In the 1980s Japan was in the middle of a seemingly endless (at the time) period of economic growth. Extravagance was the order of the day and golf was the sport that best expressed the prevailing consumerist zeitgeist.
As result golf membership fees were changing hands for millions of dollars and ¥100,000 for a day's golf was often the norm. Those days are no more and enjoying a round of golf is much more affordable.
Back in the heady 1980s, getting a round was so expensive millions of people flocked to golf driving ranges (uchippanashi) to get a taste of the sport and to be seen pulling a bag of clubs from the trunk of their new car. New driving ranges, many of them ugly eye-sores, were carved out of hill sides to meet demand.
Nowadays when an actual round of golf in Japan can cost as little as 50 USD on a weekday, fewer people are honing their skills on the driving range.
Inside Track Japan For Kindle