USGTF-Japan member Naoki Yoshida teaches a number of prominent touring professionals, but his foray into teaching and coaching wasn’t a direct route. As a kid, he started playing golf but preferred baseball, tennis and soccer. Golf was pretty much last on the list.

At the age of 18, he attended a golf academy in Australia headed by one of their prominent coaches. Yoshida found that the coach’s disdain for video was counter-productive, at least in his case. “All I could do then was to feel and understand what he said,” said Yoshida. “In the process of mastering a swing, it is not effective to depend only on feeling. When players understand the method and make it an automatic motion, feeling-based learning requires much more time. So, I bought a video camera to check my swing. I devoted myself to testing my physical motion during the swing, as well as the clubface angle and the shaft plane. I practiced every day until midnight to master the ideal positions of the swing.” Yoshida’s goal was to be a touring professional, but found that there was more to it than just having a great swing. “I thought the perfect, high-level swing would contribute to making a great score on the course,” he remarked. “As you know, however, it is a huge mistake. Good scores result from a repeatable and consistent swing, distance control, and short game skills. The perfect swing is not necessary for the goal.”

After uploading some of his swing and golf theories to YouTube, Facebook and other social media, Yoshida was contacted by Hideto Tanihara and Shingo Katayama for coaching. Their success with him led to more touring professionals seeking out his counsel, and today he has a number of Japanese touring pros under his tutelage. His philosophy is as follows: “When teaching golf, there are numerous pieces of the puzzle that we should consider. For example, we are required to check their address, grip, joint range of motion, length of their body parts, behavior patterns, thought patterns, and so on. I set up a plan suitable for each of the students by combining these countless puzzle pieces.”

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