Rees Jones, Inc.

Golf Course Design & Architecture

Rees Jones, Inc.
Taiheiyo Club (Gotemba)
Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan
Image: Taiheiyo Club (Gotemba)
Course Type
Design Role
Bryce Swanson

Client Course Description

Taiheiyo Club, Japan’s largest golf club, owns 17 golf courses across the country, and the Gotemba Course is the flagship course of the club. Originally designed by Shunsuke Kato, the course opened in 1977. Gotemba is a beautiful and strategic course built on the foothills of Mt. Fuji which can be seen throughout the layout. A true hillside course, Gotemba was selected as the No. 1 course in Japan by the country’s leading golf magazine, Par Golf. Site of the World Golf Championship EMC World Cup Golf (2001) and Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters (annually), Gotemba is in fact perfect for tournament play. The rolling parkland layout moves through dense evergreen groves under the shadow of Mt. Fuji, which is almost always visible in the background. The course is superbly maintained, and within striking distance of Tokyo and Hakone. Golfers around the world agree “you haven’t golfed in Japan until you’ve played Gotemba.”

Designer Notes

A Golf Course Master Plan was developed in 2017 to help guide the club in making improvements to the golf course while also updating the golf course features to today’s standards. We worked with Japan’s premier men’s golfer, Hideki Matsuyama, on what will be his first golf course design project. Construction was completed in July 2018 in time for the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters in the Fall.

The Master Plan focused on rebuilding and updating the location of all fairway and greenside bunkers, creating additional variety for recovery shots around the green surfaces, updating and improving the practice facility and rebuilding all tee complexes.

  • All Bunkers were rebuilt, repositioned and adjusted to accommodate today’s modern game.
  • #7 green surface was redesigned and rebuilt to improve the number of hole locations. Five other green surfaces were expanded to create new hole locations.
  • All fairway lines were adjusted throughout the course to provide members with new tee shot angles and to improve strategy for both member and tournament play.
  • All tees and tee boxes were rebuilt. The location of select tees was adjusted to improve angle of play or tee shot angles, along with yardage adjustments to select tees to create more variety between golf holes. A new set of forward tees was added and new championship tees were created on select holes.
  • On the short par four #2 hole, the pond was rebuilt in the landing zone to blend with a new landing zone strategy and new right fairway bunker complex. The ponds on holes #4 and #14 were rebuilt and adjusted to blend with the existing green, improve strategy on the approach shots and provide alternate options to access the green.
  • Select tree work was done to improve turf conditions and the views of Mt. Fuji.
  • A new short game area was developed featuring two practice greens. The practice fairway was expanded and target greens were created to give players additional practice options.

Course Photos

Site Visit Photos

More Information

For more information about Taiheiyo Club (Gotemba), please visit the course’s website.