The emerging empire of Liberty Hill’s Edel Golf
By MIKE SCHOEFFEL
The Edel Golf production factory on Holmes Road isn’t so much a factory as it is a buzzing, pulsing labyrinth.
Or maybe a beehive.
At the heart of the hive is David Edel — the King Bee, the cool master, the unruffled guru. He sits in his darkened office, little natural or artificial light shining through, clubs leaning haphazardly against the walls around the room.
Outside his office, the beehive hums with workmanlike noise. Edel’s hands are clasped behind his head, his eyes are searching for a thought in some hidden corner of his mind.
“When you spend 20 years of your life thinking about one thing all the time, an idea that took root maybe 15 years ago has just been stewing and waiting,” he says. “It’s like that 17-year-old cicada, it’s going to pop out of the ground one day — why on that particular day, I don’t know.”
Yes, he’s talking about golf.
Edel has a way of speaking about golf that makes the sport seem philosophical, metaphysical. Edel winds his way through complex golf topics with the measured self-assuredness of a guy who knows every nook and cranny of his subject. It’s no ruse — he has the success to prove it.
He’s the man — and the mind — behind the emerging Edel Golf empire. With an eccentric, serene sort of genius, he’s turned the labyrinthian beehive on Holmes Road in Liberty Hill into a certifiable golf factory that produces some of the most highly renowned hand-crafted clubs on the market. The proof of quality is in who has used his stuff — PGA masters Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes, NCAA champion Bryson Dechambeau, and countless other professional and amateur standouts.
“I’ve always been good for the golf afficionado,” said Edel. “The club champion, the serious golfer. I provide real solutions for them. They aren’t into the latest trends. They want something that actually works.”
So that’s what Edel produced — a highly individualized system that works for the golfer with a no-nonsense approach to the game. Edel’s claim to fame is his intricate fitting system, a system so detail-oriented that Edel says it has over one billion possible permutations. He calls it “arguably the greatest in the world.”
Take the putting system, for example.
As Edel explained, putting has long been considered a sort of black art, an enigmatic process nearly impossible to exact. The main objective of Edel’s system is to remove some of the guess work: to add science to this mystical exercise.
At core, Edel’s goal is to align a golfer’s imagination with his/her reality — if a player projects a putt traveling a certain distance in a certain direction, that’s what should happen.
To do that, Edel breaks down putting to its most basic components, with the help of laser technology. With the advent of inexpensive lasers in the 1990s, Edel came to realize that the way people aim is often highly inaccurate. They think they’re aiming straight, but in reality that’s not the case. With that knowledge, Edel could then toy with head shapes and line combinations and necks and countless other minutiae to create a unique club for each individual player.
His mind-boggling complex system, coupled with his top-quality hand-crafted clubs, has helped Edel carve out a place on the high ground amongst golfing elite — his niche, he said, has always been the “high-hanging fruit.”
“The large companies don’t want to go where I’m at,” he said. “It opens up Pandora’s Box for them. It’s too complicated, it’s too in depth.”
From a young age, the sport of golf was a way of life for Edel. There are pictures of him at the age of two, holding a club like the pro he would one day become. His father was a caddy at Cypress Point Country Club in Monterey, California. His grandfather also lived in Monterey, right on the Caramel Valley golf course. Edel played there for the first time at the age of 15. The moment he returned to his parents’ house, he told his dad he wanted to be a golfer.
“So we joined our club on the Oregon Coast,” he said. “I just went head over heels for the sport and never looked back. From day one I knew it’s what I wanted to be involved with.”
His love of the sport led him to become a teaching professional, which in turn took him to Chile and Argentina, where he was the coach of the National Teaching Program. He spent his time in South America “chasing the sun,” as he put it, bringing a North American approach — and modern technology — to a country that was still in the stone ages in terms of golf instruction.
After a while, though, he got burnt out on teaching. So he returned to the states and started up Edel Golf in 1996. Since then, it’s been a steady climb to the mountain top. Things are beginning to come to a head now — high profile players are using the brand, and its reputation is spreading among the golfing ranks.
“It’s at the point now where the rock isn’t being pushed uphill,” he said. “It’s starting to roll downhill now.”
Edel said he has no intention of growing the company into a large, mass production company. He’s too focused on quality to fall into that trap. As he put it, “once you get too big, you start to lose what made you good.”
As it stands now, the beehive is exactly where he wants it to be
“I want to be a Bentley or a Ferrari or an Aston Martin,” he said. “Someone that makes high end products, someone that keeps innovating and pushing the industry forward.”