Pebble Beach and Princeville Are Around the Corner

A high-definition golf simulator room
That’s Eric Schultzel in the insert with Pebble Beach’s treacherous seventh hole in the background. Jack Graves

Want to play such famous golf courses as Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Bay Hill in Florida, Kiawah Island in South Carolina, and the Princeville Resort in Hawaii, without leaving home?

You can do so now at 15 Toilsome Lane, East Hampton, where Eric Schultzel, an A-rated Professional Golf Association professional and 1999 East Hampton High School grad, gives lessons in a high-definition golf simulator room with variously angled cameras and floor-to-ceiling backdrops of the above-named courses.

The Star’s golf expert (and this writer’s brother-in-law), John Kernell, took a lesson there Friday and came away with a new resolve to lengthen and straighten his driver and fairway woods shots, now that, with Schultzel’s help regarding his downswing’s club path, he’s hitting more from the inside-out rather than from the outside-in, a subtle change that ought to add 30 or so yards to his drives and keep them on the fairways, out of the rough.

Schultzel, who grew up in Montauk — his uncle, Keith, a former commercial fisherman, is the mechanic at Montauk Downs — began hanging out at the well-known public course when he was 6 or 7. “I learned by watching Kevin Smith [the head pro], Tommy Sepp, and Paul Dickinson, and then went out and tried to do what they did.”

He and Matt Scott alternated at one and two for Claude Beudert’s league-championship team in 1998, after which he played at Brevard College in Cocoa Beach, Fla.

Beudert, when asked to comment concerning his former player, said, “We’re very proud of him. Back in his senior year in high school, he said that teaching golf was what he wanted to do. I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said yes, he was sure. We need people like him — we need people to teach golf.” 

Teaching, rather than playing competitively, has always been Schultzel’s main interest, though meeting the P.G.A. professional school’s qualifying 36-hole score on his first try — which he did at Riverhead’s Cherry Creek course in 2008 — had been a singular feat. “Only 10 percent pass that test the first time.”

Schultzel, who has played all the courses whose graphics he has, opened up for business at 15 Toilsome this past July 4, and has, even in the summer, he said, been kept busy with students intent on improving their techniques.

With the Princeville Resort’s 420-yard, par-4 first hole having come up on the screen, Kernell was asked if he’d ever been there. “I’ve never even been to Hawaii,” he said. “This is about as close as I’ve come!”

“Into the woods,” this writer said as his drive was tracked. 

“Your ball is unplayable,” the screen said, and urged that he decide what to do. After taking a Mulligan, Kernell played admirably, holing out for par (absent the Mulligan). One can also chip and putt using Schultzel’s graphics.

For many years Schultzel, who now lives in Sag Harbor with his wife, Angela Inzerillo, an exterior and interior house designer, worked at Montauk Downs, though he is happy to be no longer tethered to a golf course.

“I’m never going to be connected to a golf course again,” he said in reply to a question. “I’m my own man now.” 

“My wife,” he said with a smile, “is my only partner.”