Vossler, 84, watched his golf vision grow in desert
Monday, February 18, 2013
La QUINTA, Calif. – Ernie Vossler, one of the co-founders of PGA West and a man who possessed a grand vision for golf courses surrounded by residential communities, died Feb. 16 at his home here. He was 84 and had suffered from dementia for several years.
Vossler and his business partner, the late Joe Walser Jr., both PGA golf professionals, built more than a dozen courses here in the desert, including the first four courses at PGA West and three courses at nearby La Quinta Resort.
“He utilized the strength and connections of the PGA pro,” said golf professional J.D. Ebersberger, former vice president of golf operations at PGA West. “It was ingenious. The pros helped him sell the property, and it went lickety-split. Then he would give them a membership.”
Vossler was fond of telling people his unique story: How he was abandoned as a newborn baby in front of a church and how it became his mission to spread golf and goodwill wherever he could. He was married to LPGA Hall of Fame member Marlene Hagge-Vossler for the last 18 years of his life.
A winner of three PGA Tour events, Vossler also became a well-known instructor. But it was Landmark Land Co. that brought him the most attention. Vossler and Walser developed golf communities in Oklahoma and Texas before moving west. Walser died in May 2012 at age 79.
The two were skilled promoters, luring the Skins Game to PGA West for six years, beginning in 1986, and then bringing the Bob Hope Classic to PGA West in 1987.