The Popularity of Golf in Japan - Tips and Trivia

Golf is not a popular sport in Brazil, but in Japan it deserves great prominence. In this article, we will talk a little about the influence and popularity of golf in Japan, its history, curiosities and tips for those who want to know the sport.

Japan is the second largest golf market in the world after the United States. There are about 10 million golfers in Japan and about 2,450 golf courses. The first golf course in Japan appeared in Rokkosan in Hyogo Prefecture in 1901.


The sport stood out when Torakichi Nakamura won the Canadian Cup in 1957, decades later golf became more influential, the numbers of clubs have grown and currently exceed 2000.

Unfortunately due to the crisis, several fields and clubs closed. Fortunately this made the sport more accessible to ordinary people. Despite this, Golf receives a lot of prominence in the media and in the life of the Japanese.

The popularity of golf in japan - tips and trivia

How do Japanese play golf in Japan?

Japanese golfers have to drive several hours to reach each course. When they get there, they play slowly, an average of 5 hours per game. That is, a round of golf in Japan can last all day. 

This is different from Americans, who, if they want, can make 18 holes in 3 hours. Some golf courses in Japan have robots automatic as caddies. They are radio controlled and move golf bags around the course.

Some fields have escalators on steep slopes. Many of the caddies in Japan are women who wear blue uniforms and towels with giant caps on their heads. The driving range in Japan usually has several floors.


Bearing in mind that most courses require a dress code where players must wear appropriate golf clothing. It is common to find a yellow flag on the fairway about 230 meters from the tee (starting point).

Additional flags are placed to mark the next move if you fall into Out of bounds. Another common local rule is the black and yellow striped stakes that are used to mark an area outside the boundaries. Different from out of bounds, the penalty is just a stroke with the next shot from where the ball crossed the marker line.

The popularity of golf in japan - tips and trivia

How much does it cost to play golf in Japan?

Golf is no longer a cheap sport in the West, in Japan it is even more expensive because land there is expensive land and the fields take up a lot of space. In the 1980s a round used to cost 10 times more expensive than in the United States.

Nowadays playing golf in Japan is much cheaper, the expensive golf associations in Japan closed because of debt. Currently, there are only 2 types of clubs, the high-level ones that survived and the normal, semi-public ones. low cost.

The current fee for playing golf in Japan starts from 70$. In addition to this fee, already caddy, meals, transportation fees and not counting the equipment. If you are a visitor, your golf day can cost up to 300$. We recommend having knowledge in the Japanese language, as it is necessary to make a reservation. Only some fields allow reservations in English and online.

In addition to the numerous golf courses, there are hundreds of driving range courses found throughout the country for those who just want to practice strokes without having to go out for long hours. These places are cheap and usually charge only 10 yen per ball.

The popularity of golf in japan - tips and trivia

Curiosities involving golf in Japan

  • In 2010, a golfer in Sendai, burned 900 square meters of field by taking a shot that generated a spark and caused a fire in extremely dry grass;
  • Golf has become so popular in Japan that there are religious cults dedicated to the sport. A Buddhist monk in Tokyo's Zenshoji time, erected a statue with the Goddess of Mercy holding a club and a ball in his hand, many golfers gather in time to pray;
  • The Perfect Freedom Association (PL) is a religious cult that preaches a “life is art” creed and believes that problems can be solved by mass pilgrimages and playing golf;
  • In 2001, due to the economic bubble, around 90% of the 2,400 golf clubs were in debt. 1,700 of them were practically bankrupt. By 2005 about 630 golf courses were closed. Some have become resorts and places to generate solar energy;

Playing golf in Japan can be a fun experience! There are always events to teach and publicize the sport. Have you ever had a chance to play golf in Japan? Or even elsewhere?