Stell’s hole-in-one a moment to remember

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

Susie Stell pulled out her trusty pitching wedge, approached the tee and eyed the flag 101 yards away.

She knew immediately that she had hit a good shot. She didn’t know how good until she watched the ball hit the green near the flag, take a short hop and disappear in the hole.

Susie thrust her hands high in the air and she grinned like a big-eyed gal at the fair.

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Her first hole-in-one felt just that good.

At age 18, Susie had done what many golfers play a lifetime and never experience. A hole is one is the holy grail of golf. Perhaps, there will be other holes-in-one in Susie’s golfing career but none will equal that first one at Wynlakes Country Club in Montgomery.

A recent graduate of Pike Liberal Arts School, Susie has signed a golf scholarship with Faulkner University in Montgomery. She probably could have gone to a larger university but she liked the idea of a smaller campus and somehow, Faulkner just seemed right for her.

Susie has been playing golf competitively for about four years. She likes competition. Her brothers, Lee and Audie, were her first competitors.

“It seems like I was always on the golf course,” Susie said. “Audie was usually out there with me. He encouraged me, kind of pushed me but I just love to play golf.”

Other than her brothers, Lindsey Lee, who plays for the University of Mobile, and her teammates, her male teammates, at PLAS have been Susie’s golfing buddies.

At PLAS, the male golfers had to get used to playing with a girl and behind a girl.

“They got used to playing with me and they were all right with it,” Susie said, with a smile.”

Practice makes habit and Susie Stell practices with that in mind.

“I want to be a better player so I practice to get better,” she said. “My short game is the best part of my game and I come out to chip and putt just about every day. I’m working to be ready when I get to Faulkner.”

The team will be made up of eight players and five of them will travel.

Susie hopes to travel.

“There will be two freshmen on the team,” she said. “I’d like to travel this year but I’m going to take every opportunity to gain experience and grow as a golfer.”

Susie said golf is a team sport and it’s also an individual sport.

“Out on the course, it’s all up to you,” she said. “It’s a real mental game. If you hit a bad shot, you have to keep calm. You have to let that shot go and focus on the next shot. That’s hard to do sometimes because bad shots just want to stay in the back of your mind.”

For Susie, a water hazard is a magnet.

“It draws me,” she said with a smile. “Sand traps don’t really bother me really. If there’s water on a hole and sand, I’ll go toward the sand.”

Susie is excited about the opportunity to play college golf.  She’s excited about the opportunities to play different courses and the challenges of playing with and against outstanding women golfers.

But, she doesn’t have her sights set on a professional career in golf. Susie Stell’s planning a career as either a physical therapist or as a pharmacist. She’ll play golf on weekends and, as always, she’ll play to win.