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Zambri Named Coach of U.S. National Development Program September 12, 2023 | Pinehurst, N.C. By Julia Pine, USGA

Chris Zambri has been hired by the USGA to coach the newly created U.S. National Development Program. (Courtesy Pepperdine University)

Pepperdine associate head men's golf coach Chris Zambri has been named the first head coach in the history of the United States National Development Program. He will begin his new role on 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.”  

During his tenure with the Pepperdine University men's golf program, Zambri played a role in guiding the Waves to an NCAA Division I championship in 2021 and a semifinal appearance in 2022. Before joining Pepperdine, he spent 14 years on the coaching staff at the University of Southern California, including as head coach, guiding the Trojans to 33 victories, including three Pacific-12 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 six 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.