Bruno's Blog

Dave Pelz Q&A (2014) PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


Dave Pelz is one of my favorite people to sit down and talk golf with, he's brilliant,

honest and passionate about the game of Golf. Pelz is so well informed and has

created such a wealth of shortgame data, that the games most talented lean on his

expert advice on how to score. He's mentored the likes of Tom Kite and Phil

Mickelson, and if you've ever picked up an Odyssey Two Ball putter he's influenced

your game as well. We first talked back in January 2012, and to be honest, two years

was too long between chats.


Dave Pelz Jan. 2014

LinksNation: You recently signed a new equipment deal - endorsing Cleveland/Srixon,

your thoughts about the partnership?

Dave Pelz: It's exciting for me, because Cleveland/Srixon is a company that

specializes in shortgame, they have the best selection in the industry. They have

great wedges with a variety of bounces and lofts, that can fit any golfer.

LN: Cleveland also has a new putter called Smart/Square that is very unconventional,

what are your impressions?

DP: It's the first putter that I've tested that is easier to aim and putt with than my

two ball putter that Odyssey did very well with for many years, this one is testing


LN: Many people don't know that you had a hand in the design of the Two-Ball


DP: Yeah, only the patent . . . that's all (laughing)

LN: Wedge wise, will you have any special grinds or models?

DP: Just signed on January 7th, and I'm just getting involved in seeing what they're

doing . . . maybe I'll get involved in the future.

LN: Last time we talked (Jan.2012), the USGA ruling on anchored putting was eminent,

and you were adamant about your disagreement with their potential ruling - that is now

reality . . . your thoughts?

PZ: I think the USGA is making their 2nd biggest mistake, the biggest was outlawing box

grooves. They are driving away the most loyal, most dedicated and hardest working

people in the game - by making it tougher. I don't think our game needs to be tougher.

You can do anything you want with the Tour Pro's, that's fine with me, but don't make

the game tougher for amateurs. It's already very difficult, the big problem is not time or

money. People have time, people have money. Most golfers, once you get them on the

course - they wish it lasted longer not shorter . . . they want to stay out there more.

Don't tell me all this stuff about slow play, the problem with the game is - it's so difficult.

LN: Are you surprised more equipment manufacturers didn't take up the fight (on the

anchored putting issue)?

DP: I'm disappointed. I thought the PGA of America and PGA Tour would have fought

them (USGA) on it - because they have the best interest of the game at heart,

apparently more than the USGA does right now. I say that because the USGA says

all the right things, but they're not realists . . . they're in an "ivory tower". They are

thinking about things that they as kids were told by their parents, and it's just not true

anymore. Our youngest generation today is not looking for a difficult game, they have

so many choices. Soccer is bigger than it used to be . . . all sports are on TV now. You

could spend your life in front of a television and never pick up a club, that's easier than

playing golf. I think the game should be promoted and encouraged because it's a game

for a lifetime. The game is so pleasurable and fun for the average player - as long as you

don't make it too hard.

LN: Changing gears, Phil's Open Championship win at Muirfield had to be special for you . . .

DP: The truth is, he hit every shot. He has learned how to hit low shots into the wind, and

it has been a big help to him. He also has learned to not be afraid to bump and run it from

200 yards out, anything 200 and in - he's very happy to go ahead and run it up. I have

always worried the British would always be the hardest for us to win . . . because that one

takes the most self control. Last year he just kept biding his time, he waited, just kept

making pars and then he made it happen coming down the stretch.



"Team Phil" pictured a few years ago at Royal Birkdale


LN: When he talked about his win at Muirfield, he referred to his putting on the fescue

greens as being the biggest difference for him, your thoughts?

DP: He has some keys in his putting that we're not talking about, but what has happened

is, he has decided what his technique really is. There is one perfect putting stroke in his

minds eye . . . now if he misses two or three putts in either direction he isn't wondering

"Geez, I wonder which stroke I should be making, what's wrong." He knows he's not doing

what's perfect, so he goes back to what feels perfect. He committed to this in the middle

of last year and I expect he'll continue that this year. If he does that with his putter and

can keep his driver in play a reasonable amount, then he'll be considered one of the best

players that's ever been, which is an astounding statement.


