Course Preview - Kasumigaseki Country Club
by Preston Smith
With the fields finalized for the men’s and women’s Olympic golf competitions, the focus of the competitors shifts towards Kasumigaseki Country Club.
Embedded within the forest of the Musashino Hills, Kasumigaseki Country Club was redesigned by Tom and Logan Fazio in October 2016. The historic club has previously hosted events such as the Japan Open, Japan Women’s Open and most recently the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2010, which was won by a young Hideki Matsuyama. The club was founded in 1929 and hosted Japan’s first-ever Golf World Cup in 1957.
Matsuyama, the reigning Masters champion, will lead a strong field of Olympians into his home country of Japan. Sixty men representing 35 countries will compete July 29-August 1, while 60 women representing 36 countries will compete the following week, August 4-7. Across the two competitions, Europe has 53 qualified players, Asia 30, the Americas 26, Oceania six and Africa five.
The par-71 East course at Kasumigaseki Country Club will provide the backdrop for the 2020 Olympics. The men’s competition will tip out at 7,447 yards, while the women’s competition will have a total yardage of 6,648 yards.
Scoring will likely come as a premium in the closing stretch of the par-71 golf course with just one par-5 on the back nine (No. 14). The closing hole on each nine will prove challenging as long par-4s. The ninth hole measures 521 yards on the men’s side and 451 yards for the women, while the 18th hole reaches 500 yards for the men and 436 yards for the women. The ninth and the 18th are the two longest par-4s on the course for both the men and women.
Meanwhile the 17th hole, set at 343 yards in the men’s competition and 311 in the women’s competition, will likely provide a final scoring opportunity down the stretch. The uphill par-4 will set up as a risk/reward hole in advance of the tougher 18th.
“We have had 90 years to prepare,” said Ryoichi Ohno, the captain of the Kasumigaseki Country Club, in the run-up to the Olympics prior to the original 2020 date.