Naruo Golf Club was initially founded in 1920 with a course nearer the sea than the current site, but moved in 1930 to the undulating site it now occupies in the hills outside Osaka. Originally the design work was undertaken by the three Crane brothers ( Joe, Harry & Bertie ), but in 1931 noted English architect Charles H Alison toured Japan on a journey that changed the face of golf in Japan forever. Alison consulted with Kawana resort, Kasumigasecki GC, Tokyo GC, and Hirono GC, and of course with the Crane brothers at Naruo where he made a number of recommendations for changes.
The site at Naruo would appear to be perfect for golf with the rolling terrain providing variety and interest. The routing takes full advantage of the property, and uses the gorge that runs through the property to add drama.
Whilst not overly long for modern standards the course has it's defences with smallish greens well protected by high lipped bunkers. The rough and grass around the greens is not likely to cause a lost ball, but will certainly make it hard to control shots to the green or around the green, and mow lines are sometimes hard to pick for the first time player...
Right from the first blow I enjoyed playing Naruo. The first hole is the perfect introduction to any Japanese course with a picturesque Japanese garden setting for the first tee.
Naruo offers a complete Japanese golfing experience with full lunch after 9 holes and onsen afterward. One is made to feel like royalty!
Favourite holes include:
Hole 1- with Japanese garden setting, and water carry off the tee
Hole 9- a blind tee shot over the side of the hill leaves a short iron to a lovely green set in a dell
Hole 10- a long accurate tee shot down hill allows a long accurate approach over the gorge with gaping bunkers and water lurking- a spectacular and difficult hole
Hole 14- a short par 5 with a largely blind second shot. The green is well protected by trees, bunkers and slopes. I guarantee you will play this hole differently the second time around!
Hole 15- a dramatic par 3 from ridge to ridge and over a road!
Hole 16- a strong par 4 finishing hole which really opens up after a successful drive with a gorgeous green setting well below the first part of the fairway
Hole 17- another strong finishing hole which requires a solid, accurate drive, and an accurate approach to a small elevated green
Naruo is regarded as one of the top 100 courses in the world, top 5 in Japan, and is a golfing experience no serious golfer should miss
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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