Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

76 REPORT that’s what we do best. Like at Torrey Pines, and other courses we’ve done in preparation for the US Open, it’s still very playable, manageable and enjoyable for the average player.” The typical membership model in Japan – a relatively small annual fee plus a green fee for each play – means it is critical to get members coming back for more. Jones says: “It is important for the clubs and the owners to have a course that people want to play on a daily basis. And I think that’s what we’ve accomplished.” Jones and Swanson have developed a good understanding of how their Japanese clients like to work. “We’re mindful of their respect for the landscape and the trees,” says Swanson. “Tree removal is geared towards agronomy and playability.” Jones says: “We walk the course with them and explain everything we do thoroughly, so they understand what we’re talking about. The clients are very involved. It becomes a team effort because it is ultimately their facility.” “It’s about taking the time to really get to know what they are looking for,” says Swanson. “For example, we understand what type of green contours they like. I would say it’s based on Japanese architecture – a little more subtle. “At Ibaraki, they very much wanted to use our design philosophy. But at Gotemba, they wanted us to understand what the original architect Shunsuke Kato had done and to incorporate his design philosophy into updating the course for today’s players.” “It was more of a restoration,” says Jones. “Kato was ill but before they announced that we were going to do the work, they visited him. He was very much on board with having us improve his golf course.” Shizuoka has seen contrasting approaches; the Ogasa course moved from dual to single greens, while the Takamatsu (see the April 2022 issue of GCA) has retained the dual green and has more of a restorative feel. The result has been a more equal balance of member play between the two. “The hotel is booming and the whole place has been revitalised,” says Jones. Construction is now underway at Karuizawa, again with the Jones’ plan for the Asama course at Karuizawa Resort includes a complete rethink of green surrounds