Located an hour’s drive north of Kobe, the 18-hole layout at Pine Lake Golf Club is an impressive 1984 Robert Trent Jones Junior-design, one of more than twenty Japanese projects the American architect has worked on down the years.
Topping out a just over 7,000 yards from the back markers, Pine Lake is a serious test if you’re bold enough to play from the tips. Although hilly, the course is walkable and it’s a glorious ramble through pine-flanked hills and valleys where every hole is compartmentalised from another.
Tom Doak commented in the Confidential Guide to Golf Courses as follows: “One of the best modern courses I saw in Japan, Pine Lake is set in unspoiled mountain surroundings, and the back nine has some excellent golf holes to boot. Even the sleeper parts of the course are well-shaped to minimize artificial appearance, with the exception of the par-4 3rd, which feels like a giant slalom run.”