Signal Mountain golfer Peyton Ogle inspires with perseverance on and off course

Cancer survivor gives his all to the game that helped him battle disease

Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Signal Mountain junior Peyton Ogle reads the green before a putt during Tuesday's home match against Chattanooga Christian. Ogle shot 1-under-par 71 as the match's medalist.
Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Signal Mountain junior Peyton Ogle reads the green before a putt during Tuesday's home match against Chattanooga Christian. Ogle shot 1-under-par 71 as the match's medalist.

Long after everyone else had vacated the course, Peyton Ogle stood on the green in the dark as he worked on his putting stroke. When he finally left Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club, Ogle only grabbed a bite to eat before taking more swings at home, where he has a 60-yard wedge course.

This wasn't an unusual day or extra work brought on by struggles in the short game.

Ogle's passion for golf has been strong throughout his life, and with countless hours poured into his game, he is in the midst of an incredibly consistent junior high school season for the Signal Mountain Eagles.

He has shot at or below par in every match or tournament in which he has competed with the Eagles this year. That includes back-to-back days of shooting 1 under to win East Hamilton's tournament at WindStone Golf Club in Ringgold, which wrapped up Monday, and another impressive round at home Tuesday, when having a few close putts drops could have easily resulted in him shooting 4 under. He was still the match medalist with a 1-under 71.

Before he could even walk, though, Ogle had his own plastic set of golf clubs to play with.

"As early as I can remember, I would watch the Golf Channel with my dad," Ogle said. "Golf is fun for me because it takes strategy and you have to think your way around the course. My love is endless for this sport, and I have fun every time I play and practice."

Those who don't know Ogle's work ethic or history might be surprised by his golf success. The 17-year-old weighs just 130 pounds, but pristine ball striking and a smooth swing allow him to launch the ball with the best of his competition. At the first hole at Signal Mountain on Tuesday, he hit his driver roughly 315 yards into the center of the fairway.

He has defied the odds in other ways, too, enduring and overcoming adversity off the course.

When Ogle was 3 1/2 years old, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow - and the most common type of cancer in children, according to - which required daily chemotherapy treatments until he was 7. Even as he battled for his life, though, golf helped keep his spirits up.

"In the hospital, I had this one room where I could see the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club," Ogle said. "I had a putting green in there, and I would have IVs all over the place, and I would putt. I would watch golf and fantasize over it, and it helped me keep battling because I wanted to grow up to become a great golfer one day."

Ogle has certainly shown the potential of meeting that goal. From being consistently straight with his tee shots to having a phenomenal chipping game and the ability to place iron shots in the middle of the green, his skills have made him one of the most complete youth golfers in the state.

This summer he placed fifth in the AJGA Preview at Sevierville Golf Club's River Course, finished in the top 20 at the Tennessee Junior Amateur Championship and shot 5 under through his first eight holes in another tournament. This past week, he earned all-tournament recognition during the City Prep competition at the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay, where his par round included making a putt longer than 55 feet.

Watching such success been special to his father, Chris Ogle, who considers every day a blessing to see his son go out and do what he loves. Chris recalled a scary moment in which Peyton, being treated for other illnesses on top of cancer, had eight medical staff members attending to him after he "coded" by displaying no pulse.

"When you watch your son get rolled out of a hospital room after he's coded, everything is just a bonus," Chris said. "Peyton has all the potential in the world. His work ethic is like no one else's I've ever seen. The same perseverance and fight that kept him alive is the same perseverance and fight he takes to the golf course every day. It's what he loves. He is a competitor and does what it takes to get the most out of his ability."

Signal Mountain's golf team benefits not only from his golf skills but his leadership. Ogle enjoys spending extra time working with his teammates, including Brayden Helle - an eighth grader whose game, Ogle believes, shows similarities to his at that age.

Eagles golf coach Rodney Mitchell sees a great future ahead for Ogle.

"To be a great golfer, you have to love the game and (believe that) practice is not work, it's fun," Mitchell said. "That's what it is to Peyton. He sets a great example because he works all the time, and in essence that makes the game come natural to him. He is a consistent scorer, and he will only get even better."

Ogle has aspirations of winning an individual TSSAA state championship and adding to his three straight team titles with the Eagles. He also wants to always support the sport that has meant so much to him.

"I can't thank everyone enough who has helped me make it this far," said Ogle, who also works at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club. "I want to give back as much as I can, and the more you can help others, the better life can be.

"My happy spot is golf. Every day I come out here, I smile and have fun making friendships, helping others and working on my game. You only have one life to live, and this is how I want to spend it."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

Upcoming Events