Golf Course Architecture: Issue 55 - January 2019

37 Photo: Taku Miyamoto Professional golfer Hideki Matsuyama [pictured on page 36, with Jones] consulted with us on the project. He has won the tournament twice: as an amateur in 2011, and with a record 72-hole score of 23 under par in 2016. His desire was for the course to play in tournaments like East Lake, Bethpage Black or Torrey Pines, all courses that we had redesigned. We both feel we achieved that result; the winning score at the 2018 Taiheiyo Masters was nine under par, the lowest number it has been for 30 years. The Gotemba course is a beautiful, tree-lined, parkland golf course with many views of Mount Fuji. It was well laid out by Japanese architect Shunsuke Kato in 1976. The course measures over 7,300 yards; it can challenge all players and doesn’t favour the long hitters. Having redesigned seven US Open venues, nine PGA Championship venues and six Ryder Cup venues, we have the experience to evaluate what needed to be done and what needed to be left alone on such a highly-regarded layout. We left the green surfaces mostly intact, except for the par-three seventh hole, where the green was rebuilt because the contours were too severe. Some sections of other surfaces were re-graded or extended to add important manageable hole locations. All the green surfaces are now suitably challenging for fast speeds during tournament play. All tees were rebuilt. Some were added in order to increase length, improve angles and provide more flexibility for all golfers. All the bunkers were reconceived and rebuilt in light of the character and demands of the modern game. They were redesigned to be natural looking, properly positioned and sized, and to allow recovery rather than being overly penal. The bunker floors were angled properly and the cavity was built to be easily maintained. Fairway bunkers were often offset to provide different challenges from the tee for every calibre of golfer. Fairway lines were changed The par-four tenth hole at Gotemba, following renovation work by Rees Jones and Bryce Swanson

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