Shawe Memorial golfer Chandler Cole follows his tee shot in high school match at Sunrise Golf Course. (Courier file photo by Mark Campbell)
Shawe Memorial golfer Chandler Cole follows his tee shot in high school match at Sunrise Golf Course. (Courier file photo by Mark Campbell)
Chandler Cole’s hopes at having a standout senior season on the golf course were dashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Shawe Memorial High School standout was still able to close out his final year with a personal highlight.

On Thursday, Cole officially signed to play golf at nearby Hanover College in the fall during a small signing ceremony at the school. Getting a chance to play at the next level was a dream come true for Cole and getting to do it at Hanover was just the icing on the cake.

“I’m super excited. I can’t wait to go play for Hanover,” Cole said. “I came from Shawe and I just love the small-knit community. My family is close and it’s just going to be super nice to be able to go to my brother’s basketball games and also by right on campus.”

Cole said that when he began looking at schools, Hanover was really the only school he looked at.

“I only visited Hanover once time. I’ve been there a lot and I was like, this is the school,” said Cole, who plans on majoring in business. “I didn’t apply to any other schools or anything.”

Cole stood out in several sports during his time in Shawe, playing basketball and baseball as well. But it was golf that was his true passion and the one in which he feels the most closely connected.

But despite that, Cole didn’t play golf throughout his entire high school career. After playing the sport in junior high and his freshman year, he stepped back and played baseball as a sophomore in order to help out the numbers on the team.

He returned to the links as a junior and had an outstanding season, earning all-Ohio River Valley Conference honors and coming just a few strokes from qualifying for the regional. His plan was to use that success to springboard into his senior year, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“I’m really bummed about (not getting to play). I’m glad that I got my basketball season in, but I was really looking forward to golf this year,” Cole said. “But it’s for the best for everybody.”

“I played golf at Madison and I probably would have died had we lost our senior year. We won the sectional that year and we still talk about that today,” Shawe coach Dan Hambrick said. “To lose your senior year in golf would be gut-wrenching. We were going to have a full team this year and they were looking forward to having a couple of individuals or even the team moving on. I know it is what it is and you’ve got to take in stride, but it makes you sick for these seniors.”

At Hanover, Cole will get a chance to play for legendary coach Wayne Perry, who is returning to the links after several years away. Hambrick said that he has the utmost trust that Cole will do what he needs to do in order to be successful. After all, he’s watched his star do it during high school.

“He’s probably improved as much in one season as any kid I’ve seen, because he was willing to make the changes,” Hambrick said. “That’s probably going to be Chandler’s biggest asset in the next couple of years. He’s not a club-thrower, he’s not a cusser. He makes a bad shot, he take it, and moves onto the next shot. That’s going to be key for him.”

Cole said that he has talked to Perry and knows what he needs to work on.

“Pretty much everything,” Cole said with a smile. “You can always get better.”