Horai Country Club

Course Data
LocationTochigi, Japan
Yardage6821 yards Par 72
Course Rating72.2
Playing Date 22 May 2005, 4 Oct 2017
DesingnerRobert von Hagge
Opened1990
CaddyYes
Golf CartYes
Rating
Overall Rating
4.75
Course Layout
5
Difficulty Level
4
Greens Conditions
5
Fairways Conditions
5
Landscaping & Views
5
Level of Satisfaction
4
 

The course is laid on the picturesque countryside, adjacent to the Nishinasuno CC. This is a lovely flat forest course with links flavor featuring flat and relatively tight fairways lined by luxuriant, tall,equal-height red pine trees. The courses is mixed with some dogleg holes, elevated large greens and strategically placed lakes. It provides you with a very challenging layout and beautiful scenery, which entice you to play here over and over again. All greens have complex undulations and they are difficult to putt. The front 9 has many dogleg holes and you need to drive long and accurately. For the back 9, you need to exercise course management to avoid water hazards. Extra caution is required on the 10th and 11th holes as the hazards superbly come into play. In order to have a good score, you can’t have high scores of these 2 holes.



A view from the clubhouse

A view from the clubhouse



A view

A view

A view seen from 11th green

 

2nd Par 4 388 yards
A slight dogleg to the right. The hole features a links-style bleak design with no trees. A tremendously long fairway bunker lines up along right side of the fairway, and it extends into up to the front right of the green. There is a blind water hazard on the back of the green, so you should avoid hitting a long second shot.
 

2nd green

2nd Par 4 388 yards (2)

2nd Par 4 388 yards (1)
 
3rd Par 3 175 yards
A beautiful par 3 over a lake. The green slopes from the back to the front.
 

3rd green

3rd Par 3 175 yards (2)

3rd Par 3 175 yards (1)
 
5th Par 5 538 yards
A dogleg to the left with the green swung further to the left. The left side of the very deep, 55 yards long, green borders a lake and the green slopes slightly from the right toward the left lake. The green is very fast.
 

5th Par 5 538 yards (3)

5th Par 5 538 yards (2)

5th Par 5 538 yards (1)
 
7th Par 3 169 yards

7th Par 3 169 yards (2)

7th Par 3 169 yards (1)
A par 3 with an elevated green. Deep bunkers around the green come into play. You need to hit a high shot and make it stop on a dime.
 
8th Par 5 532 yards
An almost straight hole with bunkers protecting the green.
 
  8th Par 5 532 yards (3)

8th Par 5 532 yards (2)

8th Par 5 532 yards (1)
 
9th Par 4 419 yards
A dogleg to the left. There are bunkers on the left and trees on the right on the landing area of the tee shot. The front side of the green touches the water, so the precise second shot is required. The green is 50 yards long. Since its adjacent to the 18th green, which is another 50 yard long, the combined green measures, the gigantic 120 yards. The picture shows the #9 green in the front and the #18 green in the back.
 

The green 120 yards long

9th Par 4 419 yards (2)

9th Par 4 419 yards (1)
 
10th Par 5 540 yards
A strong dogleg to the left. The safe route off the tee is to hit to the fairway right of bunkers at the left corner. A long hitter who try to hit the green in 2 must drive to a semi island fairway positioned on the left of the bunkers, then an accurate shot with a 230 – 250 carry over water is needed. The landing are of the second shot is squeezed by another water on the right and a series of bunkers on the left. The green is swung to the right with the water in front. The view of this hole seen backward is fantastic.
 

10th hole seen from the green

10th Par 5 540 yards (2)

10th Par 5 540 yards (1)
 
11th Par 4 376 yards
A slight dogleg to the right. The fairway is tight with a lake on the right and woods on the left. You will hit into the island green on the second shot. The island green except for Par 3s is rare.
 

11th Par 4 376 yards (3)

11th Par 4 376 yards (2)

11th Par 4 376 yards (1)
 
13th Par 4 426 yards

13th Par 4 426 yards (2)

13th Par 4 426 yards (1)
A dogleg to the left. A large bunker on the right of the fairway is reachable 270 yards off the tee. Another large bunker protects the left half of the green. I would advise one to avoid this because it is deep. The green is big and slopes from back to the front.

 
15th Par 4 381 yards
A beautiful dogleg to the right. The view of magnificent red pines lining both sides of the fairway is awe-isnpiring. You can also enjoy watching the grand mountains ahead off the tee. Mounds guard the narrow landing area off the tee shot. The green is elevated with well-positioned bunkers surrounding it.
 

15th hole seen from the green

15th Par 4 381 yards (2)

15th Par 4 381 yards (1)
 
16th Par 5 533 yards
A sharp dogleg to the left. The second shot is demanding because the tight fairway is protected by water on the right and woods on the left. The green is double-tiered and requires a high shot since it slopes to the back.
 

16th hole seen from the green

16th Par 5 533 yards (2)

16th Par 5 533 yards (1)
 
17th Par 3 190 yards

17th Par 3 190 yards (2)

17th Par 3 190 yards (1)
A slight downhill par 3 in the woods. The green is long and narrow. Guess what, it’s also heavily guarded by bunkers
 
18th Par 4 440 yards

18th Par 4 440 yards (2)

18th Par 4 440 yards (1)
A slight dogleg to the right. The green is two-tiered with big undulation. The second shot is over water. The green is squeezed by the water on the right and a large bunker on the left.
 
19th hole

Restaurant

It is a 2 hours 30 minutes drive from central Tokyo. By train, it is an 80-minute ride on Shinkansen with a 20-minute hitch on a taxi. Visitors can play here.

A lodge is available when you play this course and Nishinasuno GC. It takes 5 minutes from the lodge to the course by club bus. It is popular to play the 2 courses in 2 days . I stayed at the lodge when I played at Nishinasuno GC in 2003. It was suitable to spend time reading books or meditating because there was nothing nearby. When I woke up in the morning and opened the curtain, I was surprised to see cows outside the window. I found out later the lodge is located in a ranch. It is not surprising that you can drink fresh milk free of charge in the club restaurant.

A Japan PGA tournament was held from 2000 to 2002. When you are accompanied by a pro or a member, you can use pro tees, 7130 yards long. However, the pro tees are generally not marked and the number of members is very small, those tees are seldom used. Therefore, I conclude that the black tees, one tee shorter and 6821 yards long, are representative of this course. Usually the black tees are not allowed to play, either, unless you are accompanied by a member, but we informed the caddie master that we are all single handicappers. Then, he let us play from the black tees as an exception. If we couldn’t, we would have left short on fun and probably be a little disappointed because the course mere 6416 yards long.

Robert von Hagge has designed and re-designed about 250 courses all over world. In Asia, as far as I know, he has designed only in Japan. The course was awarded 5th place out of 2400 courses in 2002’s Japanese golf course rankings by the Japan Golf Classic Magazine. Within the top 100 Japanese golf course rankings, Robert von Hagge has designed 4 courses, Nishinasuno CC (7th), Kawaguchiko GC (48th) and Ube 72 CC – Ebataike Course (83rd). The designer features bunkering and he is called as “a magician of bunkers.”