-Personal Asian Golf Courses Guide for Serious and Athletic Players -

I have ranked famous golf courses in Asia, based on my biased on my personal judgments after playing them. I focus only on how the courses play, and do not rate them by the quality of caddies, clubhouse facilities or value for money.

The evaluation method
Overall Rating(Total Figures of 5 Categories)
Course Layout (Out of 5, Portion 30%)
Difficulty Level (Out of 5, Portion 10%)
Greens Condition (Out of 5, Portion 15%)
Fairways Condition (Out of 5, Portion 10%)
Landscapting & Views (Out of 5, Portion 20%)
Level of Satisfactiom (Out of 5, Portion 15%)

The evaluation is absolute and used a 1 to 5 scale for each category with 5 being the top score. However, as an exception, I might give 6 for an exceptional category.

The evaluation categories and allocations are Course Layout including strategic quality 30%, Difficulty Level 10%, Greens Condition 15%, Fairways Condition 10%, Landscaping and Views 20%, and Level of Satisfaction 15%. The course layout is emphasized the most. The course difficulty level is personally judged by playing from the longest tees. When I am not allowed to play from those tees, I estimate the level as if I were playing from the longest tees and write “Estimate” next to the figure.

All distances are in yards. The courses using meters are recalculated in yards. Total yardages of each course are shown from the longest tees that members and visitors are allowed to play. Some courses have pro tees i.e. tournament tees which are reserved only for professional tournaments and are not allowed even for advanced members. At some other courses members can use the pro tees i.e. tournament tees, only a few times per year on such occasion as for the Club Championship or the Chairman’s Cup. On this website, I don’t show the official total yardages nor the official course rates, but I only the longest distances and course rates that advanced members are allowed to play. Because I think that it describes courses better for ordinary players.

Purpose of this Website:
When I decided to go on golf trip in the late 1990s, I was at a loss as to which country to go and which courses to play. Books and websites introducing golf courses in each country were available but there were no websites to introduce good Asian golf courses which compared and evaluated them. I believe that this website will help serious golf players in Asia and elsewhere become familiar with Asia’s great courses. This site should be suitable for strong players who like challenging & demanding courses and whose average drives are over 240 yards. It is not suitable for players who want easy courses and good scores. Although the reviews contain my biased opinion, I hope they will be useful as a reference for serious golfers who like to play challenging courses that test their skills.

My motivation is pure enjoyment, not for business reasons. Please do not expect advertisements or favoritism. Also the course pictures that I personally took may violate copyright laws. If there’s a golf club which I reviewed that doesn’t want the pictures used on this websites, please inform me and I will remove them. My apologies beforehand.

Points to Keep in Mind about Course Evaluations:
Course Layouts

I take the following matters into account: “Would the course keep challenging you no matter how often you’ve played ?‘’, “Would the layout make you use all 14 clubs?”, and “Does the layout reward your good shots and penalize you for bad shots?”. Does the course make use of hte natural terrain as much as possible? Deos the course have good mixes of short & long par3s, par4s and par5s? Do the coures has good rhythm to play? Is routing of the coourse good?

Course Difficulty Levels
This doesn’t imply that more difficult the course, the better it is. Fairness counts. I think that a difficult and fair course means “challenging”. However, I do downgrade the rating by 1 to 2 points from the layout category if I feel the course has many too difficult holes which I hardly can judge is fair.

Course Conditions
Greens and fairways conditions tend to be bad when you play in the wet seasons. When I play during the wet season, I guess what the rating would be if I played in the dry season. However, it is extremely difficult to rate the condition perfectly because I play most of the courses only once. Members or visitors who often play a course may complain that the green condition is usually good but I rated it poorly. Please forgive me if that happens. Also, bent grasses are not grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Bermuda grasses are used mostly; as a consequence, the greens are slower, which tends to worsen my ratings. However, excellent greens are becoming more common in tropical and subtropical golf courses, as they adapt bent grasses or use new species like TifEagle Bermuda grass, which deliver better putting speeds and consistency. Some of the improvements of the greens due to breeding is just amazing.

Landscaping & Views
Landscaping beauty is based on course designs composition. Takes into acount how the natural terrain is used, i.e. how greens, trees, and bunkers are placed. In addition, how greens, bunkers and mounds are shaped. Man-made beauty depends on the designer’s ability to utilize the beauty of the terrain. I also consider views consisting of beautiful natural scenery such as mountains, natural lakes, seashores, oceans, hills or ravines, which usually make up the backdrop of each hole. The good view further enhances the landscaping beauty of fairways and greens when seen from the tees.

The Level of Satisfaction
    The Level of Satisfaction is a new feature that was introduced in early 2016. While this feature takes factors such as the golf clubs’ recognition, exclusiveness and dignity into consideration, the main calculation is based on factors such as the quality of caddies and staff, clubhouse facilities, and the overall dining experience. This new Level of Satisfaction covers all aspects of the players experience before, during and after the play.
    Another important element that is taken into consideration is the region’s atmosphere. Some reviews may take into consideration how the play is affected by elements such as temperature, climate, weather and so fourth. Even if a course is well designed, tropical rain weather or a dry heat climate may affect the level of enjoyment of the course.
There are several factors that aren’t included in this feature. These include the cost performance of the course, which are judgments based on the price of play, and the distance, time, and traffic that affects transportation experience to the golf club.
    As of courses that are reviewed after January of 2016, the “Level of Satisfaction” will impact 15% of the courses’ overall score. Courses reviewed before 2016 will gradually be re-evaluated in accordance to this new system.

Regarding Golf Courses I Play
Basically, I do not play randomly, but try to play courses with good reputations which I learn about through word of mouth, or golf magazine rankings in each country or polls. Consequently, the ratings have many 4s and 5s out of 5s. I sometimes play courses that I’ve never heard of or I am forced to play during trips due to social obligations and consequently the evaluations of those courses are inevitably not too high.

My Goal
I started covering courses in 2003 and plan to play all famous 2000 couses in the world mainly in Asia by 2020.

Born in Kobe, Japan in 1959. I have been living in Hong Kong since 1993. My official handicap is 3 at the Discovery Bay Golf Club (DBGC) as of Dec. 2005 where I was the 2005 Club Champion. My average driving distance is 240 yards, ranging from 230 to 250 in fine weather, no wind and on flat fairways.

The Other
I abbreviate course names as follows: GC (Golf Club or Golf Course), CC (Country Club), G&CC (Golf & Country Club), S&CC (Sports & Country Club), G&CR (Golf and Coutry Resort), GR (Golf Resort), G&LR (Golf & Lake Resort), RGC (Resort Golf Club), and G&HR (Golf & Holiday Resort). The journey times that are written in the reviews are mainly based on my early morning experiences with the assumption that there is no traffic jam.

I would really thank Mr. Michael Galbraith and Mr. Bob Kagotani for helping to organize this English site and Mr. Kousaka Tomonari and Mr. K. Kawabata for helping to organize the Japanese site and playing together many of golf courses that I cover. Without their help, this site could not be set up.

Kimi Hoshiyama