Situated just outside the port city of Osaka, Ibaraki Country Club dates back to the early 1920s, when the East course was brought into use. Almost forty years later, Seiichie Inoue designed the West course, allowing members the choice of playing two 18-hole layouts.
After more than fifty years of operation, the club felt it was time to upgrade the West course so Rees Jones was called in to renovate the layout in 2011, installing a new irrigation system and re-grading the course to provide new tees, greens and bunkers.
In his first Japanese project, Jones and his senior associate Bryce Swanson replaced the dual green system, devising new green locations and reworking fairway landing areas to provide optimal angles into the new greensites.
Jones chose a neo-classical look, where soft flowing lines and a diverse set of greens characterise the redesign. With its lengthened holes, the result is a new layout superimposed on the old course for modern championship play while still remaining enjoyable for the membership.
A club spokesman said: “We now have a classic, strategic design with a single-green format that complies with modern standards... The new layout makes great use of the natural rise and fall of the land... Rees and Bryce skilfully incorporated Kamiga Lake into a number of the holes by opening views and by bringing the lake into play on the finishing holes.”