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Fore!
So, now that you’ve got your game together, you want to get out and play, right? Well here are a few courses in the Tokyo area that welcome foreign golfers. Either check out their websites or call for information on tee times and rates. Please be aware that some of the websites are in Japanese only.



Gotemba Golf Club
Hillside course in the shadow of Mount Fuji.
Contact: Bennett Galloway
Tel: 090-9892-4319.
Email: ben-galloway@gotemba-gc.co.jp. www.gotemba-gc.co.jp

Kasumigaura International Golf Course
Well-maintained user-friendly course in Tsukuba.
Contact: Terry Oyama
Tel: 03-3451-0557 or 029-836-1154.
Email: info@kasumigaura-kokusai-golf.co.jp
www.kasumigaura-kokusai-golf.co.jp

Heritage Resort Golf Course
Nine-hole executive course at resort hotel/onsen in Shinrin-Koen.
Contact: Jun Abe.
Tel: 03-5950-1212 or 048-536-1212.

Yugashima Kogen Club Resort
Scenic course with impressive lodgings on the beautiful Izu Peninsula. Tel: 0558-85-0333.
Email: golftimes@gol.com
www.yugashima-kogen.co.jp

Academia Hills Country Club
Through the Aqua Line tunnel, English service available.
Tel: 0439-70-5111.
Email: wada@academiahills.com
www.academiahills.com

Tama Hills Golf Course
Western-style US military course, not open to the general public.
Tel: 042-374-2811. www.tamahills.com

The Country Club Japan
Nice layout in Chiba near Kisarazu.
Email: mail@ccjapan.jp
www.ccjapan.jp

Narita Fairfield Golf Club
Golf under the vapor trails of 747s.
Email: naritaff@guitar.ocn.ne.jp
www.naritaff.com




 

 

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536: Don't sweat it
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534: Swept away
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532: Tee time
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530: Balancing act
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522: Type casting
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514: From here to maternity
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502: Tour de Morton, part deux
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Tee time

Can’t keep it on the fairway? The ‘yips’ invaded your game? Rob Smaal finds a few experienced golf pros who can work out your kinks on the links.

If you’re hardy enough to venture outdoors into the stifling heat of a Tokyo summer and chase a little white ball over a few kilometers of rolling terrain, then why not get your game in shape first?

When it comes to golf lessons in Japan, you’ve got some pretty impressive names to choose from. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and David Duval are all top-level pros who have lent their names to golf academies here, offering everything from 30-minute lessons for weekend hackers looking to tune up their game, to a year-long resident program designed to get that handicap (and that bank account?) into the single digits.

A word to the wise, however: Your odds of actually encountering Jack, Gary or David at any of these facilities are about the same as Metropolis sports guy Fred Varcoe nailing a hole-in-one on a 380-yard par-4 dogleg into a stiff wind… which isn’t to say that you won’t get some quality instruction on the art of smacking a golf ball.

Many courses and driving ranges in Japan do offer lessons, either in groups or to individuals, but much of the time the instruction will be solely in Japanese. Here, then, are a few of the teaching facilities that are equipped to cater to non-Japanese swingers.



Jack Nicklaus Golf Center Ohmori
Students at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center (pictured here and below right) get pointers from the professionals
Courtesy of Jack Nicklaus Golf Center Ohmori

Located near Heiwajima station on the Keihin Kyuko Line, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center features private 30-minute lessons from ¥6,500, with group lessons ranging from ¥33,000-65,000 depending on skill level, day and time. The facility features 62 driving stalls, as well as a practice bunker, putting green and chipping area.

Courtesy of Jack Nicklaus Golf Center Ohmori

The head pro at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Center is Todd Baker, a Canadian who has been teaching golf in Japan for the past 14 years. “I start with the basics—the grip, stance and set-up—and go on to the swing plane from there,” says Baker. “I use pictures to give students an idea of what they’re supposed to look like at certain times in the swing. I also use drills to teach them both feel and rhythm, as well as helping them get into the proper positions.”

To book lessons with Todd or one of the other teaching pros at the center, call 03-3298-5211 or email info@jngolfcenter-ohmori.com. Three of the five instructors speak English. The website address is www.jngolfcenter-ohmori.com (Japanese only).

 

David Duval Golf Academy
If you’ve got a little more time and money to spend on improving your scores, you might want to hop on a flight to Miyazaki and check out the “granddaddy of them all” when it comes to golf schools in Japan: The David Duval Golf Academy at the Sheraton Resort’s Phoenix Seagaia golf complex. A sprawling seaside resort with two championship courses on site and two others a short commute away, the academy also offers guests access to spa and tennis facilities. But we’re talking golf here, and this place has plenty of that.

Managed by Troon Golf, which operates more than 20 teaching academies worldwide, the DDGA is a full-service golf clinic open every day of the year. Sporting both indoor and outdoor facilities, it also has a full-sized driving range plus all the bells and whistles required to work on your short game, putting and bunker play.

An instructor at David Duval Golf Academy describes the finer points of alignment
Courtesy of David Duval Golf Academy

“We offer a wide variety of lesson options, but our most popular programs are the multiple-day golf schools, which run two to four days in length, and the new resident programs, which can run anywhere from one week to one year,” explains Derek Hooper, an Australian who has been the director of instruction since the David Duval Golf Academy officially opened a little over a year ago.

“We have five instructors on hand, three of whom are fluent in English. Our teaching philosophy is based on delivering instruction which is holistic in that we consider every aspect of an individual’s game: their goals, physical abilities, skill level, equipment and the amount of time they have available to spend on their game. The lessons are also proactive in that the instructors design an individualized program and then guide each student through a series of drills to ensure they achieve their desired results.”

Prices at the DDGA range from ¥20,000 a day for juniors, to a weekly rate of ¥154,000 (without accommodation), right on up to nearly ¥5 million for a single room for a year in the resident golfers program. (The same program with three to a room is a shade under ¥3 million for a full year). For more information, check out the DDGA website by logging on to www.seagaia.co.jp and then hitting the “English” button. From there, go to the David Duval Golf Academy link. You can email the academy at ddga@troongolf.com or call 0985-38-1210 for complete package information and prices.

 

Gary Player Golf Academy
Head teaching pro Takaaki Okayama can help work out the kinks in your swing at the Gary Player Golf Academy and golf course, which is part of the Manna Country Club in Chiba Prefecture. What Okayama-san lacks in English vocabulary, he makes up for in golf knowledge. Call 0475-24-5211 to book a lesson at the Gary Player Golf Academy. For more details, go to the Manna Country Club website, www.mannacc.com (Japanese only), and look for the Gary Player link.

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