Why Chris Como was a great choice for Tiger Woods

Well here we go again… Tiger Woods’ new swing coach has been announced and the speculation is in full force. Will Chris Como help Tiger? Will he help Tiger break Jack’s record? How will he compare to his other teachers? Blah blah blah.

First of all, I want to say how much I appreciate what Butch Harmon, Hank Haney and Sean Foley did for Tiger’s swing and knowledge of the game because it was fun to watch. Each teacher was presented with an interesting set of variables to contend with and a media circus unlike anything previous teachers have faced to date. Butch took Tiger to heights only Bobby Jones and Nicklaus had known. Hank refined an age-old issue of “getting stuck” that Tiger consistently complained of during Butch’s tenure and Sean helped Tiger to understand more about the swing than ever before. So who was right? They all were!

You have to remember that Tiger has always been inquisitive and wanted to learn more and more, so each teacher had different tasks in order to appease Tiger. Sean will be forever bashed for making Tiger too technical, but was that really the case? Maybe it was Tiger who was too interested in the mechanics and the “new” ball-flight laws and if Sean did not give him the information he wanted then Tiger would have found it elsewhere. As we in the teaching world all know, the player is the boss!

Now that Tiger has moved on to Chris Como, there are a few questions that everyone is asking. Will Como’s age, 37, and lack of experience – at least compared to Butch, Hank and Sean — affect his ability to coach Tiger? Is Como too technical for Woods?

I know Chris, his background and his personality, so I think I can offer a pretty good guess as to what will happen in the future. So here are my reasons why Chris and Tiger will be successful.

  • Chris is smart and has studied under some of the best teachers in the business.

Chris’ tutelage under legendary instructors Hank Haney, Mac O’Grady and Mike Adams — three people I have also learned and studied under – will serve him well with Tiger. They are some of the brightest minds in the golf instruction world and have made it their job to learn as much as they can about what it is that they do. Of course they have their detractors, but who doesn’t? He is armed with a ton of practical information in order to handle any mechanical issue Tiger may have.

  • Chris’ understanding of biomechanics and his study under Sasho MacKenzie. 

In the golf teaching world, Sasho MacKenzie is the man. He is the Head of Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University, and his research in kinetics and ground reaction forces has been revolutionary to our understanding of how the body works during the golf swing. His research has helped us to learn more about how we twist and turn and move weight during the golf swing.  We now know more about lateral, rotary and vertical motion in the lower body through his work with ground reaction forces.  I think this is one of Tiger’s issues and always has been in my opinion. His lower body motion causes a ton of issues with how his upper torso and arms move on the downswing. It will be interesting to see how his balance and lower body action changes during his time with Chris preaching Sasho’s work.

  • Chris’ friends.

Chris has a great coterie of friends in the golf instructional and educational world, more so than most Tour teachers to date. This is because at a young age he spent time with the best teachers and learned from them. He has never been egocentric or a jerk to be around and for this reason I feel that if he ever needs help or an extra opinion on Tiger, he WON’T be afraid to ask his friends. At times, we as teachers all need another set of eyes — a sounding board, if you will. Chris will take advantage of his contacts within the industry.

  • Tiger is the best player in the world.

Let’s face it: Tiger has more talent than any golfer to date and if he can just make a few changes he will be right back on track. It’s easy to kick him while he’s been injured etc., but a refocused Tiger is a scary one if he sees some quick success! I have no doubts it will come sooner than everyone believes.

The last thing I will say is good luck Chris, enjoy the ride — don’t let the media get you down. If things don’t go well at first, remember that you are one of the best in the world at what you do. I’ll be watching!

What you can learn from Tiger’s new coach, Chris Como

My colleague on GolfWRX, Tom Stickney, wrote an article recently in which he listed five reasons why teaching golf will never be the same. Tom rightly pointed to recent technological advances and how they have and will impact teaching in the 21st century. To put it bluntly, the days of the pro leaning on a club, standing behind the student and occasionally barking out a few comments are over.

