Phoenix Country Club is located within the Phoenix Seagaia Resort on the Hitotsuba Pacific Coast and Kokichi Ohashi set out the original 18-hole course in 1971.
A further nine holes – named Nichinan – were subsequently added but it’s the Takachiho and Sumiyoshi 9-hole circuits that still comprise the premier 18-hole course at Phoenix.
Unfortunately, although the resort lies next to the Hyuga-nada Sea, it’s not imbued with any of the characteristics of a links because the fairways have been routed through an undulating landscape of pine groves.
The Dunlop Phoenix Tournament has been a fixture on the Japan Golf Tour since 1974 and most of the top players in the world have competed here in the event.Notable multiple winners include Seve Ballesteros (1977, 1981), Tom Watson (1980, 1997) and Tiger Woods (2004, 2005).
Once ranked by GOLF Magazine in the Top 100 Courses in the World in the early 1980s, and the annual host to the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament on the Japanese tour for the past 44 years, the Phoenix CC is located in the beautiful seaside area of Miyazaki (Japan). Although within arm’s reach of the ocean, the water can only be heard from certain fairways but never seen.
The club has three nines, with the Sumiyoshi and Takachiho nines in use for the championship 18-hole course. The land is gentle with only a 15 to 18-foot moderate change in elevation across the property. While Charles Alison did not design the course, the club recently established a partnership with Troon Golf who have implemented a strategy to renovate all of the bunkers to be “inspired by Alison”, which I certainly appreciated and is looking great. I could see the shaping team working hard on the course to improve the look of countless bunkers.
Furthermore, the Japanese pines that line each fairway are a thing of beauty – and a wonderful source of healthy oxygen for you. They are kept in immaculate condition with wonderful attention to the detail on how they are maintained. The trees certainly grab your attention from the tee boxes as many holes feel like corridors, but with a few doglegs on each nine club selection is paramount.
The property also houses a sacred shrine which you should seek out on the Sumiyoshi nine. It was a beautiful walk with an impressive set of greens to play into. It’s not a hugely difficult course, but if you’re in the area, I recommend setting up a game at this enjoyable gem. It’s a wonderful place to spend a couple of days.