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Joe_Tucholski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sung Nam Golf Club - Korea
« on: November 02, 2014, 08:04:26 AM »
Work recently sent me to Korea for a year.  Since my wife wasnít able to join me due to her job Iím play a good amount of golf on the weekends.  I thought I was pretty familiar with the top military courses but somehow I never heard about Sung Nam Golf Club.

To be honest Iím still not that familiar with the course and there really isnít much on the internet.  When asking around none of the Korean staff seemed to know who designed the course, telling me it was built by the Daewoo Corporation.  The internet led me to Ault, Clark and Associates website where it shows they built the course in 1989.  Iím not trying to say this course is an all-world course, honestly itís more like your local CCFAD, but I will say it deserves to be in the discussions about top US military courses.  The course is a stand-alone facility not within a US military base, although it borders a Korean Special Warfare base so weapons firing can be heard regularly while playing.

For me it has a number features somewhat unique to military courses.  The most obvious is each hole has two greens.  I played 3 weekends in October all on the same greens and yesterday, 1 Nov, the greens were switched.  The course is a mountain course, kind of like my favorite US military course at the Air Force Academy, and being above the hole can lead to some serious trouble.  Itís the only military course Iíve ever played where caddies are available.  It has a full up locker room with a ton of showers and soaking tubs (hot and cold).  The course is also probably the best conditioned military course Iíve played.

The setting is scenic especially with the fall foliage but there are some tough green to tee walks, although Iíve walked 27 or 36 each time Iíve played.

Here is the course layout and a few pictures taken one my 5 year old phone:

This layout is taken from the army MWR website for the course: http://www.mwrkorea.com/recandleisure/golf_y2.htm




Opening hole.  Fairly easy tee shot and approach but Iíve played the course 6 times with the flag on the left green and 4 times Iíve three putted.




The second hole looking back from the left side green.  This par 5 borders the golf course on the Korean military base.  Iíve heard the Korean army has some decent courses, the course on the other side of the fence isnít one of them with astro turf greens and some dirt piles for bunkers.




The 6th hole is one of my favorites on the course.  There is way more room to the right than appears from the tee and on the left there is a marshy pond that canít be seen.




One of the things that has amazed me about Korea is the rapid growth that seems to be occurring.  Looking back at the 6th from the 7th tee you can see some of the high rise apartments they are building seemingly everywhere.  I kid you not there must be 70 high rise apartments going up around the course.




The tee shot on the 12th hole.  The hole is a 544 yard par 5 from the blue tees and itís all up hill.




The second shot.  You can see there is some good movement to the ground, and not an easy hole to walk.  The walk from 12 to 13 is the worst on the course straight up hill a long hill.




This is the 14th hole  I include this photo to contrast with a 2011 photo.  People have said there was nothing but trees in June where these appartments now stand (they work 7 days a week seemingly round the clock).  Also the double greens results in the regular placement of a bunker between the two greens.




All the trees between the golf course and the high rises are now filled with high rises.  Seoul seems to be expanding at a crazy pace.



If anyone is in Korea next year and wants to play feel free to send me a message.  Also if anyone has recommendations on courses to try and see let me know.

Ivan Lipko

Re: Sung Nam Golf Club - Korea
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2014, 02:07:12 PM »
Housing looks ugly to me. Hope there are much better courses in much more secluded spots in Korea.

Paul Gray

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sung Nam Golf Club - Korea
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2014, 02:27:41 PM »
Joe,

The brown fairways seem to have some character to them. Dormant or just kept nice and fast?

An intriguing looking course and I for one would love to see more.
In the places where golf cuts through pretension and elitism, it thrives and will continue to thrive because the simple virtues of the game and its attendant culture are allowed to be most apparent. - Tim Gavrich

Eric Strulowitz

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sung Nam Golf Club - Korea
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2014, 04:55:37 PM »
Housing looks ugly to me. Hope there are much better courses in much more secluded spots in Korea.

