Waterloo | Inducted 2010 | Category: Golf Professional/ Teacher
Mike Bender grew up in Waterloo and has had a distinguished career as both a player and a swing instructor. Bender was a three-time NCAA Division III All-American (1978-1980) and won the individual championship in 1979 and 1980 at California State University Stanislaus.
In 1986 Bender was Iowa PGA Section Player of the Year and then played on the PGA Tour for three seasons (1987-89). He was North Florida PGA Section Player of the Year in 1995 and won the section Match Play Championship in 1998.
But it is in teaching that Bender has found his true calling. He has achieved worldwide recognition as one of the game’s top instructors. His most famous students are 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson and two-time U. S. Open Champion Lee Janzen. He has also worked with LPGA tour winners Seon Hwa Lee and Joo Mi Kim.
Bender was named one of the Top 10 Greatest Teachers in America by Golf Digest in 2007 and in 2009 he was recognized as the PGA of America National Teacher of the Year.
- Three-time NCAA Division III All-American: 1978-1980
- NCAA Division III Individual Champion: 1979 and 1980
- Herman Sani Invitational Winner in 1979
- Won the Waterloo Open in 1983
- Iowa PGA Section Player of the Year: 1986
- Played on the PGA Tour: 1987-1989
- North Florida PGA Section Player of the Year: 1995
- North Florida PGA Section Match Play Champion: 1998
- Top 10 Greatest Teachers in America: 2007
- PGA of America National Teacher of the Year: 2009