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April 24, 2024 47 mins

Shane and Marty welcome Chris Como, PING Brand Ambassador, to the pod. They discuss Chris’ journey to becoming a top golf instructor, his introduction to and interest in biomechanics, the 3D flat spot, and the relationship between fitting and instruction.


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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
The guys from paying They've kind of showed me how
much the equipment matters. I just love that I can
hit any shot I kind of want.

Speaker 2 (00:06):
We're gonna be able to tell some fun stories about
what goes on here to help golfers play better golf.

Speaker 3 (00:11):
Welcome back to the Pinging proven Grounds Podcast. I'm Shane Bacon.
That is Marty Jerts and Marty I say this a lot.
We've got a special guest today, a very exciting guest
at that.

Speaker 2 (00:21):
Yeah, this is a fun one. This is one I
think all golfers out there have been have been touched
by his what he's brought to this game and in
one way or another.

Speaker 1 (00:33):
Chris Como, Hey guys, thanks for having me.

Speaker 3 (00:36):
Chris, How how did you get into instruction? When did
when did that interest hit you? When did you see
that as an avenue in your world?

Speaker 1 (00:46):
I think kind of like really early on. I took
up golf somewhat late, like when I was like sixteen,
and I've always loved sports, and and you know, I
got pretty good at golf pretty quickly. But I I
sort of I had this idea in my head that
if I could like study everything, read all the books
or whatever. I could expedite the process of getting better

at golf just by like learning as much as possible,
because I got completely just like obsessed with the game.
You know, once I started playing that was misguided, right,
like the pathway the game really good at golf. It's
not like reading every golf book that there is, but that, like,
you know, really started me down this path of just
being like so intrigued by the game and how do

you get better at it? I mean, like and just
the fact that there's like so many different opinions. I
mean I remember reading books on you know, a guy
who's the number one coaching golf and the number two
coaching golf and the number three coaching golf, and they
had like wildly different opinions, and it's like whoa, like
what gives? So it just really triggered this curiosity about

the game and just the overall mystery of like, you know,
how can you hit this incredible shot in one moment
and then the next moment you're like, you know, chasing
a ball into the woods or it goes out of
bounds or whatever. I think there's just a lot of
like kind of mysteries to the game. In some ways
it's a big puzzle, and early on that grabbed me.
And then you know, the natural segue from sort of

the curiosity of the game and how to get better
at it is is then how do you help other
people get better at it? And that's kind of you know,
really early on, I start down that pathway of coaching essentially, Chris.

Speaker 2 (02:23):
I think that's what we love about having you as
an ambassador is how curious you are, how you've asked
us to in the research end to help answer some
very deep questions. Do you feel like you have Do
you feel like you've had all these questions in your
head and a bunch of them are answered and you're
getting closer to the end or do you feel like

as you've answered some of these questions it's opened more
doors to more than ever Where are you out on
that kind of spectrum?

Speaker 1 (02:52):
Yeah, I mean you definitely start to make progress, and
I think you know you have more and more like
I'm gonna, if you will, kind of like understood a
little bit better. And then you know, as a teacher,
you get more tools and your tool set type of thing.
But you probably, like most things, as you start to
open it up and ask the questions. You know, more

questions arise and and you you know, finally sort of
concede that this is going to be a never ending thing.
And you know, you'll be whatever years old and you'll
be like, oh, you know, that was a lot of fun.
But here's sort of like the next set of questions
for the next generation to kind of play with and
make their own progress with. So it's probably like anything

else you do with you know, what you can with
the time you have in it, and it is sort
of this never ending thing, which is is also part
of the fun and challenge of it all.

Speaker 3 (03:42):
So yeah, Chris, I mean the doors in golf open
and close as well for players, right, I mean you
you evolve and you get better, and you work on things,
and maybe a part of your game deterior rates and
you're trying to work on that. I can only imagine
in the world of instruction, you're always ahead because you've
got to kind of stay ahead of the golfers. I mean,

you think about the way we launched drivers versus the
way players in the late nineties and early two thousands
hit their drivers, right, it's completely different. I mean, you
go watch John Daly in ninety two ninety three pound
is driver and that ball is coming out low and
spending and now obviously the way Rory launches it, it
is starting out way up in the air, right off
the face. How if you, I mean, for lack of

a better term, how ahead of the golf curve are
you in terms of paying attention to new technology and
new thoughts? How hungry do you have to stay to
be where you're at right now in the world of instruction?

Speaker 1 (04:40):
I mean I think, I mean, you're trying to help
people get better, right and then like say, you know,
on the PGA Tour or whatever, I mean it is
the PGA tournament is in essence a zero sum game.
It's like if if someone plays better, then other guy
is going to make less money, right, So, like there
is that element of it. So there is is trying

to find like edges for the guys that you're working with.
So there is that sort of zero sum game kind
of like competitive mindset that does exist of helping a
guy find an edge, and those edges you know, again
it's it's probably this never ending thing and the edges
get smaller that you're trying to push and you know,
as equipment changes, you know, the whole set of variables

that you're trying to find edges with change. You know,
if all of a sudden they do a ball roll
back or whatever it is, it's essentially changed the rules
of the game. So and all of a sudden you've
got to have to find edges within that new new
rule set sort of speak, right, But then there's also
like the macro of it, where you're just trying to
like help the game grow. You're like, you know, you're
trying to grow the GDP of golf and golf instruction

