Seowon Valley Country Club is situated close to the city of Paju, less than an hour’s drive north of Seoul, the South Korean capital. The club’s 18-hole course (East & West) opened for private play in 2000; four years later a 9-hole layout (South) became available for public play. In 2012, a further 18 public access holes were added to the facility(now called Seowon Hills Country Club).
Titled after the ancient name of “Paju Seowon”, which roughly translates to “a hunting site for the King” or “auspicious and blessed land”, the main course at Seowon Valley Country Club is set in the sheltered foothills of Mt. Geumbyeong at 120-500 feet above sea level. It’s a sunny location and there’s plenty of fresh air but the going is rather challenging with many ups and downs throughout the course.
It’s a popular layout that plays to a par of 72 and measures just over 7,000 yards from the tips. Seowon Valley has risen steadily in the golf magazine ranking lists over the years, with the 2nd and 6th holes attracting particular praise from commentators.
Local architect Jae-Chong Lee, who has fashioned several courses in Korea, has left his design stamp here, with numerous island teeing grounds. However, golf can usually only be played on these Zoysia fairways and bent grass greens between May and November.
The annual free charity music event called the Seowan Valley Green Concert has been held here since 2000 and it’s now a very popular festival with more that 300,000 visitors attending the 2016 event. An outdoor wedding venue, the Seowon Atrium, was built next to the 8th hole on the South course and this was where the country’s multi-major winner Inbee Park married her swing coach, Nam Gi-Hyeob, in October 2014.