Podcast: The golf culture, history and best places to play in Japan

Golf Advisor Podcast Ep. 16: Golf in Japan

Bradley S. Klein visits the host country and golf courses of the 2020 Olympic Games.

We're less than a year away from the 2020 Olympic Games, where golf will once again be contested for a gold medal. Japan is also on this fall's PGA and LPGA Tour schedules, as well as the Rugby World Cup.

So what is it like to visit the country for both golf and sightseeing? We dispatched Bradley S. Klein to find out. He spent two weeks there exploring the urban maze that is Toyko, and ventured to the host course of the Olympics, Kasumigaseki Country Club, as well as prestigious private clubs like Hirono Golf Club, and spectacular courses the public can play, like Kawana's Fuji Course, considered by many to be a Global Top 100 experience.

Golf Advisor Managing Editor Brandon Tucker discussed the trip with Klein in this edition of the Golf Advisor Podcast.

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Some of the topics discussed by Tucker & Klein:

Getting around Tokyo, a massive metropolitan area the size of Connectictut with 38 million people and 20 different train lines to navigate. "They don't have ubers and taxis cost a fortune, so you're almost forced to get a rail pass," said Klein.

Unlike 2016 Olympic host country Brazil, Japan has a long and storied history in golf. Klein details how the game began there, as well as the state and enthusiasm of the game today.

What the public access is like for golfers who would like to play in Japan.

The experience of playing golf in Japan, which is generally a more formal affair than your regular public course in North America from the mountainous terrain to the caddies and golf carts.

The best resort and public-access courses you can play, starting with Kawana Golf Course, the "Pebble Beach of Japan" which is operated by Prince Hotels, a leader in the resort scene for golfers. He also shares some other top resort courses and public-access courses worth adding to your Japan golf itinerary.

He talks about how much time you need to soak it all in on a trip and what cities to be sure to visit. Klein thinks other cities like Kobe are more worthwhile to spend time in than Tokyo.

Klein also joined Morning Drive to discuss the host course of the 2020 Olympics

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Golf’s ability to present us with powerful landforms never ceases to amaze me. That was the impression I carried away from a recent trip to one of the game’s most dynamic settings – Kawana Hotel Golf Course, 75 miles south of Tokyo, on a tree-lined coastal cliff overhanging the Pacific Ocean.
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Veteran golf travel, history and architecture journalist, Bradley S. Klein has written more than 1,500 feature articles on course architecture, resort travel, golf course development, golf history and the media for such other publications as Golfweek, Golf Digest, Financial Times, New York Times and Sports Illustrated. He has published seven books on golf architecture and history, including Discovering Donald Ross, winner of the USGA 2001 International Book Award. In 2015, Klein won the Donald Ross Award for lifetime achievement from the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Follow Brad on Twitter
Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
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Golf Advisor Podcast Ep. 16: Golf in Japan