It was a thrill to fly to Jeju Island. In all my years of traveling to Korea, I have heard so much about this special island. If you like seafood and Korean food, this is the place — my Korean friends say it has some of the best seafood on Earth.
Tameus Golf & Village has three nine-hole courses, offering variety for visiting golfers. There are not too many Westerners here — in fact, I recall seeing just one, and we said hello and laughed. Korean courses have female caddies; in Jeju, they do not speak much English, if any, so be prepared to attack the course without their help. I often found myself waiting as the caddie served my Korean friends before me; I’d just grab a few sticks and walk on by myself. If I had a bad shot, I could always blame the caddie!
The three courses are named aptly: Woods, Lake and Mountain. On the day we terrorized the place, we played Lake and then Mountain. It was a lot of fun and a different experience.
Hole 1 | 372 yards, par 4
This really should not be that challenging a hole, but Mr. Kim and I, well, we decided to take a more circuitous route to the right. Mr. Kim’s ball was far enough right he had a clean shot back into play. I, on the other hand, had to punch out from under a row of trees to the fairway. Our dynamic duo, Mr. Koo and Mr. Han, shot powerful drives to the center of the fairway, offering a chance to attack the green for bogey and par.
Hole 2 | 580 yards, par 5
A difficult hole, and our foursome was rushing, as the first hole slowed us and the group behind was advancing swiftly. This is a massive downhill dogleg to the right, and it really requires some thinking. But when you rush, you make mistakes; and we made a few. My tee shot ended just beyond where the cart path forks on the right and just left of the large lake. I had a clear shot but was a little overzealous with my 3-wood, landing to the left of the fairway in the woods. Dense foliage lines the entire hole. The left side appeared to be a favorite, and we were a comedy of errors — all but Mr. Koo, who was safely in the center of the fairway. Mr. Koo then hit a big shot, cutting the dogleg corner for the green; it looked dangerous, but he found his ball over the back of the green and secured a bogey, by far the best score on the No. 1 ranked hole on the Lake course.
Hole 3 | 184 yards, par 3
What demon designed this hole? I drove what looked like a perfect shot, hitting the rock embankment in front of the green. The ball bounced backwards, much to the delight and laughter of the group, and landed at the ladies’ tee box. I had enough and took out a pitching wedge to within a few feet of the cup. Bogey, not par!
Hole 4 | 380 yards, par 4
Somehow I pulled a rabbit out of my hat and secured a par. My drive was strong but left and fell among some small trees. The caddie was no help, so I hunted for my ball and found it in a precarious position where I had to punch out to the fairway and back into play. I regrouped and nailed a 7-iron to the stick and one-putted for par. Mr. Han followed me with precision, and we celebrated. The other two licked their wounds.
Hole 2 | 330 yards, par 4
Not listed as one of the more challenging holes at Tameus, it can wreak havoc for the average golfer. The fairway and rough are very narrow, with woods on either side. I put my “B” game aside for this hole and drove a straight shot, accurate but not long. For my approach, I hit a “pro shot” straight and high to the right of the pin. The green is slightly elevated and guarded by a bunker on the left front. Mr. Han and I started running slightly, which turned into a sprint to the green — he beat me by a leg and I pulled off a par, huffing and puffing over the ball.
Hole 7 | 648 yards, par 5
This is a long hole and has some tricky components that help it secure a spot as the most challenging hole on the Mountain course. Everyone in our foursome had difficulty completing it with a respectable score. The scorecard is in meters, so when you do the calculations, you know this might be one of the longest par-5 holes you have played. The hole turns gently from right to left to the green and offers a chance for shot makers to show their skill. There is a bunker on the right near the prime landing spot and another long serpentine bunker on the right about 100 yards to the green. If you keep your cool and stay on track, par is possible.
Hole 8 | 398 yards, par 4
When you play with your pals from overseas, you want to play your best and impress them. I did this by hitting a low drive short and left, landing on the side of a 50-degree hill. Most golfers know recovery is key; nobody knows how you got par, they just remember that you did. I had nothing to lose, so I grabbed my 3-wood and, placing my feet about a foot higher than the ball and bending over, I thrashed at the ball, sending it perfectly to the right side of the green. A simple chip up and a 2-putt let me save face.
Hole 9 | 377 yards, par 4
I need my own caddie in Korea — that’s what I told the team, and they all laughed. My drive went wildly right, and I was left alone searching for my ball in some high foliage. The perfect drive — as performed by my three teammates — is in the center and slightly right. This allows a clean shot toward the green, which is tucked in on the left with a pond running up to its front. A series of bunkers lines the landing area on the right, and the green is slightly elevated. It was a good day of golf, but Mr. Han returned some of his “winnings” to me and said, “Driving range!”
Tameus Golf & Village
tel 82 64 793 0707
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