Paula Creamer had one of the more disappointing seasons of her career in 2015, and, on the very of turning 30, the 2010 U.S. Women's Open decided to make a change in hopes of reinvigorating her game.
In December, Creamer left long-time coach David Whelan and began working with Gary Gilchrist as her new instructor. She is making her debut with the Gilchrist-influenced swing at the LPGA Tour's season opener, this week's Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.
Creamer had worked with Whelan since she was 14 years old. In search of more distance, she began working with Whelan on swing changes in 2014. They didn't prove effective. Though their personal relationship is still good, but Creamer needed another set of eyes to move forward in her career.
“David and I were fine,” Creamer said Friday after a 1-under 72 in the Bahamas. “It was definitely just something that we couldn't work out. Still talk to him all the time, but after 15 years together, it's kind of, it's crazy.”
Gilchrist worked with Creamer when she was a student at the David Leadbetter Academy, where he was director of golf earlier in his career. Gilchrist, who has taught the likes of Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie, now has his own golf school for up-and-coming players.
Creamer has been working on a lot of changes in the month-and-a-half. She made a big change to her setup, particularly with her putting stroke and maintaining posture with her full swing.
"A lot of it came from just the way I was at address," she said. "The way I walk into the ball is very different. Putting is very different as well, a little bit more this way instead of my tendency putting is to shut the clubface and now it’s definitely more on a little bit of an arc. But everything is really set up. My pivot is different, I’m able to keep my height a lot more. It obviously comes and goes just because this is the first week out here with it, but it’s definitely all set up and visualizing things.”
So far, so good. Creamer enters the weekend on Paradise Island trailing Charley Hull, Megan Khang and Haru Nomura by just two shots.
“I just think it's a great fit," Creamer said. "I love the way he teaches the game, love the way how he gets in and can show me, and he's definitely made it very fun for me right now. Made a lot of changes, but they're worth it, and I believe in it.”