Golfing in Okinawa

When one would hear the name “Japan,” one would generally not associate the country with the sport of golf. There are many things Japan is well-known, even famous for, across the globe, but the sport of golf is not really one of them. Despite that, Japan has a thriving Golf industry and is home to quite a few prolific international tournaments. There are quite a few places in Japan that are ideal for golfing, however.

Despite the nature of the sport being somewhat exclusive, many courses exist that cater to all different kinds of preference when it comes to the sport. Some golfers might seek the most challenging courses, while others prefer the feeling of being part of the elite, playing at the most prestigious and luxurious country clubs the nation has to offer.

One location that sets itself apart from many other of the other golfing hotspots in the Land of the Rising Sun is Okinawa. Despite being the home of courses used in championships and international tournaments, Okinawa is a favored destination of many golfers who seek a more relaxed attitude towards the whole thing, with less emphasis on rules and formality. The mild climate of the area combined with some of the delicious local cuisine make the destination rather attractive for the Japanese workers used to constantly seeing nothing but their busy cities and concrete steel buildings.

Generally, Okinawa courses are lush with nature, a harmonious blend of sand bunkers, water traps to play across and a variety of greenery to keep the outdoor lover’s eyes alit. Some of Okinawa’s courses have a prime view over the East China Sea, which on a clear day sparkles green and blue, especially during sunset. After all, what would be more calming than the breeze of the ocean after a bad tee-off?

A ballpark figure of 6 million visitors is what Okinawa receives annually, according to the Japan national Tourism Organization. Of that, about 5% is foreign – a fact that Okinawa is trying to change, part of which golfing is responsible for. The island has many qualities that make it a prime location for foreign tourism, home to some truly excellent golf courses that can keep par with some of the best Asia has to offer. Aside from that, one of the overall goals of the top courses of the island is to attract more of its Japanese clientèle, as the number of Japan’s golfers that go overseas to other Asian islands for golf is decreasing, allowing places such as Okinawa to grow.

First image by kanucha.jp

Second image by golfworldresorts.com

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