For the better part of two decades, Kevin Robbins, Central Missouri ’88, worked as a reporter for newspapers around the country. Joining the sports desk at the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas, in 2002 gave him the opportunity to occasionally indulge in writing about his passion: golf.
He became fascinated by the game as an undergrad when he began playing with some of his chapter brothers. “There’s just something that’s so elusive about the perfect golf shot,” he explained. “Something’s not going to go your way, and it’s how you respond to that that will affect your play.”
Covering the Austin golf scene led Robbins to the story of Harvey Penick, the long-serving club professional at the Austin Country Club and author of the famous golf instruction guide “The Little Red Book.” Penick also coached professional golfers Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite and many other players.
“Harvey Penick played such an important role in helping to grow the game of golf. I felt his story deserved to be told to a wider audience,” Robbins shared.
The resulting biography, “Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf,” was published in 2016 to warm reviews.
After randomly coming across a report on the plane crash that killed professional golfer Payne Stewart and five others in October 1999, Robbins was inspired once again. “The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Forever” was published last year in hardcover and will be available in paperback in November 2020.
He’s been recognized for both golf biographies, becoming a two-time recipient of the United States Golf Association (USGA) Herbert Warren Wind Award. The award is given annually by the USGA in recognition of outstanding contributions to golf literature.
Robbins is currently at work on another golf book. He’s also served as an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism since 2012.
Robbins is doing what he loves and said SigEp played a part in that. When he first went to college, he wasn’t sure what to do with his life. Things started to fall into place after he met a group of laidback, yet driven, SigEps. “It just felt like they had something to offer, and I knew I wanted to know them,” he explained. “SigEp introduced me to my dearest and closest lifelong friends, who really showed me how to live your best life.”