Re: "The Putting Bible" by Dave Pelz
Originally Posted by CG031
I think one of the Pelz "bible" books explains this.
The short answer is that he gained a reputation as a valuable advisor/teacher on putting and the short game in the 1980s. I'm pretty sure it was through a collaboration with Pelz that Tom Kite began carrying three wedges, and in this sense Pelz is linked to one of the major changes in the typical professional's golf bag and approach to the short game.
Random thoughts on Pelz:
I don't know if I'd call him a "guru." In the general connotation of that term, he's an anti-guru. He's not someone who sits in the lotus position chanting eternal truths bestowed upon him by some ethereal deity, while pilgrims sit at his feet writing them down.
Unlike what most teachers do - at least the ones who publish instruction books, etc. - Pelz did not formulate his personal ideas about putting or the short game based on his personal playing experience, and then translate those ideas into a teaching method for pros.
He did things the other way around. He spent years following tour pros around golf courses, charting their shots in notebooks. He didn't say "this is what makes a great wedge shot, do this!" He asked a question: "What makes golfers score well and win...what shots do they play, where do they land relative to the pin, etc."
He learned that sometimes pros themselves didn't understand which shots were really the good ones and the bad ones, at least in terms of which shots helped them score.
Everything was deduced. Decades of observing things in the field, generating hypotheses, then testing them in his various golf laboratory settings.
One element of Pelz's teaching that differentiates him from most other teachers is that he has a quantitative approach. He doesn't just tell you "it's important to practice the short game." He tells you how many strokes you use per round, at any given handicap level, from various places on the course, and tells you very practical ways you can eliminate some of those strokes. He can tell you how many strokes you can expect to take from distance X if you lay up v. go for it, he can tell you how many putts you can should be making from Y feet if you want to be a single digit handicapper, etc. And he doesn't make the numbers up, he figures them out, and you can read the data yourself if you don't believe him.
For years he worked primarily with tour pros, but he eventually learned that there were many average golfers willing to pay big money to learn from him, and he developed golf schools. His schools are probably unique in that, in addition to teaching, he uses them as laboratories to further test his ideas, etc.
In short, I think the answer to how he became a recognized expert in golf is simply that he earned it, he worked for it.