Japanese businessman Baron Kishichiro built the luxury Kawana Resort in the early 1900's.
When legendary golf architect Charles Alison came to Japan to consult to Tokyo Golf Club he spent some time at Kawana and convinced the Baron that he really needed golf to complement his hotel and resort.
The land available to Alison included dramatic coastline with enormous natural variety and elevation change.
Alison built two courses at Kawana, but it is the second- The Fuji Course- that has gained a reputation world wide.
The Fuji Course opened for play in 1936, and is generally regarded as one of the two best courses in Japan (with Hirono), and one of the top 100 best courses in the world.
The course starts with a dramatic opening tee shot from a very elevated tee.
Jungle frames the fairway, and the sea is a majestic backdrop.
Hole 2 tees off on the cliffs and offers another wonderfully challenging tee shot over a deep valley and then over or past some imposing fairway bunkering.
From there the course moves straight uphill away from the ocean with a short, teasing par 5- and then down again with a slightly longer, tighter par 5.
Alison's routing takes you to the sea and back a number of times, and traverses significant elevation change- particularly early and late in the round.
The terrain is constantly changing, and Alison has been clever enough to use this to advantage, producing a course with genuine variety.
Alison is a master of the dramatic second shot and at Kawana his greens are generally elevated and protected by thoughtful bunkering.
His high lip bunkers combined with the elevation change can disguise the fact that some of those bunkers are in fact well short of the green surface.
Kawana is not a long course off the regular tees, and has a number of shorter holes- but no weak ones!
Notable holes include holes 1, 2, 7, 14, 15 & 18- the clifftop holes are special!
Hole 1- with such a dramatic drop for the tee shot and sea backdrop, what's not to like? (see pic mid page)
Hole 2- If you are good enough to nail the clifftop tee shot over the valley and past the fairway bunkering, it should be an easy hole!
Hole 7- a short downhill par 4 with a convoluted fairway and a tiny skyline green- yeeks!
Hole 8- a picturesque par 3
Hole 14- The drive toward the sea must avoid a huge fairway bunker, and you do want to be in position for that dramatic approach shot to a skyline green with sea beyond. A lone pine tree well short of the green on the right can be a factor! (see pic top of page)
Hole 15- The signature hole! A stunning par 5 running along the clifftops from an elevated tee, down into a valley and then up again to a high green.
Hole 18- This shorter par 4 hole looks like it could be in Italy!. It's just a beautiful hole
The Fuji Course at Kawana should be included in every Japanese golfing itinerary. It is simply a joy to play!
The Kawana Hotel- Fuji Course is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to Japan to suit your group.
For suggested itineraries see Great Golf Destinations: Japan
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