a view of hirono golf in japan
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  • Course Type

  • GOLF Top 100 World Rank (2023-24)

  • Year

  • Architects

    C.H. Alison
  • Par

  • Yardage


Course Overview

Japanese golfers had never seen the kind of deep, strategically placed bunkers that architect C.H. Alison introduced to Hirono in the early 1930s, so bunkers built since became known as “Alisons.” Originally, the course bore a sandy, scrubby appearance akin to Pine Valley (where Alison consulted), but tree-planting changed Hirono’s character over the decades. Thankfully, Martin Ebert’s 2019 restoration reestablished sand as a dominant theme. No one seems to agree on which is its best par-3, as they all are outstanding. Certainly, the Fjord 5th across a lake and the Devil’s Divot 7th played across a gulley with a series of menacing bunkers cut into the far face are as good a pair of one-shotters as you’ll find on any outward nine. Another standout is the par-5 15th, where a tree as a central hazard followed by a ravine put great pressure on second shots. From inception, Hirono set the standard for design excellence, and all other Japanese courses since have been measured against it. (Photo: David Alexander/Getty Images)

3 things to know

  • Hole everyone talks about

    No. 7, par-3, 211 yards. Tall trees frame the green from the back tees, and several terrifying bunkers are situated around it, including in the front, where they make for an intimidating tee shot.
  • Best non-golf amenity

    It’s technically a part of the golfing experience, but in traditional Japanese culture it’s the norm to break for a sit-down lunch at the turn. At Hirono you won’t mind, — the spread is excellent.
  • Insider tip

    It’s not easy to get a tee time here. But if you do, take an extra few minutes to check out the course’s own golf museum, where you can learn more about the history of Japanese golf.