On 26 November 2009, the Prime Minister signed Decision No. 1946/QD-TTg ("Decision 1946"), which sets out the master plan for the establishment of golf courses up to 2020.

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Decision 1946 provides that 89 golf courses will be established in Vietnam by 2020. Of those 89, 19 are currently operating. Of the remaining 70 golf courses to be established, 11 will be located in the Northern Midlands, 16 in the Red River Delta, 29 in the Northern Part of the Central Region and the Coastal Area of the Southern Part of the Central Region, 8 in the Central Highlands, 21 in the Southeastern Region and 4 in the Mekong Delta.

Decision 1946 clearly states that the sites set for golf courses are primarily in mountainous regions, coastal areas in the Central Region, as well as in existing key tourist areas throughout the country. This Decision also provides that the construction of golf courses must be reasonably distributed throughout each region and across the country. Developers must ensure the efficient use of land and further development of economy in relation to employment, sustainability, contributions to the State budget and the development of the tourism and sports industries.

Decision 1946 provides additional regulations relevant to golf course development, set forth below:

  1. Land which is already earmarked for industrial zones, urban areas and forest land (especially land of preventive forests and special-use forests) may not be used for the construction of golf courses
  2. State funding may not be used for golf courses except for the development of "community golf courses," a term heretofore undefined
  3. The maximum area for an 18-hole golf course is 100 hectares
  4. Golf projects must be environmentally friendly, the developers of which must have completed environmental impact assessment reports prior to being licensed
  5. Each project may use up to a maximum of 5 hectares from a single, low-productivity rice field
  6. No houses or villas for sale may be built on land intended for golf courses; however, low-rise houses for rent may be built so long as the area of the houses does not exceed 10% of the total area of the golf project
  7. The deadline for the completion of construction of a golf course will be 48 months from the date the project is licensed
  8. Any golf project that has not commenced construction within 12 months from the date the project is licensed is subject to the revocation of its investment certificate.

For licensed golf course projects which have completed construction and become operational prior to 26 November 2009, the owners must now comply with several additional conditions as required by Decision 1946. Licensed projects which lie in a planned zone and remain to be constructed, however, must fully comply with all of the criteria set out in this new piece of legislation.

Provincial People’s Committees are charged with the issuance and withdrawal of investment certificates.

Decision 1946 took effect on the date it was signed.

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Dao Nguyen (

Thinh Dan (

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