Located near Ogawa in Ibaraki, the 18-hole layout at Ishioka Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus design from the early 1990s. It’s operated by Pacific Golf Management with the aim of “making customers feel they are playing on tournament courses.”
The course appeared in The Rolex World’s Top 1000 Golf Courses with the following edited narrative extract:
“Ishioka is an attractive parkland course cut out of the Kogama Forest. It is virtually flat which allows a designer like Jack Nicklaus to turn what might have been a sow’s ear into a silk purse. The course certainly bears his stamp. You can see every green from the tee and every hole is lined by trees. There is heavy rough in places, and specifically where it comes into play for the longer and better player.
Then there are lakes and the usual Nicklaus large greens, which tend to have generally flat putting surfaces, divided into separate tiers with subtle steps. There are some changes from a typical Nicklaus layout in that the fairways are quite narrow and much of his fairway bunkering is strategically placed to catch and punish wayward drives, rather than just being large swathes of sand all over the course.”