and help people enjoy the game. And that's not zero sum, right,
That's where you can help other people be better too,
and that part's fun as well. So for me, it's
always kind of that dance between those two worlds of
trying to find the edge in a very competitive sense,
and there's also trying to make you know, impact act
or progress that can help like everybody in the golf industry.
So I think you're trying to do both at the

same time at some capacity, But uh yeah, I don't know. Again,
it doesn't it doesn't ever end, right, It's just the
variables are changing, the rules are changing. So you're always
you're always finding I don't know if it's ahead of
the curve, it's it's the landscape's changing enough that if
you are going to find edges, you know you got

to you got to sort of keep looking. And for me,
the hunger part, like curiosity has always been like a
pretty strong driving force for me. So as long as
there's questions that's like I don't know the answer to,
or there's there's things where it's like, oh, that's interesting,
I haven't seen that before. I think that sort of
natural hunger that comes from that curiosity will will probably

always be there.

Speaker 2 (06:46):
Chris, you touched on some of it. I have my
own hypothesis on why you've taken this approach, but I've
always wanted to ask you this question you talked about
in terms of helping the golf community, other golf instructors
get better, That's kind of why I let off with
You've you've you've touched a lot of players, whether they
know it or not, but you've taken this approach to
be very open with sharing your questions, your ideas, crowdsourcing,

getting answers to those questions to the other best golf
instructors in the world where I I would think that,
you know, other great teachers might keep some things like
trade secret or close to their chest on their findings
or what they're trying to research. Why have you taken
that approach? What's been the inspiration story behind this approach
to be a little bit more open with asking these

questions and these these deep scientific or biomechanical questions that
you've done over the over the last decade or so.

Speaker 1 (07:41):
That's an interesting question. Huh. I'm not sure if I
fully know the answer to that. I would say I
don't know. I think I genuinely like like just sharing
and seeing industry grow. I mean, I again, I didn't
grow up playing golf, and no one my fans played golf,
you know, golf expensive, and I didn't grow you know,

I had whatever, Like, I didn't grew up in like
a very sort of like affluent environment or anything. And
golf has like provided so many incredible things for me.
So there is an element of like just an appreciation
for the game. So if I can like impact and
give to it, that's that's awesome. Like I love that
I have an appreciation for teachers, like the teaching industry.
I know it's a tough gig, right, Like I've I've

done it in so many different versions teaching at driving rangeery.
You can barely pay your bills or whatever. So I
just have a strong sort of like appreciation affinity for
people in the business. So there is just a genuine
sort of like I like kind of like sharing it.
I like the dialogue. I feel like having it be
more open sourced allows more people to think about it.
So I think there's you know, a higher acceleration at

my own learning because it's like, yeah, you can ask
like a question or give an insight to something. But
the bigger the population of people who are like maybe
talking about something, They're gonna have their own ideas, which
is going to have its own sort of like you know,
kind of like you know, loop to it to where
I'm going to get better with it. So there's that
like you have these different aspects of you as like
a human, right, I'm very curious. There's like a part

of me that likes to like share with the community,
but then there's also part of me that's competitive and wants,
like my guess to play really well. So how do
you like, how do you have all those things be
true at the same time and like get the most
out of it. I think I'd at least like to think,
maybe this is a little cocky, but I'd like to
think that part of my edge in the competitive sense
is the way I kind of put it all together
and the problem solving aspect of it. So I don't

look at this and like here's some rote knowledge and
now you know it, and now all of a sudden
it's like easy. Like you still got to like figure
out how to put the puzzle together. How do you
take an individual in front of you who's got their
own crazinesses or golf swing, the way their mind works,
the way their emotions process things, And then you got
to like put in maybe some sort of understanding of
whatever it is, golf swing technique, groundwraction, whatever the thing

is you know you're factoring in, and then take this puzzle,
put it together and help a guy play better with it.
That's its own thing that one. Even if I wanted
to like try to like teach it to someone else,
like it's kind of impossible to do. So, you know,
I feel like my real edge is the problem solving
aspect of it, and putting it all together. So in

some ways, I'm not really worried about, you know, giving
that away. I guess, now someone else might be have
their own way that fits another person better or whatever
it is, and you know, so they could be better with,
you know, whatever set of people. But the way I
put together is in a sense, my monopoly of that
good or bad, like it or not like it. It's

it's sort of mine. So I'm not really worried about,
you know, competition that in that way.

Speaker 3 (10:35):
I guess, Chris, what was your I made it moment?
I mean, you know, we all have had it in
this world. You're talking about teaching lessons at a driving
range and you know, barely getting by. When did you
have the moment where you went, oh, my goodness, X
paid attention to me, or somebody called me, or you know,
somebody wants my opinion on this? Did you have one
of those? That comes to mind?

Speaker 1 (10:57):
So when I graduated undergrad I was at this like
I wouldn't have been in the golf business unless I
was teaching, Like that's the only thing I had interest
in doing in the golf missess, I would have done
something else. And I I felt like in part because,
like how I said earlier, there was so many different
opinions on which you have in the golf swing. It's

like I've already talked to too, you know, physicists and
be like, if I let go of my phone, what's
going to happen? They're all going to say, well, it's
going to go to the ground because you know, Newtonian
physics is sort of understood right. So to me that
there were such different opinions, I'm like, there's a gap
in the body knowledge at some level. And and you know,
I felt like that was an opportunity and I'm like,

I'm going to go out there and really try to
be like good at this. I'm gonna try to be
the best at this. And that's what kind of like
set me off on the whole golf coaching path. And
you know, I went and traveled the country. I worked
led for a little bit, worked for Haney for a
little bit, spent a couple of years, uh, you know
with maclgrady kind of hanging out with him, did all
all the certifications like TPI, Paul Czeck, YadA, YadA, YadA,

and I ended up in Dallas to do an academy,
and the first year at this academy, I was working
like sixty seven hours a week and I made nineteen
thousand dollars at this academy. I mean they made no money.
Like you know, it was I was eating into savings whatever, right,
And it was such a what's the right way to
say this, it was it was. It was not pleasant.

It was it was I don't know if you guys
can cents this, but it was a kick and it
was just a kick in the butt where you're just like, yeah.

Speaker 3 (12:31):
Just a it's a total grind, I mean just grinding,
grind and grind, and it.

Speaker 1 (12:35):
Was one of those things. I had some friends who
had gone to law school. Yeah, and I'm making no
money and I'm like, man, this was a bad decision.
But it wasn't because my heart was still like so
into it, right. So I ended up. Long story short
of Marty probably knows this, I end up. I had
joined a free poker league. Had done on that free

poker league, which the one player of the year they
fled to Vegas to play in a tournament. Came and forth.
In this tournament, the Bolagio win forty grand one night,
which doubled my year salary, take that money, break away
at a driving range, and basically start to build like
a golf book. But I was also playing poker at
night in like the Dallas underground poker scene for a

few years. So I'm like funding my golf passion instruction
through playing poker at night, which is so ridiculous in hindsight.
Start to really through a couple of like, you know,
the right people playing well. There was a guy named
Mike Madonna who used to play for the Dallas Stars.
He'd start playing some good golf to help generate some
like business. Scott Foster, the Guy of a Decade, actually

met him in a poker room. He got a partial
status on the web dot com tour. I was helping him,
had some really good juniors, and then all of a sudden,
I start building a book and they wake up one
day and I'm like, actually like making a living teaching golf.
But it was my own book too. It was like autonomous, right,
wasn't at an academy. It was like my business. It

wasn't where I could get fired the next day. It
was like if I had left that driver range, the
people would go to me. Someplace else. So it was
like a true sort of like autonomous. I built like
a business teaching golf where I can pay my bills.
And this was this was before I went to grad
school for biomechanics. This was before I started teaching like
tour guys. But it was like a place where it's

like I actually can like do this and make a
living doing it, like a decent living. I was actually
started to get really busy and was able to make
kind of like a nice living. And that that's when
I felt like, Okay, I made it, because you know,
I was actually able to eat from teaching golf.

Speaker 2 (14:40):
So Shane N's in a little bit of a connection
here to Victor playing playing Poker two and talking about
you know, trying to get those little edges and making
those little bets. Right. I think that's pretty interesting, Chris.
What about let's let's talk about what happened next there?
And like, I think, you know, you've a lot of

the academic I think been sort of like the best
applied scientists or applied problem solver taking some very academic principles,
and then as you stated yourself, you know, you think
your expertise is how you glue it together and apply
it holistically to your players. So tell us about that journey,
some of the things you've done. I mean, you've written

a couple of papers in the Journal of Sports bio Biomechanics.
How how did you get into that and how important
has that been for you in your skill set? Is
a foundation, is a is an instructor?

Speaker 1 (15:37):
So so yeah, so I you know, done all that.
Where I'd worked for different guys was teaching, had built
like a nice teaching business. And at this point I'm
now at a country club called Glen Eagles, and I'm
like grinding on the range, teaching all day. In some ways,
I think I was always like running away from you know,
like that it wouldn't work. So you know, if someone
wanted a lesson, if it was at sixth in the

morning or night, like they're getting a lesson, and I
was out there all day like just grinding, right, and
which is awesome. It was such a fun window. A
friend of mine, his name is Chris Robinson. I've lost
touch with them. I don't know where he is. Chris Robinson,
here's this. Hit me up, curious about what you're doing.
So he was doing his PhD at TWU and he's like,
there's this really cool biomechanicslibe. You got to come check out.

So I go to this lab and you know, they
had the VITE I didn't even there was just the
fancy cameras that you see like in like you know,
video games or whatever is they're Vicom three D motion cameras.
They had this crazy lab and there was this professor
there named doctor Kuan. So I go to doctor Kwan
and I'm like, and they weren't doing any golf research
at the point. I'm like, do you have any interest
in studying golf? He's like, yeah, bring me golfers. So

I start bringing my students, different people from the club.
We start collecting a bunch of data and just me
being curious, I started asking them all these questions and
he's like, why don't you just take my undergraduate Bao
mechanics class. So I take the class and I like
loved it. And there was like so many little things
where I was like, oh, that makes sense why I
see this in a swing or that, or starting to

understand better the constraints of the human body, and I
just I felt like I had this like flooding of
like insights of things that I had seen in teaching
or other teachers, things that I had learned, and it
just kind of like gave it a framework and sort
of the context for those things to make more sense
to me. Like this is really cool. So I take

the class, did one in the class in Kwan's like, hey,
you got an aptitude for this, you should do like
the graduate program. So anyway, do some other stuff to
kind of like prerex sits and YadA, YadA YadA. I
end up in his graduate program and to do a
master's game bo mechanics, and I remember the first semester.
The first class was like just like a mechanics class

and it was all like form. Kwan's this amazing professor.
He's very much like a math first type of professor.
And I sitting there and I'm like, oh my god,
I get myself into it. I remember going to him.
I was like it was like a month in the
class on like a golf pro Like I don't know
what I'm doing, and he's like he gave me this
like pep talk sort of. He was like he was

like there's this proverb where like Koreean general if the
army is like facing which feels like an insurmountable foe
that the general will back the army up against the
body of water so they have no place to run.
I'm like, you're basically calling me a whats aren't you.
He's like, guess, So I stuck it out. That first
class was actually the hardest, and then and then we

went to it like on a nice flow. I was
taking the coursework, I was working during the day. We
were collecting data on golfers, like you mentioned, we published
a couple of papers that were really cool. You know,
I'd eventually completed all the coursework for masterstream and bio Mechanics,
so I've done everything except for I have like a
ten page thesis or something to write. But that's when
Tiger Woods called me. Was like, right when I was

finishing it.

Speaker 3 (18:51):
So I'm gonna take this call. Yeah, you know.

Speaker 1 (18:54):
It's one of the things where, yeah, just starting to
get on the technology, looking at three D data, looking
at force plate data, and then having what I felt like.
I felt like because I had all those years of teaching,
which was a decade at this point of teaching at least,
and then going to grad school and then kind of
like connecting the dots just I don't know. It's just

a very really cool like window of time where I
felt like I was getting all these like aha moments
because of that context. I don't think I would have
had that if it was just like sort of the
degree first type of thing. So it's really like, you know,
fortunate in that way, and you know it. I don't
want to say. I actually think in terms of teaching,

the best window for me have developed, like might say
a set of teaching seal would be when I was
teaching on the range and you like, you know, you
you only again pay your bills if you help people
get better, So it forces you into a very sort
of like pragmatic approach to teaching. No like you've got
to be here or this position or whatever that you

can get away with if you maybe had like a
marketing machine or brand, because people are going to come
to you per that. Like I was kind of this
unknown person at a driving range that they're not going
to come to you unless their friend said, hey, I
hit it a lot better type of thing, right. That
was the place where I really I feel like cut
my teeth, just like in terms of actual teaching. But

then post that the research side of it, again, it
becomes this like small edge that I think amplified that
previous experience, you know, like anything else, I think over time,
as you get maybe better, more proficient at something, it
becomes harder and harder to find those like edges. But
the more academic side of it, blended with the previous experience,

for me was just like just tons of aha moments,
and I just I think it just helped me kind
of take it to, you know, a bit of a
higher level.

Speaker 3 (20:50):
So, Chris, you mentioned work in a bit with mac Ogrady.
I feel like there's two names in golf that when
when people hear it, their kind of ears perk up
in terms of forst it's Maco Grady and Anthony Kim,
especially modern day Anthony Kim, Like where is he? What's
he doing? How was it with mac Ogrady, Because again,
I mean, I'm not sure you can just I'm not

gonna let you just pass over the fact that you
worked a little bit with mac over the years. So
how was it like picking his brain listen to him?
How did you find him? I mean, how did that
whole thing go down?

Speaker 1 (21:21):
So I found him? He was playing a US Open
qualifier elk Cab and I watched him play if he
played lefty, al righting, he's playing righting, Okay. I watched
him play, and then I like cornered him in the
parking lot and started to ask him, like, you know,
just struck up conversation. We sat out there for at
least two hours. It was. It went from like, you know, whatever,
hey and big fan, like really love like you know,

the golf swing stuff, whatever, to this long conversation he recommended.
I was like, what are some books you recommend? He
recommended me five books. None of them were golf books.
They're all just like philosophy of science and like Adamy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It was great. He gave me his number. I called
him for years, he never responded, and then I found
this email somewhere online, sent an email, responded to that,

and then I started doing the schools with them. It
was great. I mean it was great, like, uh, you know,
I was I think I was smart enough. For the
first year. I didn't ask too many questions. I just listened.
And then after the first year, you know, I like
asking tough, challenging questions, and you know, anyway, different people

respond to to tough questions differently, right, And that's where
I feel like, uh, for me at least, you know
guys like Kwan or Sasha McKenzie or you know Mike Duffy,
or you know, like a guy like Mark Brody and
Chris Brody who was over at Ping. There becomes this
discourse where it's like the heart of the question, the better,

Like I personally, I want people to challenge me, like
I want to be asked the tough questions because I
get better from that. So that's in general the environments
I like to put myself in because those are the
ones where I think, you know, it really can kind
of like sharpen thought and help people advance. But anyway,

how is his swing? His swing is so good, like
you know, I mean, it's it's beautiful, right, I don't
I don't know enough about like his PGH career and
how much like how good of an actual ball striker is.
And this is not sort of to saying to Mac,
but but in general, I think sometimes like when people
hit shots where they take a big divid the ball

kind of comes out and it sounds really good. People
get sort of like enamored and it kind of gets
romanticized a little bit, but like Jack Nicholas, like he
picked it and like people don't really rave about him
as a ball striker, but from a practical sense, that's
like probably the best ball striker of all time, right,
So I think it's I think people got to be

a little bit careful not to romanticize things because of
the look at it of it. But it's like, you know,
how does it actually practically hold up in the conditions
that you're trying to play in. You know, if you're
trying to win majors, hitting it really high to hold
on fast screens can be pretty helpful. So again, I'm
super appreciative of the time like spent with him, you know,

so it was great. It was a great window.

