If you’re used to golfing in North America, you’ll find that golf in Asia is quite a different game and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. When I arrived at the Asiana Country Club, a true beauty just outside of Seoul, I was escorted into the beautiful clubhouse for breakfast. After the meal, my group headed out to the first tee, where our female caddies greeted us. Our golf cart was a four-person model that one of the caddies drove for us. At each hole, after we hit our drives, we would all ride in the cart for the second shot and then walk from there to the green. The caddie had a remote control so the cart would continue on the cart path to the green … ingenious, if you ask me. Even though the caddies spoke very little English, they communicated with us easily and gave accurate yardage. They would even cheer, “Good shot!” in unison when one of us got hold of a drive or approach to the green. Golf balls were cleaned and placed efficiently and marked on the green; service was top notch.
Golf course architect Ronald Fream, who designed courses at Pezula Golf Club in South Africa, Saujana Golf and Country Club in Malaysia and Pinheiros Altos Resort in Portugal, designed the Asiana Country Club with the philosophy of creating a championship course in harmony with nature. It’s a delight to members and their guests.
At the turn, we stopped for a 20- minute Korean lunch at the halfway house — no hot dogs or fast food here. Then we finished our game and proceeded to the sauna. There we showered, sat in the hot spring waters and took a cold plunge after. It was a great, unique experience in the land of morning calm.
Hole 1 (565 yards, par 5)
Even from the white tees this hole measures nearly 550 yards and it opens the course with a real test of your skill. Ranked the No. 2 handicapped hole on the course, it is impossible to reach in two shots and could give you trouble on the left off the tee and on the right on your second shot. The second shot has you positioned to shoot over the woods if you are too far right with your drive. Your third shot is to a slightly elevated green.
Hole 3 (315 yards, par 4)
Don’t let the shortness of this hole fool you. The water will come into play on your tee shot and your approach to the green. From the tee box, drive your ball to the center of the fairway favoring the left side. From here you have a mere 55 to 65 yards to the green over a stream. You could try to drive to the green from the tee box — some people do — but that’s a strategy that’s almost always destined to fail.
Hole 6 (570 yards, par 5)
Aim your tee shot to the right side of the out-of-bounds depression. This will probably leave you with a downhill lie on your second shot. It is best to position your shot to make the green in three; beyond the green is out of bounds and those who are determined to go for the green in two could discover the wind’s tendency to take balls there. Beware of errant tee shots from Hole 12; some slicers from there will find their way onto Hole 6 while you are hitting your second shot. The smart play is three shots to the green.
Hole 8 (210 yards, par 3)
Wind can be a factor on this hole and you need to be wary of the depression to the left of the green. Club selection on this par 3 is crucial; because this is a downhill shot, the hole will not play as long as the card indicates. Like all the holes at the Asiana Country Club, there are two greens to help maintain the best play and conditions. Greens are alternated daily and the green selected for the day changes your approach shot dramatically.
Hole 10 (365 yards, par 4)
Although ranked as one of the easier holes on the course, this one can cause havoc thanks to a drivable bunker on the right and out of bounds on the left. Drive your ball as close to the center as possible for your approach to the green. Depending on the green selected for the day, you will either have a 135-yard shot over a pond or one over rough and fairway. The rough in the front of the green can be quite heavy at times. The green runs true and is relatively easy.
Hole 12 (520 yards, par 5)
Aim far enough right on your drive off the tee to avoid the bunker waiting to catch those who fall to the left. Your second shot will have to carry 200 to 230 yards to the next landing area, about 60 or 70 yards from the green. It doesn’t matter which green is selected for the day; they are both bunkered in front to catch wayward shots. Keep your eyes open for drives coming off of the sixth hole, which lies to your left. They tend to venture out to the point on Hole 12 where your second shot is likely to land.
Hole 16 (185 yards, par 3)
This is a beautiful hole from the tee box with water in front and to the right of the green. The back edge of the pond is bulkheaded with stones, so any mishits will surly be troublesome. Rough around the green can be high at times.
Hole 17 (445 yards, par 4)
Those who know this hole will suggest you play it as a par-5 and accept that you will need three shots to the green and two putts. Off the tee on this long hole it is advisable to make a clean drive to the center right side of the fairway. From there, you will have nearly 200 yards or more to the green, which is heavily protected by bunkers — the most treacherous of which lies right in front of the green — to catch those trying to reach the hole in regulation.
ASIANA COUNTRY CLUB
281-1, Daedae-ri, Yangji-myeon
tel 82 31 334 1103 5
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