Always good to try out a new course, and now summer has seemed to returned, and Hakuba is in a semi lock-down, it was good to get out of town.
This week we decided to head over to the Madarao Kogen Country Club. It’s kind of strange by Madarao Kogen Country Club is not really in Madarao Kogen at all. Its actually located about 15km away from the ski resort, in the foothills, just off the Joshinetsu Expressway. From Hakuba it takes about 90 minutes by car.
Arrival and check in is smooth, and with the service is excellent, you notice that this is an older course, and has a few spots where it is looking it’s age. There is a little bit of maintenance that could be done (fixing fence railings, and a couple of carts has been sitting there so ling they had plants growing through them). But this did not detract too much from the fun times ahead.
The course has a large driving range, with bunker practice also. 2 putting greens allow you to check the speed of the greens. While on the more social side, there is a bar in the lobby that serves excellent Whiskey Sodas. These are called “highballs” in Japan, and are so popular they now come in kegs and are served like on-tap beers (which are also available).
Today’s groupings were a bit different than usual, with Grant from “Hakuba House“, Keiko from “Tomatito Dining Bar“, and Ken from Mockingbird Bar, joining the usual crew from Hakuba Snow Sports.
We played the back nine first. On paper, and using google earth, the holes looked a bit narrow, with a lot of trees on the sides, but in-fact the fairways are quite wide and forgiving. Which is good for those of us who can hit straight to save ourselves.
There are no snack shacks on this course, only a couple of vending machines on the course, but none serve alcohol. So bring your own if you are like me, and prefer to have a tin or two as I play.
After playing at Shinano Golf Club last week, there was way less water on this course.
It was a very warm day and drinking is a must to stay hydrated. The club house was a welcome sight at the end of the first nine.
In Japan they have a game on the 9th hole, where the last player to put has to buy the first round of drinks at the lunch break. To add to this my university aged son had been back home for the summer vacation and had left a few Kamikaze shots in a cooler box. These were added to challenge, and Dougie from Hakuba Snow Sports and Ken from Mockingbird were left buying drinks and shooting back the shot.
The menu at lunch was not that big, but all meals were very good. Obviously it is quality being more important than variety, and having a limited menu did mean that meals were served promptly.
The back nine was also a lot of fun, but the heat was really starting to take it’s toll. Both nines have a par 5 as the last hole and it can be a long walk if you get away from the cart path.
After the round you can shower (the bathhouse is closed due to covid), and have another quiet drink in the bar.
Thanks to Dan from Hakuba Snow Sports for driving home, allowing us to relive the day over a few quiet ones in the car.
Overall, a moderate course. Price wise it was very competitive. The food was good (though limited selection),and the condition of the course was excellent (apart from the few fixes needed above).