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Home » Coach Profile: Greg Chalmers

Coach Profile: Greg Chalmers

A 27-year pro, Greg Chalmers has won on the PGA, Korn Ferry, Australasian, and Challenge Tours. The Australian has been widely considered one of the top putters on the PGA Tour with the following ranks in strokes gained putting:

  • 2009: 4th
  • 2010: 9th
  • 2011: 6th
  • 2012: 15th
  • 2013: 1st
  • 2014: 3rd
  • 2015: 11th

In 2012, Greg started his charity named MAXimumchances.org to support children with autism. The name comes from his son Max, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 22 months in 2005.

Greg joins Skillest to help golfers of all experience levels with their putting game. He’s available for single lessons.

Zach Gray:
How did you get started in golf?

Greg Chalmers:
My dad played and he took me to the club one day when I was 12. We’re both left handed, so I grabbed me a 7 iron, teed it up, and just followed him around. I really loved it. So a few months later, he bought me a set of clubs for Christmas. He figured that if I didn’t use them, he would. But when I went back to school, I started to go to the golf course a lot. I had a handicap of 27, but I’m a pretty competitive guy. So I just got after it trying to get my handicap down. It was rare to have a day that I didn’t play golf for a number of years. I really had a good time riding my bike to the club and playing.

Zach:
At what point did you realize you could probably play professionally?

Greg:
I don’t know if I realized I could do it, but I certainly wanted to at around 16-years-old. Greg Norman was my hero and he was dominating the game at that time. So that was probably when I thought I’d love to do this if I could get good enough at it. Then I didn’t really start to treat it like a job until the end of high school. That’s when I really knuckled down for a couple of years and worked hard at it.

Zach:
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment or your favorite moment from playing professionally.

Greg:
I don’t have one particular favorite. Winning the Barracuda Championship on the PGA Tour in Reno, winning the Australian Open twice, the Australian PGA twice, those are a few. Finishing third at Q School in America in the final stage in a high pressure situation, that was pretty cool to get my card and open a door up over here in the States. Just any time you do really well under a lot of pressure and achieve something that you’ve been wanting to achieve for a long time, that’s really rewarding and they’re very rare in golf.

Zach:
You must’ve felt a great sense of pride winning Australian Open twice.

Greg:
The first one I was young and probably didn’t know the gravity of what I’d achieved. But the second one, I certainly knew because I was much older by then. I definitely had a fair idea how important it was and I think the benefit of age sort of helped me appreciate it more.

Zach:
You’ve played in all the majors. Which one’s your favorite?

Greg:
I’ve only played Augusta once. Because it’s so hard to get into that, it’s obviously a special experience. It’s funny, my opening tee shot I was a little nervous. I’d just watch Byron Nelson and Sam Snead hit off. Then I hit it down the rope line and I hit a guy right above his eye and knocked him out. I thought, “oh, this is not going to be very good.” My second shot hit a guy in the shoulder on the other side of the fairway once I got it back through the trees. So it wasn’t the greatest start for me at Augusta.
But the coolest thing about playing majors is that it brings all the family over, my parents and my wife’s parents, and it gets us all together to have a good time. I’ve been lucky to play okay and really have some good experiences.

Zach:
I’ve asked other coaches this question and have gotten mixed responses, whether it’s somewhere really nice or just the nostalgia of playing back home. With all your experience, do you have a favorite course?

Greg:
I’ve been very lucky to play a lot of great golf courses, but I really miss playing in Melbourne, Australia at Kingston Heath & Royal Melbourne. I’d love to go down and experience the Sandbelt again. In the United States, I love Riviera, which ironically they have eucalyptus trees, so it feels like Australia. St Andrews for its history. Also, Dunhill Links was phenomenal. I’ve been pretty lucky, but I don’t know if I have a favorite because I just love the variety of what golf can bring. The different courses have a lot of great characteristics that is really unique to the game.

Zach:
What got you into coaching?

Greg:
I recently entered the coaching world because at 48-years-old, my playing career is kind of slowing down.
I’ve got an 18-year-old and 15-year-old sons and one’s graduating high school soon. I’ve played 710 golf tournaments in my life. So I was sitting in my hotel room in a tournament not too long ago and I was thinking to myself, this doesn’t feel like where I need to be right now and I just need to be home a little bit more. I was offered a job teaching at a club. That keeps me somewhat busy, but I’d like to be more busy. So that’s where Skillest came in. I was searching for different apps and different ways to do this. The way it’s structured was a big deal to me. Plus being started in Australia was massive because I have friends and family down there and I thought it would be pretty cool story to be an Australian playing in America, using an Australian started company.

Zach:
And you’ll be specializing in putting?

Greg:
Yes. It’s something I’ve worked really hard at my game. It’s about 40% of scoring when it comes to the golf game. So I think it’s an area of the game that I can help people with and I’m keen to get after it.

Zach:
When most people hear of golf lessons, they immediately think of stuff you see on the range like irons & drivers. What can golfers expect when taking a putting lesson?

Greg:
There’s many ways to approach it, and that’s the great thing about Skillest. We can chat on Zoom for an hour or even have a look at you stroke live one-on-one as well. We can attack it from just a pure technique standpoint, like focusing on targets, parts of their body, and more. Just got to find what works for you as a player. But aside from technique, we can also dive a little bit into mental attitude and what to focus on while you go play particularly under pressure. I’ve experienced a lot of pressure when I played, so I’ve got some ideas and some people I’ve worked with who in the mental side of things are some of the best in the world. So if I don’t know the answer, I can ask them or we can put you in contact with the right people.

