The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip is aiming to help launch young Asian talent along the same path as Tiger Woods and Jordan Speith when it hosts the nation’s first ever Junior Golf Tour of Asia (JGTA) tournament.
Taking place between December 17 and 20, the tournament will open the door for the best juniors in Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia to pursue college golf opportunities in the US, a route that served as a springboard to riches for the likes of AJGA alumni Woods, Speith and other PGA Tour stars such as Bubba Watson, Davis Love III, and Phil Mickelson.
Over the course of three days, golfers will pit their wits against the course and each other as they vie for ranking points on the JGTA Order of Merit. At the end of the JGTA season, which comes to a close in June of 2020 at the JGTA Championship Invitational at Sheshan International Golf Club in China, the top 60 players are awarded AJGA PBE (performance-based entry) status.
The ultimate aim for players will be to collect enough points over the duration of the JGTA season to qualify for the JGTA Junior All-Asia Team, which names the top 10-ranked boys and top 10-ranked girls on the order of merit, designating them as the region’s elite college prospects and attracting recruitment attention from college golf coaches from across the US.
“Our mission is nothing less than to develop junior golfers into successful collegiate athletes and future champions of the game,” said Mr. Phil Tozer, JGTA Managing Director. “Since our inception in 2017, over 30 JGTA juniors have earned golf scholarships and membership has grown to over 300 junior golf families from more than 15 countries and territories.”
The announcement of the forthcoming JGTA ranking tournament at The Bluffs is another major fillip for a course that is used to hosting some of golf’s most sparkling talent in a competitive context, having staged the Ho Tram Open in 2015, an Asian Tour event won by Spaniard Sergio Garcia.
While the youngsters competing in December will, naturally, be rawer than Garcia and co, the tournament promises to be equally significant in terms of building local interest in the game and supporting the development of junior golf in Asia.
“We are absolutely delighted to be bringing a JGTA event to The Bluffs,” said Mr. Garry Dixon, General Manager. “The college golf system in the US is rightly seen as a hothouse for some of the biggest names in the game and the JGTA can provide a convenient fast-track to that route for promising golfers in Asia. It’s a great innovation and it is exciting for both us and the Grand to be welcoming these guys to Ho Tram in December.”
The Greg Norman-designed course, rated #35 in Golf Digest’s bi-annual list of the “World’s Greatest Golf Clubs”, marked its fifth year at the pinnacle of the golf pyramid in Vietnam in 2019.
Many tour operators have proposed that golf service providers offer various golfing packages at lower prices than currently available to develop the golfing tourism sector in the country and attract more tourists.
Developers are moving towards a golf course - resort model as Vietnam eyes becoming a major golf tourism destination.