The Loop

Why some Japan golf courses are scared to ask potential members if they're tied to organized crime

September 15, 2016

"Does not belong to an organized crime group." It seems like an unusual box to be asked to check when filling out a membership application to join a golf club. But apparently, at Japan golf courses, it's pretty standard -- well, for those bold enough to inquire.

A report by says the common application question is becoming less common due to fear of retaliation by organized crime groups. According to the story, the areas of "Oita, Nagasaki, Saga and Kagoshima have included the pledge. However, in the remaining prefecture of Fukuoka, only 14 of 49 courses have done the same."

The report concludes this part of the membership process at Japan golf courses has been dropped due to the murder of a Kitakyushu golf manager 16 years ago. The crime occurred shortly after a group of people believed to be connected to the Kudo-kai Yakuza clan were turned away from joining.

But it's just a check mark on a piece of paper, right? Why wouldn't people just check it even if they had criminal ties?

Rocket News 24 in Japan believes even the country's most hardened criminals have difficulty lying. You've got to draw the line somewhere, we guess.