Recently, Tiger Woods hired Chris Como as his swing coach. After the announcement, Chris’ website had so many hits it crashed in like five minutes! Though largely unknown to all but avid followers of golf instruction, Chris is a very bright and modest young man — a welcome addition to the often opinion-dominated world of PGA Tour teachers.

Above is a recent video of Chris working with Dr. Sasho Mackenzie, one of the leading golf research scientists in the world. In the video, Sasho makes a clear case for what he terms “passive squaring of the club face” through the golf club’s relationship to the hand path. In the downswing, the more UNDER the hand path the player can get the golf club, the easier it is to square the face. Conversely, the more OVER the hand path the club gets, the more it tends to open through impact. It is a great piece of science, proving that bio mechanics and a thorough understanding of the body’s influence on the golf club can help a player get to the next level.

A while back I wrote an article offering some thoughts and how to stay down through the shot. The Como/Mackenzie piece offers scientific evidence of the relationship. It is always better to get the shaft to lay down early in the golf swing. The steepening of the shaft, which occurs as part of the torque on the club and the body’s movement through the ball, can and will take effect if we can get the club below the hands early.

Below is my video offering some evidence of what Chris and Sasho are explaining. Notice that the amateurs in the video struggle with getting the shaft under the hand plane.

I am not saying that this is what Chris and Tiger will work on, but it is evidence of Chris’ dedication to his craft. I guess we will all have to wait and see if the Como/Woods connection is a good one for Tiger. In the meantime, this is a great instructional tip, which will certainly help most golfers.

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Tiger Woods choses Chris Como as swing coach

Tiger Woods tweeted earlier today that Chris Como will be his next swing coach.

The announcement follows reports that Tiger has resumed hitting full shots after his latest bout with a back injury.

Who is Chris Como?  Like former coach Hank Haney, Chris Como teaches out of the Dallas, Texas area.  Como, 36, is based at Gleneagles in nearby Plano.  Former students include Trevor Immelman, Aaron Baddeley and Jamie Lovemark. Tiger parted company with former coach, Sean Foley, about three months ago.

Henrik Stenson WITB 2014

Equipment is accurate as of the DP World Championship (11/23/14)

Driver: Callaway X2 Hot Pro
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Tour Limited

3 Wood: Callaway Diablo Octane Tour (13 degrees)
Shaft: Grafalloy Blue (+0.5 inches)

5 Wood: Callaway X Hot Pro (17 degrees)
Shaft: Grafalloy Blue (+0.5 inches)
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Wrap Full Cord (2 layers of tape)

Irons: Callaway Legacy Black Irons (3-PW)
Shaft: N.S. Pro Modus3 120X (+0.5 inches)
Grips: Golf Pride Tour Wrap Full Cord (2 Layers of Tape)

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 (52 and 58 degrees)
Shaft: N.S. Pro Modus3 120X (+0.5 inches)
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Wrap Full Cord (2 layers of tape)

Putter: Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball V-line

Ball: Titleist ProV1X

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Click here to see the clubs that Stenson used in 2013.

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Click here to see what GolfWRX Members are saying about Stenson’s bag in our forum.

Review: Titleist 915D2 and 915D3 Drivers

Pros: The 915 drivers are surprisingly long on mishits, especially the 915D2. Titleist’s wide variety of lofts, two distinct heads and impressive array of premium stock shafts makes fitting easy.

Cons: At $449, these are two of the priciest drivers of 2015. Neither allows golfers to adjust CG.

Who are they for? Anyone, but most golfers should lean toward the 915D2. It’s one of the best drivers of 2015. The 915D3 will work for advanced players who need slightly less spin, but it’s not as low spinning as other low-spin models on the market.

The Review

If you’re reading this review, then you probably have at least one Titleist golf club in your bag — and if you don’t you probably did in the past. Apple iPhone users tend to keep buying iPhones, and golfers who buy Titleist clubs tend to keep buying Titleist clubs.

