Bill Brenner is a "Local Legend."
At least according to Golfweek, one of the leading American magazines about the sport.
Of course, around these parts, there was little doubt that Brenner deserved legendary status. Still, it's nice to see a publication with a national reach recognize the man who is arguably the best amateur player in York County's rich golf history.
In Golfweek's amateur edition in May, the magazine featured five "Local Legends," including Brenner.
"They found out about me when Bill Lewis at Briarwood sent them my golf resume last year," Brenner said. "I got a call from Andy Zunz from Golfweek about two months ago saying I was going to be one of the featured 'legends.' What a surprise that was. I thought it was a crank call from one of my buddies and even asked some probing questions to make sure who he was."
It wasn't a crank call, and to say he deserved the honor would be a serious understatement.
Over a career spanning six different decades, Brenner has compiled an astounding list of accomplishments, including:
•A record six York County Amateur championships. He's also won 13 other York County Amateur Golf Association (YCAGA) titles.
•A total of 27 club championships at Briarwood (22 on the East Course and five on the West Course). He's been a Briarwood champion so often that some refer to the club as "Brennerwood."
•Induction into both the York Area Sports Hall of Fame and the YCAGA Hall of Fame.
•And he's shot his age or better nine times — which is pretty amazing considering that Brenner isn't even 70 years old yet.
Brenner is 69 now, but he's far from done with golf. In fact, there's a pretty good chance that he'll add to his impressive resume.
That's because he still loves the game, still loves to practice and still loves to compete.
He's been retired for 10 years now from his job as a marketing supervisor for Met-Ed. That allows him a little more time to pursue his passion for the sport. It helps that he's still in excellent shape, carrying a svelte 155 pounds on his 5-foot, 8 1/2-inch frame.
Brenner was never known as a huge hitter, but, thanks to modern technology, he can still belt his drives more than 260-plus yards when the ground firms up, and he still normally carries a scratch handicap.
He last won the York County Amateur in 2004, but he believes he could capture a seventh crown, under the right conditions.
"If all the stars align, I putt very well, and I get on the right course, yes maybe. Like the song goes, 'I'm not as good as I once was, but good once as I ever was.' Darn young kids are so very, very good and it's tough to beat them. The great part, though, is that we have such a wonderful group of young, great players right now (in York County)."
A big reason that Brenner can still compete with the young bucks is his willingness to practice, practice, practice.
"I remember a quote from the guy I beat in my first Briarwood championship," Brenner said. "He said, 'Brenner wouldn't be so damn good if he didn't practice so much.' Duh!. Those are words for a 'practicer' to live by."
The numerous championships he's won over the years, however, aren't his biggest source of pride.
"I am most proud of the longevity of my career," he said "I mean six decades, geez, that's a very long time to still be pretty competitive."
Brenner was quick to note his achievements wouldn't have been possible without the help of his family, especially his wife, Dawn, and daughter, Kim.
"Dawn has been pretty much the psychologist, swing coach (besides local golf pro Eric Manges) and a very good listener to my complaints about missed putts, or screwing up a great round or tournament with a dumb shot late in the round. I have been very lucky to have her as my wife and friend," he said.
York County golf has been lucky, too —lucky to have a player as good as Brenner for such a long time.
He is a true "Local Legend."
And thanks to Golfweek, a national audience now knows all about him.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.