New Private Club Debuts in South Korea

A new private course opened September 26th in Chuncheon, South Korea. Whistling Rock Country Club lies about 50 minutes east of Seoul.

An aerial view of Whistling Rock Country Club

The club features 27 holes designed by Ted Robinson, Jr. The routing involves elevation changes in mountainous hillsides and 15 lakes connected by streams and cascading waterfalls.

"If you are playing the golf course from the back tees, it has every challenge you can possibly think of," Robinson said of the layout. "It will test your skills. But it is also straightforward, with sets of tees for every player to have an opportunity to succeed on a golf course that is fun to play."

Whistling Rock has three nine-hole, distinctive loops named Cocoon, Temple and Cloud for the three tea houses around the course. Each nine is a par 36, with Cocoon measuring 3,571 yards from the tips, Temple 3,654 and Cloud 3,646.

On Cocoon, the uphill, par-4 third stretches 474 yards. It's followed by a doglegging, 359-yard par-4 with a reachable green involving a bold carry across a bedrock-lined water hazard.

On Temple, the par-3 eighth is 256 yards long, while the ninth is a 376-yard par-4 that rewards a short but accurate drive off the tee. It contains a suspension bridge that connects the fairway and green, stretching across a bedrock canyon high above the water below.

Cloud revolves around a five-hole stretch called "The Glen," a segment that contains steep rock faces, elevated tees, cascading waterfalls, lake-guarded greens and dense forestry.

Whistling Rock was developed by Donglim Resort Development Co., LTD., a subsidiary of Taekwang Group, a South Korean conglomerate with holdings in textiles, chemical, industry, cable television and financial services (insurance).

A clubhouse designed by Francine Houben of Macanoo Architects (from Delft, The Netherlands) anchors the club. The building sits at the junction between a mountain ridge and the courses. The building consists of two Travertine stone slabs floating above the surrounding landscape. Internal and external patios cross the slabs to create several outdoor spaces and art gardens.

Landscape architects Ken Alperstein and David Fisher of Pinnacle Design (Palm Desert, Calif.) worked closely with Robinson, Houben and other consultants for the planting of thousands of native trees, including Japanese Red Pine, Korean Pine, native dogwood, oak and cherry.

The resort area of Chuncheon occupies a basin flanked by lakes and rivers. The town and its environs - a popular vacation and festival destination - is bordered by Lake Uiam to the west, Chuncheon Lake to the north and, further east, massive Soyang Lake.

Membership to the country club is by invitation only. For more information, visit