Yokota golf instructor focuses on swing, gets to the green
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Who knew that one simple golf swing, executed in less than a second, could involve so much concentration and precision? Tomoaki Kibamoto, a Free Golf Clinic instructor and 20-year golfer, is aware of exactly why this is the case.
Kibamoto spends every Saturday morning from 10 - 11 a.m. at the Yokota Par 3 Golf Course teaching both new and experienced golfers how to improve their golf game and swing.
"If you are a beginner, do not hesitate to come out," Kibamoto said, mentioning that new players shouldn't worry about their skill level, because "no one golfs well from the beginning."
Kibamoto explained that new players need to build a foundation of basic golf skills and experienced players often have bad habits formed over years of playing. Kibamoto, the son of a golf coach at a Japanese university, would know, and he offers solutions for both types of players at the Free Golf Clinic.
While living in the U.S. for 14 years, Kibamoto instructed golf part-time where he met his instructing mentor. His mentor, who had the honor of instructing players like David Duval and Stewart Cink, passed on his expertise and style of teaching to Kibamoto.
The instruction is based off a system of checkpoints that happen throughout a golf swing. The checkpoints were formulated after his mentor analyzed 40 years of professional golf swings, selected from the best players in the world, and noted common characteristics between them. Kibamoto teaches with these checkpoints in mind.
"Changing a golf swing is a hard thing to do," Kibamoto said. "If you stay within these boundaries, you should play better."
Kibamoto said a human brain remembers a functional move as a whole, so it is difficult to break down a golf swing into the multi-step action that it is. But, he said his teaching makes learning easy because the checkpoints give students something to focus on while improving their swing.
"They have to work at one thing at a time and a golf swing is an accumulation of many things," Kibamoto said. "It takes time and practice."
Kibamoto began teaching the clinic in August and expressed that so far it has been a rewarding experience.
"I get to practice English," he said laughing. "It is nice to talk to American people. I love teaching. I can come out here and enjoy it."
He added that it is always nice to see people hitting golf balls straight and wearing a look of gratification after attending his course; although, he said it "doesn't always work out that way, but when it does, it is a really nice feeling."
Each clinic is limited to six or seven students. Eugene McDaniel, Par 3 Golf Course manager, has the hope of hosting new students every week and prefers that people come in person to meet with him before signing up.
McDaniel also encourages anyone that wants to learn golf to come out and give it a try. He and his team will do anything they can to help community members with the process.
The Par 3 offers a handful of programs to benefit the community of Yokota golfers. Those interested in knowing more about the golf programs can call at 225-8815.