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April 16, 2014

Local resident, Hill, selected as ‘Golfer of the Week’ three times since making NCAA roster

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Local resident, Hill, selected as ‘Golfer of the Week’ three times since making NCAA roster
Pictured is Wayne State University golfer Austin Hill. Since arriving at Wayne State, Hill has been selected as the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Golfer of the Week three times.

While mistakes can sometimes be hard to take and tough to admit, the lessons learned that can come as a result of making them have the potential to provide future reward.

Current Wayne State University golfer Austin Hill, of Troy, admits that he didn’t work hard enough at his game when he was a student at Auburn Hills Avondale. While he may have had the talent to earn a college scholarship, he instead spent a semester at Oakland University without being on the golf team.

But instead of simply shrugging his shoulders and being OK with not working as hard as he could, Hill made a decision that things were going to change.

He attended the Professional Golfers Career College in Hilton Head, S.C., (a non-NCAA golf academy) and worked his way onto the golf team at Wayne State University, which competes at the NCAA Division II level. Now in his junior season with the Warriors, Hill has also done something with the opportunity he has worked so hard for.

His accomplishments at Wayne State include being selected as the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Golfer of the Week three times, seven top-five finishes, and 11 top-10 finishes. Hill has also been a GLIAC All-Academic Excellence  Team selection, a GCAA (Golf Coaches Association of America) Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar, and a recipient of the D-II ADA (Athletic Directors Association) Academic Achievement Award.

“It’s been amazing,” said Hill, who aside from developing a strong work ethic also cited not taking things for granted as a life lesson that can be applied beyond the golf course. “You hear some of the names — guys you play with that are eventually on tour. I know guys from our past team that I hear about made it to the next level. It’s a really cool experience. You get really close to guys on the team. You’re traveling five, six times in the semester — different courses, different hotels.

“It’s a lot of good times shared. There’s some hard times, too. It’s a great time in a van traveling — at the hotel, relax, and then you get to go out and play golf. Something I love doing. I just kind of have fun with it.”

Wayne State head coach Mike Horn has had an opportunity to watch Hill develop his game.

“Really hard worker,” said Horn of Hill, whose current stroke average is 75.18. “He’s a solid player. He’s got a really good short game. He can chip and putt the ball, and if you can chip and putt the ball, you can play with anybody.”

Hill is part of a Wayne State golf program that has qualified for the NCAA Division II tournament nine out of the last 10 years, including each of the last seven seasons. But for all the success the Warriors have had in recent years, the program has not won a GLIAC title since the 2003-04 season, according to Horn.

Hill would like to change that before he graduates from the program.

“I think my biggest goal over anything is a GLIAC championship,” said Hill. “We haven’t had one in a long time, and I heard stories throughout my time here of how incredible that week was. I would do a lot of things in order to get that championship. I think that’d be icing on the cake.”

Following his collegiate playing days, anything that allows him to make a living via golf is likely to be just fine with Hill.

“Go to the PGA, get my Class A card and work in the golf industry,” Hill said of his goals after college. “Teach or something of that nature. I’m so ready to be done with school — so ready. I’ve worked a lot in the summer, and my boss always says it’s not work if you love what you do.”

Hill is majoring in finance.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.