Play!By Bennett Galloway
A Pebbles Throw from Tokyo
A visit to Kawana will put you in prestigious company. The famous course has welcomed everyone from the Japanese Imperial family and several prime ministers to the King and Queen of Sweden and has played host to Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, John Wayne, Boris Yeltsin and Gary Player.
The Kawana Hotel opened its doors in 1936 and features two of the finest coastal links courses you’ll find anywhere in the world: the par-72 Fuji Course and the par-70 Oshima Course. In its heyday, the resort buzzed with valets scurrying about in service of their cherished guests and, in 1954, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio strolled leisurely along the hotel's paths and lawns during their honeymoon.
The traditions of excellence, elegance and exclusivity—all cornerstones of the Prince Hotels Group—are still present at Kawana and will continue long into the future.
The resort offers elegant dining in any one of several restaurants including authentic French cuisine served in the Main Dining Room and featuring set menus from ¥12,000 to ¥22,000. For fresh and succulent seafood, venture into the Grill Room where prices hover at about half of those found in the Main Dining Room.
While ties are not required, dinner jackets are, but they discreetly offer loaners if you forget your own.
The resort features Western and Japanese-style rooms with a single occupancy room (twin bed) costing between ¥29,400 and ¥54,800 and a double occupancy room costing between ¥32,400 and ¥57,800. And for those extra-special occasions, the Imperial Suite can be made available for just ¥288,800.
The Area and Activities
The Izu Peninsula is renowned among ex-pats for its tropical climate, white sand beaches, onsen and beautiful natural scenery. It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo life. Surprisingly, the Izu Peninsula is also home to 21 beautiful golf courses including the world-renowned Kawana Hotel Golf Club.
The Ito area offers four golf courses and is peppered with onsen, pensions and beaches, which feature some great surfing and body boarding. Other activities include rock climbing, hiking, scuba diving and even paragliding.
If you prefer sightseeing, the suspension bridge at Jogasaki offers incredible views of the rocky coastline and the ocean below, and is a part of the Izu Oceanic Park, home to sandy beaches, swimming pools and scuba diving. The ropeways at Mt. Omuro and Komuro are an easy way to experience mountaintop panoramic views.
The Fuji Course
18-hole, par 72
6,691 yards (blue tees); 6,187 yards (white tees)
Ranked the 35th best course in the world (outside the U.S.) and always impeccably groomed, the Fuji Course offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Sagami Bay, while Mt. Fuji serves as a backdrop. Designed by C.H. Alison in 1932, this dramatic location features elevated greens and sunken fairways edging the Pacific and border 100-foot cliffs.
The proximity to the sea causes playing strategy to change significantly when the winds are blowing, but most players are happy with a slight ocean breeze during summer, as carts are not allowed.
The Fuji Course hosted its first professional tournament in 1939 along with its first International—the 3rd World Amateur Golf Tournament—in 1962. It hosted a regular men’s JPGA tournaments for 23 years and it currently hosts the annual Fuji Sankei Ladies Classic Tournament in April.
No handicap certificate is required to play the Fuji Course, although access is available exclusively to hotel guests. During the week, greens fees—including caddy and taxes—cost approximately ¥26,500, and they increase to ¥33,900 on weekends and holidays.
The Oshima Course
18-hole, par 70
5,711 yards (white tees)
The Kawana legacy began with the Oshima Course. Designed by Komyo Otani and named after the volcanic island visible from most holes, the course was completed in 1928 and was reportedly built on the private estate of Baron Okura, without his permission. But having spent his schooldays in England and realizing the benefits the course would bring to the area, he allowed it to remain.
Oshima is a fascinating course built to highlight the natural contours of the hilly coastline. It offers challenging holes and ocean views comparable to those of the Fuji Course. Unlike Fuji, carts are available on this course and are included in the green fee.