Speaker 2 (24:20):
Chris uh kind of springboarding on that a little bit
and maybe maybe making it putting all this that we've
talked about in context for the listener. You know, the
biomechanics stuff might sound a little out there for some
folks or maybe you know, not tangible how it can
help their game. I think one of the big things
you and I still remember that video you and Sasho

did and put out on YouTube maybe six eight ten
years ago somewhere in that neighborhood or you guys are
talking about the three D flat spot, right, and you
were the first one, I think to kind of come
to us, sashow others yourself personally and try to figure
out what is this concept all about? Explore this concept
for the listener out there that may have never heard

of this concept. Can you just kind of tell the
story of that, like, you know, how did you get
interested in this, and how does it impact your teaching today?

Speaker 1 (25:10):
What is it?

Speaker 2 (25:11):
What can players do to maybe try to get a
little more flat ish spot maybe not flat as we know,
but and just kind of tell us that story a
little bit.

Speaker 1 (25:23):
Okay, this, I mean this can be a bit of
a rabbit hole, Yes, can come out. So you know
this is like has to be thirteen plus years ago. Now. Yeah.
There's like an air Quotes rate of closure debate on
one of the forums, and you know, there was some
people in the academic world that was saying, like rate

of closure has nothing to do with like it has
no correlation with like handicap whatever. And I think this
is where it was a little bit helpful to have
some of like the boom mechanics background some of the courses,
and I was like, well, I think here's the problem
is that golf coach has an intuition and they're asking
a question, but they were using the language. They were

using it sort of a different language than than like
say the PhDs, or they're using words differently than how
the like a PhD would interpret those same words, and
there became fundamentally like a miscommunication between the two worlds.
And so rate of closure at that point was being
measured as you know, anger velocity per second, like at impact,

so like sort of like an instants anger velocity. But
the golf coaches they're looking at a camera and they're
slowing it down and they're seeing the face look a
certain way coming into the ball, and they're saying that
looks like that has a lower rate of closure. And
when they say rate of closure, that's essentially what they
were getting at. But by the PhD sort of language,
that's not what RATEI closure would be. So in my

mind I came up, I'm like, well, what the golf
pro is really asking is what is the change in
the face rotationally per how it changes in space, like
how its movement is in space. So I came up
with this measurement of closure per displacement, so instead of
closure per time, closure per how much it's moving linear

in space. And then and then it came to me
it was like, well, if you were to do that
with the face, would you do that with the loft?
Would you do that with the club path? Would you
do that with the angle attack? So now all of
a sudden it became could you take these variables that
we know make the ball do what it does and
say what is the change in the path per displacement?
What is the change in the angle attack per displacement?

Was the change of the face per displacement, the change
of the loft per displacement? And again people sometimes mistake
flat spot is being flat to the ground. It's not that.
It's just saying what is the change of it? If
you had less of a change in the path, you
would have more of a straighter direction of it in
some direction, so it have it would be less of
an arc inissense, so that straightness could be you know,

five degrees down, it could be five degrees up. It
could be five degrees to the right of the target,
It could be five degrees to left the target. It
has nothing to do with being flat to the ground,
which is saying is there less change in that path
and that angle attack and again in the face in
the loft during an interval, Because the whole idea is,
you know, is there a window of space where impact

could happen and is there less change of those club
three D club had variables during that spatial interval, and
if there is, does that have somewhat of a relationship
to the overall shot distribution to person hits. So the

idea would be, you know, this is one of the
great sort of mysteries in golf. To me, it's like,
and I think to everybody, and I kind of had
alluded to before, Like there's plenty of five handicaps, ten handicaps.
You know, somewhere in the world, there's an eighteen handicap
that today will probably hit a hole in one. Right,
So a lot of golfers hit really great shots, like

maybe like the best shot possible, and that whole would
be a whole in one, right, So if they could
do that over and over again, they'd be the best
golf forever. Right, always hit holes of ones, but for
some reason, like we also hit these like weird shots, right, Like,
at least I do. And if you're not like a
toy guy, you hit weird shots, right? Where did that
come from? And I think a lot of like the
instructional like philosophies or frameworks have been an argument to

how does the golfer be more consistent? You know, keep
your head still, make your left arm across your test,
how do you be more consistent? And that seems to
make sense if I want the ball to be consistent,
wy don't I be consistent? But then you get like,
you know, I remember watching Trevino hit balls and he's
like moving around and talking, and I mean he's freaking

