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Golf Made Simple school aims to attract Japanese students

By S. Adam Cardais,
Barona Creek Golf Club
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The Barona Creek Golf Club has teamed up with Golf Made Simple in hopes of attracting more golfers, especially Japanese, to the San Diego area. (Courtesy Barona Creek Golf Club)

The Golf Made Simple instruction program is making a push to attract more Japanese golfers to its school at the Barona Creek Golf Club in San Diego, Calif.

In a move to capitalize on the thriving Southern California Japanese golf tourism market, the school recently moved professional instructor Wataru "Wat" Tomita, who is fluent in English and Japanese, out to San Diego. Wataru spent much of 2006 training before making the move.

Marc Solomon, the founder of Golf Made Simple, said the addition of Tomita to the instructor roster at Barona Creek will allow the school to better cater to Japanese golfers, who like to play in Southern California because there's a huge native community there and the golf is significantly less expensive than in Japan.

For instance, greens fees in Japan can run as high as $500 a round, and membership at a private club can reach the seven figures.

"So many golfers from Japan love to come to Southern California to play golf," Solomon said. Though the school is often fully booked, the addition of Tomita "allows us to branch out to Japanese speaking students as well."

There haven't been any Japanese-speaking students yet, but Solomon said Golf Made Simple is going to become more aggressive about attracting this market, including trying to get mention in the Japanese media.

They probably won't have much trouble finding Japanese students. The Barona Creek Golf Club at the Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino is one of the premier courses in California. It was ranked the 78th "Modern Course" in the country by Golfweek magazine.

Measuring 7,088 yards from the black tees, the course has more than 100 bunkers. The scenery is spectacular, with oak trees dotting the track and a small stream playing through. Wide, spacious fairways make it accessible to players of all skill levels.

Golf Made Simple, which also has locations in St. Augustine and Amelia Island, Florida, and Santa Barbara, opened a school at Barona Creek in January 2006. Previously, Solomon had been looking for a locale for a new school that had a hotel and golf course. Solomon said the quality of Barona Creek and the staff sealed the deal.

Started by Solomon 15 years ago, Golf Made Simple aims to simplify golf instruction by getting away from traditional methods that center around grip and swing changes and the mantra "you'll get worse before you get better."

Golf Made Simple has been ranked the third best golf school in America by Men's Journal, behind the Butch Harmon School of Golf and the Dave Pelz Scoring Game Schools.

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Marc Solomon
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