If I’ve described you and you’ve been waiting to hear if the 915 drivers are worth the upgrade, I’ll cut to the chase. Yes, they are, and to prove it I’ll jump straight into the numbers. Not currently a Titleist player? I’ll address you later in the review.

We took two testers with handicaps of 0-to-5 to The Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., to test the 915 drivers against Titleist’s previous driver line. After the testers warmed up, they hit five shots with each driver head. Obvious mishits were discarded, and each head was tested with the same loft, hosel setting and shaft.

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The Showdown: 913D2 vs. 915D2

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The D3 Showdown: 913D3 vs. 915D3

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To gearheads, the numbers speak for themselves. If you aren’t fluent in launch monitor lingo, however, let me provide some context. Here’s the simple breakdown of what golfers must do to hit longer drives:

  1. Improve their ball speed while maintaining similar launch conditions.
  2. Improve their launch conditions while maintaining similar ball speed.
  3. Improve their ball speed and launch conditions simultaneously.

More Forgiveness: The 915D2

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The strength of the 915D2 driver is its ability to create more ball speed on mishits, as seen in Tester 1′s numbers. He added an average of 1.8 mph of ball speed with the 460-cubic-centimeter driver while maintaining similar launch conditions — a testament to the 915D2′s rearward center of gravity (CG) that raises its moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of a driver’s ability to retain ball speed on mishits.

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Something else was going on, however, because the size and MOI of the 915D2 driver is relatively unchanged from its predecessor, the 913D2. That something was Titleist’s new Active Recoil Channel, which wraps around the sole of the driver to create a more efficient energy transfer on off-center hits that leads to more ball speed.

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Above: Titleist’s Radial Speed Face is thinner in the blue areas and thicker in the purple areas to create a larger sweet spot.

Channels or slots are nothing new to drivers, of course, but Titleist Active Recoil Channel showed obvious benefits in testing. It’s both wider and deeper than its competitors slots, and is matched with the company’s Radial Speed Face that uses variable face thicknesses to further improve ball speed on mishits.

Related: For more info on the technology in Titleist’s 915D2 and 915D3 drivers, click here. 

There are very few drivers that will be able to compete against the 915D2′s big forgiveness and relatively low-spin launch conditions, and the club’s refined looks and feel should give it the upper hand in many fitting bays.

Much Lower Spin: The 915D3

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The strength of the 915D3 is its ability to improve launch conditions, particularly in the reduction of spin, which has been a weakness of past Titleist drivers. For the high-launch, low-spin launch conditions we observed, the 915D3′s retention of ball speed on mishits is also impressive.

Compared to the 915D2, the 915D3 has a lower, more forward CG. It also has a smaller, 440-cubic-centimeter head that is designed with slightly more fade bias than the 915D2.

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Above: Titleist’s new drivers have lighter, 8-11 titanium bodies. Weight was also removed from the blue areas and moved to the purple areas improve forgiveness.  

Tester 2, a low-launch, high-spin player, saw his spin rate drop an average of 632 rpm when he switched from the 913D3 to the new 915D3. His launch angle also increased an average of 1.2 degrees. If that sounds impressive, it’s because it is. If you have the 913D3 right now and find yourself struggling with spin, go now to the nearest authorized Titleist retailer to be fit for the new model. That’s how much better it is.

If you’re considering switching to a 915D3 from another brand, you should know that it’s not going to be as low spinning as models such as Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond, TaylorMade’s R15 or Cobra’s Bio Cell Pro, but it will be more forgiving than those clubs.

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Above: The 915D3 (left) measures 440cc has a taller face and is shorter from front to back than the 915D2, which measures 460cc. 

If you look back at the testing data, you’ll notice Tester 2′s ball speed was actually slightly faster with the 915D3 than it was with the 915D2. That’s rarely the case with smaller, lower-spinning drivers, and a nod to the forgiveness Titleist was able to maintain with the 915D3 and the benefits of the Active Recoil Channel.