LN: While were talking about Phil, let's discuss the back nine Sunday at Merion . . . it was

two wedges that really cost him his chance to win his first U.S Open Championship, but

specifically the short par 3-13th. I was just a few yards away from Phil and Bones as they

discussed the shot. The wind had picked up and the rain was enough to be a nuisance, but

what I picked up on was - they never seemed completely committed, what happened there?


DP: I talked to him about both of those shots (13th & 15th holes) that cost him the tournament.

He's not sure where the swing on 15 came from. The one on 13 he said was total indecision, he

takes full blame for that. It wasn't that he wasn't ready to make a good swing . . . he was undecided,

then he gets over the ball and he said "I should have backed off, I know better I'm experienced



LN: Was the thinking, don't plug it in the lip of the front bunker - that's the double bogey?

DP: What he did with his hands was perfect, because that would have hit on the back of the green

and stopped and then come back down to the pin . . . problem was - he pulled it. He pulled it to

the right (for a left hander) to the back edge of the green. He's thinking it's the shortest hole and

that's his strength. Hey listen, Golf is not a game of perfect. The truth is, when he won the British

Open he had about five shots that week that weren't very good . . . they were bad, but he got away

with them. In his mind, the bogey on 13 at Merion Sunday felt like a double. He gets in trouble all

the time and has the best attitude in the world. He's going to win the U.S Open at Pinehurst, and

if it's not this year, it'll be next.

LN: As the owner of a backyard synthetic green set up myself, I'd like to ask you about your

backyard golf utopia back in Texas.

DP: It is unbelievable to me, I've owned 6 homes in my life . . . I'm not an overly materialistic person,

but this is the first time I've ever lived in a home, where just living in the house is a thrill. It has the

most unbelievable backyard, I can be sitting in the living room and 38 seconds later I can be hitting

shots to the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.



LN: How long were you planning your dream backyard ?

DP: About 15 years, I designed it. I had the concept, and my first concept was to build a home

on the back of a driving range at a conventional club. Then I realized, Im not going be able to find

a facility with enough targets. I have 8 greens and 4 target areas, I have 13 different yardages I

can hit to inside of 150 yards . . . then I have a 400 yard range in the back. I got involved with an

artificial turf company that would take my advice on how to make the turf better for golfers. I have

a green that rolls 12 (on the stimpmeter), another that rolls 11, two greens that roll at 10, and a lag

putt that rolls 9 1/2 . If you putt on my 12 green, it's like putting at the U.S Open, all of the target

greens are made with an underlayment that holds shots like real turf. My shortgame is better than

it's ever been!


Dave's backyard is a golfer's paradise



LN: What's on the horizon for you in 2014?


DP: I'm really excited, you're here with me in the Cleveland/Srixon booth. I have gone with a company

that specializes in shortgame. Their total emphasis is on scoring, and I'm excited about that.

A Look Back On Our Year PDF Print E-mail


Story and Photos by Jason Bruno


2013 is all but expired, but I can't help but look back . . . it was another great year for the game and

for us at LinksNation. If you're reading this, I'd like to thank you for supporting the site. There were so

many great experiences for us in 2013, and I'd like to share a few of my personal thoughts and

recollections of our year.

Demo Day on the eve of the PGA Show - Orlando





The PGA Show in January is always a great week form an industry standpoint, but when you throw

in the grand opening of a world class golf facility (Streamsong Red & Blue Courses) in the same week

it becomes special. The people at Mosaic teamed with Kemper Sports to host a gathering of the world's

most respected Travel & Course reviewers, as well other golf journalists from around the globe.



Crenshaw at the opening of Streamsong


I was fortunate enough to be paired that day with Doak's Design associate Eric Iverson, his brother

Neil (who works for Horizon Sports Turf) and Canada's Rick Young, who writes on the business and

equipment side of the game for Score Magazine. We enjoyed a "chamber of commerce" weather day

that January morning, and aside from misplacing my camera, it was a flawless day for golf. Tom Doak's

Blue course at Streamsong did not disappoint, our review:



You learn much about a person after riding in a cart for a 5 hour round on the links, and truth be told, I

felt like Rick Young was a longtime friend by the time we hit the back nine . . . great guy. Eric Iverson

was incredibly insightful on the design and construction of the Blue and other Doak projects currently

in the works. When the day was over, I knew it was one to remember and as usual it was as much about

the people as it was the scenery. Later in May, I went back to play the Red Course, and all I can say is

Kudos to Ben Crenshaw & Bill Coore on an amazing design.



