Golden Valley Golf Club - Kinki (Kansai) - Japan

Golden Valley Golf Club,
Address 1353−9 Hieizan,
Nishiwaki-shi Hyogo 677-0033,

  • +81 (0) 795 23 0681

The mountain course at Golden Valley Golf Club is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design from the late 1980s which was one of the first in the country to employ single greens. Fairways were carved from a pine forest, with holes skirting around stone-lined creeks that run through the property.

Starting and ending with par five holes, the course extends to just over 7,000 yards, playing to a par of 72. The toughest hole on the scorecard arrives early at the par four 2nd, where a water course runs along the length of the fairway on the left side.

Other holes of note include long par threes at the 8th and 15th, while the left doglegging 13th is another monster par four, measuring all of 469 yards from the back markers. The round ends in fine style at the 18th, with ponds in play for both the tee shot and the approach to the home green.

The club hosted the 82nd edition of the Japan PGA Championship in 2014, with Taichi Teshima winning his 7th event on the Japan Tour by one stroke after carding a 4-round total of 279, nine under par.

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Description: Opened in the late 1980s and designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the mountain course at Golden Valley Golf Club was one of the first in Japan to employ single greens. Rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 1
Kimi Hoshiyama

Golden Valley GC is a hilly course with a series of formidable holes located in a valley canyon. The course is routed though pines and some mountain maple and cherry trees. A highlight of this course is that it has one of Japan's highest course ratings, 77.4.

There are three major creeks flowing from the mountains and they are skillfully incorporated into the layout of the course. Numerous holes play alongside these rock-lined creeks. The creek’s stream eventually leads to a large lake bordering hole 18 located in front of the clubhouse. The course is very demanding, as the greens are surrounded by creeks, lakes, and bunkers, making it a challenge to hit a good score.

While the routing and the course’s layout are superb, it is regrettable to say all creeks run along the left sides. The left to right players have a big advantage as they can play it safe towards the right side. Not vice versa. The draw hitters always face the same problem because all creeks along the narrow fairways are in play. Most greens are highly undulating, and very fast. Throughout much of the round, players will enjoy mountain and lake views.

Golden Valley Golf Club Japan

Since 2011, the green’s Stimpmeter speed has been increased to more than 10 feet, toughening the course since the time of opening in 1987, leading to a reassessment of the course's rating from 75.5 to 77. 4. Since Augusta National GC is 7,768 yards with a rating of "78.1", this will give a good understanding of how difficult Golden Valley’s 7,233 yards actually is (400 yards shorter than Augusta, with a rating of 77.4).

RTJII designed 15 courses in Japan and Golden Valley seems to be one of the top three courses among them. The par 3 175-yard 17th has a peninsula-shaped beautiful green that projects into a lake. While distance isn’t so much of a problem, the lake on the left can offer a considerable pressure to players. The par 5 559-yard 18th is a signature hole which is a dogleg to the right with a large lake on the right. The tee shot is downhill over the lake, and a fairway bunker on the left and the lake on the right come into play. The second shot will force players to cross a lake, and since the water encroaches into the fairway, the landing area will become limited. There are bunkers that protect both the front, right, and back sides of the green. Since the right side of the green tilts toward water, it would be safer to aim towards the left half of the green.

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June 14, 2020
8 / 10
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