WALPOLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — He’s only been playing for three years, and he’s only 6 years old, but Drew Mertzel of Winthrop is making some heads turn when he hits a golf ball.

Drew’s mother and father, Vanessa and Jeff Mertzel of Winthrop, said he began hitting golf balls when he was 3.

“He had a little baseball bat and would swing it like a golf club,” said Vanessa. “He watched golf on TV and just started swinging. So we bought him a set of golf clubs and he fell in love with it.”

The parents say the boy is “passionate” about playing golf. They’re both school teachers and the family spent the summer break playing nearly every day at the Wawenock Country Club in Walpole. Drew’s smooth swing and enthusiasm for the game attracted the attention of the many older members.

They’ve also been impressed by Drew’s tournament success. He plays In the U.S. Kids Golf competition, which his father described it as a series of regional, national and international competitions for kids from age 6 to 12.

In the spring, at the famed Pinehurst, North Carolina, course, Drew played well enough to be ranked No. 13 in the world in his age group. His parents, who say Drew is “very good”, admit they were amazed by his finish at Pinehurst.

“(When) He finished tied for 13th in the world, Vanessa and I looked at each other like Oh my God,” said Jeff Mertzel.

Drew himself didn’t say a lot when asked about his golf game and his success. Asked what he likes best about the game, the reply was simple:

“That I can play every day.”

However, the daily play is a thing of the past for the young golfer, at least until next summer. He recently started first grade. But even there, the game is clearly not far from his mind. Drew’s father said the boy’s love for golf is giving him something of a head start on academics.

Jeff Mertzel said he is using scorekeeping to teach Drew some math, turning hose hole-be-hole scores into lessons about addition and subtraction.

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