Izzy: A part of the tradition of Minnesota golf
Born: Feb 21,1957 (53 yrs old)
Graduate: Bemidji H.S. in 1975 Graduate of Lamar University, Beaumont Texas in 1980
Family: wife Sarah, a physician at Lakeview Clinic in Staples. Three children: Zach(17), a senior at Staples H.S., Emily(14), freshmen at Staples H.S. & Andrew(12), a 7th grader in Staples
Current Profession: Head Golf Professional at the Vintage G.C. outside Staples for the past 16 years and Co-Boys & Girls Golf
Coach with Glen Hasselberg.
His Bemidji H.S. team won the State H.S.Golf Tourney in 1975(final year of one class system). He finished 5th and 3rd twice in his varsity years.
He was named Assistant Golf Coach of the year in 2000 at Staples High School - coaching boys & girls.
Played in 3 U.S. Opens and made the cut each time: (1982-finished 63rd at Pebble Beach, 1985-finished 55th at Oakland Hill in Michigan & 1986-53rd at Shinnecock in N.Y.
Winner of many Minnesota PGA Golf Tournaments, Pro-Ams & the Pro-Gal at Detroit Country Club.
Minnesota State Open Champion in 1991,1992,1994 & 1995
Three time Pine To Palm Champion in 1976,1977 & 1980 at the ages of 19, 20, 23.
Last Pine to Palm Champion to win back to back titles in 1976 & 1977 only three other golfers have accomplished that feat: Jerry Burns in 1947 & 1948; Jack Rule won three straight titles in 1958-1960 and Bill VonWald of Maplewood matched that with three titles in 1973-1975. In 1975 he defeated Mark Rhode of Marshalltown, Iowa, Dan Croonquist in 1977 & Mark Norman of Edina in 1980. In 1976 he also won the Minnesota State Amateur and was medalist at the Birchmont in Bemidji and the Resorters in Alexandria.
Best Round of Golf: He shot a 54 at Moose Lake Golf Course on a par 68 layout (14 under par) & his low round on the PGA Tour was a 65.
He turned pro after his win at the Pine to Palm in 1980. He won the 1984 Singapore Rolex Masters and the 1985 Thailand Open.
He played on the PGA Tour in 1986 & 1987.
Bill was elected to the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.
Ten holes in one (career) 2 in competition
Israelson stated that his wedge play & putting has always been his strength and in college became a better ball striker. He credits Larry Perkins of Bemidji getting him started in the junior golf program and who shares a cabin with the Israelson's on Lake Bemidji.
Izzy is quick to mention his 3 kids and their golf prowess. Zach finished third in the State H.S. tourney this past spring. Daughter Emily only 8th grader finished in the top twenty at state and dad believes his youngest son Andrew who will be a 7th grader will be very competitive during his six years of H.S. golf.
Memories of Detroit Countrty Club and the Pine to Palm are very important to Izzy. He remembers the tradition of the tourney since 1931 and feels the Pine to Palm always has the strongest field. He will never forget the huge galleries in the Championship matches and considers Detroit C.C. a great match play course. He also remembers the Sunday night P to P highlights on KXJB-TV in Fargo. He has played many times in all three resort tournaments including the Birchmont, Resorters and Pine to Palm.
When asked about his golf commercials on the Golf Channel, Izzy smirked about doing demonstrations on the topic The "Power Hitter" for the golf company, Momentus. Izzy, the diminutive golfer standing only 5'7" has switched to a long putter in past few years.
He lists Arnie Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as two of his all time favorite players on the PGA tour. When I interviewed Tom Lehman two years ago for the "Spotlight" newspaper at the Pine to Palm, I asked him what names were synonymous with Minnesota golf? He said, "Patty Berg, John Harris, Les Bolstad, Tim Herron, Chris Perry and Bill Israelson." What a nice compliment for one of Minnesota's best golfers of all time - Bill "Izzy" Israelson.