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Essig joins father in Golf Professional Hall of Fame

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Don "Chip Essig photographed at his golf course Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, at the Hickory Stick Country Club in Bargersville, Indiana. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Don "Chip Essig photographed at his golf course Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, at the Hickory Stick Country Club in Bargersville, Indiana. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Chip Essig is genuinely humbled by any honor that happens to come his way, the latest being no exception.

On March 12, Essig will be among eight inductees enshrined in the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame at a ceremony taking place at the PGA Education Center at PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

His name, along with those of his fellow inductees, will be inscribed in granite at the adjoining PGA Museum of Golf.

“To be in the Hall of Fame, it’s a great honor. To have your name on a plaque outside the historical museum is just neat,” said Essig, 47, co-owner of Essig Golf LLC along with his father, 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Don Essig III.

“I never expect to win awards, and I don’t think that’s why you get into the golf business. It’s because of your love of the sport, and part of being a golf professional is service to the customer.”

The Hall dates back to 1940. It’s purpose is to pay tribute to PGA members who have made noteworthy contributions to the building of The PGA of America and the game of golf.

It was only two years ago Essig was honored as PGA Golf Professional of the Year, a distinction previously won by only two other Indiana PGA Section members — the late Don Padgett in 1961 and Jack Barber in 2009.

Essig has been a PGA Master Professional since 2004. His golf course management company operates three area courses, Hickory Stick Golf Club in Greenwood, Pebble Brook Golf Course in Noblesville and Heartland Crossing Golf Links in Camby.

His professional path began after graduating from Purdue University with an accounting degree. Essig first worked as a golf pro at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., before moving on to employment at two private clubs. He then was head golf pro at Forest Hills Country Club in Richmond before teaming to do business with his father in 1995.

The Essigs currently are the lone father-son Master Professionals in the United States.

In 1998, Essig was appointed to the PGA Rules Committee. His high-profile assignments have included every PGA Championship since 2001, the Ryder Cup, two Masters, three U.S. Senior Opens, two PGA Cups, a Senior PGA Championship and four PGA Professional National Championships. For the past 13 years he has been a board member of the Indiana Golf Foundation and a member of the USGA Men’s Amateur Public Links Committee.

Spreading one’s self so thin isn’t a burden when a person is as passionate about something as Essig is about all aspects of the golf industry.

Essig remembers becoming passionate about the sport as an 8-year-old growing up in New Palestine.

Don Essig at the time was majority owner of the former Hoosier Links while also serving as its golf pro. It was only a matter of time before his only son knew exactly where to place shots and how putts would break on every one of its 18 holes.

“My love of golf is twofold. No. 1, it’s a game you never master, so you’re always looking to improve,” Chip Essig said. “Secondly, it’s so much of a relationship game. The sport in general starts with the people you play with. Someone who is a golfer might see the logo on my shirt, and a conversation will start because of it.”

Anticipate the dialogue lasting longer once they find out Chip Essig is in the Hall of Fame.

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