The course is famous in part for its views of Mt. Fuji, but for Poulter, in the 2001 World Cup — his first time playing in Japan — the focus was on the greens. Each hole has two. "Whenever we can play a golf course with firm, fast greens, you'll find the pros get very up for that, very excited to play." But it's important not to get too excited: "It's very easy to putt it off the green there in certain pin locations." Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.
Sheshan International Golf Course, China
Site of the HSBC Champions tournament. "The green texture they have there is probably the best surface we putt on all year. That probably wasn't the case five years ago [when he first played there], because it was so new. They've spent an awful lot of money in developing that golf course." Tour pros, he says, put a premium on the quality of the putting surface — enough to downgrade an otherwise magnificent course if its greens are a little bumpy. "It gets very frustrating when you hit a good putt and it wobbles off line and it misses," he says. Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.
Olazabal Course, Mission Hills, China
Site of the annual World Cup the past few years, it's named for its designer, Hall of Famer José María Olazábal. "A clever golf course, the way they've carved it out of all of the hills," Poulter says. The Mission Hills complex in Shenzhen is a collection of courses named for the big-name golfers who have designed them, from Jack Nicklaus to Annika Sorenstam. "They've used iconic golfers from around the world to create an international vibe. They need an Ian Poulter course now," he says. Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.
Phoenix Country Club, Japan
A tight, tree-lined course. "If you do hit it in the trees," he says, "it's not like you're playing a golf course in the U.K. where the trees are 50 to 100 feet and you can maneuver the ball in and out of them very easily." To avoid the foliage, a shot from among the trees has to be low, not the best way to approach the small, fast greens. Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.
Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore
"Four or five very challenging tee shots, with water hazards down either the left- or right-hand side of the fairway. If you miss, you're going to be out of bounds or in the water. ... Once you're off the tee, there are some very clever pin locations on what are pretty difficult greens." The greens have a vacuum drainage system that keeps them firm even if it's rained the night before. "Plus I won," he adds, "which makes it even better." Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal.