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GOLF GUIDE


O


ne of Japan’s most atractive cities, Kobe is a fantastic all-rounder with easy access to Osaka and its


KOBE MISAKI STADIUM, KOBE golf course:


international airport. The city itself is pleasingly cosmopolitan with many indicators of its history as an important base for foreign trade. Ijinkan (foreign houses), 19th-century residences of Kobe’s foreign traders, are architectural highlights, while the city’s Chinatown is a popular spot for dining. Another Kobe highlight is Arima Onsen, a famous hot spring town within the city limits but on the opposite side of Mount Rokko from the centre. With more than 1,000 years of history, it’s one of Japan’s oldest hot springs resorts and makes an ideal place for a soothing post-golf soak.


Hirono Golf Club Rated by many as the finest course in Japan (and the best in Asia), Hirono Golf Club is a magical design. Like Naruo, the course was laid out by Englishman Charles Alison and the two layouts bear similar hallmarks such as elevated green complexes protected jealousy by deep, bold bunkering. The holes at Hirono are isolated from the others by dense trees, creating a marvellous sense of peace. Such isolation should not result in a false sense of security, though, as questions are constantly being posed. Highlights include the 12th, a double dogleg par five with OB along the leſt side and the beautiful 13th, a short hole played over water.


Website: kimigolf.com/japan/hirono/hirono-E.htm Length: 7,169 yards Green fees: from £201 (members’ guests only)


IN BRIEF


Number of golf courses near the stadium: 15 Website: city.kobe.lg.jp Flight time from London: To Osaka: 13h and 15min (via Amsterdam)


FUKUOKA HAK ATANOMORI STADIUM, FUKUOK A T


he sixth largest city in Japan, Fukuoka is a burgeoning metropolis with all the modern


conveniences of a contemporary hub. Conversely, it’s also one of the most highly regarded places in Japan, with a trading history dating back some 2,000 years. Learn about the city’s history at Hakata Machiya Furasato-kan, an excellent folk museum that expertly recreates a Hakata ngare (neighbourhood unit) from the late Meiji era. The modern face of Kyushu, meanwhile, is on show at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, which exhibits art from around the region. As in other Japanese cities, eating is a highlight and the city’s signature tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen is particularly good.


golf course:


Koga Golf Course The premier layout on the southern island of Kyushu, Koga Golf Course offers a combination of parkland and seaside golf. The course is laid out over a compact parcel


182 ABTA Golf 2018


of land near the coast. But despite its proximity to the ocean, the holes run through an undulating pine plantation. The result is a prety layout, given teeth by the presence of tricky trade winds that blow in from the west. There are numerous enjoyable holes on the course including the par-five 12th, which tumbles across the best contours on the course and is especially enjoyable if you can draw a drive around the corner and propel forward off the downslope.


Website: kogagc.co.jp Length: 6,820 yards Green fees: from £107


IN BRIEF


Number of golf courses near the stadium: 14 Website: jnto.go.jp Flight time from London: 13h and 40min (via Helsinki)


IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK


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