This is the story of Dwaine Esslinger
Dwaine was a true entrepreneur and a tradesman of his day.
In the mid 60’s, when the dune buggy craze had started Dwaine and a few buddies formed the Dune Buggy Club named The Trail Busters. With their families, they would head out to the Pismo sand dunes once a month testing new contraptions and tuning their cars to become the next legendary talks of the sport. Dwaine developed a system making dune buggies more maneuverable - it worked so well that he wanted to test the market. On the first sales outing, he sold them all – and realized that he had something special that people wanted!
The next day, in the fall of 1968, Dwaine came home from his steady paying job working for the City of Burbank and announced to his wife Beth, “I’m quitting to make a go of these dune buggy reigns as a business!!!” She was stunned, but quickly recognized her choice to either protest or jump on this train that was moving forward one way or the other! So, she got on board and Oh! What a ride!!
Healthy competition among friends led to the need for more challenges. Sand Drag racing met that need, bridging the gap between a hobby sport and organized competition. Early failures provided incentive for a purpose-built sand drag racer. The decision was made to abandon the VW style motor and insert the Pinto engine. “Pinto Beans” was born and quickly become a dominating force in the NSCA National Sand Comp Association-Tallying 96 wins to only 6 losses in its first season of competition.
The obvious potential of the engine drove the development of boat, off-road truck, stock car, and street drag-racing engines, which led to manufacturing our own all-aluminum engine produced entirely in-house from the ground up for United States Auto Club (USAC).
As the business grew, Esslinger Engineering made a name for themselves synonymous with excellence, integrity, and perseverance at every level. This brought many unique opportunities such as collaborating with Ford Motor Company to build the Focus brand, being featured and ultimately working jointly with the writers of Horsepower TV, and winning the 1994 National Midget Championship as owner and driver. This was accomplished while competing against the likes of Toyota, Ford and Dodge, each running programs with unlimited funding while Esslinger Engineering operated as a family run business on a tight budget.
At every turn their persistence and trust in God took them to levels most only hope for.
Dwaine’s entrepreneurial bent also leaked into his hobbies. He loved golf and constantly found ways to gain an edge on his buddies while turning heads in the process. In 2003 he came up with the premise of a faster, louder golf ball and tinkered around with it, enjoying more than a few GOOD times on the course during his annual golf trips. Although the ball was a hit, the ever-increasing responsibilities of professional racing didn’t permit the development and marketing of this golf sensation.
In 2013, the family racing business was sold and sadly, Dwaine passed away in 2015 from Lou Gehrig’s disease. After the sale, Dan, one of his sons, continued working for the new buyers and in 2021 opened a new entity named Esslinger Solutions.
Dan met with the family one day and talked about Dwaine’s original idea of the golf ball. The family agreed to jump on board and make this dream a reality. The rest is history, as they say! The family-owned business of SHOCK'D Golf Balls has taken Dwaine’s idea and run with it!! Almost everybody who hits the ball says, “Hitting this ball is so much better in person, the videos don’t quite do it justice!!” That statement actually describes Dwaine Esslinger himself… He was a legend in his own right and just like the SHOCK'D golf ball, you can try to describe him, but he was so much bigger in person!!!
Dwaine – we know you are looking from heaven and watching people hit this ball that brings a new kind of fun to a really old game– and thanks for the memories!!!!