Charles H. Alison is one of 'the greats' of golf architecture.
In the 1900's Alison began working with the legendary Harry Colt.
After World War 1 Alison took Colt's place and designed the last four holes at Pine Valley when George Crump died.
He also recommended significant changes to the course including the rebuilding of five greens.
So Charles Alison had a major influence on what was to become regarded as the best course in the world..
Alison went on to design another twenty courses in the USA before being approached Komo Otani from Tokyo GC.
While Tokyo GC was built on relatively flat terrain, his next assignment at Hirono GC was anything but!
Hirono was to become the no. 1 course in Japan and a world top 100 course.
Whilst in Japan, Alison also designed the Fuji course at Kawana, and almost completely redesigned Naruo GC (currently nos. 2 & 3 in Japan).
While working on Hirono, Charles Alison was assisted by local architect Osamu Ueda who was clearly influenced by Alison's style.
Udea then designed Ono GC, an hour from Kobe.
Ono Golf Club is located in dramatic and picturesque golfing terrain.
The site is heavily treed with significant elevation change (particularly the back nine), and a pictuesque lake which features on a number of holes.
The course is reminiscent of Hirono, with the green complexes, and bunkering in particular displaying a familial relationship.
Ono is however tighter off the tee than Hirono and travels through wilder and more undulating terrain.
No wonder Ono is sometimes referred to as a sister course of Hirono!.
Ono has a number of unique, high quality holes.
The par 3’s at holes 12 & 17 in particular are world class.
The caddie and cart system at Ono works very well and should be more common.
Players can choose to walk or ride on the cart at any time.
The caddie controls the cart and scoots selected clubs to and from the the players and the automated cart.
Ono also boasts a travelator between the 12th green and 13th tee- the first I have seen on a golf course!
It’s a beautiful site and a challenging golf course.
I rate it as one of the very best in Japan.
Notable holes include:
- Hole 5, a quirky long par with a tee shot from a elevated tee over trees to the green.
- Hole 7, a short par 4 with a long water carry off the tee, and a mature tree to negotiate in the fairway
- Hole 8, a mid length par 3 with water carry for the journey
- Hole 9, a challenging par 5 with water right challenging the tee shot, and then a significant water carry on the approach.
- Hole 12, a mid length par 3 over a deep gorge. It is a fantastic golf hole!
- Hole 14, a shorter par 4 with the narrow fairway tightly framed by trees, and a delightful approach to a pretty raised green
- Hole 17, a long par 3 over water to a striking green complex (see pic top of page).
- Hole 18, a picturesque par with lake protecting the approach.
Ono GC is a must for all serious Travelling Golfers.
It has a real Japanese feel, and is a spectacular and challenging course.
Ono GC is a "Travelling Golfer must play!"
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