Yokohama Country Club was founded in 1960 and boasts two eighteen hole courses- the East and The West courses. Both courses were designed and built by owner Takeo Aiyama, and he must have done a pretty decent job because the 1978 Japan Open was held on the West course.
In 2014/2015 a major renovation was undertaken of the West Course by architectural supremos Coore Crenshaw. In the process of doing so, the old 2 green system ( winter and summer greens ) were replaced with a single green on each hole. Tees and fairways were raised with substantial fill being brought in, and a number of holes were rerouted.
Coore Crenshaw also worked on bringing holes 17 & 18 on the East Course to the same standard as they will be used as holes 1 & 2 for the upcoming 2018 Japan Open instead of holes 2 & 3 on the West Course which are across a road/underpass and not practical to access in a tournament.
Yokohama is sited on lovely rolling terrain with enough elevation change to make it really interesting. Apparently Coore Crenshaw accentuated this.
The trademark Coore Crenshaw bunkering is evident, dominating the look and feel of the course, and the green surfaces are 'sneaky' difficult. Most holes are framed by pine trees.
Yokohama contains a strong collection of longer par 4's and a couple of ripping short 4's as well
It will be a terrific tournament course, but is a pleasure to play under any circumstances.
And the service levels at Yokohama were as good as I have encountered anywhere- from the meet and greet when we arrived to the use of the facilities and the Onsen experience through to the dining and hospitality. It was an absolute privilege to be there.
Favourite holes on the West Course include:
hole 1- a longish uphill par 4 to a small well bunkered green surrounded by trees- welcome to Yokohama!
hole 3- a short par 4 where a decision needs to be made on the tee- lay up for position, or take it on?
hole 4- with a tree in the middle of a fairway that turns and drops out of sight to a green set below protected by water...
Hole 6- another terrific short par 4 with bunkers and tree in the fairway all complicating the decision on the tee
Hole 12- a mid length par 3 over water to a green framed by bunkers and pine trees- the twefth hole is the picture postcard moment of your round- and it's a great hole!
Hole 17- a shortish potentially driveable par 3 with an elevated green, and an impressive red pine tree protecting the landing area, and complicating the approach..
In my opinion the newly renovated West Course at Yokohama Country Club is a candidate for the top 5 courses in Japan. It is that good!
Yokohama Country Club is a private members course, but if the opportunity comes along to play there, grab it with both hands...
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