Driving for Success: Twins follow family legacy by qualifying for state championships, top honors

Growing up in a family of all golfers, it wasn’t rocket science to figure that twins Hailey and Hannah Bermel would follow suit, and that’s exactly what they did. “They probably started golfing at three,” Tracy Bermel, the twins’ mother, said. “I can remember them riding around on the golf cart in their car seats.”

Alongside the twins, there are also three other Bermels who are no strangers to golf. The two older siblings, Jake and Abby, both played at Cedar Falls and The University of Northern Iowa where they were coached by their father, who is the head coach up at UNI.

Abby is in the CFHS hall of fame and made first team All State. She is now married to Adam Luehmann who used to be the assistant pro at Pheasant Ridge Golf course under their father, John Bermel.

“Adam’s really been a part of the family since he was 14,” Tracy Bermel said as she laughed. “He started as bag boy at 14, became the assistant pro and then married our daughter.” 

Jake, their older brother, also played at Cedar Falls, made first team All State and went on to play at the University of Northern Iowa under his father. After just graduating, Jake is planning to be an assistant pro under his father once he passes all the requirements to do so. These requirements include passing a playing ability test. There are 36 holes, and one has to shoot a certain score along with passing a written test.

The Bermel’s youngest, Ben, is a freshman this year and played his first season with the varsity golf team, making an impressive statement.

The twins however continue to shine and rise to the occasion when they are needed most. Playing varsity since their freshman year, they have learned a lot of what it means to lead a team and improve their own game along with their leadership. Their freshman year, they came onto a team that had just lost six seniors, and it was time to start rebuilding. It was a tough task and season, but Hailey made first team All Conference and Hannah made second team. Their sophomore year was much better as they had already gained a year of experience at the varsity level. They added two girls who really helped out the team, and both Hannah and Hailey received first team All Metro. They made it to State and both made second team All State.

“This year has been a ton of a fun,” Hailey said. “Hannah and I are both playing very well, and we’re super excited for this part of the season where we get to compete with some of the best and shoot for the top.”

This year along with last year, the top six girls on the team made All Metro, which only hold six spots, so Cedar Falls claimed every single one of those spots for the second time in a row. “We’re super competitive but obviously support each other. We even tell each other good job even when we don’t want to,” Hailey said, while she laughed, obviously joking around with her sister.

“Our dad’s the best,” Hannah said. “He’s one of those people that after you have a bad round, you can go up to him, and all he does is point out all the good stuff you did. He’ll take you out to the range, and in two seconds fix everything that needed to be fixed.”

Their father, John, has a little more experience in the sport than just your average golfer. He’s registered as a golf pro under the PGA, and he can play in professional golf events around the state where if he wins, he can get paid. He’s actually qualified for the U.S. Senior Open. What’s even more impressive is that John has played with both Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson, two of the most well known names in the sport.

“Having a family that loves golf is nice,” Hailey said. “It’s always something we can talk about, and most of the time in the summer, the Golf Channel is on the TV, even if we don’t know who’s playing.”

Golf isn’t exactly a seasonal sport for the Bermels. The sport most definitely doesn’t slow down in the summer because Hailey, Hannah and Ben are still in full swing when it comes to summer tournaments.

They are involved in something called the Iowa Junior Tour, and at most there can be two tournaments a week all over Iowa. In the summer, they can focus on themselves as individual golfers. “In the summer, it’s all you,” Hannah said. “There’s no team to compete with, just yourself. It’s all about improving your own skills and competition.”

Both girls look to possibly continue their talents to UNI but are open to anything at this point.

“Golf is a lifelong sport,” Hannah said. “I think that’s why I love it so much. There will never be an age where I can’t go out and play a few holes.”

“It’s something I can do with my family all the time who I love more than anybody,” Hailey said. “It truly brings our family closer than one might think possible. It allows me to spend more time with the people I care most about.”

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