It takes knowledge, skill, commitment and craft to be successful on the golf course. Those with experience and the ability to teach the game of golf can stay in the sport for a long time.
Chad Kurmel, a West Point native and current assistant golf coach at Michigan State University, uses his game on the links and past experiences to coach collegiate golfers.
Kurmel grew up in Northeast Nebraska and graduated from West Point High School. After graduating from high school, Kurmel went to play golf at Northeast Community College.
"He was an accomplished golfer right out of high school," former Northeast Community College golf coach Marlin Sekutera said. "I worked with refining some of his skills and let him mature on the golf course."
Kurmel was able to hit the long ball off of the tee box while he had a polished short game.
"His golf game improved drastically from the time he was here," Sekutera said. "He learned how to manage his game."
After going to Northeast Community College for two years, Kurmel finished his college career at Southeastern Louisiana University.
"It was good being from a small town. Once you get to college, it's a little different," Kurmel said. "You get to go to different states and play in different tournaments."
When he graduated from Southeastern Louisiana in 1993, Kurmel played on the South American tour overseas.
Throughout his professional career, Kurmel played in the PGA Tour's Honda Classic in 2007 and the Puerto Rico Open in 2013.
As a 19-year PGA professional, Kurmel played in the 2007 Nationwide Tour's Miccosukee Championship and the Professional National Championships in 2004, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Then in 2012, he won the South Florida PGA Section Championship.
In 2015, Kurmel and his family moved to Michigan, where Kurmel found a job as a director of instruction at the Spartan Golf Academy.
A few years later in 2018, Kurmel joined the Michigan State men's golf team as a volunteer assistant coach.
"He had expressed some interest. We were looking for a third coach who could provide some value and instruction," Michigan State golf coach Casey Lubahn said. "He's as passionate a human being as I've seen about helping students. He's been an amazing asset for our program."
Kurmel is able to use his college and professional golf experiences when coaching today's college golfers.
Lubahn and assistant coach Dan Ellis also played college golf, so the entire Spartan staff can connect with student athletes.
"It's nice to be able to go in with the college experience, and I have experience in playing in some professional events," Kurmel said. "I have a lot to offer, especially with the golf instruction background."
Kurmel said golf is a difficult game but once you put in the hard work, you will see positive results.
"You have to have a commitment to it. You have to commit to get better. It's one of the few games that you really have to work hard at it to get better and you have to have the proper guidance," he said. "If you have the proper guidance and the will to get better, that's where you can make your game better and move on to the next level."
Golf Digest recently came out with a list of the top 20 golf instructors in Michigan in 2019, and Kurmel was No. 19 on the list.
"He's still relatively new to the area. For somebody to move from Florida, build a new life with new students and new experiences, then in a couple of years, he's recognized as one of the top teachers," Lubahn said. "He's authentically one of the best and most passionate instructors in the state."
As Kurmel continues to grow as a powerhouse instructor in Michigan, the Kurmel golf name will continue to grow in Nebraska as his daughter, Abbey Kurmel, will play on the Wayne State women's golf team starting in the fall of 2020.
"She will have a good opportunity. She is excited to go to college and play golf," Kurmel said.