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.
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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Date: June 14, 2020