MASHPEE, Mass – Jimmy Damiano, Director of Golf Instruction at the Club at New Seabury has been named 2020 NEPGA Cape Cod Chapter Teacher of the Year.
A lifelong devotee to enhancing the golf experience, Damiano has inspired single digit handicappers as well as beginners for decades. Whether he’s giving a three-hour playing lesson with a championship golfer or he’s instructing a group of eager beginners enrolled in a GETGOLF READY CLINIC, he brings the same enthusiasm and commitment to helping his pupils.
“Jimmy’s passion for the game is so evident with everyone he works with,” said Jim Clay, Director of Golf at the Club at New Seabury. “He is a true ambassador of golf and has really reinvigorated our Club and our members by adding fun and thought in his students’ approach to the game. He’s so deserving of the NEPGA Cape Cod Chapter Teach of the Year award.”
Damiano spent countless hours honing his craft under the watchful eye of Jim McLean, a renowned golf instructor and longtime owner and advocate of Trackman, which utilizes state-of-the-art technology to deliver an understandable message to a wide range of players. In addition to technology, Damiano stresses club fitting as an essential ingredient to each students’ improvement, which he maintains extensive experience.
He became a full-time instructor, splitting his time between Long Island (Glen Oaks) in the summers and at the Jim McLean Golf School at Doral (in Miami) in the winters and has also been fortunate to work at other top private clubs, including Castle Pines Golf Club and Nantucket Golf Club, where he turned pro in 1998. After spending 13 summer seasons as a teaching professional at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury he arrived on Cape Cod in May 2018 to assume the position of Director of Golf Instruction at The Club at New Seabury, a premier Private Golf Community, boasting two championship tracks – the Ocean Course and the Dunes Course. Damiano was tasked with helping to transform the golf culture and in one year has led an astounding turnaround with a 250 percent increase in Instruction Revenue which included Revenue (262%), Quantity of Lessons (250%) and Club Sales (266%).
“Last year was a blur. Once the weather improved around Memorial Day it was like a turn style and a switch that went on and never turned off,” recalled Damiano, who estimates he has given between 15,000-20,000 hours of golf lessons over his career. “After many years of instructing I can now walk away from a 10 hour day and feel good that I’ve helped every one of those 10, providing them with something to make them better.”
As impressive as the numbers are, Damiano’s impact at New Seabury can be seen with a renewed focus on membership engagement.
“We aimed to create a culture of learning and improvement through the use of instruction and technology and Jimmy’s approach to the game, his knowledge of the swing, and communication skills were crucial to our success,” Clay noted. “The membership confirmed our belief that they wanted this change by supporting the instruction and club fitting programs.”
At the Club at New Seabury, Damiano helped introduce several new golf programs in 2019 and all were met with enthusiasm.
From Get Golf Ready, a women’s clinic designed to introduce current non golfing spouses into the game, to Play 3 and Practice Tee Clinics which emphasized learning on the golf course where the instructor first evaluates the student on the course then uses that knowledge to instruct accordingly.
“I never played golf before joining the Get Golf Ready Ladies Clinic,” said Lisa Joubert of New Seabury. “Jimmy has taught me golf basics and golf etiquette but also gave me the confidence to go out on the course with my husband after just a handful of lessons. He is a great instructor, extremely knowledgeable about the sport and he is positive, motivating and encouraging. He made me feel comfortable with each lesson whether I mastered it or messed up. I’ve learned that you just need to relax and enjoy the game.”
Damiano has also worked alongside many peers who have gained the highest accolades when it comes to golf instruction. Jamie Fisher, Director of Instruction at Conway Farms Golf Club and Indian Ridge Country Club and an LPGA Class A Member has known Jimmy since 1995 and taught with him in California, Massachusetts, and at resort golf schools.
“I have watched Jimmy blossom into the top teacher he is today throughout that time,” said Fisher. “It goes without saying that to be a great teacher or coach one must have an understanding of the subject matter. Of course, Jimmy has that in spades and has a continual drive to continue learning about the game especially through the ever-evolving use of cutting edge technology. But, in my opinion Jimmy’s real strength as a teacher/coach is his boundless enthusiasm and ability to inspire his students.”
Damiano’s skill set has also added tremendous value to the member experience and in doing so he’s made golf fun and interactive.
Neil Golub, Chairman of the Golub Corporation and a lifetime golfer for over 70 years has won club championships and is a 5-time Schenectady County Senior Champion, added: “Jimmy’s charisma and training techniques during our practices have been inspiring. Today my short game (which has been excellent since training with friend Dave Pelz) has been significantly upgraded with Jimmy’s new techniques. Hard to believe but true. I have been coached by some of the best Golf Training has to offer. For anyone like myself with talent who is willing to work, I would rate Jimmy as the most coherent coach I have ever experienced.”
Damiano remains eager to help perfect his pupils’ golf experiences as he is content in the shared experience.
“It’s so satisfying to see the smile on the face of one of my students who has just picked up the game,” said Damiano. “When they finally get the ball up in the air or hit that sweet spot you can see the gleam in their eye. Some of my students have had little to no experience but we’ve made it fun and comfortable. I always aim to be an effective and efficient instructor,” he added. “We can dilly dally on a driving range but I’m focusing on efficiency. I can break down what a student is doing wrong in minutes, and start working on the technical aspects of what they’re doing. Once they’re hitting the ball properly, we’ll go right on the course. The ultimate test is “can you hit these shots on the course?”
Since returning to Cape Cod in 2018 Damiano has settled into New Seabury nicely, spending time at the Club’s new Golf Practice & Teaching Facility: a 12-acre gem with expansive grass hitting areas, a two-acre short game area to practice every type of shot and a 20,000 square foot putting green along with a 100 yard sand bunker.