I have been fortunate to have been to S. Korea three times and passed many golf courses.  Never stopped to check them out, and don't know if they were public or private, but many were gorgeous, and surrounded  by beatuful trees and hills.

Seoul is a must if you like to travel.  It makes New York City seem small.  It is clean, the public transportation is amazing, and you never feel unsafe.  It is two cities, the city you see above the ground, and the endless tunnels and passageways underneath, with shops, entertainm4ment, offices, etc.  The countryside outside the big city is beautiful, a lot of lovely small towns and villages.

I have no idea what golf cost there, but nothing in Seoul is cheap.  Would love to spend a week or two on a golf trip there, but I cannot imagine how expensive that might be.  Anyone have any hands on experience with this?

Joe_Tucholski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sung Nam Golf Club - Korea
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 12:58:08 AM »
Housing looks ugly to me. Hope there are much better courses in much more secluded spots in Korea.

Ivan I have to agree about the high rise apartments, I would prefer they were not there.  That being said they do not intrude on all holes and they are also on the periphery of the course.  Ran just did an updated profile of LACC and there are high rise apartments visible from the course and you should not pass up on opportunity to play LACC because of the surrounding high rise apartments.  I chose to post the two photos where the high rise apartments intrude the most in order to highlight the ridiculous expansion of an already large city.  The course is in Seoul and being in a city means intrusions from civilization. 

I hope to visit Russia sometime in the next few years and would be interested in seeing some pictures of the accessible courses around Moscow or Saint Petersburg.  I know there aren't all that many courses in Russia and others have asked as well so it would be nice to see some photos of the courses you play.

As far as other courses in more secluded spots in Korea, unfortunately I haven't been able to explore all that much due to my inability to read/speak Korean.

Joe_Tucholski

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sung Nam Golf Club - Korea
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2014, 04:24:02 AM »
The brown fairways seem to have some character to them. Dormant or just kept nice and fast?

Fairways are dormant.  I would guess in the summer it's soft and squishy Bermuda.




I have been fortunate to have been to S. Korea three times and passed many golf courses.  Never stopped to check them out, and don't know if they were public or private, but many were gorgeous, and surrounded  by beatuful trees and hills.

Seoul is a must if you like to travel.  It makes New York City seem small.  It is clean, the public transportation is amazing, and you never feel unsafe.  It is two cities, the city you see above the ground, and the endless tunnels and passageways underneath, with shops, entertainm4ment, offices, etc.  The countryside outside the big city is beautiful, a lot of lovely small towns and villages.

I have no idea what golf cost there, but nothing in Seoul is cheap.  Would love to spend a week or two on a golf trip there, but I cannot imagine how expensive that might be.  Anyone have any hands on experience with this?

I haven't ventured around but have been told golf in Korea is very expensive.  I also know the majority of the courses are private (trying to figure out how to play theses courses when you don't know the language is challenging).  Screen golf and driving ranges are really popular in Korea because they are more affordable.  When my realtor found out I was interested in golf he kept trying to get me to go play screen golf with him.  If TopGolf were to come to Korea I assure you it would be a huge success.

I assume part of the reason Sung Nam is kept at a high standard maintenance wise compared to other DOD courses is the local Koreans pay roughly $170 a round (I pay $21) or $6,500 for 50 rounds and have very low priority for tee times (afternoon).  I'm told it's much more affordable than what they would pay elsewhere.

Just found an online ranking where the course is rated #4 in a top 10 list.  Right behind Merion and above Congressional, Oakland Hills and Cypress Point.  http://www.oobgolf.com/courses/  I love lists.

Ryan Hillenbrand

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Sung Nam Golf Club - Korea
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2014, 10:38:41 AM »
Is this the course where Kim Jong Il had 11 holes in one in the same round?
 :)

(Yes - I know this is South Korea and not North Korea)

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