The Athletic Fundamentals of Golf
The Athletic Fundamentals of Golf
By: Kendal Yonomoto
Golf keeps us coming back time and again as much for the promise of what could be as it does for the competition, companionship and time with old friends. It can go from frustrating to exhilarating to injurious in one hole! The frustration of not knowing why you hit a bad shot is trumped only by the fleeting feeling of hitting a good shot – and having no idea why. Kendal Yonomoto’s book, “The Athletic Fundamentals of Golf” simplifies the thinking around swing technique and gets you out of your head so you can play without thinking about your swing. It introduces beginner level athletic movements and shortens the curve in achieving proficiency. It’s all about movement and self empowerment
The conundrum all golfers face relates to the nature of the game, a stationary ball pro-motes more anxiety than a 100 mile per hour fastball for some. The ball just SITS there, non-golfers observe, “how can the game be that difficult?” Golfers arrange themselves relative to the ball to strike it for specific effect: sometimes high, sometimes low, some-time hard, sometimes quite softly, sometimes curving right to left, sometimes curving left to right – to a target. The exercises train the athletic movements related to the swing and help to make the movement more natural and less stilted.
As a PGA Class “A” teaching professional from Canada, Yonomoto has spent most of his life playing and teaching golf – except for one unplanned foray into track and field that lasted 6 years and changed his life. At the age of 30 he met a massage therapist who happened to be an Olympic track coach and “just for fun,” started training with a group of Olympic caliber sprinters. After six years of training 3 to 4 hours per day, 6 days per week, 8 months of the year, life and circumstance turned him back to golf. “Just for fun” he started to write a book to better understand what he learned in track and field, thinking that surely some of it would apply to golf. Just less than 10 years later he self-published “The Athletic Fundamentals of Golf.”
The book is essentially a Do It Yourself manual that describes a few simple exercises that golfers can use to assess and train their movement patterns. Golfers sometimes look like contortionists rather than athletes. If you can learn some of the basic athletic movements in a golf swing, the player will improve more quickly and have more fun
A single throw in one of the early chapters can be used as a test to identify your domi-nant movement pattern and the type of missed shot associated with it. This same throw, improved by applying the “Athletic Movement Principles,” (think “laws of movement”) can be used as a training exercise to improve your ball striking without touching a club, because your body is in a better position to deliver the club.
The science behind the Athletic Fundamentals is all based on physics. Yonomoto’s body of work, from the study of movement, critical thinking, training methodology and biomechanics including a 3D motion capture program he wrote to quantify the principles is just the work behind the scenes. In his words, “I look at my work as a researcher, developer and coach like I’m a designer for an iPhone, nobody wants to know what I do, they just want to take pictures, talk, text, and communicate. My job is to refine the science and create simple solutions that work intuitively. I just want people to have fun and enjoy playing golf.”
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