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  Anna Fukumoto (JPPA Secretary) - Japan awaits

Anna Fukumoto does not play Pitch and Putt herself but is totally enthusiastic about the sport. Anna reflected with fippa.org on the countdown to the inaugural Japanese Open.

fippa.org (Q.) How pleased are you with how preparations are progressing for the Japanese Open?

Anna Fukumoto (A.) We are happy that everything is progressing as scheduled even through we had very short time span.

Q. Tell us a little about the Otake Pitch and Putt course?

A. Otake Pitch and Putt course is located in Fukuoka, redesigned for Pitch and Putt, and consists of 9 holes. It’s a practical seaside course, ideal from the beginners to advanced players. The facilities are substantial, such as driving ranges and a clubhouse. The spectacular seaside view will make you feel welcome and introduce you to the nature of the Pacific coast.

Q. What will the weather be like in the Fukuoka region during March?

A. As Fukuoka is located at the northern end of the south-west island called Kyushu and is actually at the south end of Japan, the weather will be suitable for playing. For reference here is the normal temperature in March: Max Temp 14.4 ℃, Min Temp 6.7℃, Ave Temp 10.4℃. However, the weather is much milder this year, and we estimate the temperature will be little higher since the reference temperature above is almost the same as the temperature in Hiroshima today. Hiroshima is further North.

Q. How strong is Pitch and Putt in Japan?

A. Pitch and Putt was introduced to Japanese people about two years ago as we had started our activities then. Since then it has been slowly recognized by players. Pitch and Putt suited to our urban life style - it’s much less time consuming, needs less infrastructure and is open to everyone to play. 

Q. How important is the link with Nippon TV?

A. Nippon TV are the biggest broadcasting company in Japan and hold many networks. It has enormous influence over Golf lovers. During this competition (Japanese Open) TV shootings are scheduled and these will be broadcast several times on their Sport network. Surely, it will help Pitch and Putt to be known nationwide.

Q. How much do you value the membership of FIPPA and is there potential for Pitch and Putt to develop further in Asia?

A. A. FIPPA will show us the right direction to develop this sport. From these positive perspectives (less time consuming, needs less infrastructure and is open to everyone to play), we could say Pitch and Putt has a great potential to be developed in Japan and some parts of Asia. Having an opportunity to join FIPPA is very valuable. It will be a wonderful experience for our players to share the same moment with international players and learn about Pitch and Putt.

Q. What is the projected ratio of participants in the Open, Japanese players : international players?

A. About half and half.