Influenced by the work that Charles Alison carried out in Japan during the 1930s, architect Osamu Ueda designed the 18-hole layout at Ono Golf Club in 1961 and it’s often regarded as the sister course to the fabled Hirono Golf Club.
Situated around an hour’s drive from Kobe, the fairways of Ono’s lovely woodland course are set out on rather hilly terrain, especially those on the back nine. Several ponds come into play with holes 7 to 9 wrapped around a lake and there’s further aquatic challenge at the closing two holes.
A number of subtle little attributes are employed at Ono – like the placement of lone specimen trees to define driving options (most notably at the 7th and 11th) and back to front sloped greens which make great demands on putting skills (such as at the 2nd and 16th) – and these features add considerable interest to proceedings.The par threes are all testing holes, with the 245-yard 5th, which plays over a Japanese Pine garden, being the only one that doesn’t require a water carry from tee to green. The pick of the one-shot holes though is the 200-yard 17th (“Emerald Lake”), where the sand-protected green on the other side of a lovely little pond is a tiny target from the tee.