Thursday, September 29, 2005

El Pasoan Named PGA Pro of the Year

Congrats to Bill Eschenbrenner of El Paso, recently named PGA Golf Professional of the Year. That's the highest honor a club pro can receive from the PGA of America. Eschenbrenner, PGA Master Professional at El Paso's Lone Star Golf Club, is the 52nd person to receive the honor, and the first from the PGA's Sun Country section (which covers West Texas and New Mexico).

Eschenbrenner, 67, has had quite a career:

A former caddie at Worth Hills Municipal Golf Course in Fort Worth, a facility made famous by author Dan Jenkins, Eschenbrenner made a career path to professional golf through his association and friendship with many of the premier players in the Lone Star State, including legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.

”I was fortunate to have known top Professionals, and I just wanted to be like them,” said Eschenbrenner. “Had I not had golf, I’m sure I would have been in the pool halls forever. I was friends with Ben Hogan, and knew him well. Just as I am a friend of Byron Nelson, and individuals like Ernie Vossler (1967 PGA Golf Professional of the Year), Fred Hawkins and Orville Moody. They guided me. The PGA of America card meant a lot to me, and being a member, I was able to set goals and pretty high standards. I am very honored to win this national award. I always tried to give back, and that feeling comes from those PGA professionals who got me started.”

Eschenbrenner, a PGA member since 1965, was also the 1994 national Horton Smith Award winner for contributions to PGA education. He has served as both a premier instructor and mentor to many of the games premier players. He is credited by Lee Trevino for helping him gain a PGA Tour berth.

Eschenbrenner helped Trevino attain PGA membership in the late 1960s, during a period when such membership was required to compete on the PGA Tour.

The list of Tour professionals under Eschenbrenners tutelage features eight current players, including 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem, a former PGA assistant professional at El Paso (Texas) Country Club, where Eschenbrenner served 35 years as PGA director of golf and five years as consultant.

The developer of a city-wide junior golf program in El Paso, Eschenbrenner also served on the board of the El Paso Sun Bowl and Sun Carnival Association. In 1974, he founded the NCAA College All-American Golf Tournament, an event that has returned $546,000 in golf scholarships (prior to this fall’s tournament) to participating college programs. Past tournament champions include: Tiger Woods, Jerry Pate, David Duval, Davis Love III and Scott Simpson.

From 1976-77, Eschenbrenner served as president of the Sun County PGA Section, was District 12 Director for the national PGA Board of Directors (1995-97), and was a past board member of the Southwest PGA Section from 1965-74. He is one of the most respected instructors at PGA education seminars and employment workshops. Eschenbrenner and his wife, Janet, are the parents of a son, Scott, of Las Cruces, N.M., and a daughter, Tami Swingler, of Austin, Texas.

(Via Cybergolf)

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