Named after the Cercidiphyllum Japonicum, the elegant Katsura tree, the course at Katsura Golf Club is a 1993 Robert Trent Jones Jr. design and it’s one of the very best layouts to be found near Sapporo city.
According to the architect, the Katsura build was very unusual for Japan in that less than 200,000 cubic meters of earth were moved during construction. The result is that the course sits naturally within the landscape, even though the fairways were carved through a pine forest.
Trees naturally border the fairways, providing an amphitheatre for each hole with none of the playing corridors routed in parallel. A few exciting forced carries are required here and there in order to traverse large ravines.
RTJ2 commented as follows: “Greens here are fairly open and receptive but spill off into tight chipping areas. We designed the large, soft bunkering to subtly blend with the forest, thereby adding to the natural, parkland look of the entire layout.
The 9th hole actually features the largest known Katsura tree in Japan. This 230-year-old behemoth reposes along the right side of the fairway just before it doglegs left. A fade that lands beneath the tree will leave a player with no shot at the green.”