Da Lat Palace Golf Club – The First Golf Courses in Vietnam Since 1930 By The Last King in Vietnam
Da Lat Palace Golf Club Since 1930
VIETNAM GOLF COURSES – Da Lat Palace Golf Club is the first golf courses in Vietnam since 1930, design and E. Hébrard – an architect from France. Actually, Dalat Palace Golf Club was first designed by E. Hébrard in 1923 and the golf courses was built in 1930 by Bao Dao King – the last King of Vietnam. Since then till today, Dalat Palace Golf Club is the favorite place for many Vietnamese in international golfers who are looking for something special for golf tours in Vietnam.
ALMOST 100 YEARS OLD GOLF COURSES IN VIETNAM
Those who have ever been to Da Lat for golf tours in Vietnam, it is hard to imagine that one day this place will no longer have Dalat Golf Club, because this golf courses in Vietnam is not only the highlight of this beautiful city in the central Highland of Vietnam but also contains extremely valuable historical imprints.
Dubbed the “hometown of Vietnam Golf”, Da Lat Palace Golf Club is the oldest golf courses in Vietnam. The course has a colorful history that can be seen and felt through every beautiful holes. Da Lat Golf Club is like a movie recording the history of the country because the birth, existence and development of the course is associated with the ups and downs of Vietnam since the time of Bao Dai King – the last king of the Vietnam till 1945.
This golf courses in Vietnam was built in 1930 after King Bao Dai ascended the throne, but few people know that the idea and design of the golf courses was included in the construction planning of Da Lat city by the French nearly ten years earlier.
In 1893, European doctor Alexandre Yersin discovered the land of Da Lat. It was he who came up with the idea of building this city when Paul Doumer, the governor-general of French Indochina at that time, was looking for a land with high terrain to build a resort for French in Vietnam. Da Lat was built in 1912 and quickly became a favorite holiday for Europeans, especially French officials.
The French have planned this city with ancient villas and beautiful streets. At one point during the French colonial period, about 20% of Da Lat’s population were foreigners, as evidenced by about 2500 castle-style villas scattered around the city.
In 1923, in the first city planning project of architect E. Hébrard, a golf course with a sports arena was designed opposite the artificial lake (Xuan Huong lake). And those are the first impressions of the birth of Doi Cu golf course – the current Da Lat Palace Golf Club. So calculated, this golf course has been present on the map of Da Lat for 100 years, counting from the time it was designed.
No one knows when Doi Cu got its name and what the original meaning of the name means. Some people say that the hills here undulate like the backs of giant sheep when viewed from afar, so the locals call them “Cu hill” (pronounced close to the word “sheep” in Vietnamese). “Cu” is also the Vietnamese name for “golf”, Cu hill is the place to play golf, an aristocratic sport that the Vietnamese call “playing tick”.
THE GOLF COURSES OF THE LAST KING IN VIETNAM
In 1926, Bao Dai became emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty and Da Lat is probably the most important place for the King after the Imperial Citadel of Hue, because this is where he met and had a passionate love story with Queen Nam Phuong, also the place for him to satisfy his passion – playing golf. King Bao Dai had several summer palaces here, now known as Palaces I, II and III.
After returning from France, where he had discovered the sport of golf in Normandy and the posh Senlis-Chantilly suburbs of Paris, in the early 1930s, King Bao Dai decided to build his own golf course. I live in Da Lat, because it has been marked in the city planning since 1923. From here, Da Lat Palace golf courses in Vietnam was officially born. At that time, this golf courses in Vietnam only had 6 holes and a small clubhouse. Today, Da Lat Palace Golf Club has undergone a major renovation. It is the place where a lot of golfers love to come for golf tours in Vietnam.
