It took something pretty special to bring Buddy Hamm Jr. out of retirement. Something he loves dearly.
Hamm retired after 34 years in education. He took over the L.D. Bell golf program this year after spending the past 11 years as an assistant/associate principal at the school.
His journey in education included 12 years in the Birdville ISD and 11 years in the Crowley ISD. He coached for six years in Birdville before moving into administration.
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Hamm picked a pretty good time to take over the program, particularly on the girls side.
The Lady Raiders return four girls who played at the varsity level last year with a total of five girls in the program.
On the boys side, there are three boys with prior varsity experience.
The girls team got off to a fast start and was competitive in both October tournaments it participated in. The girls are led by sophomore Brooke Sullivan and junior Maileana Bruce.
Sullivan was honorable mention all-district 7-6A as a freshman.
“She provides most of the experience due to her frequent tournament play during the summer months, as well as many weekends during the school year on the Texas Junior Golf Tour,” Hamm said.
Other Lady Raiders, including McKenna Erwin (junior), Summer Bruce (junior) and Caliana Bruce (freshman), have been productive and are improving in tournament play.
“I have been very pleased with the girls team energy and work ethic,” Hamm said. “They are a young team, but they believe in each other and work very well together.
“The boys team does not have as much tournament experience as the girls team, but they are demonstrating a willingness to work on the skills, which will make them more consistent on the golf course.”
The Blue Raiders are led by seniors Troy Peters and Anthony Lindsey, juniors Sam Lac and Jacob Alford, and sophomore Dennis Eambovornchai.
“I feel the leadership from the seniors will pull the others in a positive direction,” Hamm said.
Bell’s spring season begins Feb. 22 at Oakmont Country Club for the Denton Guyer Tournament. Additionally, the teams will play at the Iron Horse and Texas Star tournaments before ending the regular season with the District 7-6A Tournament at Champions Circle (girls April 1-2, boys April 5-6).
“Our district is very strong in comparison to many of the surrounding districts,” Hamm said. “[The] Southlake and Coppell boys are currently rated fourth and sixth in the state of Texas. [The] Southlake girls are currently rated No. 9, with Coppell’s girls probably somewhere within the top 20.”
Carroll’s boys are the defending Class 6A state champions, while the Lady Dragons also advanced to state last season.
“Colleyville Heritage has proven to be the next best group of boys and girls in our district,” Hamm said. “Depending on how everyone plays during district, any of the remaining teams could take the fourth spot.
“However, in golf, you never know how teams and individuals are going to perform. It should be an interesting race to the finish during the district tournament.”