After winning a district golf tournament when he was a junior at Arab High, Billy Eastep told a reporter he hoped to someday study journalism at Florida State University. But priorities sometimes change. Eastep didnt make it to FSU. Or study journalism. Golf intervened instead and became his lifes work. Eastep, born in Arab on May 18, 1952, parlayed an outstanding high school career into an excellent college career and eventually into a lifetime profession. One of Alabamas most prominent amateur golfers, Eastep holds the course records at Goose Pond in Scottsboro (62), Arab Country Club (63) and Twin Lakes in Arab (63). At 16, he won the first of three Marshall County High School championships in 1968. After finishing second in the state tournament as a senior, he accepted a golf scholarship to Marion Institute and anchored a team that finished sixth and fourth in the national tournament in 1971- 72. The following year, he received a golf scholarship at the University of Alabama. Eastep turned pro in 1974 and eventually came to be recognized as one of the best teachers in the state. Since 1990, he has been the head pro at Madison Golf Center. Despite his slight build, Eastep has always been known as a prodigious driver of the golf ball. He finished tenth in the 1976 National Long Driving Championships and sixth in the same event in 1978. He played for a time on the PGA Tour and later worked as head pro at several clubs, including Goose Pond, Pine Crest in Birmingham and Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. He was named Professional of the Year by the Alabama Chapter of the Dixie Section PGA in 1984, Teacher of the Year by the Dixie Section in 1992 and 1994, and Senior Professional of the Year in 2005. He won the Alabama PGA Championship at Huntsville Country Club in 1987 and the Presidents Cup Tournament at Valley Hill in 1995. Eastep estimates he has given more than 40,000 golf lessons over the years. Since 1987, he has taught golf classes at UAH. My family had the greatest influence on me, Eastep said. My dad, Tut Eastep, loved all sports, especially golf. He passed away in 1993. I wish he could be here to see me receive this award. My mother, Roberta, is 91 now, and she still inspires me to stay on the right path. My sister, Kay Mardis, has always been a huge supporter of her little brother. And I owe a special thanks to my friend Ed Reed of Arab. Eastep and his wife, Becky, have three grown children: sons, Chris and Thad and a daughter, Jodie Jones.