Banshutoyo Golf Club: A View at Every Shot

Hole 3 from the green

Located not far from Himeji in Japan, the Banshutoyo Golf Club offers a unique setting with high-end services. This 18-hole course spreads points of view at each shot. A real treat for the visitor, especially if he takes the caddy option for his group.

For my first golf experience in Japan, I am haggard while observing the smallest details. Everything is different but the game remains the same. As soon as you enter the club house, a short walk to the locker rooms. In a large room, lockers are linked. I am leaving some things there.

Our group meets outside. Here the cart is mandatory. It is a 4-seater and the bags are arranged in the back of it. A hell of a caravan that will be driven throughout the course by our caddy of the day, optionally this one. I rent clubs and end up with a Callaway Warbird set in stiff. Is it worth mentioning that the clubs are clean and this is a complete set with no duplicates? Once the bag is attached to the back of the cart, we head to the putting green for some chips. I would not have the opportunity to test the driving range.

It’s barely 8am and we feel it’s going to be hot. Bottles of water are distributed before directing us to the start.

Coming out of the club house, especially at the start of the day, I feel like I’m on the starting grid during a car racing weekend. Dozens of golf carts are in a row, the caddies are busy ensuring that no one misses anything while respecting the schedules. And we tourists try to find our way through this orchestrated bustle.

The first fairway stands before us like a drawbridge. Without much surprise and cold, I slice my first drive. My ball ended up playing pinball with the bamboos.

The Forward Tees Rule

It was then that I was told that it would be necessary to play from the forward tees located 100 yards from the green on the par 4s and 200 yards from the green on the par 5s. Since this start on the fairway, I going to play my 4th shot! Apart from the extra stroke, the idea is honest. This rule avoids searching for a ball, or playing a provisional ball from the tee box. Here everything is done to speed up the game, guaranteeing maximum booking.

The golf cart is automated and never leaves the path along the course. The caddy has a remote control that allows you to move the machine to the next checkpoint. If the caddy is busy looking for a player’s ball, occupants can press a single button and the cart will head straight to the next spot.

via GIPHY

Play with a caddy

Personally, I prefer to take care of my business, especially in golf. It’s part of my routine. But, I admit that having a caddy who knows the course and assists you in the smallest phases of the game is extremely comfortable. You save time while increasing his concentration on the stroke to be played.

If you miss a green and chip, you don’t have to go get the putter. Our caddy carries in his arms, the wedges and putters of the four players. Once on the green, the caddy cleans your ball. In short like a pro.

At the Banshutoyo Golf Club, the cart in addition to being compulsory and included in the green fee, is inevitable. It must be admitted that with the difference in height on certain holes such as 18 for example, this justifies its use. On the other hand, the caddy will cost you 120 dollars for 18 holes.

Nothing sticks out. Everything fits together perfectly. I find it difficult to get used to this mid-term break, even if it allows me to taste Japanese dishes. Having lunch before 12 p.m. is a bit hard to swallow. Fortunately, appetite comes with eating. And even the snake caught crossing the fairway on the 9th hole won’t spoil my appetite.

A very early lunch at the end of the first 9 holes.

Even more landscapes on the way back.

The first 9 holes offer interesting perspectives, but the back 9 even more so. Whether in the direction of the play or if only by turning around on a tee or a green, the perspectives and landscapes are constantly linked. And we end with the sumptuous 18. A high start, a body of water to cross. But the perspective is deceiving it is not that narrow.

The view from 18's tee box
16th hole tee box

The club house, proshop and other facilities

The club house, modest, is vast. After collecting your body temperature via laser from a device at the entrance, you will be given your locker room key. On the left, the proshop is well supplied, although the largest size I can find (2L) is only a small European L. Never mind. On the other hand my eye is attracted by the string of bags which is just after the reception. It is explained to me that it is about bag of green. We put wedges and putters there to avoid putting them on the ground on wet ground, for example. Surprising but so tempting. Next time I’ll bring one back!

mini green bag

A staircase further on the right leads to the restaurant/bar. The location is key as all the players stop for lunch halfway through. I didn’t take the picture but a robot is helping the staff clear the tables. Like a giant tray on several levels. He goes back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room.

Banshutoyo Golf Club is my first golf experience in Japan. So it is difficult to evaluate it compared to the standards that I could meet in Europe. But if I’m just basing it on the game of golf, Banshutoyo Golf Club is ‘worth a visit’. Each shot is a point of view, you never get tired of it. And then, the level of Japanese service is so superior to European standards that whatever happens you will feel like the VIP for a day.

In the adjoining surroundings, there are no less than 3 other courses; Kasai, Shirasagi or Asahi Kokusai Himeji… and surely others, there are so many. The worst is that it is not only the specificity of the region. It’s more or less the same everywhere. There are golf courses everywhere. Golf everywhere…. Logical with 10% of the population who play golf!

Verdict

General Impression
Facility
Maintenance
Hospitality

A little upscale, Bonshutoyo Golf Club justifies its prices with its views on every shot.

About Nicolas BYKOFF

Writing about golf? Why not? After having spent nearly 20 years in the game, I am granting myself the right to write about golf. Don't agree? Contact me.

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