Austin native and golfer brings experience, age to the course

The men’s golf team, ranked 14th nationally, recently added a new player to its arsenal. Drew Bell, a 27-year-old returning student, has already made several tournament appearances his first season with the Hilltoppers. 

Bell made his first appearance at the season opener, the 36-hole Brickyard Invitational on Sept. 17-18, and finished the tournament as the No. 2 player.

After graduating in 2003 from Westlake High School in Austin, Bell enrolled in Austin Community College (ACC) and began studying biology. After three years, Bell decided to take another path. Bell then worked odd jobs, from Starbucks to the Barton Creek Resort to the Austin Country Club. 

The Austin Country Club provided easy access to its 18-hole golf course, where Drew would drive as a hobby. Eventually, Bell had a change of heart about education and decided to enroll at St. Edward’s University.

“My sister, who graduated in 2001, played softball, so I would come to the campus for her games,” Bell said. “I liked the atmosphere, campus and the class size.”

Bell and the head coach of the men’s golf team Todd Ohlmeyer were in touch before Bell came to the hilltop, but it was not until he won the Central Texas Amateur tournament that he caught Ohlmeyer’s eye. Bell was offered a spot on the team in December of 2011. 

“I think the team is getting along with him awesomely. He is a great person and a great golfer,” junior golfer Enrique Livas said.

Being added to the roster was not easy, though. To obtain eligibility, Bell had two options: he could either have graduated from ACC with an associate’s degree in biology or wait a year until he could play at St. Edward’s.

Bell was not sure what to expect after being added to the roster. He is nearly a decade older than his teammates and the only one above junior status at St. Edward’s. While Bell believed his teammates “felt weird” about the age gap and did not know what to expect, Bell has found ways to contribute to the team outside of his golf swing. Bell has been able to offer advice and guidance to his younger teammates with decision-making and life lessons.

“I do not think there is any problem with the age difference. In golf, you get to play with a lot of people older than you,” Livas said. “[Drew] is older, but the little I’ve talked with him, I can tell how cool it is to be his teammate.”

The Hilltopper men’s golf team faced off against Division I Ivy League schools this past weekend in the Macdonald Cup at the Yale University golf course. The team placed 8th in the tournament and was the only Division II team playing in the tournament. The Hilltoppers beat out teams like Columbia, Temple, Brown and Yale’s second team. Bell ended the tournament tied for 63rd.

As to the future of the team, Bell is extremely optimistic. “I expect good things coming from these good players. I hope to make it to nationals and bring a national trophy back home,” Bell said.