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It would be fair to say that young golfer Cade Hancock got two scoops of ice cream as it relates to his golfing heritage. Both the Hancock and Gooden families have had an enduring passion and love for the game for several decades.

Cade’s mom, Polly Hancock, said “she never really took up the game, but really has loved the game since she was young.”

Many fond memories flood her mind every time she steps on a course to watch her son compete. Memories of her dad coming in from 18 holes played with his long-time playing companions, Byron Gooden, Stuart Gooden, Worth Hester and Jones Brady. Days in the Mountains spent at Crooked Creek Golf Course when she was a little girl. A course her brother, Marc Gooden, and Paul “Mutt” Gooden owned together and Marc still runs today.


Marc played golf at Wingate College and then went to East Tennessee State where he played as well. In addition, Marc was a Class A Professional for several years, owns and operates Crooked Creek Golf Course in Hendersonville and is currently involved in a company, Double Eagle Golf, that specializes in golf course construction and renovation projects. Recent projects include work at The Surf Club in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Walnut Creek Country Club in Goldsboro.

So far as the Hancock clan is concerned, Steve, Jim and Ann’s introduction to the game can be credited to one man, their grandfather, Ted Hancock. Mr. Ted loved the game and played at Green River Country Club in Chesterfield South Carolina for many years. Jim Hancock recalls times with his granddad on the course in Chesterfield. “Just getting to spend time with him was great, and the ice-cold bottled Coca-Cola and pack of cheese stop signs on the turn were the best, the golf was just the icing on the cake”.

After moving to Elizabethtown, Mr. Ted played at Carolina Sands, which is now Vineyard Golf at White Lake. Ann Hancock remembers Granddaddy trying to get her interested in golf. He lined up lessons with Ebbie Clark. Ebbie would agree she had a lot of potential. Granddaddy Hancock tried to convince Ann to get serious about the game. He told her “to put down that basketball, that golf was the way to go”. Who knows what might have happened if he would have twisted her arm a little harder. Ann loves the game and plays every chance she gets. Ann played basketball collegiately at Wingate, was an assistant coach at North Carolina and head coach at UNC Wilmington. She currently is the head women’s basketball coach at Wingate.

Steve played with his granddad as well. However, because their dad, Tom Hancock, was a career military man the family moved quite often. That didn’t afford Steve the opportunity to get to play much with Mr. Ted. When Steve was 12 years old the family was living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Many days, when not in school, mom, Mrs. Lou, or Mr. Tom would drop Steve off at the local course in the morning before work and be back that evening to pick him up about dark. Walking 54 holes a day was a normal part of his routine and even occasionally getting 72 holes in. The Reserve Unit that Tom Hancock was in charge of had a golf team that played in a local men’s league. Steve was a member of the team. Being 12 years old didn’t matter because he could hold his own with the older guys. As a youngster Steve developed a real passion for the game that continues to this day.

Cade was a different story. He never knew his great granddaddy Ted. Cade started off playing baseball and enjoyed it for several years. At the end of one season, it was time to select the All-Star squad. Cade was a well-rounded player that played every position except first base. He was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. He was not selected for the All-Star career and that began his golfing career. He told his parents he didn’t want to play baseball any more, but wanted to play golf.

Every summer the Hancock’s would strike-off to Myrtle Beach for summer vacation, which revolved around playing a lot of golf. Cade was around 11 at the time. Jim and Polly purchased a junior set of Jack Nicklaus irons and woods. Because he was young, he could play for free so there was no reason not to take him. Cade’s dad, Jim, remembers playing lots of courses that weaved through residential areas. Many times, people would be out on their patios or porches because Cade was small and so young folks would stop what they were doing and watch him hit. Most of the time the shot he hit deserved an ovation and he got lots of them along with a few cheers.

Jim and Polly will never forget Cade playing one of his first Junior golf tournaments at Pine Lakes International, “The Granddaddy”, that seems so fitting looking back.

One of the junior golfers playing with Cade had a teaching professional, his coach following the group watching the player that she coached. As the round progressed, Jim and Polly noticed that she was taking notice of Cade. Eventually she introduced herself to the Hancocks and complemented Cade’s swing. “He just had the look, the way he carried himself, he’s got it,” the coach said.

Some highlights for the Hancock golfing family:

Steve was a 10-time Club Champion in Dallas Texas, Carolina Golf Association Tournament winner, won the Byron Gooden Memorial Golf Tournament a few times along with Jim, Ann, Cade, and Marc Gooden, playing for Team Crooked Creek. He recently shot 66 twice along with a 67, shooting his age (67) or better.

