Strausbaugh, Bill (1989)

About Strausbaugh, Bill (1989)

1923-1999. Bill Strausbaugh, a native of Baltimore, earned the moniker of “Coach” for his work as a teacher and for contributions toward developing and improving educational opportunities for PGA professionals and apprentices. For this service to golf and to the MAPGA and The PGA, Bill entered the Hall of Fame.

He began his golf career while a teenager caddying at Bonnie View in 1937. Bill enrolled at Loyola College, but World War II beckoned as it did for many men born in the early 1920s. During the War, Bill served in the Marine Corps on the USS Wasp, an aircraft carrier assigned to the Pacific theater during most of the war.

“Coach” Strausbaugh turned professional in 1946 as an assistant to Andy Gibson at the County Club of Maryland. Before arriving at Columbia County Club as the head PGA Professional in 1968, he held the top position at Fountainhead CC from 1955 to 1961 and at Turf Valley until 1968. He retired from Columbia in 1994, ending a 26-year career as Columbia’s head PGA Professional. They named him their Professional Emeritus.

Bill contributed to the integration of the Virginia Association of Golf Professionals into the MAPGA. For many years, some golf professionals in Virginia held VAGP membership, but not PGA membership. Bill Strausbaugh, Leo Steinbrecher, Bill Clarke and Carl Rasnic formulated the agreement to assimilate those that had at least five years of professional experience. They entered the MAPGA as full members, and at the time created the Virginia Chapter of the MAPGA in 1966.

During his career as an officer in the MAPGA, he held the MAPGA Employment Chairman position in 1970 and the Presidency from 1974 through 1976. While President, he also represented District Ten (Carolinas, Kentucky and Middle Atlantic Sections) for three-years as a Director sitting on the National PGA Board. The MAPGA membership selected him as their Professional of the Year in 1966. He earned the Section’s Horton Smith Award for outstanding service and contributions towards developing and improving educational opportunities five times: 1966, 1968, 1971, 1978 and 1983. Along with Irv Schloss and Frank Cronin, he received the initial Horton Smith Trophy in 1966. He is the only five-time recipient. Twice the Section named him the Teacher of the Year: 1988 and 1992. He was the first two-time winner.

Bill instructed in Ferris State University’s Professional Golf Management program and lectured for golf associations throughout the United States, including 38 of the 41 PGA Sections, and in eight foreign countries as well. He was a speaker at the first PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit in 1988.

The World Golf Teachers’ Hall of Fame named him their tenth honoree in 2003. The tribute reads for “unfailing dedication to his students” and assisting thousands of golfers improve their games as well as teaching teachers how to teach. His colleagues in the Hall of Fame include Tommy Armour, Jim Flick, and Harvey Penick.

Within the ranks of the PGA leadership, Bill Strausbaugh served on the National Education Committee and chaired the National Club Relations Committee. Nationally, he won the PGA’s Professional of the Year honor (1966), the Horton Smith Trophy (1983), and the Teacher of the Year recognition (1992). Bill Strausbaugh is the only one to have been awarded all three. The National Golf Foundation granted him the Joe Graffis Award in 1977.

In 1979, The PGA and the MAPGA established the Bill Strausbaugh Award for work in the employment and club relations area.  (rev. 2009)