Taiheiyo Club, Gotenba Course

Course Data
LocationShizuoka, Japan
Yardage7246 yards Par 72
Course Rating74.0 (Estimated)
Playing Date28 Sep. 2006
DesignerShunsuke Kato
Opened1977
CaddyYes
Golf CartYes
Rating
Overall Rating
4.70
Course Layout
(Estimated) 4
Difficulty Level
(Estimated) 4
Greens Condition
5
Fairways Condition
5
Landscaping & Views
6

* I estimated the course layout and difficulty level as if I had played from the championship tees. In fact I actually played from the black tees about 400 yards shorter. I also estimated the course rating as 74.0 to play from the championship tees as the official course rating from the black tees is 72.1.

The course is laid out beautifully on Mount Fuji’s foothill, 500 meters (1600 ft.) above the sea level. It is set on the gently undulating hilly terrain. The fairways are enamored with subtle undulations and are beautifully separated by cedars and Japanese cypress. The strategically placed water hazards and bunkers make the course more challenging. The front 9 holes are characterized with big elevation changes, more doglegs and more water carries. The back 9 is an almost flat woodland course with the more demanding putting surfaces due to very strong undulations. It has been hosting one of the major tournaments of JPGA every year since 1997. The 'Visa Taiheiyo Masters Tournament' invites many famous international players and the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman have won the tournament in the past. It also hosted the World Cup Golf 2001. It was very impressive to know that Tiger Woods made the chip-in-eagle, on the last day to tie the leader. The shot was from the thick rough on quite difficult downhill lie on the right side of the green. Top players like Tiger could make that cip-in from there I believe only once per thousand. He proved that he is truly a superstar by making that miracle chip in such a crucial situation.



A view from behind the 6th green

18th green and Mt. Fuji

 
1st Par 4 459 yards

1st Par 4 459 yards (2)

1st Par 4 459 yards (1)
A dogleg to the left, downhill par 4. A bunker on the left is 260 yards from the tee. The green is slightly elevated.
 
4th Par 3 203 yards

4th Par 3 203 yards (2)

4th Par 3 203 yards (1)
A downhill par 3 over water. The right club selection is important as it is hard to read the direction and the strength of the wind.

6th Par 5 540 yards
A slight dogleg to the right. The tee shot is a gentle downhill with a right bunker 260 yards off the tee. A long hitter can reach the green in 2 but water guarding the front right of the green will await a shot short. If you hit to the left avoiding the water, a bunker at the back left comes into play. The key to success is how to conquer the water in front of the green.
 

6th Par 5 540 yards (3)

6th Par 5 540 yards (2)

6th Par 5 540 yards (1)

 
8th  Par 4 440 yards

8th Par 4 440 yards (2)

8th Par 4 440 yards (1)
A dogleg to the left. You need to drive onto the right side in order to have a clear view to the green. If left, the trees ahead will hinder your second shot lowering the chance to hit the green in regulation. The ideal position is the from the center to the right side of the fairway. The green is double-tiered.
 
9th  Par 4 440 yards

9th Par 4 440 yards (2)

9th Par 4 440 yards (1)
A straight, long par 4. Bunkers on both sides come into play off the tee. Another large bunker protecting the front side of the green comes into play on the second.
 
14th  Par 4 420 yards

A straight hole with water in front of the green. The green slopes to the left with a drop off toward left on the left side of the green, so a big drive is advantageous as you can use a shorter iron on your approach. (No pictures)

 
16th Par 4 462 yards

A demanding hole that doglegs right. The fairway is tight and long, both accuracy and distance are required from the tee & second shots. The green is double-tiered right & left with bunkers in the front and at the rear. Be also careful of an OB behind the green as it is close. (No pictures)

 
17th  Par 3 228 yards

17th Par 3 228 yards

A slightly downhill, long par 3 over a lake. The lake, bunkers and a towering tree in front of the green are in play. Mt. Fuji is reflected on the lake on a find day and it is said that the grand Mt. Fuji seen from the green is very beautiful. The hole is not only pretty but also challenging.

 
18th  Par 5 517 yards

18th Par 5 517 yards

A slight dogleg to the left, very scenic par 5. Long hitters can reach the green in 2 but need to have the courage because the double-tiered green is tucked closely between a large pond in front and three rear bunkers, and shots short often roll back to the water. There are 2 options if you deiced to lay up: to hit the second shot safely to the area around 120 yards in front of the green or to the extremely narrow fairway, squeezed by a pond on the right and sloping the right pond, starting 100 yards in front of the green. This is a dramatic hole enabling come-back from behind wins depending on tee shots. Besides the chip-in-eagle mentioned above by Tiger Woods, it was also dramatic that Greg Norman made eagle here on the last day of the tournament in 1993 to score come-from-behind victory. Mt. Fuji stands majestically in the distance behind this great hole which has been selected as one of the best 500 holes in the world in 2000 by US Golf Magazine.


The plac eof chip-in eagle

Memorial plate of Tiger Woods

18th hole & green seen from the side

 
19th hole

Restaurant

It is a 1 hour 20 minute drive from central Tokyo. It takes 1 hour from Tokyo Station to Mishima Station by Shinkansen bullet train and anther 30 minutes by taxi.

You need to submit to the caddie master the official handicap certificate of 7 or below to play from the championship tees and 15 or below to play from the black tees. However, nobody can play from the championship tees from September up to the middle of the November when a PGA tournament is held because the turf needs to be nurtured.

The course was awarded 13th place in 2004’s Japanese golf course rankings by the Japan Golf Classic Magazine. The other Shunsuke Kato designed courses are Taiheiyo Club – Masuko Course (92nd of the above ranking), West Course, Karuizawa Course, Sagami Course, Takahara Course, & Ichihara Course, Setonaikai GC (46th of the above ranking), Hanna GC, CC The First, Kyushu GC – Yahata Course, Katayamazu GC – Hakusan Course & Kaga Course (remodeled both) in Japan, Tomson Shanghai Pudong (湯臣上海浦) GC in China, Palm Lakes (棕梠湖) Resort, Lily (立益) G&CC, Yong Han (永漢) GC in Taiwan and Chung Ju (清州) CC, Loadland G&V in Korea.