Ernie Orville Vossler was widely known as one of golf’s premier developers, but he also could swing a club.
Vossler’s early victories came on the Pascal High School golf team in Fort Worth, Texas, where he began a friendship with teammate Dan Jenkins, who became one of the most revered golf writers in history. After Vossler had made a name for himself as a local amateur, fellow Texans Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson wrote letters on his behalf for his admittance to the PGA Tour.
Vossler had three PGA Tour wins over a three-year span – 1958 Kansas City Open; 1959 Tijuana Open Invitational; 1960 Carling Open Invitational — and also won the 1960 Panama Open. He tied for fifth in the 1959 U.S. Open and also competed at the 1956 Masters and 1961 PGA Championship.
To provide stability for his family, Vossler cut back on his full-time tour schedule and became head golf professional at Quail Creek Golf and Country Club while the golf course and residential community were still in design. He remained at Quail Creek for more than a decade and established relationships the PGA of America and PGA Tour by hosting the annual Oklahoma City Open from 1962-67. He pioneered the use of a logo to enhance sales while at Quail Creek, something that paid huge dividends later with the famous Oak Tree logo at Landmark.
Vossler transformed his far-reaching skills toward teaching and being a golf club operator. In 1967, he was named PGA Professional of the Year and many of his students enjoyed success on the PGA, Champions and LPGA tours.
In 1971, Vossler and fellow 2017 Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame inductee Joe Walser Jr. began their historic trek as golf pioneers in land development. They co-founded Unique Golf Concepts, Inc., which in 1974 became Landmark Land Company, Inc., and quickly enjoyed monstrous growth both nationally and internationally.
One of their earliest gems was Oak Tree Golf Club (now Oak Tree National) in Edmond, which opened in 1976. Five years later came the adjacent 36-hole Oak Tree Country Club across Kelly Avenue. Oak Tree National hosted four major events in the 1984 U.S. Amateur, 1988 PGA Championship, 2006 Senior PGA Championship and the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, while Oak Tree Country Club became home for the Oklahoma Open and several prestigious amateur events, including the 1989 NCAA Championships, won by the Oklahoma Sooners.
Using Vossler’s close ties with the PGA of America and the PGA Tour, the Landmark team was on the cutting edge of golf club marketing concepts such as “bundled charges” with fellow Landmark properties.
Vossler has been recognized with multiple honors, which included being presented the President’s Award for the Southern California Section of the PGA of America.
Vossler, who passed away Feb. 16, 2013 in La Quinta, Calif., at age 84, was no stranger to Halls of Fame, being inducted in 2005 as a member of the PGA of America Golf Professional Hall of Fame for his “dedication to and passion for the game of golf … along with his service and accomplishments.” Vossler was married to a Hall of Fame wife in Marlene Hagge, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 1950, at age 16, Hagge was the youngest of 13 founders of the LPGA Tour and remains the youngest-ever tour member in LPGA history. She won the 1956 LPGA Championship and 26 LPGA Tour events in her career.