【Shonan】Shonan Seaside Country Club – A resort course where you can feel the breeze of the Shonan coast
Public opinion was confused as to whether or not the Tokyo Olympic Games should be held during the Covid-19 storm, but when the games began, attention was focused on the spectacular activities of top athletes and it was exciting. After all, the freshness inherent in sports made us realize once again that it gives us courage and vitality.
Most of the Olympic game venues are in Tokyo, but some are held some distance from Tokyo. One of them is a sailing competition held in Sagami Bay around Enoshima Yacht Harbor in Kanagawa Prefecture. The world’s top sellers gathered again at the Enoshima Yacht Harbor, which was built for the 1964 Tokyo Games, and a total of 10 men’s and women’s events were held in the surrounding waters against the great nature.
This area centered on Enoshima is called Shonan, and it is extremely popular among young people as a fashionable resort where they can enjoy yachting and surfing on the sunny beach.
In the Shonan area, there are the ancient city of Kamakura, which has a rich historical atmosphere, and Zushi and Hayama, which opened as luxury villas from the Meiji era. Among them, Chigasaki, which is said to be the birthplace of surfing and has a lot of marine sports, is very popular. Yuzo Kayama is one of the people who made Chigasaki famous, but after all, the key player is Keisuke Kuwata, the leader of the popular band “Southern All Stars” from the local area. Many songs set in Chigasaki became a hit and their popularity became immovable, and Chigasaki became the representative of Shonan.
Since Chigasaki faces the Pacific Ocean, it does not get hot in summer, and it is blessed with a relatively warm and warm climate in winter. However, the number of golf courses is limited due to the limited space in this area along the sea. The “Shonan Seaside Country Club” in Chigasaki, which we would introduce this time, has also skillfully created an 18-hole full-scale course by effectively utilizing the limited space at the estuary of the Sagami River.
The roots of this course, the Shonan Seaside Golf Driving Range, opened 57 years ago in 1964, the year when Asia’s first Olympic Games were held in Tokyo.
In Japan at that time, less than 20 years after the end of the war, the state of urban infrastructure development was not comparable to today, and large-scale construction work was carried out everywhere for the Olympic Games. Therefore, sand and gravel, which are materials necessary for construction, are digged on the coasts and rivers around Tokyo, and a large-scale gravel collection is also carried out on the Sagami River, which is a large river in Kanagawa Prefecture, after which the site is left unattended.
At that time, Tatsuo Hirata, who runs a metal processing company near here, was enthusiastic about golf and opened a driving range under the Shonan Ohashi Bridge near the mouth of the Sagami River. But his dream wasn’t over, he was tired of building a real 18-hole golf course himself. After that, Hirata bought the site of the gravel turbulent moat around the mouth of the Sagami River, backfilled and leveled it.
In November 1967, the Shonan Seaside Country Club was temporarily opened in 9 holes. In July 1969, five years after the opening of the driving range, we continued to acquire land and opened a full-scale golf course with 18 holes, a total length of 6,750 yards par 72. Hirata himself designed the course, which was a dream come true for him who loves golf. Strangely, the day before the opening, the American spacecraft Apollo 11, which realized the dream that human beings would stand on the moon for the first time, has returned safely to the earth.
However, an unexpected situation occurred immediately after the opening. In 1970, the Kanagawa Prefectural Office ordered that a part of the golf course site be requisitioned as a site for the construction of a sewage treatment plant. As a result of the negotiations, three holes by the sea adjacent to the driving range and the parking lot and clubhouse site were requisitioned, but it was decided to relocate those facilities to the exchanged alternative site.
The construction period was long, and it was re-opened in 1985 after the new clubhouse and course relocation work was completed. Since public roads run between the 1st, 8th, and 9th holes that were relocated to the alternative land on the north side of the course, it is necessary to get off the cart and cross the road on foot when moving, but as a result, these three holes have become beautiful and difficult special holes surrounding a large pond.
The 18 holes are skillfully constructed in such a limited space, but 50 years after the opening, the trees that separate the course have grown large and dignified. The course maintenance such as the green is also wonderful, and it is a structure that can not be thought of as a course built on the riverbed. In addition, since Shonan is close to the sea, it has a warm climate all year round, and the course has a mysterious charm that feels like a beautiful tropical resort course with tropical plants such as palms and cycads.
Let’s take a look at some of the halls.
Start Hall No1 (553 yards, par 5) is a long hole that goes around a large pond that stretches along palm trees, and if the weather is nice, you can see Mt. Fuji in front of the teeing ground.
You would want to avoid the pond and hit the tee shot to the left, but a long distance will remain on the second shot. It is a hole where you want to keep the fairway center with courage.
The second hole (432 yards, par 5) is a long hole with a short distance, but several tall pine trees stand in front of the teeing ground, which looks like it is in the woods. It is extremely difficult to hit a high trajectory tee shot and cross over the pine tree in front of you. Like gambling, leave your luck to heaven and hit a tee shot, and if you are lucky enough to pass through the forest, there is a small green at the end of the dock wreck on the left.
It is a middle hole with a distance of 4th (411 yards, par 4) and it is a left dock wreck, but on the left side of the course the trees are densely packed to the very limit of the fairway and it is difficult to aim directly at the green.
The 7th (135 yards, par 3) distance is short and it is a beautiful short hole like a miniature garden, but there is a pond and a creek between the teeing ground and the green, so it is necessary to catch the green with an accurate flight distance.
The 6th (379 yards, par 4) is a straight hole, but tall pine trees rise like gates on both sides of the course near 170 yards. You need a shot that hits between the trees accurately, and if you hit this tree, you may lose sight of the ball.
The 8th (544 yards, par 5) curves sharply to the left, and the tee shot goes into the pond in front of you at less than 200 yards, so you need to aim for the tee shot over the left bunker, but if you turn too much, it will be an OB.
No. 9 (155 yards, par 3) It is a beautiful hole where you can see Mt. Fuji if the weather is nice, but there is a large pond that extends to the green in front of the teeing ground, and the tee shot feels pressure.
The 11th (321 yards, par 3) fairway wants to get a par in a wide and short hole, but there are some trees on the fairway, so avoiding it is the key.
The 13th (117 yards, par 3) is a short hole located closest to the sea, but it requires a strong mentality because it needs to cross the irrigation canal and is easily affected by the sea breeze.
It is a long hole with a distance of 14th (532 yards, par 5), but the fairway is wide, so it is a comfortable hole where you can hit each shot, including tee shots.
17th (177 yards, par 3) A difficult and impressive short hole with a large pond in front of the teeing ground that extends 150 yards away. You need to hit a decent tee shot without losing the pressure. The final 18th (460 yards, par 5) also needs to cross the irrigation canal with a tee shot, and if you do not maintain a strong mentality in the last two holes where you get tired, the score may collapse significantly, so keep your tension until the end.
In this way, the course is flat and there is almost no height difference and the distance is short, but the ponds and large trees that are arranged everywhere are effective hazards, the guard bunker is deep, and the course layout is highly strategic. Especially when the sea breeze blows, the difficulty level increases, and if you look at it sweetly like a resort course, you will get unexpected results.
However, it takes less than an hour by car from the city center via the Tomei Expressway, and less than an hour by train from Tokyo Station to the nearest Chigasaki Station where the club bus leaves. Due to the warm climate, there is no off-season and you can enjoy comfortable golf all year round. The food at the restaurant is delicious, and some neighbors in Shonan visit the course just to enjoy the food.
It is also attractive to be able to combine it with sightseeing in the ancient city of Kamakura and marine sports on the Enoshima and Shonan coast. Please enjoy the seaside resort course closest to the city center.
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