HISTORY of the Hirono Golf Club

Spring 1930
Shosuke Itani, Seiichi Takahata, Iwazo Suzuki, and Chozo Ito fortuitously discover the future site of the Hirono Golf Club in Miki.
The four men who discovered the Hirono site were members of the Maiko Country Club (now the Tarumi Golf Club), which opened with only nine holes in 1920. They had wanted to build an 18-hole course if a suitable parcel of land could be identified, and were approached about a possible candidate. The four men immediately went to visit the site, and although it was disappointing, they found a more suitable location during their trip.
January 10,
Charles Hugh Alison visits the proposed site and agrees to design the course layout.
At that time, the Tokyo Golf Club was planning to relocate its golf course due to rising land rents, and commissioned Charles Hugh Alison to design the course. When the four Maiko Country Club members heard this news, they visited Alison in Japan and begged him to come and see the proposed site. Alison readily agreed and inspected the land, and agreed that it was suitable for the construction of a golf course. He ensconced himself in a room at the Oriental Hotel for three days to complete the design of the future Hirono Golf Club course.
February 20,
In the role of site supervisor, Chozo Ito begins constructing the course.
Alison left Japan after two months, so Chozo Ito supervised the actual construction of the course. Ito had first encountered golf while studying in England in 1914, and in the 1920s, he and Komyo Otani went on a trip to inspect golf courses overseas. In 1924, he was part of the group that founded the Japan Golf Association. He led the development of the Hirono Golf Club, leaning on Seiichi Takahata for advice. The two men spearheaded the adoption of bentgrass for the greens, and made painstaking efforts to successfully grow it in Japan. Osamu Ueda (who later became the club manager) assisted Chozo Ito at the site.
May 16, 1932
Construction of the 18-hole golf course is completed. The Hirono Golf Club is established with a capital of 250,000 yen (Representative Director: Shosuke Itani).
June 19, 1932
Opening ceremony.
A competition to mark the opening of the course was held with 180 participants. The tournament was opened with His Imperial Highness Prince Asaka hitting the first ball, followed by an 18-hole stroke event. The best gross score was achieved by two-time Japan Amateur Golf Championship winner Shiro Akaboshi with a 77.
October 31,
Gene Sarazen plays at the Hirono Golf Club.
Gene Sarazen, 35 years of age at the time, had achieved a Career Grand Slam two years earlier at the Second Masters in April 1935 scoring a double eagle (an albatross) with his second shot on the par-5 fifteenth on the final day for a huge upset victory.
April 23, 1938
Walter Hagen and Joe Kirkwood Sr. play at Hirono Golf Club.
Walter Hagen was 46 years old at the time and had won 11 majors and a total of 45 PGA Tour titles. He came to Hirono with Joe Kirkwood Sr., who was 42 years old and had 13 PGA Tour wins.
June 7–9, 1939
The 12th Japan Open Golf Championship was held at Hirono Golf Club
(winner: Toichiro Toda).
June 1, 1944
The course was ordered to close by wartime edict, and was requisitioned for Kawasaki Heavy Industries’use as a farm.
June 1947
A seven-member committee led by Toyohiko Inui and consisting of Ichimatsu Himeda, Giichi Sato, Hideo Kobayashi, Toshichi Murotani, Seiichi Takigawa, and Ryutaro Takeda was formed to begin rebuilding the course.
June 20, 1948
The back nine holes were reopened.
June 19, 1949
All 18 holes were available for play. A reopening ceremony and commemorative event was held.
19–21, 1955
The 20th Japan Open Golf Championship was held at Hirono Golf Club
(winner: Koichi Ono).
June 15, 1958
The new clubhouse is completed.
October 24,
Ken Venturi and Jack Burke Jr. play at Hirono Golf Club.
Ken Venturi, who was 27 at the time and had six wins on the PGA Tour, and Jack Burke Jr., who was 35 and had won two majors and a total of 13 wins on the PGA Tour, played at Hirono Golf Club.
September 26–28,
The25th Japan Open Golf Championship was held at Hirono Golf Club
(winner: Haruyoshi Kobari).
June 19, 1962
An event was held to mark the 30th anniversary of the club’s opening.
September 28,
Jack Nicklaus plays at Hirono Golf Club.
Jack Nicklaus, who was 23 years old at the time and had won three majors — the U.S. Open, the Masters and the PGA Championship— as well as seven PGA Tour titles, played at Hirono Golf Club. When he heard that no-one had ever hit the par 5 fifteenth green in two shots before, his eyes lit up. He landed on the center of the green in two with a driver for his first shot and a 3 wood for his second, an achievement that is still talked about today.
October 2–4,
The 32nd Japan Open Golf Championship was held at Hirono Golf Club
(winner: Tadashi Kitta).
April 7, 1981
Former storage facility site is leased as the location for the Japan Golf Association Golf Museum.
May 21–23,
A celebration was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the course.
June 12, 1987
The Board of Directors voted in an emergency meeting to return to bentgrass greens. A decision was taken to return to a style similar to Charles Hugh Alison’s original design, using a sand top layer for putting greens in accordance with the USGA recommendation.
November 1,
Bentgrass was first used for the greens.
May 23–27,
A celebration was held to mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the course.
May 8–10, 2002
The 3rd Bonallack Trophy competition was held at Hirono Golf Club.
The Hirono Golf Club was the venue for the 3rd Bonallack Trophy (an amateur competition between teams from Europe and Asia-Pacific), which has been held every two years since 1998 with the aim of deepening friendship between the Asia-Pacific and European regions through the game of golf.
October 13–16,
The 70th Japan Open Golf Championship was held at Hirono Golf Club
(winner: Shingo Katayama).
May 26–28, 2007
A commemorative event was held to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the opening of the course.
July 8–13, 2015
The 100th Japan Amateur Golf Championship was held at Hirono Golf Club
(winner: Takumi Kanaya).
April 25, 2018
Martin Ebert is commissioned to renovate the course.
January 4 to
30, 2019
Course renovation is undertaken by Martin Ebert.
Martin Ebert, who has renovated many of the courses that have hosted the British Open, was commissioned to carry out the renovations, which took nine months while the course was closed from January 2019.
June 2022
Celebrating the 90th anniversary of the opening of the course.