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Golf field in Vietnam: a fast-expanding industry

According to statistics of the Vietnam Golf Association (VGA), there are currently about 80 golf courses in operation nationwide. The number of courses is expected to reach 100 by the end of this year and will reach 200 by 2025. The most developed localities in golf are the satellite provinces of Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City such as: Hoa Binh, Bac Giang, Vung Tau, Phan Thiet, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, etc.


The era of golf fields


According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the whole country currently has about 144 golf course projects in 39 provinces and cities, with the purpose of golf course business that have been licensed or issued with a policy allowing research and implementation project. However, the actual golf business is only about 20 projects, the remaining projects are a combination of golf, real estate business and services. The total land area for these projects is up to 49,000 hectares, of which about 15,000 hectares are for golf courses, the remaining area is for real estate business, hotels, villas, restaurants, etc. The data on golf course project planning also shows that the total area of ​​9 golf course projects being implemented in Lam Dong is over 4,200 ha, of which less than 20% of the area is reserved for golf courses. The remaining area is mainly used for the purpose of building hotels and luxury villas for sale and rent. If compared with the capacity of existing golf courses and the development of this sport in Vietnam, in the next 20 years, the number of golf courses currently available will still be enough to serve golfers. It can be seen that it is necessary for the Government to stop licensing golf course projects.


The map of golf courses in Vietnam (photo: the Internet)
The map of golf courses in Vietnam (photo: the Internet)

According to preliminary statistics, the region with the largest number of golf courses is the South Central with 27 courses, followed by the Northern Delta with 25 courses, the northern mountainous provinces - 11 courses, the Central Highlands region - 11 courses, North Central - 7 courses, Southwest area has 6 courses.


According to a survey of golf courses in Southeast Asia, an average 18-hole golf course consumes 150,000 m3 of clean water per day, equivalent to the amount of domestic water for 20,000 households. According to statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, an 18-hole golf course in Vietnam consumes up to 5,000 m3 of water per day for watering and maintaining the course surface. This amount of water is often extracted from groundwater, so after a while, the land subsidence and subsidence due to groundwater being taken away too much, the groundwater level is deeper and groundwater pollution due to chemicals and fertilizers from Golf course is inevitable.


The potential environmental impacts


In order to keep the green colour and restore the golf course surface, businesses often have to use specialised chemicals such as Chlorpyrifos, Diazinon and Isazofos, which are on the list of chemicals that are sensitive to the environment and human health. On average, an 18-hole golf course uses about 1.5 tons of chemicals each year, which is 3 times higher than the same area of ​​agricultural land, in which silicon acid and aluminum and iron oxide (potential carcinogens) are used. Soil hardening catalyst used to strengthen the foundations and shores of artificial lakes at golf courses using Acrylamide is a highly toxic substance to organisms and humans. All these chemicals can seep into the ground, into groundwater, overflow when it rains or irrigate, which will go to neighboring land and surface water, causing environmental pollution, making water users and agricultural products toxic and central nervous system dysfunction. In addition, when spraying chemicals on golf course lawns, part of them is released into the air environment causing air pollution and the risk of direct impacts on golfers and golf course workers is not avoidable.


With careful planning and management, Vietnam could aim for a sustainable growth of the Golf industry (source: Vietnam Golf Magazine)
With careful planning and management, Vietnam could aim for a sustainable growth of the Golf industry (source: Vietnam Golf Magazine)

According to a survey of golf courses in Southeast Asia, an average 18-hole golf course consumes 150,000 m3 of clean water per day, equivalent to the amount of domestic water for 20,000 households. According to statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, an 18-hole golf course in Vietnam consumes up to 5,000 m3 of water per day for watering and maintaining the course surface. This amount of water is often extracted from groundwater, so after a while, the land subsidence and subsidence due to groundwater being taken away too much, the groundwater level is deeper and groundwater pollution due to chemicals and fertilisers from golf courses is inevitable.


Research data in the world shows that, on average, an 18-hole golf course uses about 1.5 tons of chemicals each year (3 times higher than the same area of ​​agricultural land), in which silicon acid and oxides are used. aluminum and iron oxide (potential carcinogens).


Most of the golf course projects that have come into operation today in Vietnam do not have their own wastewater treatment facilities. All golf course wastewater will be dumped directly into the environment after being preliminarily treated at internal settling ponds.


In Vietnam, a series of violations on land use, causing environmental pollution at the golf course project and the complex of sports, entertainment, resort and tourism in Zone B Dai Lai, Ngoc Thanh commune , Phuc Yen city. After inspecting the project, in May 2019, Vinh Phuc Department of Natural Resources and Environment discovered many violations of environmental protection. For example, the project did not build and install environmental protection works, including the centralised wastewater treatment system of Golf complex, as prescribed, failed to monitor the surrounding environment as prescribed, did not fill 1 well after it has been used, discharged wastewater at the wrong location and coordinates specified in the permit, did not take measures to waterproof the wastewater reservoir in case the wastewater does not contain hazardous waste.


It can be said that while many localities, especially in provinces and big cities, are lack of land fund for infrastructure needs such as hospitals, apartments, schools, etc., golf course projects consume hundreds of hectares of land, at the same time, as the compensation price is significantly low, local people could face serious financial problems in the future. Furthermore, for a more sustainable growth of golf courses in Vietnam, it is necessary to have more specific assessments of the environmental status of the golf courses in operation in order to have mitigation solutions for more sustainable development of this type of recreational sport.


Source: the Internet


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