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Golden Valley Golf Club
Nishiwaki, Hyogo, Japan
Design Style: Alpine Course Type: Private
Setting: Mountain

Located 90 minutes from Kobe and two hours from Osaka, Golden Valley Golf Club has been widely acknowledged as among the strongest layouts in Japan. Golden Valley was also one of the first courses in this golf-gripped nation to employ single greens; formerly, most Japanese golf courses included both summer and winter greens on each hole. Robert Trent Jones, Jr. convinced the owners that single greens-which here average approximately 7,500 sq. feet-were a better option. At the owner's request Robert Trent Jones II designed a layout of 7,275 yards-equal in length to Augusta National.

The course routes through pines sprinkled with liberal doses of mountain maples and mountain cherry trees, which usher in the spring with their spectacular pink blossoms. Our major challenge in creating this layout was incorporating three major waterways on the site. Numerous holes play alongside these rock-lined creeks. The water hazards outline three fingers of golf holes running up a series of valleys. These hazards, in concert with narrow fairways calling for accuracy and length, lend the course its bite. Throughout much of the round players will enjoy mountain and lake views.

The finishing hole at Golden Valley plays alongside a large lake created during construction. A tree-covered island, the silhouette of which imitates the far horizon, rises out of the center of the lake. This spot has been ranked as one of the most picturesque sites in the entire region-as appealing as the sight of a golf ball rising above water and trees and flying toward the pin against the backdrop of the prairie-style clubhouse beckoning beyond the eighteenth green.

Golden Valley Golf Club Awards
    • Golf Digest—Top 20 Course in Japan
    • Japan Classic Magazine<—Best New Course in Japan
    • Site of Japan Open
    • Site of Mitsubishi Gallant Tournament
    • Site of Japan Golf Association Philanthropy Tournament