New Cape golf coach looking forward to season

March 17, 2011

There are a lot of similarities between ice hockey and golf, and the new coach of the Cape Henlopen High School golf team is particularly well suited to take advantage of that fact.

Dave Inglis recently assumed his head coaching duties for the Vikings squad as the team began its initial practice sessions for the 2011 season. The 55-year-old ex-Coastie chief boatswain’s mate didn’t begin playing golf until he reached his 30s, but his playing history in ice hockey goes much further back, to club hockey days in his hometown of Montclair, N.J.

“I played when I was a kid and then coached ice hockey for years with kids’ teams,” Inglis said.

“There are similarities in how you prepare mentally for a match, in physical fitness and especially in developing your hand-eye coordination.”

He also mentioned the fact that an effective swing in both sports requires a pivot off the hips. We both noted that there are dozens of very good golfers who happen to play in the National Hockey League, so Inglis certainly has a point.

The coach’s golf experience started when he was in the service. “I had a few lessons in my teens, but golf wasn’t cool then. I wish I’d taken it up sooner,” he said.

Inglis retired from the Coast Guard after 26 years, including stints on the East Coast; Haiti; Guantanamo, Cuba; and Taylor’s Island in Chesapeake Bay. He moved with his family to the Cape Region six years ago, after working in Atlantic City as the manager of a Philadelphia Flyers-affiliated hockey rink. His golf coaching experience started several years ago, when he became assistant coach for former Vikings head coach Claudio Smarelli.

“Claude’s been a great help to me and the golf program. I don’t think there would be a successful program at Cape without him for all those years,” Inglis said.

Inglis said his handicap once hovered around 28, but in the last year or so he’s brought it down to 12, playing regularly at The Rookery golf course near Milton. “With both knees replaced and a back injury, the lack of flexibility has actually helped my game,” he said with a smile.

As for his approach to coaching, Inglis said his perspective on what’s truly important comes from his military experience. “You learn what’s really critical and what isn’t. This is golf, so I’m trying to keep it a bit laid-back. I want to try and keep it light. Let’s have some fun. I hope to bring that to the team.”

Inglis also appreciates the help of the Cape Region golf pros at Kings Creek and Rehoboth Beach country clubs. “They’ve been really supportive,” he said. In fact, Kings Creek teaching pro Chris Krueger is volunteering time with the team when he returns to the area in late March. The Vikings began their practice sessions March 4. Returning senior varsity players include Devon Medd, James and Matthew Kersey, and Nicholas Purnell. Purnell and Medd both said they are certain that the team will outperform last year’s 12th-place finish in the state championship.

Achieving that kind of performance will call upon the contributions to team scoring provided by juniors Shane Ghigliotty and James Fenstermaker. Sophomore Michael Johnson and freshman Nate Griffith are also hoping to play on the varsity team, along with Casy Bittner.

In addition, sophomore Esther Kung and ninth-grader Amanda Flores are hoping to continue the tradition of talented young women playing for Cape’s golf team. The team’s first match is currently scheduled against Smyrna High School Tuesday, March 22.

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