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Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

Abandoned golf courses in Japan are turned into solar parks more and more often – time to explore one of their tiny offshoots, an abandoned ground golf course!

Ground golf (グラウンドゴルフ), a Japanese invention is a minimalistic version of regular golf. The courses are smaller (usually 8 holes) and so is each hole of a course (between 30m and 100m) – every player only needs one ball (similar to bocce balls) and one club, which can be made of plastic, metal, or wood. In “match play” each hole nets the person with the least amount of strokes a point – winner is the person who has the most points at the end of the course. In “stroke play” the strokes of all holes are added up and the person with the least amount of strokes at the end of the course is the winner. Ground golf is especially popular amongst senior citizens in the countryside as it is easy to learn, communicative, cheap, slow paced, but still offers some form of exercise…

The Overgrown Ground Golf course was actually the main attraction of a now also abandoned hotel, but of course it was also accessible to day guest players, much like a lot of onsen hotels open their facilities to non-guests. Unfortunately there is not much to say about this location as the course was overgrown and there was little to see. Even the small club house / equipment storage at the entrance was mostly empty and pretty severely damaged at one side, with some walls missing. A quick exploration for a short article during busy weeks, when the Abandoned Kansai motto is: “A small abandoned location is better than none!” And now please enjoy the small photo gallery… and if you are into golf and / or haven’t seen it yet, check out the *Japanese Driving Range*!

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A last minute exploration of a once thriving country club that offered a little bit of everything: abandonment, demolition, and solar park.

I’ve written about quite a few abandoned / closed golf courses in the past, and they basically all have the same problem: They get turned into solar parks quickly! Surprisingly quickly, considering that publicly Abe and his monkey bunch clings to nuclear power like a tick to a dog – but when you drive around Japan or just look at it via GoogleMaps you’ll quickly realize that solar power is HUGE in Japan, although hardly anybody talks about it. One reason: You have plenty of golf courses all over the country and a declining amount of players for quite some time, so more and more of those clubs close. Now, a meticulously taken care of country club takes years to look abandoned after it closes – and usually somebody takes this flat, scrub-free land and turns it into a solar park before you can even figure out what happened. So whenever I try to explore a countryside golf club usually one of two things happen:
1. The whole area still looks pristine – no photos, because the buildings are inaccessible and everything else looks not abandoned.
2. The whole area is fenced off and a solar park has either been built or set up – no photos, because nothing is abandoned.

Now, the Mixed Bag Golf Club (you get it?) was a bit different. First of all the road leading up to the former club house wasn’t fenced off, but the whole damn thing didn’t look promising when I saw that the golf course part already had been turned into a solar park. Unfortunately it was quite difficult to get a good look at it, because the club house was also already demolished – unlike at the *Solar Park Golf Club*, where the roof of the otherwise locked club house offered great views at the gigantic solar park. But also unlike unlike at said park, there were some other remains at the Mixed Bag Golf Club, for example some abandoned golf carts in not so good condition. And the remains of a driving range – the building was gone, but the poles holding the nets were still there. Combine all of that with a beautiful sunset and nothing better to do as time was running out and voilà, here you have the Mixed Bag Golf Club…

Beggars can’t be choosers and sometimes you gotta play the hand you are dealt, and this location, this article is a prime example for that. Was it as good as the *Countryside Golf Course*? Not nearly! But better than nothing, isn’t it? See you next week! Hopefully…

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