Vietnam’s First 100% Foreign Investment Golf Course to Be Closed Down

By: Phuong Tran

Vietnam’s First 100% Foreign Investment Golf Course to Be Closed Down

Ocean Dunes Golf CourseRang Dong Joint Stock Company has decided to close down the 20-year-old Ocean Dunes Golf Club next month amid plans for a high-end, multi-purpose complex.

The golf course has not been a great business success since it first opened to the public in 1996. In fact, in the 10 years since 2004, it generated a loss of 115 billion VND. There have been too few paying golfers to offset the huge maintenance cost of more than 62 hectares of what could well be the most beautiful garden area of Phan Thiet.

That is a shame for a golf course that was once ranked among the top ten most beautiful golf courses in Asia, designed by none other than one of the greatest golfers ever, Nick Faldo.

The Ocean Dunes golf course was funded by American billionaire Larry Hillblom, a co-founder of the giant express delivery service DHL Worldwide Express, who died in a plane crash in 1995. Ownership passed on to a consortium of four investors and since the end of 2013, the provincial People’s Committee licensed the course to the Rang Dong Joint Stock Company – which also owns Phan Thiet’s Sea Links Golf and Country Club.

Ocean Dunes Golf CourseThe government is expected to gain 1000 billion VND from the conversion. At the same time, the new urban development would help streamline the coastal highway system.

The plan has not been without its critics. Nguyen Van Thu, former chairman of Binh Thuan Province, believes that demolishing the Ocean Dunes golf course would cut green space from Phan Thiet which already lacks parks and tree areas. Nguyen Van Thanh Binh, chairman of the Binh Thuan Architect Association, agrees and says that Phan Thiet has only one beautiful park, so Ocean Dunes should be converted to parkland to improve the green environment here.

While waiting for approval, Rang Dong will close the golf course on April 1 to cut losses. Current members are given the opportunity to transfer their membership to the Sea Links Golf and Country Club.

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