not consistent, and the ball's just every time poof, you know,
And then you get you know, I'm sure we've all
seen its someone who's got like the alignment sticks out
and everything's perfect and like all the checklists and then
the ball is going lept everywhere. Right, It's like they're
really consistent. And if you were to look at their swing,
like I think, imagine your friend, you know, whoever it is,

fifty yards away, you watch them, so you know it's him.
Like people's swings are actually kind of consistent, right, So
It's like, what makes certain swings have ball flight distributions
be consistent more so than other ones? And I don't
think the answer is just like you got to be
more consistent. And again, like these things have come through

like keep your head still, get put your left arm
here or there or whatever it is. And it's like,
well it's a hypothesis, let's test it. You know, rock
Commedia moves off the ball, Bunch flushed it, Tiger Woods,
Curtis Strange, they had like movement. And these guys were
all very straight hitters. So the argument of this three
flat spot stuff is, is there certain things that are
contained in in you know whatever techniques that essentially make

the ball flight less sensitive to human error And human
air could be you know, you slide on a little
bit more or whatever it is. Or it could be
environmental stuff too, right, or I should just say air,
not human air, but just air which could also be environmental.
Could be like a downhill lie a side, he'll lie,
it's inudivid whatever it is. All these different sort of

like inherent variables that are existing around the golf. Are
there certain techniques that fundamentally make it easier to have
the contact you want and that shot flight, the ball
flight distribution you want because of that technique. So that's
sort of like the question. And then those are the
variables that we were starting to look at. And this
is where like technology like focal as well as you know,

you guys being kind enough to start to like write
in the code to like really look at this matter,
is giving us the opportunity to start to like, you know,
potentially answer this question. You know, is there correlations between
guys who drive it really well are very good iron
players and this variable that is its own continuum, right,
like two people, two tour guys could have slightly different

changes in path or angle, attack or face whatever it is.
It's not like a binary thing. So it's got its
own continuum to it. And does that have some relationship
to you know, their ball striking ability? And then there's
obviously going to be other variables that can are going
to play a role, like you know, a person's emotional
state and mindset and you know who knows. But but

to me, that air quotesess consistency question or that repeatability question,
I think is you know the biggest, really the biggest
question in golf that determines like differences in skill set,
because again there's plenty of whatever ten handicappers with enough
club at speed that can hit a drive that looks
like a tour player. But then you know, a couple

drives later, they're they're their balls like hitting a house.
So you know that, that to me is one of
the phenomenas in the mysteries of the game. That's that's
fun to try to figure out.

Speaker 2 (32:46):
Chris, you did an awesome job connecting. You know. I
think the listener out there might be like, hey, biomechanics,
you know, what is that, what's that going to do
for me? I think that you kind of hit on,
like that's kind of the holy grail. You're trying to find,
right of that like consistency aspect which will help the
every day golfer. And you've seen it. The Travino story

is perfect one, right, you know, I think the golf
prosol observed that in one way or the other. It's like,
how do you get to the actual you know, mechanics
of how you can teach that and influence it in
a practical sense, right.

Speaker 1 (33:22):
Yeah, yeah, And I mean that at the end of
the day, it's like, you know, I think people miss
it for at least me. I'm like, I'm so pragmatic
with things, and I was a teacher first before I
went down this path. But all these are to mirror
tools to answer very practical questions, like at the end
of the day, that's my end game is how do
you just like figure out how to get better at
the game. So I do think people can kind of like, oh,

by my things, it's like yeah, and of itself whatever,
But these are tools to answer what I think are
really meaningful questions that you know. Again, this is part
of the things that grabbed me about this game is
that there is like phenomena, there's really interesting things that
happened that aren't fully understood.

Speaker 2 (34:02):

Speaker 1 (34:02):
Again, it's like, how do you have guys, I mean,
there's like whatever, like say Michael Jordan or some world
class athlete that clearly has got you know, out of
this world hand eye coronation a great athlete and their
good shots are unbelievable, but they do not have that
sort of repeatability as a tour player does. It's probably

not a function of their coronation because they're great athletes, right,
So it's like, what are some of the other reasons
to explain what is sort of a phenomenon of golf
is like why can you hit a great shot and
then you know a minute later it just hit a
shot that's like, you know, not that great Chris.

Speaker 3 (34:39):
The Trevino story was so interesting to me because I
remember talking to Brad Faxon about putting and he would
say that a big part of his great putting was
he was a try to leave shots in certain areas
where he would have the easiest putt. And then there
were times, you know, you think about a great player,
a great putter someone I mean you mentioned you know,
like a Justin Rose right, who's on the range. He's

got all these systems going, and he's got alignment rods
and he's got the ball and all those types of
things to make sure the swing is perfectly online. And
then you got somebody like Lee Trevino who's out there
making all sorts of different golf swings and he's considered
one of the great ball strikers of our generation. I
was listening to Steph Curry on a podcast a couple
of weeks ago, and they said, Steph, what are you
focused on when you're shooting? And he said, my entire

focus now is just balance. If I'm balanced when I'm
set to shoot, I feel like I'm going to make
the shot. And you know, you watch Steph play basketball,
there's a lot of shots where he's fading away, or
he's stepping back, or he's shooting a one leged kind
of floater in the lane and they all go in right.
So for him, the focus is on balance. In your opinion,

what is that constant from a Fax and putting to
a Travino ball striking, to Tiger to Steph Curry shooting
that they all do well even though they're all kind
of juggling the ball.

