Laguna Golf Lang Co’s world famous family of water buffalo greenskeepers have helped the club reap a record rice harvest: the fruits of which are going towards feeding members of the local community in Central Vietnam.
The bovine brood has been bolstered by the birth of Lulu, a new baby daughter, who joins fellow recent arrival Luna, eldest calf Bao and father and mother Tu Phat and Chi Chi in the workforce.
And the extra sets of hooves have dramatically boosted productivity with the club gathering 28 tonnes of rice from the seven-hectares of fields right in the middle of the Sir Nick Faldo Signature layout — a record harvest-time haul.
The buffalo “bio-mowers” have been vital in helping to maintain the elevated status of the layout, which winds its way through tropical jungle, ocean sand dunes and ancient rice paddies and was ranked as the best in Vietnam at the 2019 Vietnam Golf Awards.
They help to manage the seven-hectares of rice fields located right in the middle of the course by eating excess weeds, crops while tilling the soil in the area that would otherwise require machinery and additional manpower to maintain.
The rice-fields, though, are not just for show. Harvested twice a year, they have previously yielded up to 20 tons of rice that are used to support the organic farm at Laguna Lang Co and donated to families and seniors in the area who are in need of extra support.
This winter’s record haul, however, surpassed previous harvests by some way. Additionally, the bumper crop could not have come at a timely juncture, with Vietnam’s economy taking a hit on tourism as the international borders remain closed to combat the spread of the global pandemic.
“The communities that have limited economic means have been hit the hardest by the economic downturn that has resulted from the global pandemic,” said Adam Calver, Director of Golf at Laguna Lang Co. “The fact that we are able to donate even more rice to locals who need it most this year was a really positive outcome for our edible golf course.”
The utilization of water buffalo as greenkeepers is part of a wider push by Laguna Golf Lang Co to be the most sustainable course in Vietnam. It has completely eradicated the use of single-use plastics in almost all aspects of its operations, scrapping items made of plastic such as on course garbage bags, locker room accessories, plastic cups and straws and replacing them with ones made from materials such as bamboo, paper, steel or natural grass.
Laguna Lang Co Resort has just finalized the installation of its own water bottling plant to allow the resort to completely eliminate plastic water bottles and utilize reusable glass bottles.
The club is also one of only three golf courses in the world to achieve EarthCheck Gold certification, a status it earned at the end of 2019.
“Continually mowing the fields to maintain vast rice terraces can consume a large amount of labour and fuel,” added Calver. “The water buffalo act as bio-mowers and help us protect the natural feel of the landscape; they give a true sense of place.
“Since we introduced the buffalo we have seen a number of birds such as egrets, moving in as they feast on the insects as the buffalo till the soil. We are currently building a new home for our family of ducks which will be used next year as part of our ‘Integrated Rice-Duck Farming Program’.”
As well as being visually evocative, the seven hectares or rice fields at Laguna Lang Co serve a practical purpose in feeding the community
Baby Lulu (right) is the latest addition to the now five-strong family of water buffalo at Laguna Golf Lang Co
The expanded family helped harvest a record harvest haul of 28 tonnes of rice this winter