Woo Jeong Hills was opened in 1993 and is as close as you can find in Asia to a big, brutish, US tournament course. From the start, the club entertained ambitions to host the national championship and this honour was granted in 2003. Two American’s won the first two Korean Opens to be held here: John Daly and Edward Loar who pipped Ernie Els by four shots. In the bad weather that dogged the championship in 2004, Loar was the only player to finish under par. Rickie Fowler became the third American to win the Korea Open here in 2011, claiming his first professional title.
Perry Dye is the son of Pete Dye and of Alice Dye. The family is most famous for designing the Stadium Course at the Tournament Player’s Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Son Perry has carted the family imprint to Woo Jeong Hills where it appears at the 13th. Splash! is a manageable 150 yards from the blue tees but a wholesome 212 yards from the black tees. Played from here into a breeze and a splash is the most likely outcome. It proved to be Els’ undoing at the 2004 Korean Open. He scored 5 here and with it his challenge fizzled.
In North Asia where business golf has long been the pre-eminent version of the game, most courses are built around the average skill level. For men this means a handicap of about 24 shots (the current world average for male golfers). Wee Jeong Hills is a little bit more difficult than most courses you are likely to play.
The above is a brief edited but updated extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.
Woo Jeong Hills hosted its 15th Korea Open in June 2017 (the event's 60th anniversary). To mark the milestone, the tournament winner (Chang Yi-keun) and runner-up (Kim Gi-whan) both received exemptions into the 146th Open at Royal Birkdale when Jordan Spieth lifted the Claret Jug. The event is also part of the 2018 Open
Qualifying Series for The 147th Open at Carnoustie.
A brilliant course!
The par 3 221-yard 13th is played onto a gently downhill green surrounded by water. The island green is high in the middle and slopes to the back. Personally speaking, I don’t like island greens as I sometimes feel they are too artificial. However this hole is an exception because it is challenging as well as very beautiful, so I enjoyed playing it. The par 5 561-yard 18th starts straight first and then doglegs to the left 100 yards in front of the green. A bunker on the left comes into play off the tee. The sloping landing area of the second shot is squeezed by water and a bunker on the left and bunkers on the right. A bunker protecting the front side of the green should be avoided on the approach shot as it is deep. To read more about the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, click here to visit my website.