Golf once upon a time:
As far as I can recall, there was a common sense in good old days that decent people did not play golf. I still recall from '50s and '60s, that middle aged or young men having golf bags, wearing gaudy shirts, glittering white shoes and unusual sun-glasses with artificially frizzled hair used to sit on seats of National Railway (present JR) trains ... maybe their bosses went to golf on the back seat of Lincoln Continental or Buick ... with their short legs open as wide as possible and behaved as if they were to be respected and feared.

Little later, highly paid businessmen who worked for big trading companies and had chances of working abroad, started playing golf in Japan.

They tried to wear casually and behave accordingly. However, most of them did not succeed and their casual attire was just a mismatch. Even the most successful trial made them look like hooligan. There was essentially no difference between them and gangsters from the eyes of decent and ordinary citizens.

It was a luxury amusement which they themselves did not have to pay. They could show others that they were to be respected as they could use somebody's money for such nonsense pastime.

This tradition was driven to its absurdity under "babble economy". An individual membership cost hundreds of thousands US dollars or in some cases millions of US dollars. Even a guest player ( not a pure visitor) had to pay 400 US dollars for 18 holes.
If you try to avoid paying too much money for a round on the fairway, and want to just practice in a driving range for your health instead, you still have to pay some 50 US cents for just ONE ball hitting!

These phenomena eloquently explain that golf is not a sport enjoyed and paid by ordinary citizens in Japan. You might notice that even professional golfers of Japan somewhat look like Yakuzas.

Japanese golf clubs are institutions where a lot of money is thrown away and high play fee is expected to impress guests about the generosity of hosts. As a result there are many incredible and unbelievable aspects in Japanese golf. I think golf is a vicious and tragic anecdote related to Japanese post-war success story.

clubhouse First, clubhouses must be gorgeous. Usually, precious natural stones are used for decoration. Interior is grandiose, apparently needed much money. In a classy club restaurant, classical music is played live with a white grand piano. Guests must feel happy, as they are invited to such a luxurious golf club. In the garden, beautiful flowers are in bloom at any time and in a big pond golden carps are jumping.

The fairway is of course beautifully and perfectly maintained. There shall be no danger to lose balls not only on the fairway but also in the rough. (Japanese professionals also always play in such clean courses. No wonder that they can not achieve good results in tournaments abroad! )

Souvenirs from the region MUST be prepared by the golf clubs. (photo left)
souvenirThe last thing to introduce is a big marble bath. (Photo left is just the changing room.) It's luxury, of course, and maybe too luxury to be tasteful. But I tolerate it (^^). Japanese people cannot recover from stress or fatigue, unless they take hot bath.

changing room for a marble bathIn short, golfers need a good 2 hours drive from house to golf club, up to 2 hours for lunch, then more than 3 hours drive for going back home. Getting up while stars twinkle and back home after sunset. They are happy as it is a whole day extravagance and physically next to torture!