|Quy Nhon, Vietnam, April 4: “Out like a lamb, in like a lion,” observes Brian Curley as he completes his round on the new Mountain Course at FLC Quy Nhon Golf Links in Central Vietnam.
Curley – a low handicap golfer who originally hailed from Pebble Beach, California – designed the course perched high above the imposing FLC Luxury Resort facing the East Sea. He is referring to a relatively friendly opening four holes on the 7000-plus yards layout, compared with the same number of challenging final holes.
In between the “lamb and the lion” are ten delightful upwind/downwind, uphill/downhill holes, all with generously wide fairways, abundant sandy waste areas, open green approaches and plenty of cross slope to keep everyone on their game.
Curley, who with his business partner Lee Schmidt has designed more than 150 courses in 25 countries including about 60 in Asia, is especially pleased with the outcome at Quy Nhon, his fourth course design for Hanoi-based FLC Group, now the world’s leading developer of new golf courses and resorts.
The easy-going resident of Scottsdale, Arizona – which has its own share of seriously good golf courses – is not only pleased because the Mountain Cousre was open a record four months after the bulldozers first made inroads on the sandy pine scrub hillside 20 kilometres from Quy Nhon; and not because the set-up is, deliberately, strikingly different to the adjacent Nicklaus Design layout that opened in a lower tree-lined/seaside setting a year ago.
Brian Curley especially likes this effort because of its striking elevation changes, exceptional ocean views on 16 of 18 holes, the challenge it presents long hitters to reach greens in regulation in often windy conditions, width that allows mid and high handicappers to keep their ball in play off the tee, cross slopes on fairways, links-style green contours, and expansive mini-fairway tees on the all-Platinum paspalum layout.
This latter feature allows tee markers to be moved forward or back much more than on courses with defined teeing grounds.