The East course at the 36-hole Rokko Kokusai Golf Club is a Fukuichi Kato design from 1975 that was renovated by Nicklaus Design in 1996.
The club hosted the 1983 Japan Open Golf Championship when national legend Isao Aoki claimed the first of his two home open titles.
Rokko Kokusai Golf Club has 45 holes, the East and West courses and a 9-hole public course. Both East and West have a relatively flat and spacious layout in hilly terrain. The two courses have quite different personalities. East is a classic, tree-lined tough course over 7400 yards, originally designed by a Japanese architect, while West is more American in style, done by Nicklaus Design.
The East Course is laid out in a hilly terrain surrounded by natural forest. Players will not only have to focus on their driver’s strength, hitting it long and straight, but also exercise good course management to avoid bunkers, lakes, rough and trees. It also requires clear judgment as to the most appropriate route to take. Most greens are elevated and surrounded by deep bunkers, and the aprons of the greens are narrow, so approach shots require a sense of distance and accuracy.
Players will enjoy the nice course layout, the beautifully curved fairways, undulating high quality putting greens with backdrop of the magnificent Rokko Mountain scenery. 20 years after opening, The East course was redesigned by Lee Schmidt of Nicklaus Design in 1996. Lee built The West from scratch in 1997 but changed only green complexes on the East Course. The renovation of the East has turned out well and has become a more challenging and sophisticated course. The East hosted the 1983 and 2015 Japan Open and the 2010 Panasonic Open, which is a joint Japan and Asian Tour event.
The par 4 440-yard 9th is a straight hole. A huge bunker starching out into the half of the fairway form the left will come into play off the tee. If players lay up in front of the bunker, the approach shot will become very long. Moreover, the relatively fairway is flanked by thick pine trees, so the tee shot is demanding. Finally, players will face a strongly undulated green. The par 3 217-yard 12th is a beautiful and downhill hole set nicely in the middle of a forest. With a three-tiered green, players should also note that when the pin position is located left, a bunker on the left side will come into play. When the pin position is on the right, a bunker to the front right and a lake to the right will come into play.
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