King Bao Dai’s passion for golf was confirmed by the king himself in his memoir “Dragon of Annam”, published in French in France in 1980. The king wrote: “Depending on the season, I also play golf. Next to Hue Citadel, among the peaceful grassy hills, I set up a golf course, no different from famous golf courses in Europe, for regular practice. Besides, King Bao Dai also had many other sports interests such as tennis, windsurfing, boat racing, driving speed cars, even flying sports planes…
30 YEARS OF UPS AND DOWNS WITH THE HISTORY OF THE VIETNAM WAR
When Emperor Bao Dai abdicated in 1945, Da Lat Golf Club was abandoned, and the fairways and greens were “erased” by vegetation. Until 15 years later, a doctor named Dao Huy Hach moved from Hanoi to Da Lat. He used to play golf in Saigon, so when he came here, he realized what “royal” golfers have known for decades: Da Lat’s cool climate is ideal for playing golf. Mr. Hac has called on a number of sponsors to rebuild the pitch, each sponsor one hole. Finally, the reconstructed course had 8 holes with two different tee-boxes on hole 8 because he could only find 8 sponsors.
When renovating this golf courses in Vietnam, Dr. Hach once shared that: “The hardest part is how to see the old greens, because they are already covered with vegetation. We had to use aerial photography from the National Geographic Institute. Use manual cutters to recreate fairways.” The first pit was restored in 1959, all 9 holes were completed in 1965.
Da Lat Palace Golf Club became famous when Billy Casper, one of the most numerous PGA Tour champions in history, came to support the US army to play golf in Da Lat. The golf courses had about 40 members throughout the 1960s, most of whom were embassy employees and those who worked for foreign construction companies in Vietnam.
However, in 1975, after the 30-year the war ended, Vietnam completely reunified the country, the golf course was abandoned for the second time and seemed to be submerged in oblivion in Central Highland of Vietnam.
BILLIONAIRE LARRY HILLBLOM AND THE REVIVAL OF THE GOLF COURSE
After 1975, Da Lat Palace Golf Courses disappeared, this area became an ideal place for locals and tourists to organize camping and picnics as well as a romantic rendezvous for young couples.
It wasn’t until 1993 that a billionaire named Larry Hillblom, the co-founder of Danao International Holdings Limited (DHL) – a world-famous courier company with a fortune of nearly 6 billion dollars, made a transformation; make big renovation for the first 9 holes of this golf courses in Vietnam. Not only that, he turned it into a full 18-hole golf courses in Da Lat city that today has become one of top golf courses in Vietnam and Asia. The course was named Da Lat Pine Lake Golf Club in 1993, then renamed Da Lat Palace Golf Club in 1995.
With a passion for golf and a passion for the land of Da Lat, this billionaire is said to have spent 40 million USD to restore the Da Lat Palace hotel and Da Lat Golf Courses. Not only that, but his other investments in Vietnam include Novotel Dalat hotel, Novotel Phan Thiet, the famous Asian Ocean Dunes golf course and riverside apartments outside of Ho Chi Minh City
Larry Hillblom, born in 1943 and died in 1995 in a plane crash, was once a famous adventurer in America. He is rich, talented, passionate but unlucky. An energetic, intelligent person, Hillblom has a passion for golf and adventure games, especially tourist planes. He especially loved a Catalina-style seaplane and named it “sea bee”.
It was this seaplane that buried him in the waters of Anatahan on May 21, 1995, when he was on his way from Saipan to Pagan Island to see… the volcano erupts. Searching for a week but did not find the body, billionaire Hillblom disappeared forever, leaving a huge fortune of nearly 1 billion US dollars, along with a legal dispute that lasted for decades. meeting closed. In which, there are more than 10 children around the world who claim to be his adopted children to dispute property.
100 years of history and dramatic ups and downs have created a unique value for Da Palace Golf Club, so that this golf courses in Vietnam will forever capture the “heart” of players when coming to this city to enjoy golf tours in Vietnam.
HISTORY OF DA LAT PALACE GOLF CLUB
• 1923: Listed in the city planning design of architect E. Hébrard
• 1930: Officially built by King Bao Dai (6 holes)
• 1945: King Bao Dai abdicated, the golf courses was abandoned
• 1960: Restored by Doctor Nguyen Huy Hach (8 holes)
• 1975: Abandoned for the second time
• 1993 – present: Restored and completed 18 holes by US billionaire Larry Hillblom