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Golf might be the sport that most awards a conservative, cautious play style. In the time between his junior and senior seasons, South Forsyth’s Drew Shell certainly had that in mind.

“No, not really,” he said when asked if he made any significant changes to his swing or game in the interim. “Same (thing), practice every day.”

That squares with Shell’s overall philosophy towards playing: Aim for the short grass and avoid mistakes whenever possible. And while it won’t produce many murmurs of awe or excitement, the results on his scorecard were plenty satisfactory. He shot a 69 to win the Johnny Paulk Invitational and a 70 at the Area 3-7A championships, taking low medalist honors at both events, and finished seventh overall in Class 7A at the state meet, shooting five-over-par over two days.

Now Shell is headed to play in college at Young Harris, joining former South teammate John Lichtenwalner on the Mountain Lions.

Drew Shell’s ambitions of earning All-County Player of the Year honors began when teammate Erik Forberg won the award in 2017. - photo by Ian Frazer
“I really like the area and the mountains and stuff,” Aikins said. “(It has a) beautiful campus.”

One emphasis Shell identified this season was getting off to a good start in his rounds, but his biggest win, at the area championship, came from a late-round run. He made birdie on the 12th hole, another birdie on the 13th, and an eagle on 14.

And that last hole didn’t necessarily involve any out-of-character playing by Shell either: He just hit a long enough drive that he could put the next shot directly on the green. When he got it within few feet of the flagstick, it was an easy putt to go two strokes further from par.

Shell hasn’t thought too much in detail about his ambitions for college, but he said a national championship would be nice. And as for his senior year, his main goal for that was accomplished once he appeared in these very pages: Shell saw Erik Forberg, his friend and the 2017 All-County Golfer of the Year from South Forsyth, win the award two years ago and wanted to do the same.

“I felt pretty good,” Shell said of his 2019 season. “Obviously, I played pretty good.”