Golf has been played in Taiwan for just over a century now, originating during the Japanese occupation of the country at the start of the 20th century. It was then largely sustained by US military troops stationed in Taiwan after World War II, who nurtured the game right up until their departure in 1979.
The course at Taiwan Golf and Country Club has been called the “Cradle of the Golfers” because the game started here back in 1914 and it’s also where many of the top Taiwanese amateur and professional players have since honed their golfing skills.
Located in the seaside district of Tamsui, in the northwest corner of Taiwan, the course lies in the rolling foothills of the Tatun Mountains, close to where the Tamsui River empties into the Taiwan Strait.
This venerable old track started out as a very rudimentary 3-hole affair before additional holes were gradually brought into play, eventually allowing Japanese designer Shiro Akaboshi to set out a full 18-hole course in 1929 – the same year the architect co-designed Kasumigaseki East.
The Taiwan Masters – inaugurated in 1987 and one of the most prominent events on the Asian Tour – has been held many times at Tamsui, as the course is commonly called. A popular competition layout, it’s a tight and exacting course which has stood the test of time rather well.
The 100 in the picture refers to the club’s centennial year in 2018. In the 1930s Japanese brothers Rokuro and Shiro Akaboshi created the present 18 holes. The club is in a seaside district called Tamsui with the Tamsui River visible in the distance from the 6th hole. Thus the course is referred to as Old Tamsui. The club is in a congested area surrounded by tall apartment and office buildings as well as busy roads. The par is 72 at 6,923 yards with no room to expand. Several Asian Men’s Tour Taiwan Masters have been held here. This is a busy club with 750 members (500 being active golfers).
Most of the course is hilly and tightly tree-lined. The course is compact with some out-of-bounds. There are 85 bunkers, many greenside so you need plenty of high approach shots. Water comes into play on nine holes as does a tall tree in the middle of the 18th fairway guarding the approach shot. There is a mixture of large greens and some fairly small. The older Bermuda greens were grainy and putted inconsistently.
The course at Taiwan Golf & Country Club is laid out in undulating woodland. The century-old dense forest is positioned on both sides of the fairways. This oldest course in Taiwan is popular as its nickname, Old Tamusoi Course as the golf club is located at Tamusoi.
Established in 1914 with only 3 holes, it finally developed into 18 holes in 1929. It wasn’t until a Japanese course architect, Shiro Akaboshi redesigned and overhauled in 1936 that it became a full-fledged championship course. Accurate iron shots are necessary throughout the course as the greens are generally small and severely guarded by bunkers. Taking the strong sea winds into consideration, sweeping from the Taiwan Strait and the river mouth, solid course management is also required for a good score. All four par 5s are well designed.
The par 5 580-yard 6th is straight, downhill, and a signature hole. Players will have to be careful when approaching the green at this hole as play is severely affected by sea winds as Tamusoi River estuary is just located behind the green. The players will hit the approach shot from the downhill lie onto the green heavily guarded by bunkers.
Another par 5 554-yard 5th is a slightly right dogleg with an OB line on the entire left side. The landing area for the tee shot and the approach shot are small due to the tight fairway flanked by trees and three narrow bunkers surround the flat green. To read more about Taiwan Golf & Country Club, click here to visit my website.
Great review - one problem with courses in Taiwan is the language barrier. Very difficult planning an itinerary. Played once in the country and the confusion is extraordinary.