Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

75 Photo: credit Han has brought them into another of the club’s locations, the 36-hole Karuizawa Resort in the central Gunma prefecture, to redesign the Asama course. “One championship project has led to another,” says Jones. “They’re not building anything new in Japan. It’s all redos and upgrades; and they’re having to upgrade to get tournaments. They really care about their championship golf.” When a course is being updated for tournament play, club members understandably wonder what that might mean for them. “They were worried that we were going to make it too hard for them,” says Jones, of their work at Gotemba. “But on opening day we were complemented on how much more the members enjoyed the golf course. “We can make it more difficult for the pro by adding areas to the greens that allow pins to be hidden, and relocating bunkers so the average player can access the green effectively, but the pro would have a hard time getting close to the pin.” Short grass is an important part of that formula too. “Drawing from our experience with tournament venues in the US, we were able to highlight that for really good players, bunkers aren’t necessarily a challenge,” says Swanson. “With the introduction of runoff and chipping areas around the green, that adds challenge for the good player because it forces them to make a decision.” “The everyday golfer can putt it up from the chipping areas then two putt and be happy,” says Jones. “The best players want to get it close to the pin to save par. They now have to think about it because they can either putt it, hit it into the bank, or loft it. “I always say you don’t build a church just for Easter Sunday. And I think Photo: Taku Miyamoto Taiheiyo Club’s Gotemba course hosts a Japan Golf Tour event each year “ One championship project has led to another”