2015 Hall of Fame Inductee
Bill Rolland was born on
Saturday, March 2, 1935 in Eau Claire,
Wisconsin. Bill was introduced to the game of
golf at an early age at the Eau Claire Country
Club. He became the youngest club champion at
the ECGCC at the age of 19 – a record which still
stands. He turned professional in 1953 at the
age of 18 and played in many professional tournaments
including the Texas Open and the St Paul Open.
When Bill was the head golf professional at
the Elks Country Club in 1958 he brought together
eight other professionals and owners to organize a
tournament schedule which would eliminate event
conflicts at courses which occurred from time to
time. This inaugural meeting consisted of
Art Tangen of Hallie, Abby Fehr of Hillcrest, Gordy
Hetzel from Bloomer, Jack Richards of Ladysmith, Pete
Witkowski of Chetek, Bill Amthor from Menomonie, and
George Fautch of the Eau Claire Country Club.
Out of that meeting a sound foundation was formed for
tournament golf in the Eau Claire area. Bill
Rolland became the first president of the Chippewa
Valley Golf Association on this day and continued in
that capacity until 1967.
He was the Head Professional
at Hillcrest Country Club in 1960 and 1961 where in
’61, he thought it would be a good idea to have a
year-end tournament that would feature the best
players in the area. He called it the
“Tournament of Champions”.
Also in 1961, Bill was called
back to the Army Medical Corp and played on the US 5th
Army golf team based in Colorado Springs, CO.
Returning to Eau Claire in
1964, he ran the Black River Falls and Neillsville
golf operations until he took the Head Teaching Pro at
the Hallie Golf Course from 1967-75.
In 1975 the Bi-Laws were
written for the CVGA; the organization became
enormously popular in the upcoming decades. In
these years, the CVGA had as many as 23 Open
tournaments. In the late 70’s and 80’s, the
Tournament of Champions was televised by WEAU and made
stars of local players: Greg Dick, Steve Jensen, Rick
Norman, and Joe Springer, to name a few.
From 1977-1982, Bill leased the newly opened
Princeton Valley golf course. Some of his more
noteworthy employees were Greg Dick, Fred Hancock, and
Jeff “Cupcakes” Michealson. Many
memorable and lasting relationships were formed in
those early years.
From 1968-2011, Bill served as
Secretary and Tournament Director of the CVGA.
Bill married Beth Aschenbrener
in 1963; they have two children: Cameron and
Laurel. Anyone associated with the CVGA in those
days knew Beth, and Beth knew them; she was as visible
as Bill and it was truly a partnership. Beth was
in charge of the scoreboard and what a great job she
did. As time went on, you could see this was
really a family affair as both Cameron and Laurel
helped out as well. Regrettably, Beth Rolland
passed on Feb 13, 2014. It was through Beth’s
support that Bill served the CVGA for 55 years.