When I first heard the stories of Niseko, this magical winter wonderland that has more annual snow fall then pretty much any other resort in the world, producing the deepest, driest powder anyone could imagine we just had to make the trip, instantly falling in love with the endless powder runs amongst the amazing backdrop of Mt Yotei I realised this was the place I wanted to spend my winters. After working my first 2 winters seasons the opportunity came up to stay year round, and immediately I thought…
What to do when all the chairs stop turning? And the thousands of visitors clear out?
The snow starts to melt and before your eyes the white turns to green, the flora comes alive and it’s time to dust off the clubs. With well over one hundred golf courses in Hokkaido, there is no better way to spend a clear and sunny day in Niseko. Mt Yotei & Mt Annupuri provide the stunning backdrop to every course in the area, our hosts at each club look after each course immaculately, and no waiting at the 1st tee, each flight leaves on time (just like everything else in Japan), and just a few holes in and it feels like you are the only ones on the course with the exception of a curious fox or two.
The relaxed style of play is another draw card, without the pretentiousness which can be found on many golf courses around the world there is no need to hurry which means there is time to take in your surroundings and have a laugh with friends. Dress codes are relaxed, carts are provided on most courses so you can whiz around in a few hours. With sun rise at 4am the die hards can even tee off at 4:30am at Niseko Village and be back behind the desk by 10am. I prefer a lazy Friday, golf in the morning and BBQ and drinks in the afternoon with friends is the perfect way to welcome in the weekend.
HANAZONO GOLF – 10 mins from Hirafu
Located at the base of Hanazono Ski Resort is a personal favourite, an excellent collection of holes. A great place to get lost in nature on the back nine.
NISEKO COURSE – 25 mins from Hirafu
Niseko Course can be unforgiving if you stray from the fairway, a great challenge for players of any calibre.
NISEKO VILLAGE COURSE – 15 mins from Hirafu
Niseko Course’ big brother located at the Hilton Hotel boasts a 721 Yard (Par 6) 10th Hole, with 4:30am tee times in summer – Niseko Village is majestic at sunrise.
RUSUTSU RESORT GOLF 72 – 40 mins from Hirafu
You are simply spoilt for choice, with 4 eclectically different courses there is a course for every mood. Try the “Tower Course” with Rusutsu’s Theme Park as its back drop.