Dave Pelz is an Ultra Sports Techie golf pioneer

Dave Pelz has the World’s Greatest Backyard according to HGTV because it is a  short game golf facility.
Dave Pelz has the World’s Greatest Backyard according to HGTV because it is a short game golf facility.

Dave Pelz is an Ultra Sports Techie golf pioneer. Earlier this year, HGTV’s “Million Dollar Rooms” shared video of Dave Petz’ backyard research and practice area. His custom-made golf facility is located 21 miles west of Austin, Texas, in Dripping Springs. Dave is an accomplished golf instructor and author. His complete Sports Techie passion for golf makes it is easy to understand why he is “one with golf,” at his short-game course.

Dave Pelzhttp://www.pelzgolf.com/newsletter/insidescoring.aspx.

Pelz is a former NASA physicist who constructed mass spectrometer particle-measuring devices used for researching planets’ atmospheres. But, “I realized I was a golfer who loved physics,” Pelz says, “rather than a physicist who loved golf.”

According to Pelz, he instructed Phil Mickelson to focus on practicing simple chips and pitches. Because of Dave’s influence, Phil’s conversion rate improved from the 60’s to 80 percent, among the highest on Tour.

“Pelz has evolved from a one-man operation, conducting esoteric studies from the far edge of the fairways, into an institution—an author and inventor, a global speaker and instructor, with short-game schools in this country and abroad. Now 72, he has penned six books, holds 17 golf-related patents and has fathered inventions of immense impact, among them the 60- and 64- degree wedge and the two-ball putter, one of the all-time best-selling clubs of any kind.” Via Golf.com http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/golf-short-game-guru-dave-pelz-still-changing-game-golf.

World’s Greatest Backyard

His backyard has 8 scientifically designed greens of the world’s top golf courses covering two-acres. The backyard course challenges him to putts, chips and pitch shots taken on comparable world famous golf courses. Pelz’s goal was to design greens that would test Professionals on the PGA Tour where Dave says, “80% of handicap strokes are lost to par.”

The 14th and 17th replica greens at Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
The 14th and 17th replica greens at Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

The replicas are not perfect but what is. The par three, 12th hole at Augusta National has Rae’s creek in front and an alabaster bunker.  The tiered-green 14th at Pebble Beach is a challenging green. Dave designed the 14th and 17th replica greens at TPC Sawgrass, one a road hole from St. Andrews and another surrounded by water.

The World's Greatest Backyard blueprint for a custom-made golf facility by Dave Pelz.
The World’s Greatest Backyard blueprint for a custom-made golf facility by Dave Pelz.

SYNLawn Artificial Turf – http://www.synlawn.com/artificial-grass-products/golf-putting-green-products/.

The new sports technology used to manufacture the greens were co-developed by Pelz and SYNLawn. SYNLawn worked in partnership with Dave, the founder Pelz Golf Institute in Austin, to create new turf. As a result of this sports business partnership, Dave and SYNLawn engineered synthetic grass products that not only look and feel real, but also perform like natural golf surfaces.

According to SYNLawn “Data was collected using precise instrumentation and equipment exclusively designed by the Pelz Golf Institute. All products and installation techniques were thoroughly researched, studied, and measured at SYNLawn’s state-of-the-art test facility at the Pelz Golf Institute in Austin, Texas. The test facility was designed to research, study and enhance design characteristics for all SYNLawn Golf products and installation techniques for the most realistic golf experience possible. After a year long of testing, analysis, and development, SYNLawn and Dave Pelz introduce the most complete, realistic golf experience in the artificial turf industry.”

Their synthetic turf needs no water, cutting and features a patent-pending underlayment that plays like real bent- and Bermuda grass greens.

The new sports technology used to manufacture the course greens was co-developed by Dave and SYNLawn
The new sports technology used to manufacture the course greens was co-developed by Dave and SYNLawn


I respect the vision, tenacity and love Dave displayed for golf by making a leap of faith from working securely at NASA to living his golf sports business dreams. It lead to this golf partnership between Dave and SYNLawn. When he started out following the tour, the term “short game,” did not really exist yet in golf. Dave understood before most in the golf industry that data can be used to breakdown any shot taken on a PGA certified course, in order to improve scores. His theories centered on the notion that any amateur or Pro golfer could improve their game, especially the all-important short game, by adhering to his methods.

Dave’s love of the game caused him to follow the PGA Tour for three years. Pelz needed funds to continue with his golf research so he invented and designed equipment. In 1986, he visualized the two-ball putter. Dave sold the rights after more than ten years to Callaway Golf for $250,000. Callaway has since sold over 5 million of these putters to date.

While following the tour, Pelz developed his data centric golf philosophies which emphasized that a shot taken inside of 100 yards are, “60 to 65 percent of golf.” He shared hard-earned data that showed how players missed shots at a high rate of 16% – 20% when taken within 100 yards. Finally, he determined that most players’ ‘distant control’ part of their game was not optimized.

Dave’s insistence that players carry more clubs in order to improve short shots inside of 100 yards, rather than the one club that was used during the 1970’s, is not rocket science but close to it. His scientific theories revolutionized golf and were also a sportsbiz boom for club manufactures. Golfers needed to carry more specialized short-game clubs which meant more sales for golf companies. Course management also developed new standards thanks to a sport wide emphasis on the short game.

Sports Techie, The 2013 golf season is upon us once again and I thought you would enjoy learning about a Sports Techie master of his trade. What Phil has done for golf tech over the years is groundbreaking. To create and install a custom short game facility that mimics the best greens in the world is an amazing feat. Pelz is an automatic Sports Techie golf hall of fame member. I hope to meet Phil someday soon and talk about his life journey pioneering and golf technology advancements.

Follow @PelzGolf on Twitter for everything pelz, pelzgolf, short game, putting, and research, instruction. You can find his books on Amazon.

When your crib is the world’s greatest backyard like Phil’s, you are an Ultra Sports Techie.

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