Though Mark Twain once remarked of golf that it was ‘a good walk spoiled,’ it seems that the witticism didn’t quite make it out to Japan where golfing is a trendy sport, particularly amongst women. Previously, golf was a prohibitively expensive pursuit in Japan, however recently, prices have dropped dramatically, and it is not uncommon to play a full 18 holes on a weekday for between 5,000 and 10,000 JPY with lunch and carting fees included. Furthermore, should you not own your own set of clubs, at most places you can rent by the day.
There are a handful of clubs at which you can pay around Nagoya. Below are a selection to get you started. Please note that prices quoted may not be inclusive of income tax and are subject to change.
Designed by famed course architect Mitsuaki Otani, Nagoya Golf Club has a long and storied history. After opening in 1929, it joined the Japan Golfing Association (JGA) two years later. In 1967 its greens were graced by the Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and it has since been the location of some prestigious tournaments.
A day on the par 70-course range will cost between 26,980 JPY for a weekday walking player, to 33,980 JPY on weekends with a cart.
Founded in 1954, Aichi Country Club was the first golf course in the Chubu region opened in the post-war era. Designed by Seichi Inuoe, considered to be the master of golf design in Japan, the course has three times been chosen as the location for the Japan Open, most recently in 2010.
A day on this dynamic 18 hole par 74 with bent one green, separated by a pine forest and a lake, will set you back 20,000 JPY on weekdays and 23,000 JPY on weekends.
Wood Friends Forest Park is another historied range, as it became only the second public golfing park in Japan when it opened in 1955. Created by master designer Osamu Ueda, there are two 18 hole, 72 par courses to choose from, with the West Course slightly more elevated and commanding striking views of the surrounding nature.
Though a public course, it has many of the facilities of a private members club, with luxurious dining areas and spacious locker rooms. Furthermore, the facilities are designed to provide ample space for patrons with mobility issues. Eighteen holes will cost you between 7,960 JPY and 13,760 JPY depending on the day, while 19 holes cost from 3,990 JPY to 6,890 JPY.
Opened in 1959 and situated alongside the Shonai River, Shonaigawa Golf Club is a little more humble than the clubs mentioned above, however being just 20 minutes from Sakae, you can’t beat it for convenience.
Also a par 72 course, each of its 18 holes stretches along the river banks, making it quite a water trap! It should be noted that there are no carts available, giving the course a more authentic feel (though perhaps more cause for complaint from Mr. Twain). Prices fluctuate greatly depending on the day of the week and time of year, from as low as 3,000 JPY and up to 6,550 JPY for non-members. Online booking is available here.