As I pull in to the driveway of Vietnam Golf and Country Club, on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, the beautifully manicured fairways and greens are bathed in an irresistible glow. I am about to start a golfing odyssey that will take me thousands of kilometres through one ofthe most alluring countries in the world.
I have long been aware that South-East Asia possesses some sublime golfing real estate. In Thailand, you can barely take a short tuk-tuk ride without stumbling on a course while Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and even the Philippines also have a wealth of top layouts. Vietnam, however, is an unknown entity to me. The liberal in me is slightly uncomfortable with the appropriation of the wartime route used by the North Vietnamese to move troops and supplies to sell a pastime well-known for being somewhat bourgeois. However, at the same time I cannot help but salivate at the prospect of playing fairways that wind through jungle, between shimmering lagoons and along the shores of the South China Sea. Vietnam’s tragic recent history only adds to the intrigue. How will it feel to play a game more closely associated with Uncle Sam than Uncle Ho in a battle-scarred and fiercely proud country? I’m about to find out.