Speaker 1 (35:54):
This is why I think golf is for a of unique.
So I think, like all the stuff of like having
the target and balance and all that like that that
maybe like a stuff with shooting is important, and that's
probably important through all sports. And you know, like I
think putting maybe a little bit different, but I think
when it comes to like ball striking, all that stuff matters.

But I do think there's another variable, and this is
like say some of the flat spot stuff that I
do think is going to have my bat. My prediction
is gonna be this is going to have a big
sort of prediction on what makes someone hit it better
than another one, because the reality of it is is
like you know, let's say, even like Justin Rose, right,
he's got all like you said, you're with the alignment sticks.

Even to take away all his aliment sticks, and I
already give him like seven shots at tequila, he's still
going to hit it better than I am, right, so
like with all my aliment sticks, because I think he
does what I would call like air quotes, the really
good stuff. I think he's kind of always done that
for the most part, So he's going to be a
really really good ball striker. Even if you disrupt some
of the things that he would makes him feel more consistent,

he's still going to have an inherent consistency to his
motion that I think is going to kind of trump
these other versions of like making it less consistent. So
it's kind of an abstract thing. So this is why
it's always tough to talk about. But like I appreciate
you bring it up because it's it helps me sort
of like maybe communicate it better. Whatever. And this is
a weird analogy, and you can you can hammer this morning,

but so to me, I think it was like this,
like like, let's say I had a die right, and
I was you know, like a crap sty or whatever.
And let's say I can't really actually read what the
dye says, but I can read it once it lands
and it stops. And let's say I have a die
and five sides say bad shot on it, and one
side says good shot. Okay, and I rolled the die

and good shot comes up. It's like, okay, what did
I do there? I had my elbow here, Okay, let's
see my head was here, bad shot? Oh what happened?
What did I do on that one that I had?
Good shot? Okay? Hold on, I had my heir, I
had my my my shoulder here, bad shot. It's like, oh,
what's going on? Like I thought I had it right,
So that to me would be like a high handicapper.

And then on the other stream would be like a
tour guy, which would be five sides would say good
shot and once I would say bad shot, and they're like,
good shot, round the back, good shot, you know, oof,
good shot. It's just like sort of easier. Now, maybe
they could go through their process and put their lubble there.
Maybe in a very small way, they can maybe roll
the good shots a little bit more often, but really

the majority of the probability of the shots that they're
hitting is contained in their die, and the die is
you know, for the analogy is they're sort of that
late interval stuff that we're talking about before. So that's
at least part of this big golf kind of like
puzzle mystery. That's that's part of kind of how I
see it as a again sort of an analogy to

to try to help with like something that sort of
like out there a bit. But I don't know how's
that Does that make sense? Right?

Speaker 2 (38:50):
I know, I think it's looking at it probabilistically and statistically.
I mean, that's what the game, especially you talked about
in the tour level, Chris, where you framed it really
well at the beginning, you know, word zero s you're
trying to find the micro edge.

Speaker 1 (39:03):
You know, this is where I think from from a
teaching perspective. If like I've helped make, if you may
help a player make, there's certain changes you make where
all of a sudden, the game, not even a tour guy,
but like a high handicapper, they make a change and
the game feels easier to them, just like the strike
is better, the whole shot distribution changes. So it's like,
I don't think this is just a I think this

is in some ways where players, if they're actually interested
in like making improvements of their game, can make massive improvements.
So I actually think it's not just a small edged place,
but like when someone if they're willing to make a change,
can really experience the game in a completely different fashion.

Speaker 2 (39:41):
Yeah, yeah, no, I totally agree, Chris. One question I
wanted to ask you, uh, is on the equipment side.
Tell tell us a little insight into either, you know,
using a change in equipment let's say, you know, driver
or another club in the bag to help influence a
change that a players making right or have you what

examples have you seen of players playing equipment maybe a
driver loft is too low and they're doing some things
mechanically that's going to fight what you want them to do. Basically,
what I want to get to is just kind of
talk a little bit about equipment slash fitting, equipment slash
coaching and how those two things marry together.

Speaker 1 (40:24):
Yeah, I mean you can't separate them. I mean just
you know, the easiest sort of example is, especially if
someone's got like some back issues. If the loft is
too low, they're going to figure out a way to
hit it high enough. Especially a better player, they're gonna
they're gonna hit shots that fit their eye. So I
think you're always whether it be like the trajectory that's
launching at or if it's like say, you know, got

more of a draw bias or a fade bias, that's
all massive role in terms of the changes you're trying
to make with the guy, because they're they're going to
make the ball do what they want to do. So
you know, as of for instance, if someone's got say
some back stuff and they're kind of like hanging back
on it, you know, I'm always gonna try to get them,
not always, but oftentimes try and get them into a

more lofted driver so they have that same move they
hit it too high, and then it sort of like
encourages them to you know, have their chest not be
so kind of backed out of it and get sort
of stressed on the lore back.

Speaker 2 (41:21):
You know.