The Bottom Line

The performance of the 915 drivers is one reason to buy them. The other is the slew of loft and shaft options.

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The 915D2 is available in lofts of 7.5, 8.5, 9.5 10.5 and 12 degrees. The 915D3 comes in lofts of 7.5, 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees. The variety allows golfers to dial in nearly any loft, lie and face angle combination they desire, and the two distinct club heads should fit most interested players.

The five shaft options are even more impressive. They include Aldila’s new Rogue Black and Silver shafts, as well as Mitsubishi Rayon’s new Diamana D+, S+ M+. All are the “real deal,” which means that they sell for several hundreds of dollars each at retail. That makes the 915′s sticker price of $449 more digestible.

There are drivers on the market that are slightly more forgiving than the 915D2 and ones that are lower spinning than the 915D3 — that’s why we gave them an A- grade — but chasing one attribute such as low spin or maximum forgiveness is not what these drivers are about.

If you’re looking for the complete package — possibly the best combination of looks, sound, feel and performance — the 915D2 and 915D3 are it.

Whose side are you on? Tiger? Jenkins?

By now you probably know the story — Dan Jenkins and Golf Digest faked an interview with Tiger Woods and Golf Digest staged photos with a Tiger lookalike.

Tiger Woods was not happy, and let the public know via Derek Jeter’s new Players’ Tribune website. You can read Jenkins’ original story at the bottom of this link. Despite some vicious feedback on Twitter and social media, Jenkins stood his ground.

Lindsey Vonn, Woods’ girlfriend, shared her feelings on the matter. She sided with her boyfriend and supported his decision to confront Jenkins and Golf Digest.

“It was like a fabricated interview, like what [Jenkins] thinks Tiger would say,” Vonn said.

Stellar observation.

Predictably, Jenkins’ story and Tiger’s response has been a very polarizing issue. People, golf fans, journalism ethics specialists, haters, apologists, social observers and conspiracy theorists have been voicing their opinions. We’ve combined the most popular responses into a poll.

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Puma BioDrive Spikeless Golf Shoes

Puma’s new BiODrive is a spikeless shoe designed for both the gym and the course. It has three specialized zones throughout the shoe for flexibility, balance and stability, which help provide both grip and support.

The three “zones” are broken up into its front, middle and back sections. The forefoot has multiple decoupled octagon-shaped pods, which replace traditional spikes, for flexibility and traction. The mid-foot axis point was designed for torsional movement that provides a balanced feel, and the heel has four pods that are said to provide a platform for support.

“Training in the gym and on the course is important for golfers of all levels,” says Joey Diovisalvi, a fitness expert and Cobra-Puma Golf ambassador. “It’s a great performer on the course that allows the golfer to grip the ground through their swing but can also be worn to the gym. From a biomechanics standpoint, it provides the flexibility, stability and balance necessary for optimal performance.”

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The BiODrives look and perform like an athletic shoe, but the outsole, with 10 octagons providing 130 points of traction, was designed with the golfer in mind. Octagons on the perimeter of the shoe have a larger surface area for enhanced grip on smooth surfaces, while the center octagons were designed for traction on the golf course.

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A ripstop mesh upper was designed for waterproof performance, and it’s lightweight and breathable to keep cool during the hot summer months or when sweat builds up in the gym.

“This spikeless, versatile shoe allows golfers to go straight from work to the gym, to the range, or to play 18,” says Grant Knudson, head of footwear at Puma Golf.

To ensure durability, the shoe’s outsole is made from carbon rubber, and a TPU wrap was bonded 360 degrees around the shoe for even more protection.

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The BiODrives will be available for $140 on Dec. 15 in four color combinations

  • Strong Blue/Peacoat/Fluro Yellow
  • Black/Turbulence/Puma Red
  • Tradewinds, White, Vibrant Orange
  • Black/White/Turbulence