In Japan, when it comes to golf, it normally means American golf. Why? The real pleasure of playing golf would be provided by the following four elements:
– Long drives. – Accurate high iron shots dead to the pin. – Approach shots with exaggerated backspin. – Putting techniques to hole putts on the incredible breaks of the greens.
I think the Masters must be the most popular golf tournament that can provide all of these four elements. I have been asking many Japanese golfers which tournaments they like the best, and most of their answers are “the Masters.” The Masters tournament is held in the US, and almost all the winners of the tournament are Americans. For this reason, Japanese golfers have a common understanding that the US leads the world in the field of golf. How do Japanese golfers get the latest US golf techniques?
– Reading golf magazines published in Japan. Japanese golf magazines mainly consist of the swing analysis based on the US swing techniques. Japanese golfers check their swing sequences and learn how to analyze their swings.
– Japanese golfers learn from experienced golfers who have learned at golf academies or schools in the US. These experienced golfers teach their students what they have learned from their American coaches as if it is a main US golf method.
The problems of reading golf magazines published in Japan:
– USGTF-JAPAN regards a fixed camera angle as important when analyzing golf swings. This is because a fixed camera angle is essential to evaluate golf swings correctly. Japanese golf magazines, however, normally use the image processing pictures of playing golfers on the courses, and we can never know its exact camera position or height. Some pictures are selected for analysis without specifying when they were taken. Their analysis can be designed to meet their assumptions without reliable references, and this doesn’t seem scientific. In addition, it is uncertain that analysts, appointed only for their popularity or their past reputation, have the latest correct knowledge of swing analysis.
Another problem is learning from golfers who have learned at US golf academies or schools and teach as if they have all knowledge of the US golf theory. The development of the golf equipment and innovative swing analyzers has brought the evolution of golf techniques in recent years. Nevertheless, many of the famous tour pro coaches in Japan are in their forties and depend on their golf knowledge that they had learned in the US 10 years ago. Given that the USGTF textbook teaches us, ”There is no one swing that fits everybody; but everybody has a best swing for them,” this kind of coaching, not considering each player’s uniqueness, doesn’t seem to develop a modern teaching method and is very compulsive.
Recent Evaluation of USGTF-JAPAN
As described above, US golf theories have spread in Japan in an improper way. In order to improve this situation and to prevent spreading the wrong information, we, USGTF-JAPAN, have striven to keep up to date on all new effective teaching methods. We select innovative golf techniques in the US, make practical Japanese manuals, and have free training sessions for USGTF-JAPAN members, as we introduced in the last issue of Golf Teaching Pro.
These USGTF-JAPAN achievements have been getting highly evaluated by golf teaching professionals. More and more new applicants have applied to USGTF certification programs by word of mouth, getting program details from USGTF-JAPAN certified pros. We have attracted a wide range of golfers, and even teaching professionals of the JPGA, trying to get USGTF-JAPAN certification.We would like to continue to make USGTF-JAPAN stand out even more over the other golf organizations, not only by focusing on up-to-date US golf theory, but by following USGTF and WGTF general principles. By Hajime Morita, USGTF Level IV Member