Today, next trip of Bill Healey is Song Be Golf Resort (Thuan An, Binh Duong) - vietnam's first international championship courses. Two decades after their opening, Song Be remains one of the more challenging courses in the country.
Warmly greeted on arrival by Song Be’s management team, clubhouse staff and caddies, we knew we were set for a very good day. Upon check-in, we made our way to our assigned VIP lockers and then out to the golf carts to start our round.
Built in 1994, Song Be was originally an 18-hole facility built out of the natural landscape of fruit orchards and coconut palms. Since then, a third nine had been added, totaling 27-holes with the Lotus, Palm and Desert courses.
Song Be has always adopted leading business practices for management of both the clubhouse and the golf course. Throughout their 20-years, they remain focused on reducing chemical use to keep the golf courses playable and environmentally friendly.
With assistance from the course marshalls and well trained caddies, we were able to make our way through all three courses. Each course was unique and presented us with varied challenges that included numerous lakes, natural shrubbery, mature trees and large undulating greens
The Lotus Course is a beautiful, yet challenging course characterized by varied slopes, well-placed bunkers and scenic lotus lakes. It is a stunningly peaceful course that provides a challenge to golfers of all types.
The most difficult hole on the Lotus Course is the 6th - a narrow, medium length par 4 that demands a precise accurate drive to a small landing fairway area flanked by two bunkers on the right and tree lines on the left. Beautiful and challenging, the green is protected with a newly re-designed bunker on the left front of the green and a newly added bunker on the right. A water hazard surrounds the left and back of the green.
Considered by many as the most beautiful of the three, the narrow fairways of the Palm Course are surrounded by palm trees, shrubbery and lush tropical landscaping. I found the 1st hole on the Palm Course particularly enjoyable. A par-4 dogleg left, it required a well-executed drive over a lake. A shot too far left could find the lake, or a menacingly deep bunker. Playing safe to the right side of the fairway provided a clear view of the green. The approach to the green also is a tight shot with water on both sides of the fairway, and two grass bunkers protecting both sides of the green.
The Desert Course is the longest of the three courses, and includes narrow fairways, sizeable bunkers and a significant amount of sand typical of desert courses that may be found in Arizona or other parts of the world. The layout requires golfers to carefully consider club selection for more accurate shots.
Likely the most memorable hole on the Desert Course is the long par-5 9th hole. The tee shot plays across a rocky waste area to the safety of the fairway beyond. On the way to the green, the fairway drops-off into desert waste areas on both sides, making careful club selection a necessity. Each shot requires the golfer to decide how aggressive they could be with each shot. With the green sitting at the base of an amphitheatre, it certainly presents a fitting end to the round.
The first-class, international service didn’t end at the golf course, but continued throughout our club visit. Joining the management team for lunch in the clubhouse, we were able to experience one of the best golf club lunch buffets available anywhere in SE Asia. Giving off the flair of Singapore, guests were able to sample tastes from throughout SE Asia as well as western foods from around the world. Song Be has certainly created a pace for golfers, families and friends to gather.
The resort is located in Binh Duong Province, 20 km from Ho Chi Minh City on Highway 13. With the newly opened Aeon Mall and a plethora of new business ventures, the resort is perfectly situated to address the golfing and social needs of the expanding community around metropolitan HCMC.
A great golf facility where business meets leisure, Song Be is certainly well worth a visit. It is likely to become a favorite for those who visit.