Story published at 13:14, Thursday, June 16th, 2016
Ba Na Hills Golf Club is lighting up the golf scene in central Vietnam. Literally.
Late last month, the country’s newest golf course, which opened all 18 holes on March 25 on the outskirts of Danang, fired up its comprehensive lighting system, enabling golfers to play well into the evening.
“We’re finding all kinds of ways to shine in this region,” said Jack Hedges, Ba Na Hills GC’s general manager. “We are the first course in the Danang area to open in a mountain setting, and now we’re the first here to let there be light at night. This adds a whole new dimension to the game in the tropics, where many golfers would just as soon wait for the sun to mellow out before teeing off.”
During peak season, which runs from approximately December to April, Hedges plans to keep the lights burning until 10 or 11 p.m. For now, though, shut-off time is 9 o’clock, which still allows for an extra three or four hours of golf per day.
“If you tee off at 5 p.m., you’ll get out and back before we pull the plug,” Hedges said. “And if it’s just a twosome, and they’re moving fast, they’ll make it all the way around even if they start at dusk.”
The first golf course ever designed by former world No. 1 golfer Luke Donald, Ba Na Hills GC features 18 tour-calibre holes at the foot of a towering mountain range 20 kilometres west of downtown Danang, Vietnam’s fourth largest city and gateway to three other designer courses built within the past seven years.
“All four courses along the Central Coast are distinguished, and each of us is striving to create the most memorable experience for any of the players who take to our fairways,” Hedges said. “Now that we’re switched on, we’ve upped the ante on what constitutes an unforgettable golf outing.”
Creating the amenity took time. Workers at the course spent seven months raising 108 stanchions — ranging from 15 to 18 meters in height — and installing 623 1500W metal halide lamps.
To attract after-dark play, Ba Na Hills GC is offering unlimited golf on weekdays from 3-9 p.m. for VND 1.7 million (about USD 75). The ‘Twi-Night’ deal runs until August.
“We want to expose night golf to as many players as possible over these next few months,” Hedges said. “I think once they experience it, they’ll love it. Not only is the temperature nice and comfortable then, the ball flight is something to behold. It’s a really cool visual, seeing a shot pierce the air under the lights.”
Ba Na Hills GC is managed by IMG and owned by Sun Group, one of the leading investors in Vietnam. Other hospitality projects in its portfolio include InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Novotel Danang Premier Han River and Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort, site of the longest, single-wire cable car system in the world.
Ba Na Hills GC http://www.banahillsgolf.com/
Luke Donald http://www.lukedonald.com/
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