Jim is a two-time Club Champion, winning back-to-back years at Vineyard Golf at White Lake (First flight). He has had two holes-in-one, one at Vineyard Golf No. 12 and the other at River Landing No. 5. Multiple wins at The Duke Children’s Hospital Log-A-Load For Kids Golf Tournament, Several wins at the Byron Gooden Memorial. The highlight of his golfing career outside of watching Cade would be The Father/Son played with Cade at PGA National Champions Course “The Bear Trap” where he shot a 76 allowing the father/son combo to capture a fifth-place finish.

Ann is a two-time Wilmington Women’s City Champion. She has won the Byron Gooden Memorial as well. One of her highlights was shooting her career low round of even-par 72 at a course in Myrtle Beach while playing with her Dixie Youth Baseball Coach Sonny Jones and his wife, Mary Elizabeth.

Cade has 15 Junior Golf wins, four holes-in-one, three at Vineyard Golf and one at Pine Island in Charlotte.

One of his first tastes of victory was at the Bob Boyd Invitational at Pine Valley Country Club in Wilmington. The tournament was held every year to honor Bob Boyd, who played on the PGA Tour for a few years before passing away from cancer. The event raised money for cancer research. PGA professionals that played with Bob come every year to help with the cause. This year Larry Mize and Mark Calcavecchia were there. Members would bid on the opportunity for the Pros to be on their team. Needless to say, a pretty hefty price tag was paid for their expertise to be a part of a team. Cade didn’t have that luxury. He was slated to play with his dad, Mac McClure and his coach Cortney Brisson. Cade was 13 at the time and he shot 69 and beat Brisson for the first time. In addition, his stellar play propelled the team to a three-way tie between Mize and Calcavecchia’s teams. The format called for a card playoff starting on the back. After examining the cards all three teams were still tied after the back nine. Hancock, Hancock, McClure and Brisson won the event when Jim knocked in an eagle on the par four first hole from the fairway. There were some pretty upset donors when they realized that a 13-year-old kid, and some unknowns had beaten them.

Cade was the 2013 Junior Club Champion at Pine Valley Country Club that same year.

He qualified and played in The Optimist Junior World twice playing at PGA National Champions Course “The Bear Trap”. He made the cut both times, finishing in the top 30 both times out of 200 participants.

Won the 5th Annual Ping Junior-Am at River Landing

Won The North Carolina Junior Golf Foundation Spring “Shoot-Out” held at Finley Golf Course UNC Chapel Hill. Automatic Bid to IMG Junior World in San Diego California, at Torrey Pines. Made the cut finished 52nd out of 218 players.

AJGA Leadership Links Top Fund Raiser as an individual in the history of the program. Raising over $25,000 for Junior Golf Scholarships and Operation Smile. Cade was rewarded by getting to play 18 holes with Rickie Fowler in Jupiter, Florida. In addition, he was invited to Taylor Made’s “The Kingdom” at Reynolds Plantation at Lake Oconee Georgia, for a custom fitting of a complete set of clubs.

USGA-AJGA Presidents Award Nominee

CNN Sports Positive Athlete Award Nominee

Harrells Christian Academy two-time All-State, three-time individual conference champion, four-time Player of the Year,

Senior Year, 2019 Tarheel Cup Matches held at River Landing, represented the East Squad as number one player. Ryder Cup Format. Cade entered the final day singles matches against the number one player from the West Team. Hancock fired a thirty-one on the front nine to take a six-up lead, closing out the match on the fourteenth hole Five and Four. The East Won the over-all match fifteen points to nine.

College Seven top Ten finishes, four of seven in the top five.

2019-2020 Conference Carolina Presidential Honor roll

Two time Conference Carolina Player of the Week 2021-2022

2020-2021 Play of the Year Trojan Globe Award Winner

2020-2021 Conference Champions Cade sealed the victory on the first play-off hole draining a twenty-five- foot downhill birdie putt to seal the victory.

2020-2021 NCAA Division II first round at Steamsong in Lakeland Florida

2022-2023 Conference Carolina Championship at The Preserve at Verdae in Greenville South Carolina. Tied fifth, All Conference Tournament Team

Low tournament round 67, Low qualifier 63

Cade’s plan for the future is to do an internship this summer for his senior project at River Landing in Wallace. After completing that he will have his undergraduate degree in Sports Management. Because of COVID-19, he has one more year of college eligibility and will pursue his Masters degree in Business, which will allow him to play golf one more year. Also, he will be qualifying for the North Carolina Amateur at Walnut Creek Country Club in Goldsboro this summer.

As Cade looks back at all the places he’s been, all the people he’s met, and all the wonderful experiences golf has afforded him, he learned it’s not always about wins and losses or numbers on a card. Most importantly, it’s about using his talents as a platform to give back to a game that has played such a major role in his family as well as his successes.

Cade carries a silver dollar, given to him from his “Pop”, Paul “Mutt” Gooden to all his competitive rounds and uses it to mark his ball. He says not only does it bring him good luck, but it keeps him ever mindful of the golf heritage that has been passed down from his family.