Kawana – FUJI course, Japan

Kawana, Fuji course (1936)

Located a couple of hours from Tokyo is the self-acclaimed “pebble beach” of Japan and ranked among the best courses in the world. You get access to the Fuji course by staying at the hotel. The hotel is nothing special, but could be really good if they refurbished. The views over the ocean are magnificent and we were lucky with the weather on the day where I played golf.

The resort has 2 courses, but I only played Fuji. The other course is supposedly also good and requires accurate tee shot as its narrow and tricky.

Clubhouse entrance
Clubhouse entrance

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View of the golf course they have placed inside the clubhouse. Here you get a good feeling of how close the course is to the sea.

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There is no driving range, so they have created this indoor facility.

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Entrance to changing rooms for the Fuji course, where you get little key holder for your locker. I had my golf clubs shipped from Naruo golf club and was a little hesitant at first, but everything went as planned. My golf clubs were ready and golf shoes nicely placed in my locker.

Hole 1, Par 4, 373m
Hole 1, Par 4, 373m

1st hole a downhill slight dogleg right with a fantastic view to the ocean. I hit a good drive down the middle which left a wedge to the green. Hit a good shot close to the pin, but didn’t convert.

Hole 2, Par 4, 363m
Hole 2, Par 4, 363m

2nd hole tee shot where I hit my drive left and was blocked off by trees. Hit my second shot into the fairway and got a bogey.

Hole 3, Par 5, 384m
Hole 3, Par 5, 384m

A look from the green on the par 5 3rd hole which is a dogleg right from the tee and uphill. I pulled my drive to the right and had to play safe into the fairway. Made bogey.

Hole 4, Par 5, 427m
Hole 4, Par 5, 427m

Tee shot on par 5 4th hole which is blind and downhill. Relatively narrow shot and not much to land on as the fairway also sloops right.

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Downhill approach to the green on 4th hole. I hit my drive in the right hand rough. Hit my second shot left of the green.

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View of green on 4th. My shot ended up way left and had to chip back on the green. Came up short and another bogey. Disappointing 2 bogeys on par 5’s that are difficult, but certainly playable.

Hole 5, Par 3, 165m
Hole 5, Par 3, 165m

Par 3 5th hole with nice views to the right. Downhill and guarded by bunker to the right. A relatively straightforward hole and seems a little stuck between other holes that are nicer.

Hole 7, Par 4, 301m
Hole 7, Par 4, 301m

7th is a great little par 4 with split fairways. If you are a long hitter you could go for the green.

Protection for the caddies when teeing off. – nice feature.
Protection for the caddies when teeing off. – nice feature.

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7th green with stunning views. I hit my drive in the right hand rough, but got on the green in 2 shots. 2 putts for par.

Hole 8, Par 3, 132m
Hole 8, Par 3, 132m

Views from par 3 8th green. Well bunkered and I found one of them. Bogey.

Hole 10, par 3, 130m
Hole 10, par 3, 130m

Par 3 10th slightly uphill. I hit a 9 iron in the fringe and got my par.

Hole 11, Par 5, 519m
Hole 11, Par 5, 519m

Par 5 11th which is one of the nicest holes on the course. I hit a solid drive down the middle, but still had a bit too far to reach in 2 shots. Lay up and a par.

View of Fuji mountain from the course
View of Fuji mountain from the course
11th green with the lighthouse in the background
11th green with the lighthouse in the background
Hole 12, Par 4, 351m
Hole 12, Par 4, 351m

Par 4 12th hole a dogleg left. I hit the rough on the left and the green side bunker. Didn’t get up on and down, bogey.

Approach shot to the par 4 13th.
Approach shot to the par 4 13th.
Approach shot the dogleg right 14th
Approach shot the dogleg right 14th
Hole 15, Par 5, 429m
Hole 15, Par 5, 429m

Par 5 15th is another really stunning hole with elevated tees and beautiful views of the ocean. I hit one of my best drives of the day over the right-hand fairway bunker and left myself a long iron uphill. Went short left of the green and got a par.

Green view on 15th.
Green view on 15th.
Hole 16, Par 3, 157m
Hole 16, Par 3, 157m

Par 3 16th a difficult par 3 where you can’t see the green from the. I hit a good 7 iron pin high and made par.

Hole 17, Par 4, 354m
Hole 17, Par 4, 354m

Par 4 17th uphill with bunkers in front of the green. Another good drive and a par.

Hole 18, Par 4, 312m
Hole 18, Par 4, 312m

Par 4 18th which requires a good straight drive to narrow fairway. Unfortunately I went right in the rough and into bunker on my second shot, which resulted in a bogey.

My back nine was good and I am satisfied with a 79. Didn’t make any birdies, but only had a few realistic chances. The course was in good shape overall and I can imagine the greens can get fast if they want to. The caddie was good and especially helpful on blind shots.

The place is secluded and there is not much to do other than play golf. It was well visited when I was there and the golf course was busy. The course has spectacular views and I understand the resemblance to Pebble Beach – however I wouldn’t quite put the course up there with Pebble Beach as Fuji only has a few really great holes and too many indifferent holes that didn’t stand out but could be anywhere.

It was a good experience and I am pleased to have visited, but probably not a place I would travel to again for golf. However, we stayed in Atami for a day in an outstanding Japanese style hotel which was an unforgettable experience and I will certainly  be back to get more Japanese experiences.

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