Water Buffalo and a Canadian – Vietnam’s Most Sustainable Golf Course

27/4/2020| 16:17

Considered one of Vietnam’s premier golf properties, the 7,000-yard, Sir Nick Faldo signature-designed Laguna Golf Lăng Cô, owned by The Banyan Tree Group, has been heralded, following its opening in 2013, as a one of Asia’s finest golf properties

Located on Vietnam’s Central Coast, midway between the former imperial capital of Hue and the country’s third largest city, Danang, the course is beautifully situated along the sandy shores of the East Sea and the Truong Son mountain range. The course is an integral partner of the five-star properties of Banyan Tree Hotel and Resort, Angsana Lăng Cô and Laguna Park Townhouses.

From its first day of operation the course had been recognized as one of Vietnam’s ‘Top Five Courses”, year after year.

From September to April there are few destinations in the world that are more inviting, as the weather is traditionally dry with temperatures ranging 17C-22C.  However, from May to August, hot, wet, humid weather becomes the norm, making the region a perfect beach destination but not the most favourable of weather for maintaining a golf course’s integrity. 

In 2017, Laguna Golf Lăng Cô became a casualty as frequent deluges of inclement monsoon weather began to overwhelm existing drainage systems, saturating many of the greens and fairways. The subsequent rapid encroachment of vegetation led to an unending defense of the property. A decision was made by The Banyan Tree Group to immediately rectify the damage and update the facilities so that the property could once again establish itself as one of Vietnam’s premier golf properties.

Enter Canadian Adam Calver, as the Director of Golf. Adam has worked with many of golf’s distinguished architects throughout the world and is considered a visionary in his aptitude of incorporating memorable playability with eco-friendly design solutions in golf courses around the world. 

Adam managed the plan and completion of Canada’s remarkable Cabot Cliffs and Cabot Links courses as the Vice-President of Golf and Development. He was Course Superintendent for the impressive Greg Norman Championship Earth Course for Dubai’s Jumeirah Golf Estates considered one of the world’s premier golf destinations, and where Adam oversaw the development of another of their Four Element courses – the championship Fire Course. 


Prior to joining the Laguna Golf Lăng Cô team Adam was the Director of Golf and Agronomy for the Pan Pacific Resort’s Nirwana Bali Golf Club, another Greg Norman Top 100 design, and a course with similarities to Laguna – ocean waters, mountains, vegetation and rice paddies. It was only natural that Adam’s next adventure would be the planning and reconstruction of Laguna Golf Lăng Cô.

The task was challenging to say the least. To take a course, consistently ranked as one of the country’s best, and now to oversee the redesign and reconstruction of twelve greens and numerous fairways; at the same time establishing an ecological and sustainable footprint throughout the property. The foliage was thinned to allow for improved airflow; modern drainage techniques were incorporated, accelerating the playability, and a hardy, weather-resistant TifEagle Bermudagrass was laid, by hand, on each of the greens.  Fairway damage, through rutting by constant cart traffic, was resolved by improving the cart paths. Environmental initiatives were taken, including removal of trees to open the greens and fairways to healing sun and wind, and revealing previously unseen vistas of ocean and mountains. 

Water buffalo have become a fixture of the landscape, grazing on excess vegetation and diminishing the need for motorized mowing equipment. The property’s ten hectares of rice paddies add to the environmental connection with the land.

The course has completely eliminated the use of single-use plastics such as garbage bags, cups, straws and locker room accessories; replacing them with reusable and recyclable products.

In less than a year, Laguna Golf Lăng Cô has gone from a course in damage control to one receiving the highest accolades; becoming Vietnam’s Top Golf Course in 2019 and one of only three courses in the world to achieve Earth Check Gold certification. In 2020, UpScale Living magazine ranked the property as one of the “World’s Top Ten Eco-Friendly Golf Courses”.

During his tour of the property, the overall enhancements and upgrade generated immediate admiration from Sir Nick Faldo. He was so impressed with the revitalized look of the course, that immediately following his 13th Annual Faldo Series Asia Grande Final Tournament last season, Faldo announced Laguna Golf Lăng Cô as his inaugural Signature Design. 

Adam Calver is a forerunner on the complexities of integrating course design, sustainability and playability in the creation of outstanding golf experiences. These recent recognitions are a testament to Adam and his committed staff on what is possible in the redevelopment of a sustainable first-class golf property.