Jansen Golf Design is in progress with bunker renovation work at Keya Golf Club in Fukuoka, Japan.
Following a comprehensive master plan of the facility in 2017 and after continued work by the in-house team to improve the grassing lines, tees and remove select bunkers in accordance with the plan, the next phase of work pertained to the reshaping and relocation of all the bunkers at the golf club.
“Our focus is to improve the course strategy, maintenance and experience,” said golf architect Paul Jansen. “The bunker and small detail work is a big part of achieving these goals. The golf course has unbelievable potential and the early work we’ve done has already made a difference.”
The project includes relocating and rebuilding bunkers to improve strategic interest; reshaping bunkers to a style closer to the original design and more Japan-unique; improving the overall sense of place; as well as improving drainage in bunkers and surrounds.
Whilst the global pandemic has caused disruptions the work has continued as scheduled.
“Its been the most difficult and also easiest project I’ve worked on to date,” said Jansen “Factors outside of our control like obtaining work visas and now the global pandemic has been a challenge. Fortunately, I’m working with a very professional and highly skilled group of individuals headed by assistant general manager and golf superintendent Andrew McDaniel. Andrew has pulled everything together and somehow managed to get the work completed to an incredibly high standard with everything going on. I can’t say enough about that.
“We’ve also been fortunate to secure the services of Keith Cutten who has done a wonderful job on the ground with the bunker shaping and helping me with some design input. I must also thank very talented shaper Quinn Thompson who has helped us complete the final few bunkers in Keith’s absence to a very high standard.”
Originally designed by Shiro Akaboshi in 1964 on a rolling sand property, the course has hosted the KBC Augusta tournament on the Japan Golf Tour since 1983. The golf course is wall to wall zoysia grass including noshiba (Zoysia japonica) for the rough areas and korai (Zoysia matrella) for the greens, tees and fairways.
“There will be a multitude of varied pin positions on each of the greens after completion of the work. The new bunkers and additional contours we’ve added will certainly call for more creative and thoughtful play” said Jansen. “It will be interesting to see how golfers navigate the course, including the pros.”
The work is being done in-house by the Keya maintenance staff, led by assistant general manager and golf course superintendent McDaniel. He is being supported by Cutten, who is primarily involved with the shaping work and Micah Woods, who is an agronomic consultant for the club.
The project is expected to take three years to complete, with six holes completed each year. The course remains open throughout the work.