Good evening Kousuke! You’re one of the young rising stars in Thailand’s golf world. Let us start with a brief introduction of yourself.
My name is Kousuke Hamamoto but everyone calls me Koke, much easier! I am currently 16 years old, the only child, and living in Chiang Mai. A lot of people wonder if I’m Thai or Japanese. Let’s put it this way, I’m a Thai-Japanese who was given the chance to represent Thailand’s national team.
Congratulations on your amazing feat! You’re still a young golfer but have achieved so much already. When did you start playing golf? How did you decide to start golf?
I started golf when I was only 8 years old. Unlike everybody else, I started getting into golf because of a golf game I played when I was young. I really liked the game and was keen to try out golf in the real world. 8 years has passed since then and the funny thing is that I’m able to stand where I am today all because of that game introducing me to the world of golf.
Yes, funny indeed! Getting into golf all because of a game. So a game introduced you to golf, what about other contribution to the improvement of your game, for example your coach – who is he?
I have a great coach who has been guiding me and given me support throughout my career. My coach is Nagrob Chartnakrin. If it wasn’t for him, I may not be where I am today.
Sounds like I need to be coached by Nagrob and maybe one day I can become as good as you! As you’ve been performing quite well on the greens, what do you consider to be your best performance as a golfer so far?
Thus far, my best performance was winning the Singha Classic held at Royal Hills Golf last year. For an amateur as myself, winning a Singha Golf Tournament is a great accomplishment, especially when competing against Thailand’s top pros.
With a prospective future ahead of you, you’ll be one of Thailand’s top pros in no time! Every golfer has his strengths and weaknesses. What are yours?
My mental is my strength. I don’t let the game get the best of me, instead I rather think of it as me getting the best out of the game. My weakness is in the physical side and I am aware of that. I’m still young so developing physically is not a problem.
You’ll be turning your weakness into your strength one day, guaranteed! A great golfer needs the support and backing of sponsors. Who are your sponsors?
My sponsors are Singha, Srixon, and Performance Gear. They are very supportive and are always providing the essentials of golf such as gear and equipment. Thank you sponsors for your support and I hope to continue our relationship for years to come!
Excellent! You sure know how to flatter people! What about your golf idols? Who are they?
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. This is probably the most typical selection but either way, they are the best so why not look up to the best!
What is the most exotic place you have traveled for golf?
Finland! Last year I was invited to travel to Finland with other members of the Thai national team to train and compete over there. It was the first time for me in Finland, a whole new experience, and I left with lifetime’s worth of memories. I definitely would like to be back there again – it’s totally different to Thailand and I love it there!
Seems like you fell in love with Finland’s beautiful nature. As golfer, what are your goals for 1, 5, and 10 years?
For 1 year my goal is the Asian Games. For 5 years is to win on the Asian Tour. And finally for 10 years I want to be the Top 50 player in the world. What you think? Can I do it or not?
It’s not a matter of if you can do it or not but rather when and you’ve answered that. All the best to you in achieving your goals! Which are your main tournaments of 2016?
Well, because I’m a Singha player, you can catch me at All of Singha Golf Tournaments.
Let’s get to know you better on a personal note. What is your favorite Food?
Thai food is delicious but it gets repetitive. Pizza is actually my favorite and it never bores me.
What about your hobbies?
Just like any other Thai guy out there, I occasionally like to play table tennis or football. It’s the most common hobbies or sports played in Thailand.
School is important and because you’re still in school, what’s your favorite subject?
Ethics. I feel that ethics can be applied to life the most compared to other subjects. Ethics shape the way we live – what we do, what we make and the world we create through our choices. It’s such an interesting subject and I’m always looking forward those classes the most.
Let’s move on and focus a little more on Chiang Mai. Where do you usually practice golf over there?
You’ll typically find me at the Lanna Sports Center. Besides the golf course and golf facilities, there’s also horse riding, shooting, swimming, sauna, fitness, and tennis. That’s why I like to practise there, they have everything!
Which is your favorite golf course in Chiang Mai?
I would have to select Alpine Golf Resort as my favorite – it’s well maintained and its natural beauty is one of the best in Chiang Mai. If you’re in Chiang Mai for golf, you’ll need to check this place out!
What about your favorite restaurant in Chiang Mai? Is it a Thai restaurant or Western restaurant?
Dukes Western Restaurant. Like I mentioned earlier, I love pizza! And this place serves one of the best and it’s huge! This place is clearly one of the best serving Western food restaurant in Chiang Mai – you won’t be disappointed.
When in Chiang Mai, what are the most important places to visit?
Doi Suthep and Doi Inthanon are exceptional places to visit. Doi Suthep temple is one of northern Thailand’s most sacred temples and shouldn’t be missed. Doi Inthanon’s landscape is gorgeous and worth exploring. It’s also is the highest mountain in Thailand.
How would you describe life in Chiang Mai? What are the things you like of Chiang Mai? Is it the weather, the people?
Life in Chiang Mai is very easy, you can always find cheap food anywhere, and it is very easy to go from one place to another unlike Bangkok where the traffic is bad. People here can speak pretty good English and the people are always happy to see a foreigner come to Thailand, or more so Chiang Mai.
Great! Thank you for being so informative into your personal life, your professional golf career, and your views of Chiang Mai. You have a great future in golf ahead of you and I wish you all the best! And about Chiang Mai, there is no one better to give advice than the person who’s actually living there.
I appreciate it! For all the people out there, don’t forget to follow me and my career. I’ll be at every Singha Golf Tournament so come say hi!