Golf Course Architecture: Issue 55 - January 2019

39 EYEBROW ( E .G. BL INDNESS ) Photo: Rees Jones, Inc. Front row, from left: Taiheiyo Club owner Shun Han, Inaji’s managing director Hiromi Yanagisawa, Bryce Swanson and Rees Jones, on an October 2017 site visit. Right: bunkers, as seen here on the sixteenth, have been designed to allow recovery, rather than being overly penal to provide fairer targets and reward properly-executed shots. Many closely- mown areas around the greens were created to penalise errant approach shots in various ways. Most of the greenside ponds were reconfigured to allow for increased shot options and to create additional challenging hole locations adjacent to them. Trees and gardens are revered in Japan, so we were very selective in our tree removal. It was only done in order to provide dramatic views of Mount Fuji and to allow for more sunlight to improve turf conditions on greens. Now that the course has fully reopened, every available tee time for members and their guests has been booked. What is it that golfers find so appealing? The bunkers are properly placed, playable and pleasing to the eye. Golfers of all standards can find an appropriate tee to play from. Greens hold a well-executed shot and the various challenges around the greens are intriguing. The tree-lined fairways at Gotemba give the holes definition, and each hole has its own unique challenge. The real reward for a golf course architect after completion of a major remodelling project is universal acceptance of the work from once- sceptical members. That has occurred at Gotemba – I am now an honorary member of the Taiheiyo Club. For me that is quite a tribute. GCA Rees Jones has designed or redesigned more than 225 courses in over 50 years as a golf course architect Photo: Taku Miyamoto