Course Design & Layout (5 out of 5)
Kasumigaseki consists of the East course and West course. The East course was first completed in 1929. Regarded as one of the earliest and best examples of Japanese golf course design, it was the first course to have dual greens – a feature unique to golf courses in Japan. In preparation for the 2020 (now 2021) Olympics, American golf architect Tom Fazio was commissioned to renovate Seichi Inoue's original course design; specifically to lengthen it, unite the two greens, and modernize the layout for the games.
The West course was originally built in 1936 by Charles H. Alison. Alison added many features such as elevated large single greens and sprawling deep bunkers.
The Kasumigaseki site is generally flat with areas of slight undulation, and some raised tee boxes. The fairways are mostly flanked by beautiful Japanese cypress trees, offering plenty of cover and protection – particularly on the dog-legged holes. The greens are fast and with lots of undulation. If needed they can be brought up to 13 feet on the stimpmeter, and pin placements can be made extremely difficult. KCC's real arsenal however is the deep Korai rough, which will be really evident at the Olympic competition.
The original design definitely rewarded precision over brawn and offered a different test to what Fazio has created. Fazio has added length and accommodated the modern game – and the age of "bombers." However, both courses do still retain the spirit of their original designs and are an absolute pleasure to play.
Facilities & Services (4.5 out of 5)
The clubhouse is wide and spacious for its age, with large members' and visitors' locker rooms as well as a new ladies locker room (women have only been allowed to play at the course since 2018).
The course is not like a museum as you might expect. Instead, it feels like a functional, no-frills affair, with all the focus and attention going – and rightly so – on the course.
Practice facilities include a 250-yard range, although the West course's 18th hole is now a 300+ yard driving range for the Olympic athletes. Two large practise greens are located behind the clubhouse and in front of the respective first tees.
Food & Beverage (4.1 out of 5)
The restaurant overlooks the practise greens on the 2nd floor. It is bright and spacious and has lunch options like katsu (pork cutlet) curry, oyaku-don (chicken and egg rice bowl) and soba noodles. There is also a special "Trump Burger" available following the visit of the former US president in 2018 where he played with Hideki Matsuyama and the former prime minister Shinzo Abe – who famously fell back into a bunker on camera!
Value for money (5 out of 5)
It is not cheap to play at Kasumigaseki CC. But the chance to play on a Japan-bucket-list course like this is worth every penny of the ¥24,000-midweek and ¥ 30,000-weekend fees. If you have a chance to accompany a member – just GO!
Prices shown are an indication of the starting price. Please enquire for the current rates.
- 3398 Kasahata, Kawagoe-shi Saitama 350-1175
- Kanetsu/Ken-o Expwy
- Ken-o Tsurugashima I.C.
- 35 km (30 km by Kanetsu/Ken-o expressway, 5 km from Ken-o Tsurugashima I.C.)