Originally designed by Seiichi Inoue and opened for play in 1955, the layout at Nikko Country Club is a lie of the land parkland golf course that wends its way through dense trees that frame many holes. Architect Taizo Kawata modified the Nikko layout in 2001 and it’s set out in two returning loops, with the front nine playing counter-clockwise to the back nine’s clockwise direction.
Occupying a rather flat piece of land, the tree-lined fairways at Nikko extend to just over 7,000 yards from the back tees on this classic track. Bunkers are used sparingly – there are only thirty four sand traps doted around the layout – and there’s a complete absence of any water hazards on the course.
A couple of par fives are rated the toughest holes on either nine: the slightly downhill 580-yard 4th dog legging right to the target and the arrow-straight 547-yard 13th rising slightly to a green that’s protected by a lone bunker.Everything’s understated at Nikko, from the simple routing of the course across such easy walking terrain to the modest old wooden-framed clubhouse. In many ways, teeing it up here nowadays feels just like it was when the course first opened over half a century ago.