By Tony Adams
Chandler Cooke isn’t caught up in the baseball playoffs this summer and is not quite ready to put the golf clubs away yet for the football pads of Belton Tigers Youth Football in the fall.
But he is making an impact on golf courses around the state.
Competing in the 11-12 year age group, Cooke has played in tournaments this summer, playing at venues in Waco (Ridgewood Country Club, Twin Rivers), Austin (Lost Creek Country Club), Georgetown (Berry Creek Country Club) and Temple (Wildflower and Sammons). He has taken home a couple of medals and evened teamed with his father, Jason, to go up against the field at the Belton Exes Tournament in a two-man scramble. They finished at a 3-under-67 at the annual event.
“My summer has been great, so far,” Cooke said. “I have been having fun with everything and out their swinging sticks.”
One of his best shots of the season was at Berry Creek on Sunday, as he hit drive off of the Par-3, Hole 8. The ball landed a shot three feet from the hole and he drained the next shot for a birdie.
Just one in a series of great shots this summer.
“I’ve had a number of great shots this summer,” Cooke said. “The birdie at Berry Creek has been the best so far.”
He has a smooth drive, a product of hours of practice. Working on accuracy first, Cooke’s distance will come along.
“It’s better to work on your accuracy because if you keep it straight and in the fairway, it doesn’t matter how far it goes; it sets you up to get the ball up on the green,” Cooke said.
His driving and irons are his strength right now. His middle game is solid, which sets up his game on the greens. He admits the putting is a work in progress, although his putting game was on at the Belton Exes Tournament. He shot a 6-over par at Twin Rivers for a 46 (nine holes) last week, which was his best of the year to date.
“That was the round where I felt like the elements of my game came together,” Cooke said. “It was my best round of the summer.”
One of the fastest and athletic players to take the field at Wilson Kerzee Field on Saturdays last fall, Cooke would love to don the pads in BTYFL this fall. But with golf to be played, he is not ready to put the sticks up once the school year starts.
“I definitely want to play football this fall,” Cooke said. “But I definitely want to stick with golf.