Now, I understand that golf is a boring sport to watch and to read about for some people, but this blog is essential in understanding the cultural differences between the US and Japan. Or, I just want to tell you all about my wonderful golf experience.
I went to a neighboring town of Yaotsu, which was about 15 minutes away, just over a hill. However, the golf course was another 15 minutes nestled in the hills. We played Murasakino Country Club. Here is one quick fact: Country Club does not mean private, actually, I don’t think they have private golf courses here, at least not in my area. There were 8 of us, so we split into 2 groups. I played with a vice principal of a JHS, a teacher of a JHS, and the “best golfer in the Minokamo area”. The other group had: a principal of a JHS, a teacher at a JHS, a teacher at an ES (a lady too!), and another man, who I never got to meet.
Since this was “Amanda’s Golf Competition”, it was essential that I was in the first group. And how did I know it was a tournament? On the first tee, we drew straws and I won the honor…I’m not sure if that was a good thing because for those of you who are unfamiliar with the phrase “you have the honor”, it means that you are the first one to tee off in your group. So there I was, at a foreign golf course, with 7 Japanese people watching me, about to play my first round of golf in 3 months! (don’t worry, I hit it right in the middle!)
The actual round of golf is still somewhat strange to me, even as I reflect on it. We played 6 holes, and then took a quick 5 minute break to get drinks at a snack house (hot chocolate for me, it was cold outside!) Then, we played the final 3 holes and at the turn, you take an hour break to eat lunch. You go into the clubhouse and sit in the formal dining area and are served by waiters and waitresses in really nice outfits. I was quite lucky in the food department as one of the options was beef curry, yummy. To be honest, I was a little worried about eating lunch because at US courses, I’m used to sandwiches…not curry, sushi, and noodles, so I brought some snacks just in case. About an hour after we finished the 9th hole, we were back on the course. This time, we played 5 holes and stopped for about 15-20 minutes at another snack house for another drink (this time, hot coffee, it was still cold). 4 holes later we were in the clubhouse yet again. This time, we went to take an onsen or hot bath. Now, I’m definitely not going to complain, I’m going to miss the onsens when I go back America.
I was finally back in my town at 4pm…I left at 6am. So for those of you who are counting, that's 10 hours (or 9 hours excluding driving). The round itself took about 6 hours, I’m guessing (that’s without lunch). So yes, golf in Japan is a full day event. And oddly enough, I thought college golf was slow, this golf was even slower. Hopefully, anybody that has either played or watched college golf can appreciate that.
Here are a few things I learned:
- The golf cars (not carts) drive THEMSELVES! Yes, you just push a button and it goes! Crazy huh. I even took a video to prove it (but somehow can't get it to upload).
- People dress up before and after the round, think suit jackets and nice slacks, even women.
- There are more women than men in the golf industry here, mainly because all of the caddies were women and the “bag boys” are really “bag ladies” in Japan.
- The greens were SO slow. The slowest I’ve ever played in my life, no joke.
- They have 2 greens on each hole, a left one and a right one…I don’t know why.
There you have it. My first round of golf in a long time and I can’t wait to play again.