Golf short game guru Dave Pelz is still changing the game of golf GOLF com — Volkswagen Golf Country

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With his backyard golf Dave Pelz is still the world of golf


Pelz’s Austin-area home a dynamic short-game practice More Photos

The house the short-game guru Dave lives, in the foothills west of Tex. is a golf geek’s with practice grounds to fit its owner’s fantasies. Just his back door, Pelz can dead aim at faithful reproductions of his targets: the 12th green at fronted by a creek and an alabaster the 17th at Sawgrass, ringed by and the 14th at Pebble Beach, its tiny tabletop, as forgiving as the of a VW Bug.

When Pelz and his JoAnn, moved in last she chose the china, but he had final say on the landscape, which also tributes to the 17th at Pebble, the at Augusta and the Road Hole at St. along with enough greens, skewed at different to keep Ben Crenshaw endlessly

The short-game facility extends two-acres of SYNLawn synthetic that never 
 requires or mowing, and that features a patent-pending underlayment that his putting surfaces to receive like real bent- and grass greens.

On any given when he isn’t writing or tweaking a new gadget, or working Phil Mickelson in the run-up to a Pelz can be found at his rear in his trademark bucket hat, a bag of balls beside him, the array of precision shots on he’s made his name and a career.

The Tour pro D.A. a Pelz protégé and friend, the property as “Pelz’s playground” a the man himself dismisses.

“It’s like a laboratory,” Pelz “A place for pushing with my work.”

It takes a kind of person to regard a dreamscape as a research center, but Pelz has always had a stats-jammed of his own. “Not everything has said has been embraced away,” says 19-time winner Tom Kite, who worked Pelz in the late ’70s and ’80s. “But people came around to seeing what he said was right. you look at the long term, you the immense impact that had.”

Since the mid 1970s, when he a job as a NASA research scientist to himself in golf research, has unearthed answers in the data others were still for them in the dirt. The truth serious players hold that you drive for show, but and pitch for dough was far from when Pelz got started. The itself “short game” even exist. By treating course as a laboratory, and every as part of a grand experiment, not only showed that shots deserve their own he proved that they’re matter most.

“Joe Blow golfer may go out and smack drivers on the range for an and think he’s accomplishing says Andy North, a U.S. Open winner-turned-ESPN and one of the first Tour pros to Pelz’s teachings. “But the game, there’s a deeper of how golf is really played. of the credit for that goes to Pelz.”

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Pelz has evolved a one-man operation, conducting studies from the far edge of the into an institution an author and a global speaker and instructor, short-game schools in this and abroad. Now 72, he has penned six books, 17 golf-related patents and has fathered of immense impact, among the 60- and 64- degree wedge and the two-ball one of the all-time best-selling clubs of any

Pelz’s insights have Tour pros and amateurs His stable of students, with 19 under their collective has included Vijay Singh. Azinger, Lee Janzen, Michelle and, most famously, who turned to Pelz for help in 2003, months before he won his Masters. “I was 0-for-43 in before I met him, and I’ve won plus a Players Championship, Mickelson says. “That it all about him in my book.”

Pitching in his backyard, Pelz cuts the of a man in his natural setting. But like the probes that he once for NASA, he has traveled a long way to get he is today.

Pelz was born in raised in Kentucky and grew to 6 5. He became a standout athlete, a four-year golf scholarship to University. His Big Ten career was sound but notable mostly for the record he against an Ohio State named Jack Nicklaus: wins and 22 losses. Enough not named Nicklaus also him that, by graduation, Pelz had his Tour ambitions.

With a degree in physics, landed a job at NASA, where he mass spectrometers, particle-measuring that were instrumental to into other planets’ Interesting work. But the more he in a lab, the more he daydreamed of the “I realized I was a golfer who physics,” Pelz says, than a physicist who loved

Where college taught him the and bolts of science, NASA him in the rigors of sound research. One of inquiry consumed him: How some players with swings winning on golf’s stages?

Take 1969 champ George Archer, a ballstriker by Tour standards. Or Gay whose swing looked a bit like a helicopter in a death Somehow, both won green “It occurred to me,” says, 
 “that if I couldn’t Gene Littler” who had a famously swing “from Gay Brewer, I really didn’t understand the

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