Bill Eschenbrenner vividly recalled one of his most nervous moments as a young golfer growing up in Fort Worth.
It occurred during the Fort Worth Men’s City Championship, when he noticed golf legend Ben Hogan in his gallery. Eschenbrenner, a 1956 graduate of Paschal High School, said he began focusing on fundamentals “because I didn’t want to do anything wrong in front of him.”
During a lengthy career as a club professional spent primarily in El Paso, Eschenbrenner did enough things right that he soon will be joining Hogan _ his childhood hero _ as a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
Eschenbrenner, 72, will be one of three golfers with Fort Worth connections who will be part of the 2010 enshrinement class on Oct. 25 in San Antonio. The others are PGA Tour veteran Mark Brooks and the late Toni Wiesner, a renowned amateur who died in 2009.
Eschenbrenner, who is best known for helping Lee Trevino and Rich Beem find success on the PGA Tour, played college golf at North Texas and competed briefly on the PGA Tour before launching his career as a teaching pro in El Paso in the 1960s. Now retired, he remains an El Paso resident who finds it difficult to grasp the magnitude of his latest honor.
“It’s incredible,” Eschenbrenner said. “You never even think about those type of things. Then you see who all is in there and it makes me really proud to be in there with that group, especially as a golf professional.”
Trevino, a six-time major champion, credits Eschenbrenner with helping jump-start his career in professional golf and declared him a “great” addition to the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
“You can put it down, that he is responsible for Lee Trevino getting his PGA card and getting on the tour in May, 1967,” Trevino said. “Pros like Bill are the backbone of the PGA of America.”
_ Jimmy Burch