Warren David Cantrell, who died in 1967 at the age of 61, came late to the game of golf. He had been an athlete in high school, had a career in engineering, and then, at age 39, accepted a job as golf pro at Abilene Country Club.
He also designed golf courses and had a hand in such courses as Hillcrest Country Club, Lovington Country Club, Andrews County Golf Course, Meadowbrook Canyon Creek at Canyon, Lubbock Country Club, Ranchland Hill Golf Course in Midland and Tascosa Golf Course in Amarillo.
According to son Bill Cantrell, his father served in various offices of the PGA, including its presidency.
“He signed a contract for the World Series of Golf nationally, which would have been 1964,” he said. “The prize money for the PGA National Golf Tournament was $20,000 that year. Now it’s well over $1 million.”
Warren Cantrell also had a background in carpentry, which came from his father, and was shared in by his four brothers.
“He had his own construction and building company by the age of 21,” Bill Cantrell said. “Then the Depression hit when he was about 25 and closed his company. He just struggled along, taking anything to do to make a living for his family for about a year. Then he got a job with David Castle in Abilene as an intern engineer.”
Cantrell is credited with a vital role in bringing golf to television.
Pat Cantrell said, “He really pushed that, and that’s when we began to see him on television.”
Cantrell was active in arranging with television networks for the broadcast of golf tournaments, an industry-changing factor.
He is credited with negotiating contracts for the PGA in a role that was considered one of his greatest contributions to golf.
“He helped bring some order to it,” Bill Cantrell said.
According to Pat Cantrell, her father-in-law was often an influence in their home.
“When he was here, he usually sat right there,” she said in pointing to a chair at their dining room table. “We always had prayer, and he always had something historical or something biblical to say to the whole family when we gathered.”
Bill Cantrell said his father had another interest when he was a young cowboy on the Swenson Ranches near Stamford during the summers. “He loved Western poetry as well as golf.”
The Cantrells feel it is a family honor for Warren Cantrell’s induction into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
“Golf is what he really loved,” Bill Cantrell said. “He was a good designer, a good engineer. He did that well, and it paid off in golf course design.”
Birthplace: Hillsboro, Texas