Golf and family go together for Colorado State’s Cameron Harrell. It’s never one or the other.
The senior was recruited to CSU by Jamie Bermel, the former men’s golf coach. Bermel left after Harrell’s freshman year, but despite the change at the helm, Harrell did not question that he had found the right school.
“I never wanted to leave or thought anything bad,” Harrell said. “My brother went here, and my best friends. It’s just a perfect town for me.”
Harrell grew up in Colorado Springs, where he graduated from Air Academy High School. He and his brother Kory were introduced to golf at an early age by their father, Jordie. They grew up playing in local tournaments, but Cameron said it wasn’t until high school that he really considered golfing at the collegiate level.
By Cameron’s junior year of high school, Kory was playing for CSU. Cameron got an up-close look at what it takes to compete at the collegiate level.
“He had been recruited so I kind of got to see first hand what that was all about,” Cameron said. “That helps a lot to have an older brother. He did everything and found out what was good and what was bad.”
Now, Cameron finds himself in a position to be one of the best golfers in the Mountain West. He opened the season by shooting 4-under at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational to help lift CSU to a third-place finish. It’s a tournament that he always enjoys because it’s hosted on the course that he grew up playing, the Eisenhower Blue Course in Colorado Springs.
“It’s fun to go down there. It’s the best trip of the year for me,” Cameron said.
The trip is one everyone on the team enjoys a little extra thanks to Cameron’s parents. Because golf consumes so much of Cameron’s life, his mom and dad are always excited to welcome his teammates into their home for a nice home-cooked meal, usually topped off with some college football and a few games of pool.
“One of the things we always look forward to when we go down to Air Force is the night before the first round when his parents have the team and everyone over for dinner,” head coach Christian Newton said. “It’s just a nice way for the guys to relax and not think about golf for a couple hours.”
It’s a tradition that dates back to Kory’s time with CSU golf. Cameron’s teammate and close friend Dominic Kieffer said it’s always a fun way to unwind and clear their minds before the tournament.
“It’s a blast because his dad will come down and play some pool with us and his mom always cooks some amazing food,” Kieffer said. “It’s a great way for us to cool off and just sort of relax before our 36 holes the next day.”
But after that it’s right back to golf, which seems to always be the first thing on Cameron’s mind. He said that having parents who travel to support him at tournaments makes it that much easier to keep his focus.
“My parents are going to try to make it to every tournament except Hawaii so that means a lot,” Cameron said. “They want to do as much as they can.”
Even on the road, the support is not limited to just Cameron. His mother, Kerrie, always prepares goodie bags that she delivers to all of the members of the team.
“It’s always a good week when you know that Cam’s mom is going to be there,” Kieffer said. “She’s just awesome and always brings some good stuff for us.”
His next tournament is the 2014 Ram Masters Invitational in Fort Collins. The Rams have finished second overall for two consecutive years, separated from the first place team by just one stroke on both occasions. After a summer that saw him place fifth at the HealthONE Colorado Open and qualify for the prestigious U.S. Public Links Championship, Cameron and his teammates will look to get over that hump this year.
With a promising senior year just getting underway and the unwavering support of his family, Cameron has his sights set on one day competing on the PGA Tour.
“Cam’s a special guy. We don’t get a lot of ‘em coming through here like that,” Newton said. “We’re thrilled to have had him here for four years.”
For all the success Cameron has had on the golf course, he has fared equally well in the classroom. In 2014, he earned All-America Scholar honors. Cameron majors in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing and said he might be interested in connecting that with the sports world.
His coach is confident that Cameron will excel in whatever path he chooses.
“No matter what Cam does, he’ll be outrageously successful,” Newton said. “I can assure you of that.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @emccarthy22.