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Inside Tan Son Nhat's Massive Golf Course

Tan Son Nhat Golf Course, located on the grounds of Saigon's international airport, has come under increased scrutiny recently as airlines have run out of space to park their planes.

In a recent feature, Tuoi Tre dove into the background of the course and visited the controversial facility to get an inside look. The 36-hole course opened in August 2015 and covers an area of 157 hectares.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport is currently operating well above its designed capacity, causing frequent flight delays as well as constant traffic jams on the streets outside the aerodrome.

According to the news source, critics believe the golf course should be removed in order to free up much-needed space for airport expansion work.

Dr. Nguyen Dang Diep, a former Air Force officer, told Tuoi Tre that he has been to many countries and has never "seen any city housing a golf course built within its airport".

If the course were removed, he went on, "the airport's capacity will then be increased by up to 40%...There will be more aprons so airlines will no longer have to waste money parking their aircraft overnight at other airports."

The news source adds that several petitions and complaints have been lodged asking for the course's land to be revoked, while several lawmakers brought up the topic during a recent National Assembly session.

Reporters from the newspaper recently tried to visit the golf course, and it took them three tries to get inside. At first they were denied access by an attendant, claiming: "This is the airport area with restricted access." They were also told: "This is a military zone."

Tuoi Tre finally got in by going undercover as caddies for a South Korean businessman. The reporters spoke to other caddies there, who shared that 70% of the golfers are foreign, and mostly South Korean.

Players explained that they loved the unique setting of the course, where you can hit the links while planes roar down the runway nearby.

Thus far, the news source reports, there has been no progress on any petitions to remove the facility.

[Photo via Naples Herald]

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