Hirono in Japan is constantly in the top 3 courses in Japan. It’s a Charles Alison, who was a protégée of Harry Colt, design, constructed in the late 20s, early 30s. Just a stunning par 3, downhill, over water, it’s got everything about it. It’s beautiful, the light from the sun rise or sunset comes directly accross it most of the year. Bunkering is important on this one. It’s classic, not like Donald Ross Pinehurst, with these slightly upturned saucer greens.
The thing about this hole is that it stood the test of 25/26 years, or however long it has been there. It’s a great par 4. I photographed it from its inception to what it is now, with a staggering skyline behind. Absolutely mind-boggling hole.
There’s been lots of argument about whether it’s a great hole or not. The Crans Sur Sierre Golf Course in Switzerland is in the most breathtaking spot, in amongst snow capped mountains, both sides, in the middle of a valley, half way up the mountain basically. When it was redesigned, they put in a brilliant risk and reward hole: the par-4 7th. It’s lethal, it’s out of bounds through and out of bounds right, and bunkers are short of the green over a big chasm. The green sits there, hovering on the top of the hill. You can get a picture from the tee where you can just have the green and then the mountains in the distance and nothing else.
It’s called the Pirates Plank. The only way I could describe it would be the Pirates Plank by name and by nature. There’s absolutely no room out left or right. The green is perched on the edge of a 400 foot cliff. The whole golf course is… I photographed it from ground level first and then the Pro there said, you should see this place from above. I managed to rope in a helicopter, when you get up in the air, it’s absolutely mind-boggling how they managed to build that golf course.