The Jolly Fox Niseko is a 4 day golf extravaganza created by local businessman Michael Chen and supported by many Niseko-based companies as well as global brands. Now in its second year, the main competition took place over two days on the 18th and 19th of June, 2021.
After 3 rounds of 18 holes played at the challenging but excellent Hanazono Golf course, Bevan Colless and Patrick Ohtani emerged as winners, leading from the front in a ruthless display of teamwork and the ability to shrug off the pressure of taking home the big win!
But this competition is about so much more than the golf! Conceived in early 2020 by Michael Chen, co-owner of title sponsors H2 Group, this is an epic 4 day event that brings together the community and results in almost endless banter.
So, what is the "Jolly Fox"? Well, we explain more below but first up enjoy this video with a tease of what is to come next year!
First up was the pre-event Calcutta dinner on Wednesday evening. Held this year at Blackwood Grill, this is where the teams are chosen, with each team being made up of one "fox" (a low handicapper who should be the good one!) and one "mouse" (a higher handicapper who brings more strokes to the table).
As the teams are drawn, the rest of the competition can see immediately who might be the favourites based on handicaps, experience under pressure and of course compatibility with their teammate. Teams were then auctioned to the highest bidders to raise money for the Niseko Promotion Board.
Everyone ate, drank and certainly had plenty of merriment as they began to plot their strategy for the next few days!
After an optional practice round on the Thursday, teams gathered on Friday morning for the first of two days of competition. The tournament is split into three formats, testing the skill and durability of every golfer.
Friday Round 1: Best Ball - each team member plays their own ball and the score for the hole is the best net score. In this round, the mice have lots of shots and have the opportunity to score low on enough holes, while their fox maintains consistency.
Saturday Round 2: Scramble - both team members hit a tee shot and then pick the best one. Both team members then play from that spot, repeating until the ball is in the hole. Here is an opportunity for the foxes to show their skill as they get to pick the best ball to use.
Sunday Round 3: Alternate Shot - the true test! After both players drive, one ball is chosen and this time there is no second chance. Players must hit alternate shots until the ball is in the cup.
While most of the field moved around all over the place, there was always one team on top throughout the 54 holes. Pat and Bevan never gave the other teams a sniff and won with a combined 22 under par, a whopping 6 shots ahead of the next team!
Greg Hough and Ruri Meikle (the first lady making an appearance) took second place ahead of Trevor Greenwood and Ed Downer in third.
Unfortunately no-one was able to take home the 5 million yen prize for a hole in one nor the 1 million putter challenge... maybe next year! But with prizes each round for long drive and near pin there were plenty of goodies handed out.
After a successful 2021 tournament everyone dressed themselves up for the Gala Dinner held at the amazing Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono. Eating, drinking, dancing and even a bit of karaoke ensued as the teams and their partners celebrated another fantastic event and started looking forward to the next one!
Find out more about upcoming Jolly Fox events by clicking here!
You can also follow the Jolly Fox Niseko Facebook and Instagram pages to keep up to date with the latest news, but we can confirm that after the short-form Jolly Finish in September this year, plans are afoot for an invitational tournament in 2022 where visitors will be able to join some of the best local golfers on some of the iconic local courses! Stay tuned for more.
Until then, check out the incredible sponsors who make this event possible and keep golfing!
Jolly Fox Niseko Sponsors
The Jolly Fox Niseko couldn't succeed without the support of all the competitors and a select group of sponsors who make everything tick over smoothly for all. Find out more about each of them through the links below.
H2 Group: responsible for the whole thing! H2 arrange the competition and, more important, provide the swag bags and beers on the course. H2 offer a full suite of services in Hokkaido from development, real estate, project management all the way through to holiday rentals.
Callaway Golf: provided prizes galore for the competitors.
Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono: the venue for the Gala Dinner and provider of more prizes! A must-visit hotel next time you are in Niseko.
Hanazono Golf: forget Augusta... Hanazono Golf provides the location for this epic struggle!
Powderlife: Niseko's most famous lifestyle magazine, Powderlife provided coverage through their media channels. Pick up their magazines around the resort.
Blackwood Grill: kicked it all off with an incredible spread of their famous meats and grills. Next time you're in Niseko be sure to sample their amazing lunch and dinner sets.
Uchi: that's right, we were involved too! We kept the Calcutta diners lubricated with enough beer and whiskey highballs to add a few extra yen to the auction!
Glen Claydon Photography: photo and video support at the event.
Niseko Black: more prizes from Niseko's private concierge company.
Niseko Realty: this local real estate agent provided golf shoes to lucky winners
MNK: the management company behind Country Resort, The Orchards and Akazora