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Awase Golf Course closing marks end of era

Date Posted: 2010-02-25

The very first full-size golf course on Okinawa, Awase Golf Course, is no more.

The course that was first opened in 1948 as a U.S. Army golf course saw its last rounds of golf played on Sunday. Many golf faithful flocked to the Awase Golf Course for final rounds on the 48 hectares course that saw an average 45,000 duffers on the links each year. They lamented the closing, saying they “will miss Awase” and showing little excitement about the new Taiyo Golf Course the Marine Corps Community Services has built to replace it.

Taiyo opens to the public March first at is located in Kurashiki near Kadena Air Base. One Japanese player who visited Awase weekly praised Awase: “the course was near downtown, and the course was narrow and difficult, but it was so much fun.” Players at Awase ranged from U.S. pro Lee Travino, the All American senior Open champion, Okinawa Golf Association Vice Chairman Koshio Okuhira, to Japanese pro Munetetsu Ura. Both Americans and Japanese played side by side in competitions that ultimately became friendship exchanges.

Awase’s destiny is transformation to a Jusco shopping mall, along with an amusement park project. Land owners are holding their collective breath to see if they’ll fare well with the change from golf to commercialism.

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