Column | Malkeet Kaur

Published on October 23, 2021

PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet – Vietnam’s Newest Shiniest Gem

PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet is home to a state-of-the-art contemporary clubhouse

When former World No.1 and Golf Hall-of-Famer, Greg Norman saw the landscape on which the NovaGroup wanted to build their first golf course, it reminded him of his native Australia. It had a rugged canvas with fantastic ocean views and a great topography to design a golf course.


Located in the Binh Thuan province, the natural beautiful red sandy soil struck a chord in Norman. He knew it would offer a striking contrast with the verdant greenery of the Zoysia fairways.


“It reminded me of Australia. It has a large scale, beautiful sea views and unique terrain to design the golf course. We’ve built design ideas by walking around the area, putting complex greens in the best positions, and placing tee positions so that they maximize visibility. A special feature of this golf course is the native natural red sand. The contrast of colour between red sand and blue of the fairway creates an impressive beauty,” said Norman.


PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet is Vietnam’s latest golf development and is slated for launch sometime later in 2021, depending on the country’s position in the current pandemic.


Located on a beautiful stretch of coastline overlooking the East Sea, PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet is around three and a half hours drive from Ho Chi Minh City, which will be reduced to around one hour 40 minutes when the new highway opens in 2022.


The 3rd hole on the PGA Ocean Course at PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet displays spectacular views


The two 18-hole championship golf courses, PGA Ocean and PGA Garden golf courses, offer stunning ocean vistas and are designed with all types of golfers in mind. The varying tee-boxes create different angles into holes, making the experience memorable for golfers. However, on a windy afternoon, the 7,400-yard PGA Ocean golf course is bound to give even the world’s top players a run for their money.


Norman said, “The sea breeze at Phan Thiet is a special element for me to design a bold golf course, bringing interesting and memorable experiences to golfers.”


The fairways are lined by the PGA Golf Villas, luxury properties with excellent amenities nearby, such as fine dining restaurants and premium retailers, in addition to the stunning beachfront and varied entertainment on offer.


Not only that, but as the only PGA of America accredited academy in the region, it’s a venue where the next generation of local talent can come to train and develop their game to help grow the sport in Vietnam.


“Binh Thuan has many strengths to attract domestic and international tourists. It will be Vietnam’s top destination once both the highway and the airport are completed. We think we have chosen the right partner in Vietnam because NovaGroup has shared its vision plan and passion for golf. This partnership makes us very excited; PGA and NovaGroup will not only stop at building exclusive golf brands but also want to contribute to the development of Vietnam’s golf tourism,” said Mr Sean D. Thornberry – PGA.



“NovaWorld Phan Thiet has signed a partnership with the PGA, committed to raising the standard of golf in Vietnam and supporting everyone in this field,” said Mr Joseph Millar – General Manager, PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet.


Aside from the Greg Norman Signature Design 36-hole layout, the facilities at PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet also include a Mediterranean style clubhouse, a 300m driving range and a PGA Academy featuring an exclusive short game area with an 18-hole putting green. Players can also participate in 18 holes of night golf on the PGA Ocean golf course.


“There are a lot of special things about the clubhouse. The first attraction is the beautiful, open, and breathable European style design. From the lounge to the dressing room, anywhere in the building, you can cover the golf course and enjoy the cool breeze from the ocean. We have a sports bar on the ground floor with views of the 18th hole, a Pro Shop, VIP dining rooms serving private functions and many other areas for guests to play golf or visit freely choosing to enjoy the space alone or with friends. The Clubhouse at PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet is amazing,” added Millar.


The interior of the Clubhouse at PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet


While the overall development at NovaWorld Phan Thiet is around 1,000 hectares, the golf course covers some 180 hectares with ocean views available from many holes.


The PGA Ocean golf course is a longer undulating golf course with dramatic ocean views throughout the layout. It’s a nice blend of a links-styled course with many parkland attributes. It has a very natural native landscape theme, highlighted by the rugged golden coloured bunkers that transition into vast native sandy waste areas throughout the course.


The PGA Garden golf course will be more of a formal style layout featuring distinctive Alister Mackenzie styled bunkers themed after the famous Sand Belt courses in Melbourne, Australia. It also features a near 2km rocky stream system that will wind through the middle of the course and allow water to come into play on 10 of the 18 holes. Overall, the course will be a much lusher and colourful landscape experience.


The club is also very concise about the impact that the development could have on the environment. New environmentally friendly Zeon Zoysia grass covers all the fairways and tees. PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet is the very first golf course to have Primo Zoysia grass greens in Asia. Both grass types require dramatically less water and fertilizer than other turfs. Solar panels have also been installed on the clubhouse roof to generate a certain percentage of the power requirements.


“I feel very proud to be involved in the golf course construction project from the first days (design phase in 2018) to the completion of the PGA Ocean golf course at PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet. We are thrilled to have created a great golf course where people can come and enjoy their happy time with family and friends,” said Mr Andrew Bowles – Managing Director, Nova Golf Clubs.


Nova Golf is so committed to growing the game that it is currently looking at developing several international standard golf facilities across Vietnam serving up to 2,000 members and attracting some 60,000 domestic and international tourists every year.


“Since 2018, NovaGroup has started phase two of our development strategy, including tourism real estate development. We realize that Binh Thuan Province and Phan Thiet city have a huge potential to develop various tourism services, especially golf tourism. And in terms of golf tourism, our goal is to serve domestic tourists and international tourists. This is the idea that prompted us to decide and build this golf course following to PGA standards,” said Mr Bui Xuan Huy – CEO NovaGroup


The PGA Ocean Course at PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet


PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet promises to be an exciting development for golf in Vietnam and Asia. It is a golf course everyone can look forward to when it opens, eventually. And the Great White Shark extols his design experience and the future of the golf course so well.


He said, “For me, the design of the PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet golf course has brought interesting experiences, and I love this job. In the current global pandemic, the golf course is an ideal destination, to be active in sports, and enjoy the vast space and fresh air. I encourage everyone to come to Phan Thiet and experience the PGA Ocean golf course at PGA NovaWorld Phan Thiet.”

Malkeet Kaur

Malkeet Kaur became a golf writer by chance in 1987, and since then, she has not stopped writing about the Royal and Ancient sport. She has written for several golf magazines rising through the ranks from junior journalist to editor, later consultant editor and media consultant for various projects. She has also written extensively on a wide range of subjects for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Also, she leads and edits business journals and provides consultation for multiple clients in the corporate sector. In between writing about golf and running her own publishing business, she dabbles in creative writing.