《USGTF News》2021年5月期





Last month, we featured a new section in our monthly e-newsletter where we highlighted a student of a USGTF member and their success. If you have a student and are interested in featuring them in one of our upcoming newsletters, please complete the form at the following link: https://www.usgtf.com/student-profile-form. We will select one student to be featured each month. In addition to the feature on the student, the teacher can provide other information, such as giving a brief description of what the instruction entailed and how it helped their student, etc.
A recent USGTF onsite certification course held in Fort Pierce, Florida, on April 5-9 had seven candidates. Interest in USGTF certification has increased in 2021 and indications are this trend will continue. USGTF certification courses are being held nationwide to meet this demand as we head into the heart of the golf season for most of the country. Also, in response to many requests, a new certification site in the Midwest will be realized when Evansville, Indiana, joins the roster of locations. The course will be held in September. The exact time and location will be decided shortly.
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.”
The world of pro golf took yet another international turn as Hideki Matsuyama became the first person from Asia to win the Masters. The Japanese star surged ahead during a third-round 65, taking a four-shot lead into the final round. He held steady until the 15th hole, where he hit his second shot into the water, resulting in a bogey. Xander Schaffele cut the deficit to two shots with a birdie of his own, and as anyone knows, anything can happen at any time on the back nine at Augusta National.
Schauffele literally sank his chances when his tee shot on the par-3 16th found the water, resulting in a triple bogey. Matsuyama, although he made a three-putt bogey on the same hole, regained his four-shot lead over Schauffele and Will Zalatoris, enough to hang on and win his first major championship.
The world first heard about Matsuyama when he won the 2010 Asian-Pacific Amateur Championship and competed in the 2011 Masters, where he was the low amateur. Later that year, he won a professional event on the Japan Tour while still an amateur, and in 2013 he turned pro. He became the first rookie to lead the Japan Tour’s money list. In 2014 he became eligible to join the PGA Tour through non-member earnings. He won that year at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament, and since then has been a steady presence on golf’s leaderboards. The Masters victory was his sixth PGA Tour victory.
Matsuyama’s victory was well-celebrated in Japan, and is certain to spike even further interest in the game there, just when it seemed interest couldn’t be any higher.
Ken Butler was born and raised in Scotland, the “home of golf,” where he learned the game of golf early on. He says golf and soccer have always been in his blood. Competing competitively, he made his way to the United States in 1984. He stopped competing in late 1980s with a severe back injury that still nags him today.
In 1992, he became certified as a USGTF teaching professional and then gained his Master Golf Teaching Professional certification. eventually becoming part of the USGTF and WGTF examining staff. He has traveled all over the world with the WGTF, including three trips to the Far East. He has represented Team USA in nine World Golf Teachers Cup events and is a past WGTF individual champion.
Butler was nominated as a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, selected as a WGTF Top 100 Teacher, and was inducted into the USGTF Hall of Fame in 2004. Butler is the former director for the Tony Jacklin Golf Academy, and has established quite an accomplished teaching career, having giving lessons to both President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush.
His teaching philosophy is simple: “Take stuff away; don’t add any junk. They have enough nonsense in there already. Get set up properly and have a balanced finish!”
He now resides on the west coast of Florida in Anna Maria Island, which he refers to as paradise. Butler is currently the director of golf at Key Royale Golf Club, a hidden nine-hole gem. He shares his life with his one true love besides golf, his beautiful wife Kari, who he says “keeps him grounded whenever his mind wanders.”
Steve Haigler, a high school teacher in Tampa, came to my six-week golf school about eight years ago. He started with the maximum handicap of 36. After completing the class, he applied all he learned and started to really improve. Today, he plays to a 22 handicap and regularly shoots in the mid to low 90s. Steve later followed in his instructor’s path and started playing with hickory golf clubs as a member of the Florida Hickory Golfers. That makes the improvement in his handicap even more significant because of the difficulty playing with clubs used 100 years ago. Steve has traveled to Scotland to participate in several World Hickory Opens at courses like Carnoustie, Gullane and Panmure, where Ben Hogan practiced for the Open Championship. He also played on the U.S. hickory team in 2018 that competed against teams from Europe and Scotland at the Old Course in Musselburgh, contributing to the U.S. victory in the matches. He has certainly taken to the game and can be seen regularly on the links at the MacDill Air Force Base golf courses.
Reason recommended by teacher:  In today’s modern world of golf technology, it is unique to find someone who values the history of golf and the men who played with equipment far less forgiving than that of today. I think Steve would be the first to tell anyone how much he has enjoyed golf, especially hickory golf, and the opportunities it has afforded him for travel and meeting interesting people the world over. In addition, it is always satisfying when a student finds success and enjoyment on the golf course and knowing you had a minor hand in that journey.
Mike Stevens – USGTF Teaching Professional
By Mark Harman, USGTF Director of Education
Our great game of golf has always engendered the competitive spirit in its practitioners. The Open, formerly known as the British Open, is the longest-running formal competition in golf history, but players and clubs competing against each other existed long before. Today, a lot of money exchanges hands on golf courses all around the world. It has been noted that in peak golf season, it is likely that over $1 million is wagered daily among friends on American courses!
Competing gives us insight into how we ourselves may handle certain situations. In a tough spot, do we panic and hope for the best? Or do we calmly assess the situation and make a logical game plan to execute the next shot? Are we internally calm or are we overcome by anxiety? Does the guy who bombs it by us 50 yards off the tee intimidate us, or do we consider it a cool and fun challenge to overcome that distance deficit?
The USGTF provides several great ways to compete for its members, from the five annual regional events to the United States and World Golf Teachers Cup. Players come literally from all over the world to compete in the latter two events. While the main focus is on the competition itself, a side benefit it making new friends, catching up with old ones, and potentially developing business and networking connections that can benefit our teaching business.
Many golf teachers say they don’t have the time to compete, but it’s really a matter of making it a priority and scheduling well in advance. So come on out to a regional event or the U.S. Cup this year. You’ll be glad you did. And speaking of the U.S. Cup, it’s in Las Vegas this year, October 18-19. By then, America’s capital city of fun and excitement should be ready for full-bore action and activities. We look forward to seeing you there!





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