Spotlight: Kengo Aoshima

Kengo Aoshima is a redshirt freshman on the Wake Forest Men’s Golf team. Hailing from Tokyo, he participated in several amateur tournaments before he began high school at the ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, HI.

He became the first-ever high school freshman to win the Interscholastic League of Honolulu individual title in 2014.

Due to his redshirt status, this past fall season was Aoshima’s first spent competing. He came out of the season with a scoring average of 69.92.

Be sure to catch Aoshima and his teammates back in action on Feb. 23, 2019, when the spring season kicks off at the Seminole Intercollegiate in Tallahassee, Florida.

Will May: You attended high school in Hawaii before signing on to attend Wake Forest. Was this an easy change to make, given the distance?

Kengo Aoshima: Although I am far away from home, I always wanted to compete at a top-level D1 school that is a prestigious academic institution as well. Wake Forest is one of the few schools that has a degree that is highly valued with a rich, historic golf program. It would have been a much more difficult transition if I did not have such great teammates, coaches and other faculty members revolving around the program, but they welcomed me in with open arms, making it an easy transition.

WM: How did your previous season as a redshirt help prepare you for this season?

KA: Redshirting last year was the best decision I made since coming to Wake Forest. It gave me a full year to prepare my game and transition into the college life. Because I did not have any tournaments to play in, it gave me the opportunity to make drastic changes in my technique and practice routine, which helped my golf game grow exponentially. Redshirting also gave me the opportunity to take more challenging divisional courses, so I can take less-intense divisional courses this year when I am traveling.

WM: Do you have any rituals or routines that help you get ready for a match?

KA: I always wake up one hour before we leave the hotel to give me plenty of time to shower, stretch, listen to music, get my clubs clean, and lighten my golf bag. I usually listen to the latest version of the Big Bootie Mixes by Two Friends while I prepare for the tournament round. I also have a superstition of putting my right sleeve, pant, sock, and shoe on before the left, so I do not take Ls.

WM: How did you feel about your own and the team’s performances at the Steelwood Collegiate Invitational this past weekend?

KA: It was inspirational to see my suitemate, Sae Hee Bae, win his first collegiate event because he works very hard everyday both athletically and academically. Moreover, being able to win by such a large margin was satisfying and left us on a good note heading into the off-season. With big events coming up in the spring, it gave our team good confidence to validate that we are an elite program capable of accomplishing a lot of goals next semester.

WM: How do you feel about the team’s fall season as a whole? What are you most proud of?

KA: Winning this past weekend was a great way to finish off a great fall season as a team. Our scoring averages across the team are very low, and it shows the depth we have in our lineup this year. Personally, I exceeded my goal of making the lineup in 2/5 events including three top 10s and 14th place being my worst finish. Being able to compete with some of the best amateurs in the world at world-class golf courses were memories that I will forever cherish. I hope everyone continues to play well, making the spots on the team competitive again in the spring, which will make us all better in the long run.

WM: What are your plans for the offseason? Is there anything you plan on doing differently in your approach to training for the spring schedule?

KA: I am going to sit down with our coaches and other important people revolving our program to come up with a detailed plan, but my goals are to improve my diet, work on my lower body strength, increase my speed and explosiveness, and better my short game. Last spring, I was reluctant to practice during cold days, but this year I hope to improve my work ethic and practice during bad weather as well at to improve my play in cold, nasty weather.

WM: Do you have any major goals for the upcoming spring season?

KA: Our goal as a team is to make it to Nationals this year, which is being held in Arkansas. I truly believe that our team is plenty good to get there, but we must continue to work hard and not be satisfied with where we are at now. It is a long ways away, but the preparation for it must start now, and we are excited to see how much better we can get by then.