Former USC and Pepperdine men’s golf coach joins the USGA in a key role
PINEHURST, N.C. (Sept. 12, 2023) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that Pepperdine Associate Head Coach Chris Zambri has been named the first head coach in the history of the United States National Development Program (USNDP). He will begin Nov. 1.
Zambri will be tasked with leading the overall direction of the USNDP’s National Team program as well as providing support and guidance to the elite golfers selected to represent their country in international competition and as part of the national teams. In his role, Zambri will oversee and lead the day-to-day coaching operations, including playing a key role in developing a network of qualified coaches at the regional and state levels to support the USNDP’s mission of identifying and developing American golf talent. Zambri will also work closely with Senior Player Development Advisor Dr. Beth Brown to create an elite golf program designed to expose athletes to the physical, technical and mental loads required to compete successfully at the highest levels of the sport.
“Chris has had an illustrious coaching career and boasts a proven track record of nurturing talented young golfers, helping them develop and take the next steps in their careers,” said Heather Daly-Donofrio, USGA managing director, Player Relations and Development. “Between his experience as a player and coach, coupled with his passion and leadership, we could not think of anyone better suited to help foster the next generation of elite American golfers.”
Prior to joining the USGA, Zambri served as an associate head coach of the Pepperdine men’s golf program. During his tenure at the university, he played a role in guiding the Waves to an NCAA national championship in 2021 and a semifinal appearance in 2022. Before joining Pepperdine, he spent 14 years on the coaching staff at USC, including as head coach, where the Trojans won 33 events, including three conference titles (2007, 2011, 2018) and three NCAA Regional titles (2008, 2012, 2017). His 2015 squad was the runner-up at the NCAA national championship. Seven different golfers earned All-American first, second or third team honors a total of 13 times under his tutelage. Zambri also served as the head coach of the victorious United States squad at the 2010 Palmer Cup.
As a player, Zambri spent nearly seven years (1997-2004) on the Korn Ferry Tour and was an active teaching professional when he was not competing. He finished as high as 19th on the circuit’s money list in 1998. He competed in the 1995 and 1999 U.S. Opens as well as four PGA Tour events. A 1993 USC graduate who played for the Trojans from 1989-93, Zambri was a two-time All-Pac-10 second team selection in 1991 and 1993.
“It is an honor to be named as the first head coach in the history of the U.S. National Development Program,” said Zambri. “This country boasts an incredible depth of golfing talent, and I look forward to playing a key role in developing and supporting the next generation of truly great American players.”
Announced in February, the U.S. National Development Program is designed to ensure that American golf is the global leader in the game by focusing on six key pillars: talent identification, access to competition, national teams, athlete resources, player development and relations and athlete financial support. Next year, the program will launch a Junior National Team, coached by Zambri, with both an amateur national team and young professional national team to follow over the coming years.
About the U.S. National Development Program
The U.S. National Development Program provides a pathway to success in golf by delivering competitive opportunities, support and training that develop American golf talent and reduce financial burdens. With its key strategic partners, host venues and champions, the program provides education, experiences and mentorship to help athletes achieve success at each level. The program is committed to fostering a positive and healthy pathway for American golfers to follow their dreams and reach the pinnacle of the sport. To learn more, click here.
About the USGA
The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. With The R&A, we govern the sport via a global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Association’s Research and Test Center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org