Memos from Asia

Here’s How to Play Golf in Japan

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Golf in Japan has long been seen as a game for the rich and influential. In recent years, however, the Japanese Golf Association has sought to make the game more accessible for the average person in collaboration with Golf Clubs.

How Much Does It Cost to Golf In Japan?

In Japan, it’s not unusual for Memberships to cost USD 300,000 a year; however, that doesn’t include Green Fees, Carts, Caddies, or Practice facilities.

Japan is a small country, and Golf Courses take up a lot of space, hence the hefty Membership fees.

Green fees can range anywhere from $100 – USD 300 a Round, compare that to Australia where some World Class Clubs offer Memberships for USD 1000 a year, which includes limitless play and access to a cart year-round.

How Many Public Courses are In Japan?

A view of a golf course in Japan

Japan has just shy of 2,400 Courses, and only the United States has more.

In the ’80s and early ’90s, Club Memberships were traded by “High Rollers” almost like trading stocks on the Stock Market; however, after the collapse of the economy in the ’90s, Club Memberships dropped value by nearly 90%.

The vast majority of Courses went into bankruptcy. It’s estimated that of the $1.5 trillion in debt, 20 percent was attributed to the Golf Industry.

Unique Things About Golfing In Japan

Golf in Japan is an all-day affair. After you arrive at the Club, your bags are swiftly carried away by staff and taken to the golf cart assigned to your group.

You’re then escorted to the locker room where you change into your golf attire. Tip – don’t leave essentials in your golf bag; you won’t see your bag again until the round starts.

Another unusual quirk of playing in Japan is that you return to the clubhouse for lunch after the first nine.

Once you’ve finished your round, it’s time to head down to the locker room and relax in the natural Hot Springs before enjoying a few drinks in the clubhouse. (something I enjoy) On the Course, you will find yellow markers which indicate 230 meters from the tee. You can tee off once the group in front has passed the markers.

Most courses have their own local rules, but generally, they are pretty similar. O.B. tees are placed further down the fairway to help speed up play.

Caddies are generally always provided, and the vast majority of them are Female.

Prices for 18 holes vary quite drastically from weekdays to weekends, and most Courses do not allow single players.

Well Worth It

Playing golf in Japan is an unforgettable experience that showcases the beauty of the countryside and the friendly hospitality of the Japanese people.

With the drop in prices and the increase in English speaking staff, golfing in Japan has never been easier for foreigners.

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