Zach:
Speaking of the mental game, what are some things you would tell a golfer when it comes to the mental side?

Greg:
A lot of it is managing your expectations. I’ve done some clinics recently at my club on putting, and have asked people what they thought the PGA Tour average is for making a 10-foot putt. The answers were astounding. People were like 7-out-of-10. Well, the best in the world is 6.2-out-of-ten. So these people are going out there playing golf expecting to hole nearly everything they look at, when in reality the Tour average is 4-out-of-10 from 10 feet. Plus, 2-out-of-10 is pretty much on the bottom end of the PGA Tour. So if you go out and make 5 to 10 foot putts, you should be patting yourself on the back. A lot of these people are roasting themselves saying “I shouldn’t have done that” or “I shouldn’t missing these putts.” But the reality is managing expectations is really important.

Zach:
During a practice round or on the practice green, do you ever play certain music to get you in the right mindset?

Greg:
Not really. I’ve used a product called Focus Band. I use that to calm down with breathing techniques prior to going out for a big tournament. I feel like for most amateurs, if they want to improve, they could do some really simple steps prior to playing a round. You don’t see enough people spending quality time on the practice green before they play. So it’s really hard to expect you’re going to putt well if you haven’t even put time in to get the speed of the greens.

Zach:
I’ve asked this question to other coaches, but more specifically for fairways and roughs. How much do greens change from country to country or different climates?

Greg:
It’s actually really important. I think one of the things that I can bring to people is an understanding that even as a pro golfer, it can take me two or three days of continuous putting to get used to new speeds and new grasses. Again, it comes back to managing your expectations. If you don’t have a few days, it’s hard to expect that you’re going out and putting awesome on this new surface you’ve just spent 5 minutes practicing on.

Zach:
So I see you’re wearing a Cowboys hat. Have you always been interested in the NFL, particularly the Cowboys?

Greg:
They’ve been giving these hats away for free in the last few weeks…
America is such a big country and when you have the option to live anywhere, it’s almost a little bit daunting because you can literally be in any place you want. But some of the things I wanted was no state tax, easy travel, and all four major sporting franchises because I didn’t go to college over here. We tried Orlando, but we didn’t really like it much in terms of living environment. Our friends lived here in Dallas, so we gave it a try. 22 years later, it’s been home and we love it.

Zach:
An off-beat question for you: if you could pick any three people for a dream foursome, who would they be?

Greg:
Just my dad and and two of my mates. I’ve been really blessed to play with a lot of great players over the years, so I think I’d rather give them a cool experience.

Zach:
So who’s your favorite golfer you’ve played with on tour?

Greg:
Anybody who is a good person and a great player. Nick Bryce when I was younger is someone that comes to mind. There’s obviously people you play with that are a great experience, like a Tiger Woods or Greg Norman. But a name that comes to mind is Peter Malnati. Probably one of the highest quality individuals. Super upbeat and really happy for you when you do well.

Zach:
This might be hard to answer given how early you started playing, but if you had a “regular” 9-to-5 job, what do you think it would be?

Greg:
When I was a kid, I looked into podiatry a little bit, but then I got put off because someone told me it was working with people’s feet. Journalism popped up as something I was going to study in college, but obviously I didn’t go. In Australia, your grades from the last year high school qualify you for college for five years. So I figured I had a five year window and I went to my dad and said pro golf is what I wanted to do. He told me if I treated it like a job, he’d support me. I worked hard in practice, but I was highly motivated because I really didn’t want to go to college or do anything else. I kind of had all my eggs in one basket, and sometimes that can be a positive because then it’s sink or swim. So I was lucky I swam because I don’t know which way my world would have gone. Sometimes I’m intrigued by that question.

Zach:
Besides your putter, what’s your favorite club in your bag?

Greg:
I really love my lob wedge, but I also love my driver right now. I haven’t loved my driver because historically that’s been the weakest club in my bag over my career.
I’ve had my putter for about 20 years. It’s an old faithful that doesn’t get many weeks off.

Zach
Do other golfers keep their putters for 20 years?

Greg:
It’s pretty rare. Some guys change a lot because the brain needs stimulation. What I say to people is understand what works for you in terms of face balance, toe drop, etc. Sometimes people change between families, but I just try and stick in the same family.

Zach:
When you give lessons, do you suggest a certain style like blade vs mallet?

Greg:
So if we get a chance to do a one-on-one Zoom, I love to have people experiment and take a look at arm lengths, what you like to look at, what the eyes see, and more. Some people like the line on a putter to go all the way up to the edge of the putter while others don’t. Some people don’t like the line at all. Overall though, it’s all about making a repetitive movement and getting the putter to move correctly. There’s a lot they can do even with equipment that is maybe not spot on or perfect.

Zach:
What would you tell someone who was hesitant to take lessons?

Greg:
I think the great thing about Skillest is it gives you so many options. Instead of me just verbalizing one-on-one for a single in-person lesson, you have your coaching with you at all times. Any time you need that information or feedback, you can keep coming back to the drills. You can also contact your coach through shooting a message and reach out at any point. And that’s really important for the coaches as well because I need to know if certain things are working along the way. But overall, I’d say just give it a try. There’s no real downside. It can be a pretty cool experience.

Zach:
Where can people follow you on social?

Greg:
You can follow me on Twitter @GregChalmersPGA

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GREG CHALMERS? LISTEN TO THE LATEST EPISODE OF THE SKILLEST PODCAST AS GREG JOINS BADEN SCHAFF AND DAVID LUTTERUS TO TALK ABOUT THE PGA TOUR, GREG’S CAREER, AND TIPS FOR GOLFERS.