Former Raider star, James Giampaolo, stays on the links with Florida gig. Story by John Torsiello.
Florida is a pretty nice place to work, especially during the winter and if you are a golfer.
For James Giampaolo, there’s an extra bonus. He gets to see his sister Julia, who plays for the University of Miami women’s volleyball team. Julia, a former Torrrington High School star, is a junior on this year’s Hurricane squad. Her brother was a standout golfer for the Raiders.
“Luckily she’s just an hour and 20 minutes from Jupiter,” says James Giampaolo, who is an assistant professional at The Club at Admirals Cove in Jupiter, Fl. “I plan on heading down to Miami for our birthday weekend where she has two games during that time. Her birthday is Nov 15 and mine is Nov 17.”
James Giamapalo has fulfilled his course requirements at Methodist University and will graduate from the Fayetteville, N.C. college Dec. 15. He also completed all requirements with the PGA of America and graduates with a marketing major and a concentration in PGA Golf Management.
While working his way through school, Giampaolo worked at Torrington Country Club from July of 2005 to August of 2009 and then at Promontory Club in Park City, Utah., working at the Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus designed courses there from May to October of 2011. This past summer, he worked at the Nantucket Golf Club on Nantucket Island, Ma. He’s at Admirals Cove through March. At each stop, he has performed tasks such as customer service, merchandising, swing analysis, club repair, club fitting, clinics, inventory, and tournament operations. He explained how he landed in the Sunshine State.
“I was looking for a job in the Florida area and was notified by a friend that an alumni friend of mine was looking to hire and we worked through the interview process and here I am. The club is very friendly. The members and staff here really have made an effort to get to know me and ensure I enjoy my time spent here. The club has an east and west side to it. The east with 18 challenging holes that will host a U.S. Open qualifier later this season. The west side has three 9-hole courses, which is where I work the outdoor services position, providing members and guests with any services they may need to make their experience as best as possible.”
Giampaolo was a key part of the vaunted Torrington High School golf team during the middle years of the first decade of the century. He was a member of Raider teams that won four Naugatuck Valley League regular season championships and three NVL Tournament titles. He was All-NVL in 2006, ’07, and ’08, finished third at the CIAC state tournament in 2007, and co-captained the Raiders his senior year along with good friend Taylor Griffin, who, ironically, works at The Dye Preserve about 10 minutes from Giampaolo in Jupiter.
Giampaolo made the golf team his freshman and junior years at Methodist, which asks that student-athletes qualify for the squad each year.
“Luckily, I was able to make the men’s team twice. Tryouts were usually between 50 to 70 players vying for five or six spots. A 72-hole aggregate score determined those who qualified.”
He talked about his college career.
“The most difficult aspect to college was making the adjustment to being pretty far from home. It was tough finishing up high school in June and quickly moving into Methodist by the 27th of August in 2008. Being in North Carolina really hindered how much I got to see the people I love the most. I don’t get home as much as I would like but that’s something I’ve gotten used to. I call everybody as much as I can to stay current.”
But the effort and enduring the distance from family and friends back home is worth it as he chases the sun.
“I am playing as much as I can. Working down here in Florida, I’ve found a lot more time to play and practice. The weather is phenomenal at this time of year…sorry Connecticut. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to not only play with the big guns but to beat them. However, costs to play in events are expensive. Currently I am building a list of tours and one-day events in the area that seem at least a bit more realistic. Florida is where that opportunity is, so I’m glad I made it here.”
Giampaolo says the idea behind making golf his career was to ensure that he was going to be working in a field he loves.
“Being miserable at work isn’t any fun, so why not take the golf route? It just seemed logical. Golf is something I’ve loved since my grandfather Charlie put clubs in my hands soon after I could walk.”
He looked back on his days at THS, which has produced a number of golfers that have gone on to various careers in the game.
“The golfing experience at THS was something I will never forget. We have to give a lot of credit to our coach, Joe Minutillo, for the great experiences we had. It was a fun and competitive environment that brought out the best in all of us. I think those that took to the golf industry for a career simply wanted to be involved with the game on a greater level, as it shows infinite growth.”
The added bonus for James Giampaolo is that working in the golf industry allows you to watch your younger sister play volleyball for a Division I program, get on the course a lot, and enjoy the sun and warmth of Florida during the winter. Yep, not bad work if you can get it.