On 27 April 2020, the Government has promulgated Decree No. 52/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 52/2020”) on the condition on golf courses construction investment and business.

Previously, Government’s Resolution No.63/NQ-CP dated 26 August 2019 has deregulated the plan for Vietnam’s golf courses up to 2020 annexed to the Prime Minister’s Decision No.1946/QD-TTg dated 26 November 2009 (“Decision 1946”). Accordingly, the construction and development of golf course projects are no longer managed under the master plan regulated under Decision 1946 planning for each provinces, cities. Thereon, golf courses investment project shall merely be required to comply with provincial planning, district-level land use planning and relevant planning as prescribed in Decree 52/2020.

According to Article 31.1.h of Law on Investment 2014, the decisions on investment policies of golf courses construction and operation project shall be determined by the Prime Minister. Therefore, Article 10 Decree 52/2020 explains the procedure to issue the decision on the investment policies, the investment registration certificate, clarify the procedure made by the investment registration authority to consult for opinions of related authorities, to report to the provincial People’s Committee and send to the Ministry of Planning and Investment to appraise the golf course project dossier and submit a proposal to the Prime Minister for consideration.

Decree 52/2020 provides several remarkable points as follows:

1. Types of land shall not be used to build golf courses:

Five types of lands, which shall not be used to construct golf courses and ancillary structures in service of golf courses business activities includes:

  • Land for national defense and security purpose;
  • Forest land, land under rice fields;
  • Land in areas containing original constituents of ranked famous landscapes and beauty spots, historical – cultural relics and relics included in relic lists of provincial People’s Committees;
  • Land for building industrial parks, industrial clusters, information technology parks and hi-tech industrial parks;
  • Land used for protection of flood control systems and coastal setbacks.

2. Conditions for building and expanding golf courses

The largest land area for 18-hole golf course is 90 hectares, and 270 hectares for a 54-hole golf course project constructed for the first time.

Investors of golf course project are required to finish building their golf courses within 36 months (for 18-hole golf courses) or within 48 months (for other types of courses) starting from the date of issuance of the land lease decision.

3. Conditions for investors of golf course projects

Decree 52/2020 points out 03 conditions for investors of golf course project, namely:

  • Meet the financial capability condition and land leasing condition, transfer of land use purpose for the implementation of golf course project according to law on land; pay a deposit for assurance of project execution (for cases requiring such deposit) according to law on investment;
  • Having solutions, plans and commitments to support resettlement, vocational training, employment for persons the land to be allocated for the golf course project and local workers;
  • At the same time, the investor shall self-fulfill all the requirements and conditions on transport infrastructure, electricity, water; wastewater treatment and environmental protection.

In case investors propose different golf course projects located within one province or municipalities, then the proposed of the investors for the next golf project shall only be considered after the earlier ones completed and put into operation.

In addition, Decree 52/2020 also prohibits the use of golf course activities to organize illegal betting, gambling, running gambling dens.

Decree 52/2020 comes into force on 15 June 2020.