Final Shot with Nishi Yoshihiro

The HKGA President talks to Louie Chan about his best ever round and favourite courses

When did you start playing - and where?

I started playing golf in 1974 when I was 8 years old in Hiroshima, Japan. Those were the time when golf was booming in Japan. My father happened to be a very keen and enthusiastic golfer and started to take my brothers and my sister to a local driving range on weekends. Going to driving range with my father was so much fun and I fell in love with the game immediately. I still remember the day he cut the shaft of his Honma 7 iron and made it into my first golf club.

From age 12 to 16, I went to a boarding school in Geneva, Switzerland and I played tennis and other sports more than golf. Golf came back to my life again when I joined Doshisha University golf team in Kyoto, Japan in 1985. Although I was not good enough to make high ranking finishes, I really enjoyed playing in the team and the competition. I kept on playing golf after university and it became big part of my life today.

The game changer in my golf life came in 2011, I was invited to join the International Committee of Japan Golf Association. Immediately after, I was encouraged to take the R&A Level 3 exam for referee and tournament administrator so that I can get more involved inside the rope. The R&A hosted this exam in Asia for the first time at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore. It was not easy at all and I barely passed the exam, it got me more involved and led me to take a part of many international golf events.

How often do you play?

I am a member of Discovery Bay Golf Club and I try to play 4 to 5 times a month.

What's been your best ever round?

I shot 69 (33-36) at Winsor Park Country Club in Japan in 2003 at a Pro Am event. The god of golf helped me to shoot under 70 for one day. When I scored 33 in the front nine holes, I started feeling nervous and scared entering into back nine. I kept telling myself to stay calm and focus on each shot. On the 10th hole I made a chip-in Par, and just carried my game on till the end of 18th hole with par play. I have been waiting for another day to meet the god of golf to do something similar again, but he may be too busy with others.

Do you have a favourite course?

My favorite golf course in the world is the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club in Maui, Hawaii. The view of the Pacific Ocean from the last two finishing holes, are breathtaking and spectacular! I am always excited to watch the Tournament of Championships on TV in early January and I am thinking of going there to play there again next year! Another favorite golf course is of course my home course, Discovery Bay Golf Club in Hong Kong.

Who would be in your dream fourball?

Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Hideki Matsuyama.

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