Kasumigaseki began life as a nine-hole course in Asaka in Saitama prefecture in 1929. It was then relocated to a larger, neighbouring site in Kawagoe, and expanded to 18 holes with the help of local designers and architects. In 1931, on invitation from the course’s owner Fujita-San, renowned British golf course designer Charles H. Alison proposed a series of renovations and work began on improvements to what would become known as the East Course. Alison’s style featured undulating greens, many bunkers, and guarding elevated greens from most sides. Shortly after, the first iteration of the West Course was built, with its assistant architect Seichi Inoue later returning to build the New West Course as head architect in 1954.
When Tokyo was confirmed for the 2020 Olympics, Kasumigaseki was immediately given the green light to make changes to modernize the East Course which was chosen as the venue for the Men’s and Women’s golf competition. The club decided on Tom Fazio, the man behind some of golf’s most iconic courses, to breathe new life into Kasumigaseki in time for its appearance on the world stage.
Fazio was tasked with making the two-green course (a feature unique to Japanese golf courses) into a single green and lengthening the course to over 7,400 yards. Work began on site in 2016 with Fazio’s son Tom Junior taking the lead on the project. In 2020, enhancements were complete. Happily, the original spirit of the Inoue and Alison design remains, with Fazio’s belief that courses should “reflect the natural beauty of their environments” coming through across the property.