At age 22, Joey DiPompo might be the youngest high school golf coach in Hillsborough County but he knows what he’s talking about.
DiPompo, an assistant manager and golf professional at The Downs Golf Practice Facility, has been named to coach the Sickles High School girls golf team. It’s his first job as a coach, but he’s looking forward to it. You might say that applying for the job came out of the blue.
“One of the parents of one of the players came over (to The Downs) and said that there was a coaching job available,” DiPompo said. “We did a phone interview and I got the job.”
DiPompo is still recovering from a serious back injury that kept him off the golf course for a while, but as soon as he’s ready, he is going after his PGA certification. It’s a tough test that requires some playing, but he plans to go after it.
The Sickles job is intriguing since he has many of his best players coming back next year. The team, which practices at The Eagles Golf Club, made it to state regionals last fall, and DiPompo knows most of his players from them practicing at The Downs. However, the Florida High School Athletic Association has strict policies on when a coach can work with his team, leaving him vague on what he can and can’t do.
What he is ready for, however, is the opportunity to coach.
“A lot of high school golf coaches don’t really know how to coach,” DiPompo said. “A coach is someone who brings it all together. I can teach fundamentals, but golf is all about fun and I plan to let the girls at Sickles have fun.”
He’ll be learning a lot about how to make it fun with his summer camp this year.
Hosted at The Downs, he is promising the most exciting and fun summer camp in the area. The camp is open to children from age 6 to 15 from all skill levels. He plans a maximum six-to-one kids-to-instructor ratio. It will feature full swing and game fundamentals, professional instruction, video analysis, rules and etiquette, and nine holes of golf at the Silver Dollar Golf Club.
He’s planning plenty of things to make it more enjoyable. He plans special tournaments, golf quizzes, and even water balloon fights. Anything to make it fun.
There will also be “Downs Dollars,” money he has printed to give to the children who participate. They will be able to redeem them at The Downs pro shop.
He knows the youngsters are hoping to hit the ball as far as they can, but putting and the short game will take precedence.
“The short game and putting is 80 percent of golf,” DiPompo said. “I’ll find a way to make it fun.”
For information on The Downs summer golf program, call (813) 854-4946.