Bill Pollert has won numerous golf awards and honors during his career, but he says the one he received in February ranks at the top of the list.
“It’s a good feeling,” Pollert said of being named the 2021 Indiana Golf Professional of the Year. “It’s pretty cool. It’s humbling when you’re recognized by your peers. There are a lot of prior winners I look up to. It’s very humbling to be on that list.”
Pollert will receive his award in August.
In 2014, Pollert received the Horton Smith Award, which is designed to recognize individual golf performances for their outstanding and continuing contributions to developing and improving educational programs and seminars in the Indiana Section, contributions and assistance toward the development of articles that benefit and relate to education and contributions to building the image of golf.
In 2004, he was named the Assistant Player of the Year, and in 2005, Pollert was the Assistant Professional of the Year in Indiana.
The 1997 graduate of Seymour High School helped the Owls qualify as a team for the state tournament his sophomore year.
“I went another year as an individual,” he said.
The high school state tournaments at that time were played at Prestwick Golf Course in Avon.
He recalled playing middle school matches at Immanuel Lutheran School, where Hersey Mangels was his coach.
Pollert and the Owls played their home matches at the Seymour Elks course that has since closed.
“I started working there when I was in high school,” he recalled.
Pollert went on to play golf for four years at Ball State University, where he was team captain and earned most valuable player honors. He was on the Ball State student athlete advisory board.
He has been head pro at Highland Golf and Country Club in Indianapolis since January 2011.
Highland, home course for the Butler University men’s and women’s teams, has a membership of about 350 families, plus another 100 individuals.
“I enjoy seeing members and students get hooked on the game and have the passion that I’ve had for it and making golf part of their lives where they can enjoy it their whole lives,” Pollert said. “I enjoy seeing the junior golfers, the kids 8, 9 and 10 in my junior program, see them advance all the way through high school and college, see them have children and see their spouses play the game. I enjoy not just teaching but running the golf operation at the clubs.”
Pollert said Highland Club officials built a golf academy and simulator at the course in 2018.
“It is a 90-by-100 feet and we have private bays where people can hit golf balls,” he said. “People can practice, and we can give lessons year-round. That way, the kids can become involved in the game.”
Pollert recalled being hired by Tony Pancake for the position of assistant golf professional at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel in 2004.
“He hired me 17 years ago,” Pollert said. “He was my mentor and is a close friend.”
Pancake also is a graduate of Seymour High School.
Pollert left Crooked Stick in 2006 and became head professional at Belmont Country Club in Perrysburg, Ohio. He was there for four years, then moved to Hurstbourne Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky, where he stayed for one year before coming to Highland.
He is a member of the PGA with substantial experience in managing a full-service golf operation in a private club setting, where the primary focus is providing a daily first-class experience to all segments of the membership.
He said one of the biggest changes in the game since he started has been the equipment.
“They’ve tried to make it easier for beginners, and seniors can get the ball out there and have fun playing the game,” Pollert said.
He said there is a wide range you can spend on equipment.
“You can get a set of clubs for $250, and you could spend $800 on a driver if you wanted to,” Pollert said “People don’t want to spend that much if they don’t have to and can still enjoy the game.”