What might the two most important requirements for a good golf instructor be? Knowledge and an affable personality with a lot of empathy. So where in the DFW Metroplex area can one find such a paragon? Actually, one does not have to look too far. The brand new golf instructor at the Dallas National Golf Club is none other than the now-famous Chris Como, who has coached some leading professional golfers including Tiger Woods, Jamie Lovemark and Trevor Immelman, among others.
What brought Chris to Texas from his native Southern California? It was the end of a long journey that began when he was just 16 years old. He had such a fascination for how the golf swing worked and showed such great curiosity and the work ethic to go with it, that many well-known coaches of the time took young Chris under their wings. Some of his early mentors were famous California teachers Roger Gunn, Chris Zambry, Brady Riggs and Adam Schreiber, and they were the reason Chris started teaching golf at age 20, right out of college after acquiring a degree in psychology and specifically cognitive science. It was, in fact, Schreiber, at the time Anthony Kim’s instructor, who was responsible for the move to North Texas. He offered Chris a partnership in a new golf academy they opened in Dallas. So it was that, after gaining some knowledge through the mentors of his youth, and armed with the experiences of working at West Lake Village Golf Course in LA, at the David Leadbetter junior golf academy in Florida, and with Hank Haney, that Chris Como came to Dallas to stay. His most recent home was the Gleneagles Country Club, until his latest move to Dallas National, where he has a dedicated teaching area equipped with all the most high-tech swing analysis tools, including Gears Sports cameras, Swing Catalyst force plates and a Trackman launch monitor.
Chris continued to visit and learn from many top instructors, including Mike Adams and Mac O’Grady and then heard of a researcher collecting data on leading players in his own neighborhood! This was how his early relationship with Dr. Young Hoo Kwon of Texas Woman’s University began, under whom he would eventually begin a Masters degree in biomechanics. He has also visited other movement science experts, including Sasho MacKenzie, PhD, of St. Francis Xavier University in Canada, the spine expert Dr. Stuart McGill also of Canada and Dr Guy Voyer, an osteopath in France.
Why does a pursuit of scientific knowledge matter? It has helped Chris know more about the physics of golf; the forces and torques. He has learned invaluable information from the many sessions when he observed biomechanical data of leading professionals being collected at the TWU lab. And he has also learned about injury from some of the other movement scientists he has visited. None of this complex amount of information makes it to the student’s ears, it is merely used as a toolbox from which Como can extract the right nugget of wisdom for the right person. Como has thus collected a ton of golf knowledge from other golf coaches, scientists, as well as, importantly, the leading players he has worked with.
Mere knowledge is not enough, and in Chris one immediately sees an empathetic soul who is quite self-effacing and never pushes himself forward. At a time when he was about to take on the most famous golfer in the world as his student, he said, “it’s not about me, it’s always about the player” and never sought the media attention and publicity others might have. His personality has led him not only to being the coach to everyone from leading Tour players to enthusiastic teenagers, but to the formation of the very popular Open Forum.
The Open Forum, which, in 2018 held its 6th annual event, is a meeting place where golf scientists, instructors and trainers all come together, during the annual PGA Show, to learn from one another. It was started by Chris, Nick Chertock and Michael Michaelides, and Chris was able to, through his acquaintance with practically everyone in the golf teaching world, rope in many presenters at this popular annual event.
What next? He plans to keep on teaching – golf handicap, age and gender are no bar where his students are concerned – and keep on learning, while trying to squeeze in a private life somewhere in between!
Kiran Kanwar is the developer of The Minimalist Golf Swing System -100% scientific, simple and specific. She has BS degrees in physics and math); MS degrees in sports science and nutrition; and is pursuing a PhD in biomechanics. She is a Class A Member: the LPGA, The NGA of India, The PGA of India. Visit her website: www.mgs.golf