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Par Excellence

January 4, 2018
three men standing with a large trophy
PGA Secretary Jim Richerson, John Easterbrook and PGA President Paul Levy at the PGA Cup in England. (Photo Courtesy of The PGA of America)

Alumnus John Easterbrook’s 30-plus-year golf career landed him at the PGA, where he stays connected to his UW roots.

At the University of Wyoming, John Easterbrook learned the importance of relationships, earned a solid business education and cultivated his love of golf—all of which helped set him on a course for success. Now the chief membership officer for PGA of America, Easterbrook focuses on education, employment, membership services and section business operations for the 28,000 men and women who make up the organization.

“The PGA of America is a 100-year-old organization that is known for the championships, which are truly amazing and continue to grow,” says Easterbrook, who graduated from UW in 1985 with his degree in finance. “As the largest sports association in the world, my job is to focus on the members of the organization and how we can help the members.”

The position, which he began in March 2017, is the culmination of a successful 30-plus-year career in the golf industry that started with Marriott and Hyatt and moved to Troon Golf in 1997.

“I was corporate employee number 12, and Troon had six operations at the time,” Easterbrook says. “Over the course of the next 20 years, Troon grew to over 300-plus courses in 31 countries and 37 states. I was the chief operating officer and on the executive committee of the organization.”

Throughout his successful career, Easterbrook has stayed connected with UW and the golf team. But it was football that first brought his family to Laramie.

“Dad joined the 1970 Wyoming football staff under Fritz Shurmur, and I spent from third grade to my graduation in Laramie,” he says. “To this day, I call Laramie home.”

Easterbrook met his wife, Lori Crosby, at UW, and they have three daughters.

Growing up, he played football. While he was recruited by some other schools, he wanted to go to UW and ended up walking on the golf team.

“My sophomore year, I was given a full ride to play golf, which I did for four years,” he says. Easterbrook lettered each of those years and was all-conference his last two seasons and first team as a senior. He also received an alumni association scholarship from 1981 to 1985.

“To play on the Wyoming golf team for four years, travel a lot, balance schoolwork and time was an amazing look into the future of my life,” Easterbrook says. “Being organized and forward thinking was something we had to do, given our time away from school. It has helped me today.”

He also appreciated the knowledgeable and accessible professors: “I was in the business school (finance), and role model professors were all over the place. I feel they taught ‘real life,’ which is what prepared me to get out in the world. Most classes were taught by the professors, so it was just an amazing learning environment from people who really cared about you as a person and how their classes were preparing you for the future.”

Easterbrook’s great experience at UW inspired him to stay involved: “I would also say that Coach Joe Jensen and I have had a tremendous run at the University of Wyoming. I feel in some small way
I have helped Wyoming golf become more relevant and raising it to the national stage. I am so very proud of what Joe and the team continue to do. Guys like David Hearn out there competing every week is really terrific. Wyoming golf has come a long way from when I hit balls in the Fieldhouse off the peat wood chips.”

UW golf accomplishments include hosting three nationally recognized NCAA men’s collegiate tournaments and two nationally recognized NCAA women’s collegiate tournaments.

“The great story is that we started the first tournament in Scottsdale in 2004 with only eight teams,” Easterbrook says. “Now there are 60 teams at three events.”

“They all have wait lists,” Jensen says. “We’re viewed as running some of the best college events every year. My vision of Wyoming golf was to make it a national program. Easterbrook believed in me. He’s very proud of our progression of our golf program. It means a lot.”

Easterbrook has also hosted the Cowboy Joe Golf Series 14 of the last 15 years, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

“Find your purpose, find your passion—I have,” Easterbrook says. “The PGA of America has allowed me an opportunity to do this for years to come. I would not have been selected for this unbelievable position had it not been for the great people in and around UW. Many Wyoming people have played major roles in shaping me into the person I am today. I continue to travel the world, and I truly feel that the people of Wyoming are why it is such a special place. Wyoming is home and will always be home, and I am thankful that Laramie and UW was such a great place for me to ‘hang my hat.’ No matter where I am, Poke Pride is proudly and loudly displayed!”

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