Kiroku Hanai, as a journalist, should have done a better background check for his Jan. 28 article, “Haves and have-nots in golf.” The reason that U.S. military personnel have lower golfing fees at their bases in Japan is simple: They are ordered to serve their country overseas and, as such, receive benefits. Guests are permitted to play golf, but since they do not have independent privileges/benefits, the fees are different.
Maybe golfers who are “envious” of the low fees for U.S. military members should know that, between rounds, deployment for six months at sea or temporary assignment to Iraq is possible. As for reports of “off and on” accidents involving military golf courses, Hanai cites no examples. Japanese courses have nets too.
The U.S. military never “demands” land for golf courses; it requests land from the central Japanese government and its use is governed by the Status of Forces Agreement.
At Zama Golf Course, the ¥5,000 green fee for Japanese employees and the ¥3,000 fee for Ground Self-Defense Force personnel are bargains compared to Koganei and Sagamihara. And the courtesy extended to base employees and GSDF personnel seems quite generous. Hanai is correct in one respect: This indeed is a “trivial” matter.