Golf Course Architecture: Issue 55 - January 2019

36 Photo: Taku Miyamoto PROF I LED W orking in Japan over the years has been a very rewarding experience for Bryce Swanson [a senior designer at Rees Jones, Inc.] and myself. The Japanese are very golf savvy and extremely enthusiastic about the game. Several years ago, we completely redesigned the West course at Ibaraki Country Club, near Osaka. Greens were converted from two per hole to one, and fairway bunkers and tees were all rethought, changed and rebuilt. Since that time the club has flourished and hosted both the Diamond Cup Golf and Panasonic Open on the Japan Golf Tour – the winning score on both occasions was nine under par. The success of that assignment led to our firm being hired by Shun Han, owner of the Taiheiyo Club, to redesign the Gotemba course, which annually hosts the Taiheiyo Masters. The work was done mainly to improve the member experience, but also to present a more formidable challenge for the top golfers on the Japan Golf Tour. As with Ibaraki, we teamed up with Inaji Landscape & Construction Co. From planning to completion, the design work took two years. Bryce and I made a combined 24 trips to oversee the Gotemba course redesign. Construction was completed in mid- summer 2018 and the Taiheiyo Masters was held in early November. Gotemba renewed Rees Jones describes his work on Taiheiyo Club’s Gotemba course, which lies beside Mount Fuji in central Japan TAIHE I YO CLUB, GOTEMBA COURSE , JAPAN