There’s nothing golfers enjoy more than perfectly manicured putting greens.
You know the ones — the silky smooth surfaces that are usually reserved for pros and top private clubs.
But no matter what course a golfer plays, his or her greens are never pristine year round. Maintenance and climate take a toll on even the best natural greens.
Yes, synthetic putting greens have improved significantly in the last decade, but the ones that most closely mimic real greens are complicated to install and require constant maintenance. Well, not all of them, actually.
Meet “The Only Green,” a standalone, no-maintenance indoor putting green that allows golfers to raise individual parts of the green’s surface to create different combinations of breaks. Its 4-foot-by-20-foot green has 3 million different break configurations, which means a golfer could putt on a slightly different green every day for about 8200 years.
Tim Ummel, co-founder and managing partner of The Golf Tank, the company that owns The Only Green, says the secret to the product is its special construction that not only allows golfers to quickly and easily create putts with different combinations of breaks — its proprietary surface allows the ball to roll in a way that’s indistinguishable from the best greens in the world.
Ummel and Golf Tank partner Mike Helfrich are golf industry veterans — Ummel has spent 20 years in various golf businesses, while Helfrich was one of the original employees of HotStix, a Scottsdale-based custom club fitting facility.
Their deep rolodex of industry connections led them to form The Golf Tank in July 2012, which was inspired by the ABC reality TV show “Shark Tank.” The Shark Tank features a panel of entrepreneurs, headlined by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who invest in the products and businesses of other entrepreneurs.
Like Shark Tank, Ummel said The Golf Tank plans to invest in ideas and companies where they see growth potential. The Only Green, for example, ranges in price from $3,295 to more than $10,000, which differentiates it from other indoor putting greens.
“We know how to market to those kind of customers, Ummel said. “We’re also looking for equipment that everyone has got to have . . . products like the Olimar Trimetal that completely revolutionized things.”
The company’s first order of business was purchasing a company called “Dream Green,” which was the The Only Green’s old name. Dream Green inventor Rocklin Duffy actually began making his high-end indoor putting greens in 1989. But he was the only one making the greens, so production took seven to nine weeks. That meant that Dream Greens were largely a secret in the golf world.
In September 2012, The Golf Tank officially purchased Dream Green from Duffy, 67, and his wife Lisa. The founders then spent four months creating tooling that kept the greens the same, but allowed them to be produced much faster — in about seven days.
The Only Green launched in January and is sold out of The Golf Tank’s 4000-square-foot Scottsdale-based headquarters, a discreet facility located nearby the Scottsdale Air Center. It’s is available in four different sizes that take their names from famous golf architects: The Ross (2×8), The Old Tom (3×12), The MacDonald (4×12), The Tillinghast (4×16) and The MacKenzie (4×20).
The 2-foot-by-8-foot model will set golfers back $3,295 with a hard maple or ash wood base, while darker natural woods such as cherry, walnut, hickory and bubinga cost $200 more. The MacKenzie, the largest model, has a starting price of $9995. For all the models, custom lengths, headboards and enamel paint logos are available for additional charges as well.
Ummel said that he is pleased with sales of The Only Green so far, and has interested buyers that range from homeowners who want one unit to high-end department stores that are looking to purchase several hundred units to put in the men’s sections of their department stores.
Check out the photos below we shot of The Only Green at The Golf Tank’s headquarters.