countryside. The Resort is very popular to this day with visitors flocking to the mountain on a daily basis. The Ba Na Hills GC is former world no 1 Luke Donald’s first design world wide. It was voted the World’s Best New Course at the World Golf Awards in 2016.
The course is routed through different valleys with two distinctly different nines. While the opening nine features rolling fairways, and bold bunkering, it is more parkland in feel. The occasional rocky creek and lake add to the variety and beauty- to lift my evaluation of the nine. The back nine literally heads for the hills and is routed through some significant elevation changes- producing a number of dramatic holes. It is a real roller coaster ride with blind shots, rocky creeks, lakes, bold bunkering- giving a real sense of adventure to the round. Some of the higher holes boast spectacular views of the valleys below.
Holes of note include:
Hole 7- A medium length par 4 over a ridge bunkered either side of the fairway- leaving a downhill approach to a pretty green set against a lake.
Hole 8- a longer par 3 which requires a water carry off the tee to an elevated and well bunkered green set at a right to left angle.
Hole 11- a magnificent par 5 travelling in a long arc around a lake. The journey from tee to green involves swampland, trees, bunkers and the lake itself. It is a beautiful hole in it’s own valley.
Hole 12- a downhill par 3 with a skyline green. Take a picture, and take a moment!
Hole 14- a lovely par 5 with water in play all the way down the right hand side of the hole, and then just when you think you are safe you find the water veers right across in front of the almost peninsula like green. You need to hold your nerve for the approach. Short or left is wet, and anything not on the green could be awkward...
Hole 16- a dramatic downhill par 3 to an island green. You need the right length, line and flight- and your heart will be in your mouth until it lands.
With any signiifcant breeze it will be hard to know if you have the right club in your hand..
Hole 17- just a lovely looking hole with the downhill tee shot making the hole play a little shorter than it’s length and leaving a short iron approach across the water to a green which looks like it was meant to be there. It’s a real birdie chance near the end of the round.
Ba Na Hills is a course that may not suit everyone. Although there are five different tees, the elevation changes and forced carries will test the higher handicappers. It is not a walking course and with the heat and humidity in the area, carts are the only way to travel. And the caddies are lovely!
I am of the opinion that the resort style of Ba Na Hills is a perfect complement to the more classic styles of Danang GC, and Montgomerie Links, and the opportunity to play at night (all 18 holes are floodlit) offers an opportunity to avoid the heat and humidity.
In a perfect world I would play the dramatic back nine mid afternoon, and head out for the more forgiving front nine under lights for a different type of golfing experience…
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