Rick Young joined me on the Blue Course at the Streamsong Opening in late January.




Next was my one on one Q&A with Ben Crenshaw at the Allianz Championship just weeks after the

Streamsong Grand Opening. If you enjoy talking course design and architecture (I do), then Gentle

Ben will engage in great conversation . . . even after shooting 76, as I found out. We talked Payne

Stewart, '99 Ryder Cup, and of course, golf architecture & design. I've interviewed many tour players,

course designers, and superintendents . . .  no doubt this was among my favorite moments as a scribe.

To read the interview with Ben Crenshaw:




The crew from the 1st Annual LinksNation Cup Team Matches held the first week in March at Mission

Inn and World Woods.





Just a few weeks later, we were at Isleworth covering the Tavistock Cup - which was a blast as usual.


After observing Adam Scott at Tavistock, I proclaimed that he'd win the Masters, nailed it . . .

but whiffed on the other 3 major predictions.





The next trip on the agenda was a week in Philadelphia, a course review at the Classic Donald Ross

design - Aronimink (pictured below), then a week behind the scenes at Merion for the U.S Open.

The uphill ninth at Aronimink




The week in Philly started with a day at Aronimink hosted by Head Professional Jeff Kiddie. I was

paired with Jay Sigel, Dr.Jim McGlynn and Asst. Professional Pat Clark. Great company and a top

100 classic Ross design on a gorgeous June day, another highlight for sure. Our Aronimink feature:



Later that same day, I was enroute to my meeting at Merion just 7 miles away. Certainly I was the

only scribe who was working behind the scenes on the hallowed grounds of the Wickerbaskets. Being

part of Shaffer's grounds staff was an honor, our first major task on the Monday before the Open was

one of damage control - we rebuilt the greenside bunker on the famous 11th hole (where Bobby Jones

completed the "Grand Slam" in 1930. Along with Matt Shaffer, who I consider a friend . . . the guys in

our group (all experts in Agronomy throughout the world) bonded during the week. Guys like Paul Porto,

Patrick Haughley, Tyler, Greg, Big Pat, Robert, Keith, Andy, Dave Petfield and my partner in crime from

New South Wales Golf Club in Australia - Dean Lenerth. Images from the 113th U.S Open at Merion:

Rebuilding the bunker on eleven





Robert, Dean, JB and Greg on our last night of tending to the turf at Merion



We worked hours before the sun came up each morning and finished long after the sun set every

evening. It was a hectic week with all of the horrible weather that hit the Philadelphia area that

week, but Matt Shaffer showed nothing but grace under pressure. One of the highlights of the week

was when the Golf Channel interviewed Shaffer the day before the championship began, Chamblee &

Nobilo asked Matt how he'd handle his course getting shredded by the best players in the world

(because of the soft conditions), he fired back and let them know that Merion would not only hold up,

but it would come out on top when all was said and done. The herd of grounds masters gathered at

the hotel watching on TV roared like the patrons at Augusta when Nicklaus nailed the "Yes Sir" putt in

1986. In the end, Merion was the true winner (as Shaffer predicted) along with Justin Rose. I made a

half dozen lifelong mates, all who were very proud of what they accomplished. Matt Shaffer somehow

motivated us by his commanding presence and our own need to help him finish the job. We all can hope

to reach his level of excellence in our professions. I hope to return to Merion in 2014 . . . to see the

place a year after the Open, but mostly to see my friend Matt Shaffer.


A great view of the fifth hole at Merion, I shot this photo from the tenth green on the Sunday evening

before the U.S Open.





In late August I traveled to Laredo, Texas for the media opening for the Max A Mandel course designed

by Robert Trent Jones Jr. Guest of Honor Nancy Lopez was another memorable interview, and is one of

the nicest people in the game. "The Max" sits along the Rio Grande on the Texas/Mexico border, and is

a unique signature course in an area starving for a first class facility. Again the memory was as much

about new friendship as it was of business . . . Jason Veretto of the Back Nine Network was a pleasure

to get to know. Feature on "The Max":


The par 3 - fifteenth at "The Max"



In 2014 we'll start off with the PGA Show, and then it's off to the media opening at the new Trump

Doral Blue Monster designed by Gil Hanse. Looking forward to another great year in golf, and another

adventurous year in the LinksNation.







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