Slightly less expensive than its sister course, a round at the Oshima costs ¥21,000 on weekdays and ¥28,400 on weekends and holidays. The Oshima Course offers a truly pleasurable experience, as each hole has its own personality and is nicknamed to highlight its specific challenge.
By Train: Tokaido Shinkansen (45 mins.) → Atami Stn. (Ito Line) → Ito Stn. (25 mins.) then take a 15-minute taxi ride (¥3,000) to the hotel.
By Car: From Tokyo → Tomei Expressway → Atsugi Interchange → Odawara-Atsugi Road → Manazuru Road → Coastal Route 135 to the hotel. *Car navigation input phone number (0557) 45-1111.
For reservations at the Kawana Hotel and tee times at the golf courses, log on to
www.princehotels.co.jp/kawana or call (0557) 45-1111. For English, ask for Mr. Kato.
Also note, nearby Hanafubuki Inn offers a stay-and-play package for Kawana’s Oshima course. Reservations available at www.Golf-in-Japan.com and www.outdoorjapan.com.
The Money Hole
Kawana Hotels Fuji Course
Par 5 / 470 yards
With a 100-foot drop to the rocky shoreline to your left, this beautiful and challenging par 5 requires you to take a leap of faith by hitting out over the ocean and letting the prevailing winds bring you back to the safety of the fairway. Play it conservatively, as the bunkers down the right side are waiting to penalize you. Strategically placed pine trees line the cliffs all the way to a two-tiered shallow green.
—Tatsuo Kato, Kawana Hotel PR Manager
The Numbers Game
The time, in months, it would take you to play every golf course in Shizuoka Prefecture if you teed it up at a different course every Sunday.
The price per person in yen for a one-night stay in a Japanese-style room and unlimited golf at Kawana.
The price per person in yen, for a one-night stay and one round of golf at The Lodge at Pebble Beach golf course in California.
World ranking—at the time of publication—of Shingo Katayama, the highest ranked Japanese golfer in the world.
"I'll always remember the day I broke 90. I had a few beers in the clubhouse and was so excited I forgot to play the back nine."—Bruce Lansky
Yips—A nervous disorder that afflicts golfers on the green signaled by inability to take the putter back, coupled with twitchy hands and the complete absence of nerve.
Degrees of Separation
Name: Brendan Jones
Position/Title: Professional Golfer, Japan Golf Tour
What’s in your bag?
Driver: Callaway Fti 9.5
Irons: Callaway X tour forged 4- PW, Callaway wedges 52, 56 and 60 degree
Putter: Odyssey Long (broomstick)
Ball: Callaway HX tour 56 Favorite course in the world: Whistling Straits GC. Kohler, Wisconsin, USA
Favorite course in Japan: Yamanohara GC, Osaka
How often do you tee it up? 6 days a week
How often would you like to tee it up? Never! I enjoy my time off!
Who's in your dream foursome?
1—Jerry Seinfeld (comedian)
2—Will Farrell (comedian)
3—Eminem (if he plays golf!?)
Niseko World Record Attempt Report
On July 25, four golfers, Bennett Galloway, Dr. Joe Limoli, Jiro Kamiharako and Brad Davis attempted to break the record for the most holes of golf played in 24 hours in Niseko, Hokkaido. The group played 117 different holes of golf in one day covering 120 kilometers by car and more than 33,000 yards of golf on six and a half courses. That’s more than 38 kilometers of golf! The average score per 18 holes was between 76 and 85. Surprisingly the players posted the best scores of the entire event on the last eighteen with three players scoring rounds in the 70’s! The golfers are now patiently waiting as the record attempt application is still being rustled through the halls of the Guinness building in the U.K. They’d also like to thank the outstanding support of the sponsors and the Niseko area courses. Next year’s record attempt is already being planned with an eye on beating this years mark and playing at least seven courses.
Shiperio Similar to a mulligan as the player is allowed a second shot without penalty, but is allowed to choose which ball to play, the first or the second one.