Summer Golf @ it's Finest
Short-game coach Dave Pelz, carrying do-it-yourself to an extreme, has created what for my money is the world's greatest home office, in this case 2½ acres for practicing pitching, chipping and putting. One could certainly call Pelz eccentric for transforming the rocky terrain around his new house here into scale replicas of famous golf greens—the 12th at Augusta National, the island 17th at TPC Sawgrass, the 14th at Pebble Beach—and draping it all with artificial turf. But finding ways to improve at the short game is Pelz's job, and he has spent 30 years tinkering with ideas about the perfect setup.
It's beautiful, too, at least in the eyes of a golf nut. A stream that mimics Rae's Creek at Augusta is programmed to start gurgling at 5 p.m. every day, about when the sun begins to set over the hills west of Austin. "You've got to have music," Pelz explained, referring to the stream. "This is my dream—that if I'm going to practice, I want to enjoy it."
Pelz will not use the facility for teaching—it's his home. But he does invite friends and the occasional Tour pro to come over and mess around. In his mind it's a kind of demonstration project, proof that backyard practice is effective, attainable and can help expand the game.
The best thing about the facility, from Pelz's point of view, is how quickly he has access to golf—"real golf, not just a range," he said. He's timed it. At first it took 44 seconds from rising in his easy chair in the den to hitting the first ball. Now, by stashing his clubs and balls more strategically, he has trimmed that to 30 seconds.
Shoehorning even a bit of practice into the day can take too long. You usually have to get into your car, drive to a course, chat with the pro and walk out with your clubs to the practice green or range. "If you live 45 minutes from your course, like I used to, forget about it. Nobody with a busy lifestyle is going to spend two hours total for 30 minutes of practice," he said.
Make sure you take advantage ot the full service practice facility @ The Landings at Spirit Golf Club
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