World No. 1 Lydia Ko officially has a new coach.
Three weeks ago, Golfchannel.com’s Randall Mell reported Ko and Gary Gilchrist were working together, but he had not been officially hired as her new coach. Now, Gilchrist will replace David Leadbetter after Ko ended their partnership in December.
“After CME [the LPGA season finale] I got a phone call and said when she comes back from Korea she’d love to come and spend some time with me,” Gilchrist said Tuesday on “Golf Central.”
When he first came to the U.S. from South Africa, Gilchrist worked under Leadbetter and ran the David Leadbetter Junior Golf Academy for nine years. Along with the world No. 1 Ko, Gilchrist also teaches No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn, No. 4 Shanshan Feng and Paula Creamer. He has previously worked with Michelle Wie and Yani Tseng. Gilchrist has a teaching academy at Mission Inn Resort & Club just outside of Orlando
Ko, 19, had 15 wins (including two majors) under Leadbetter, but she wasn’t happy with her driving and she wants to take ownership of her swing and rely less on an instructor.
“It’s important for me to understand more about my swing and my game, no matter who I end up working with,” Ko told Golfchannel.com last month. “The new coach isn’t going to be with me 365 days a year. If I learn more about my game, I’ll be able to find answers within myself, when I’m away from my coach. I think that’s going to be really important, so I’m not as reliant on coaches.”
Right now, Gilchrist said he is trying to keep things simple.
“We’ve been trying to get the club a little more in front of her and get her to load into her right side and then turn through into her left side,” he said.
Gilchrist knows he will have to “take the good with the bad” when it comes to working with so many top players.
“If they play poorly they can blame it on me,” he joked.
Ko is expected to make her season debut next week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.