CHARLES “ED” BROCKNER
Class of 2001, member of golf team 1997-2001.
Interviewed by John Godley and Bill Kelly at the Yale Golf Course on July 9, 2006.
Interview (1 hr 10 mins)
Ed Brockner grew up in Dix Hills Long Island. Just down the street from his house was a 9-hole, par 30 golf course with a greens fee of $1. His father [a non-golfer] began dropping him off there at age 7. By age 9 he was playing the town’s 18-hole course for $5. At 13 he started playing Black Course at Beth Page State Park, where his best score was 67. He played 6 years for his high school team [he was able to join in the 7th grade] and was an all-conference selection for 5 years. At graduation he was a +2 handicap.
Ed first became interested in Yale at age 13. He arrived at Beth Page Black as usual, but was told that the course was closed, while the Ivy League Championship was being contested. When he saw the scores that were being posted were no better than his own, he realized that the Ivies might be for him. Several years later his father read an article about the Yale Golf Course and suggested that Ed check it out on his way to a junior tournament in Rhode Island. He “had never seen anything like it” [Yale GC]. He played a round, shot 74 from the championship tees, and left the score card and a note for Coach Paterson.
At Yale he played all 4 years and won a tournament as a freshman. He appreciated the fact that even though golf is an individual sport, Yale had a team of 20 players. More than ½ of the team members knew that they would not travel to tournaments, but they still participated in all the activities at the course. The spring trips were unique, especially in his junior year when they went to the British Isles. Highlights were playing with members of Black Heath and Muirfield and against the St. Andrews team at The New Course and Glasgow University at Prestwick.
Ed was a history major at Yale. He studied the Yale course and its history and wrote his senior essay on golf history in America. He then went to Florida State University to obtain a master degree in sports management. He earned his fellowship there by tutoring academically “at risk” FSU athletes.
In 2003 he returned to Yale as a volunteer assistant golf coach. He met the noted golf course architect Gil Hanse at the golf association annual dinner and started working for him in Rochester as an on-site construction project manager. He had become interested in The First Tee program for junior golf development. Through his contacts in the Metropolitan Golf Association [NY] he found a job as construction manager and fund raiser for First Tee and the city of NY at Moshilu Golf Course in the Bronx and now for a project in Newark NJ.
Ed’s long term goal is to become a golf course designer and builder. He would be only the 7th Yale graduate in the last 100 years to follow that course. His first project may be building a course on an abandoned military base and developing a First Tee program in Puerto Rico.