The next time you watch The Golf Channel and the announcers provide you with some background information about the tournament, the course or the golfers themselves, there is a chance that Drew Powell supplied that information.
The 23-year-old Holden native and recent Duke University graduate, who won the Maine State Golf Association’s Match Play tournament last week, landed a job as a researcher for The Golf Channel in June.
“I watched so much Golf Channel growing up that to be able to contribute to it is pretty cool,” Powell said. “When they say something verbatim that you wrote, it’s surreal.”
Powell is currently working from his home in Holden and gets his assignments weeks in advance, which could range from The British Open to the U.S. Amateur championships.
For the job, Powell spends a lot of time watching golf and searching Google. He’ll dig up information on the history of a golf tournament and the various courses, along with facts about the golfers from a performance and personal standpoint through their hometown newspapers.
His latest assignment includes compiling notes about the next few tournaments on the Korn Ferry Tour, which is one notch below the PGA Tour. Players try to earn their PGA cards through their performances on the Korn Ferry Tour.
Powell will also be doing post-round notes — his favorite part of the job — on the top contenders at the PGA’s BMW Championship tourney Aug. 26-29 and the Tour Championship from Sept. 2 to Sept. 5.
It’s a different career path than some golfers his age who decide to pursue the sport professionally.
Powell had a solid college career, finishing with a stroke average of 75.88 in nine events at Duke after transferring from Brown University, where he had a 74.92 stroke average over 11 events.
When he was at Brown, he won the Quechee Collegiate Challenge in Vermont in the fall of 2018 and that led to his decision to transfer to Duke the following January.
This past season was Powell’s best at Duke as he played in four events, posting a scoring average of 74, and he registered his best finish when he tied for 18th with a two-over par 218 at the River Landing Golf Club in North Carolina.
He said the fitness training, long practices, great facilities and a focus on diet combined to make it a wonderful experience and getting a chance to play at the historic Pinehurst No. 2 course in North Carolina for the Wake Forest Invitational was a thrill.
He tied for 27th in the 11-team field.
After the season, Powell and five teammates were named All-American Scholars.
But Powell, who was the 2014 State Class A individual champion when he was at Bangor High School, said turning pro wasn’t on his radar and that he loves his current gig.
“I don’t have to deal with the stress or worry about where my next paycheck is going to come from,” Powell said, explaining that it is difficult to make a living playing golf.
He is able to play in Maine tournaments and other amateur tourneys, and his 1-up match play win over Jeff Cole of York last week at the Fox Ridge Golf Club in Auburn was memorable because it was his first individual tournament triumph.
He trailed by four shots after just six holes.
“I got off to a bad start but then I started making quite a few birdies,” said Powell, whose 20-foot birdie putt on the seventh hole jump-started his comeback.
He birdied the 12th hole to tie it and took the lead on 14. Cole answered on 15 to tie it and Powell birdied 17 to win it.
“I’ve come close to a lot of individual wins and I finally got over the hump. I was really pleased. It was one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve had.”
Powell added that he feels his gig as a Golf Channel researcher has helped his golf game because it gives him a pleasant diversion.
“I’m not out practicing, thinking about [my game] all the time.”