Carmel Resident Brad Gehl Makes His Mark on Oklahoma State Golf Team
by John Cinnamon
PGA Tour star Rickie Fowler has 433,344 followers on Twitter. But maybe only a handful of those 400,000+ can communicate with him any time they want in more than 140 characters. One of them is 21-year-old Carmel resident Brad Gehl. Although Gehl didn’t actually play on the same Oklahoma State University golf team as Fowler (Fowler turned pro in 2009, the same year Gehl entered OSU), he counts the Tour young gun as a friend. Gehl says the current and former members of the Oklahoma State golf team are more like a family. And that’s what drew the 2009 Cathedral graduate to the OSU program.
“It’s everything to do with the people there,” says Gehl, explaining why he chose Oklahoma State over Indiana University, Purdue University, and the University of Louisville. Oklahoma State has a reputation for having a world-class golf program that has produced 10 national championships and a state-of-the-art golf complex with all the latest technological bells and whistles you can imagine. But it was more than that for Gehl. “All the ‘stuff’ is nice,” he says, “but it’s not important.” He finds more value in the camaraderie of his teammates and the drive and direction of his coaches. “I knew the environment out there was conducive to what I wanted moving forward,” says the third-year OSU Cowboy walk-on.
Golf has been in Brad Gehl’s blood from an early age. His mother, Liz, played collegiate golf at San Jose State. The family home, situated on the back nine at Crooked Stick Golf Club, has a basement that is a golfer’s dream, featuring an indoor driving range. Countless rounds as a member at Crooked Stick clearly honed young Gehl’s talent, as he helped lead Cathedral to the 2008 Indiana Boys High School Golf Championship. He was also his team’s Most Valuable Golfer in 2009.
Gehl credits much of his golf success to the support of his family and to the support of the staff at Crooked Stick. The BMW Championship, played at Crooked Stick last September, was named the PGA Tour’s Tournament of the Year. “That’s something that got to me. That makes me so proud,” says a beaming Gehl of his home course. Did Gehl offer any of his intimate knowledge of the course to his friend Rickie Fowler when the Tour came to town? “We talked,” he says. “But I’m still in college. Rickie’s on tour.” Gehl explained that as a tour pro, Fowler has a different way of looking at a course and seeing things that even an everyday player at the club doesn’t see. “So if anything,” Gehl continues, “next time I play, I’ll be asking him a couple questions.”
Brad Gehl hopes to be on the PGA tour himself one day, supporting his home club with the Crooked Stick logo on his bag. And with a PGA Tour return to Crooked Stick a strong possibility, Gehl may have the opportunity to put his course knowledge to the real test.