The AJGA tournament scene is a familiar one for AJGA alumnus, Bob Estes. When Estes picked up a golf club for the first time at age four, he had no idea where it would take him. But by age 12, the young boy knew exactly where he wanted to go. Estes’ dream was to one day be a part of the PGA TOUR and that is right where he would end up.
The talented golfer played in the AJGA from 1982 – 1984, making quite the name for himself in the junior golf circuit. He won his first AJGA tournament at the 1984 AJGA Oklahoma Classic, held at the Trails Golf Club in Norman. He finished fourth at the AJGA Six Flags Junior Invitational that same year, following two top-five finishes in his 1983 season.
“The American Junior Golf Association was very instrumental in my development as a golfer,” said Estes. “Playing well in AJGA events gave me the opportunity to attend the University of Texas on a golf scholarship. In addition, I also got to compete and socialize with other junior golfers who are still good friends of mine to this day.”
Following his years with the AJGA, Estes’ success continued at the collegiate and professional levels. He went on to receive a college scholarship to play collegiate golf at the University of Texas. In1988, Estes received the Fred Haskins and Jack Nicklaus Awards as College Player of the Year. That same year, Estes’ turned pro, making his childhood dream a reality. The Texan has been on TOUR for 20 years and has finished in the top 10 five times in majors and won four events (1994 Texas Open, 2001 FedEx St. Jude Classic, 2001 Invensys Classic at Las Vegas and the 2002 Kemper Insurance Open). He best finish so far this season was at the 2008 Shell Houston Open, where he finished sixth.
Despite his immense success, Estes has never forgotten his roots. He has had a strong impact on junior golf and the AJGA, showing continued support for the program. For the third consecutive year, Estes will team up with Dodge, a sponsor since 2006, to host the 28th annual Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior in his hometown of Abilene, Texas.
“Sponsoring the event in Abilene, where I grew up, is quite an honor and also another way for me to give back to the AJGA,” said Estes. “I'm very glad to be part of an organization like the AJGA that has helped thousands of juniors develop their golf skills, as well as life skills."
The Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior will do just that, thanks to the continued support of sponsors and alumni such as Estes.
“We are thrilled that Mr. Estes has chosen to continue to support our event in his hometown of Abilene,” said Darren Nelson, AJGA South Central Regional Director. “He should be proud that he is directly having an impact on creating playing opportunities for juniors to showcase their talents for college coaches each year at this long running event.”
The tradition continues this year as the nation’s top golfers will tee up on Abilene Country Club’s Fairway Course July 14 – 17. The field consists of 120 boys and girls, ages 12 – 18, hoping to take home a win Dodge/Bob Estes Abilene Junior and make their own childhood dreams come true.