Golf Course Architecture - Issue 68, April 2022

52 careful that it doesn’t overly penalise play to the other green.” On many holes, bunkers located between the two greens have been removed in favour of natural swales of closely mown grass. “Many green complexes in Japan are guarded by either bunkers or rough,” says Swanson. “Chipping areas give players more options for the recovery shot.” Jones also emphasises the importance they placed on ground game options into greens: “By opening up a lot of the entrances, we’ve reintroduced the ground game,” he says. But the golfer may in turn have to decide whether they want to attack the pin. “They may have an opportunity, for example, to carry a bunker if they want to go for the right side of the green, or hit a ground game shot to the left side.” In addition to revisiting the strategy of the bunkers, there has been a change in visuals. “We wanted to bring the character of a windswept bunker,” said Jones, of the lightly ragged-edge hazards they have introduced. It is a marked contrast to the bland ovals that Jones says are common on Japanese courses, particularly those that were built around the same time as the Shimada layout. Shizuoka’s owner, Norihisa Kawamura – also the owner and president of Nissei Corporation, one of Japan’s largest drinks bottling operations – would have known what to expect from Jones and Swanson, because the project at Shimada is their third collaboration. The previous two were at his Shizuoka Country Hamaoka Golf Course, a little further south of the city, where Jones and Swanson rebuilt both the Ogasa (where they replaced twin greens with singles) and Takamatsu (where twin greens were retained) courses, in 2018 and 2020 respectively. The results, particularly in terms of member satisfaction, delivered on these projects gave Kawamura the confidence to proceed with the same team for his f lagship golf property at Shimada. SH I ZUOKA COUNTRY SH IMADA GC Photo: Shizuoka Country The project team of, from left, Shizuoka owner Norihisa Kawamura, Rees Jones, Inaji Landscape & Construction managing director Hiromi Yanagisawa, and Bryce Swanson