Heath Wade playing the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Courtesy photo
Sprinkler design rendering. Courtesy/Heath Wade
Imagine, on your lunch break in Los Alamos, taking a 10-minute drive, and stepping into a New Zealand golf course. As you play, you get analytic data on your swing, such as which rate and direction your ball is spinning.
Chameleon Golfing is bringing state of the art golf simulators to Los Alamos. Owner Heath Wade is a golf professional who teaches lessons and owns a landscaping business in which his team specializes in turning any lawn into a putting green.
Last week Wade met with Nicholas Seet, founder of the Los Alamos Venture Accelerator, otherwise known as LAVA, to discuss the optimal way to position his new businesses for an upcoming launch.
“This is what I call product/market fit, Heath is clearly an expert in this field and has uncovered a much needed technology,” Seet said.
Both of Wade’s business ventures make it possible for people to enjoy golf without dedicating five to six hours of the day playing on a traditional golf course. With Legit Landscaping, he brings golf to his customer’s backyard so that kids can play, experienced players can have a private place to practice, and beginners can play and have fun. With Chameleon Golfing, players of all levels can play a custom virtual golf course.
“Golf is my passion,” Wade said. “I’m always looking for ways to expand the sport. I have no doubt in my mind that this will be a huge success.”
Wade’s grandfather, Willie Martinez, was the first quarterback of the Los Alamos High School football team and an avid golfer. Martinez introduced Wade to golf when he was about five.
“He found a set of clubs and had them cut down to my height,” Wade said. “He took me to the range every day, and we hit balls, and then he showed me how to do it even better.”
Wade is a self-described sports junkie who played baseball in college, but when he reached his limitations with that sport, decided to look into a future playing golf. In 1999, he started to work at a golf course. In 2002, he passed the test to become a golf professional.
Wade moved to San Diego and went to the Golf Academy of San Diego, now called the Golf Academy of America, and earned his degree in Golf Sports Management. He was the assistant golf professional at Black Mesa Golf Club for eight years. During his tenure, Black Mesa Golf Club was always ranked in the top 50 public resort courses in the world.
During every stage of his career, Wade was interested in the details of running a golf course, he said.
“At the time, I picked the superintendant’s brain every chance I had,” Wade said.
Wade especially enjoyed taking care of the grass, watching it grow, and understanding what a dramatic effect it could have on the game, he said, adding that is why it is so satisfying for him to turn yards into putting greens.
“People think that it is an impossible task to turn your yard into a place to play golf. It can be done relatively inexpensively if there is already a green,” he said.
His company makes it easy to keep up their pristine landscape designs, because they maintain the lawns that they design.
“We won’t just install it and leave. It will be an ongoing relationship,” Wade said.
Legit Landscaping is already accepting clients and completing projects in town. Visit http://www.legitlandscaping.com for more details. Chameleon Golf is forming partnerships with key vendors, looking for the best location, and selecting top-of-the-line golf simulators that will allow customers to have the most realistic experience possible. Wade plans to use the simulator to give more informative golf lessons.
“It’s better to be in a simulator when you teach,” he said. “You can give more detailed feedback.”
His goal is to have a lounge area with food and drink, four simulators, and a net set up so people can warm up. In addition, he will have a mobile simulator that can be taken to public events like the Gordon’s Summer Concert Series.
Visit http://www.chameleongolfing.com to get 50 percent off your first simulated golf round, be the first to hear about Chameleon Golf’s progress, get the opportunity to buy a lifetime membership pass.
Los Alamos Venture Accelerator is now recruiting entrepreneurs and mentors in anticipation of their official launch Sept. 5, at the Los Alamos Science Fest. People can get involved and stay informed by signing up at http://lava.guru.