Speaker 1 (41:22):
And there's so many different for instances of these, right,
So it's like if I'm if I'm trying to get
change the release pattern or something, you know, it's could
work either way, but like either in the spectrum, but
like you know, maybe it's something where I want a
club that's more right biased because I need them to
do something to like try to air quotes square it
up earlier, and for them it's to take out the
right or vice versa. Right. So, but but at the

end of the day, it's it's you know, making changes
in the golf swing is is sort of like it's
it's it's it's part of an ecosystem, and you got
to understand how these pieces play a role and then
how the player is always going to end up reacting
to making the ball do something and you kind of
have to get ahead of that and that's part of
that's part probably put the puzzle together for sure.

Speaker 2 (42:07):
Yeah, Chris, do you still play poker?

Speaker 3 (42:09):

Speaker 1 (42:10):
No, not really. I stopped. It's funny, I uh two
thousand and two thousand and seven, I played in the
World Series. I played in the main and I for
I did not I bust out day one. I qualified
for thirty dollars and I actually made it very late
in the day one and had I had trip almost
tripled my chip stack and I got it. And there

was one of the guy at the table who I
didn't know who he was, and he was just give
him so many fits. And I played a hand with
him and he just completely outplayed me. He was the
only guy at the table had me covered, so like
an hour before the day one broke, he he busted me.
And I'm kind of like, I'm pretty good about like
if I feel like I'm making a good decision and

things don't work out, I'm good with. Like I'm pretty
stoic about like I made the right decision. Whatever I lost, right,
it's life experience, right, But uh, I had clearly gotten
outplayed and made like a bad decision. So I was
like in the lobby it was at the rio, and
I was like ahead, I was like, oh my god,
I was just so mad at myself. And he comes

and sits down next to me because I feel like
I had actually played pretty good at that point. He
comes down and sits next to me because he had.
It was like right before the day one broke and
then it broke, and I'm sitting on like the bench
and he sits next to me. He's like, he's like,
he played pretty good, and he's and he introduced himself
to me, and he was like one of the best
online players at the time in the world, And if
I had known it was him, I would have like

just sat on my hands, waited for day two and waited, wait,
waited for a table break because it was actually a
really really bad spot because of just how good he was,
and I got, I just got, I got toyed with basically.

Speaker 3 (43:45):
So it's like showing up to a money game and
it's Victor Hoblin and you don't know who he is.

Speaker 1 (43:50):
Yeah, exactly, I shouldn't play this guy for five hole.
That's crazy. Yeah, it was. It was. It was I
was clearly out of my league. And then after that,
after that, is right when the golf was like really
starting to get busy, and I just stopped playing. It's
just it was too hard to be both. Poker was
like a blessing. I didn't want to become a losing player,

and I'd worked pretty hard at it, so I felt like,
you know, if I wasn't putting the time into it,
I wouldn't be like, I wouldn't be any good at it.
So I stopped playing. Once in a while, play you know,
like whatever in Vegas or like different spots and I'm
I'm I'm I'm the donkey in the room.

Speaker 2 (44:28):
So Chris Gray, stuff, man, it's been fun having you
on the team. And you know, I think it's you know,
we have this kind of symbiotic relationship with you on
the research side, which is like, you know, we need
you to keep asking us questions to push us further right,
And I'm you know, let's it's been fun journey for us,

the all the team, you know, doctor Eric, doctor Paul,
the rest of the team. How much kind of fun
questions we've had trying to answer questions through our focal system.
It's been super fun. So uh, let's let's keep this
journey going. And uh, we really appreciate having you on
the pod.

Speaker 1 (45:11):
Yeah, I mean, I tell you, tell you what, Like,
the relationship with Ping has been so meaningful to me,
So I appreciate you saying all that for me personally,
Like I just get so much value out of the
relationship with you and Paul and Eric and Chris and
and and just the way you guys like go about it.
It's so funny because you know, I've been doing stuff

with PING for quite a while now, and and uh,
whenever there's like my sort of like relationship with you
guys is contractually up. The start of the negotiation is
always like, all right, we both know that I'm never
gonna go anywhere else, So it's it's it's it's one
of those things wherever.

Speaker 3 (45:48):
It's just gone, Chris, it's like leverage.

Speaker 1 (45:52):
I know, Like there's no there's no point of like
you know, not not accepting what it is. There's just
so much value I get from you guys, And people
will ask me because I'm always trying to be like
pretty like transparent with stuff, and it's like, well, you
know what about all the It's like there's probably lots
of like I think all the big club companies are
really good, right, Like they're making good stuff. But I

feel so confident in saying that, like from an R
and D perspective, the team that Ping has in terms
of just that genuine kind of like curiosity of really
trying to figure stuff out. Now, maybe someone might like
one club the way it looks or whatever, who knows, right,
Like it's just being a human the subjective aspect of
it all. But in terms of the R and D
part of it, it's just like it's hard for me
to imagine a company like really doing the things that

you guys do, so at least for me, I can't
tell you, guys how I appreciative I am to have
the relationship and it's it's made me a way better
coach for it. So thank you, guys.

Speaker 2 (46:47):
Love it, Love it.

Speaker 1 (46:48):
Yeah, Chris, we appreciate it.

Speaker 3 (46:49):
It's been great chatting with you for Maco Grady, to science,
to poker and beyond. We appreciate all your insights. We'll
have you on again. Thanks so much. This is paining
Proven Grounds podcast.

Speaker 1 (47:06):
Mm hmm
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