DARTMOUTH — To say Justin DeBortoli comes from a golfing family would be an understatement.
Handed a big plastic golf club as soon as he could walk, DeBortoli was on his way to making his mark on the fairways.
By the age of 5, he was learning the right way to swing a club; at 8, he played his first 9-hole round, and, at 12, he played an 18-hole round.
“My dad (Patrick) is a golfer and so are four of my uncles,” DeBortoli said. “Dad is a plus-2 handicap and he’s two strokes better than I am (a point-2 handicap). We always play together and he helps me with my swing.”
All that work paid off with a dominating season for Dartmouth High on a variety of local courses like Allendale Country Club, the Country Club of New Bedford and Reservation Golf Club.
“The courses are all different,” said DeBortoli, The Standard-Times Golf Player of the Year. “Ressy is the most fun because it’s a shorter course and you play a lot of shots you don’t usually hit. Allendale is a tough course and it’s always in great shape. Our team does not do well at CCNB. It’s a lot narrower there and you have to be down the middle.”
On the golf course, DeBortoli puts his faith in his swing to keep it down the middle.
“I try to take a good, consistent swing and that works for me,” he said. “On the first tee (with people standing around watching), it forces me to hit a good shot. I have to zone-in more. I would definitely say that the best part of my game is driving the ball off the tee.”
Improving his game each year, DeBortoli lowered his average 9-hole scores on the par-36 Allendale layout from 39.5 last year to 36.5 this season.
“I’m a lot more confident and I’ve improved my mental game a lot,” he said. “If I hit a bad shot, I’ve got to brush it off. It’s tough, but I have to or you can’t come back. I’m getting better at it, but I’m not a great scrambler. After I made a mistake, I’d try to hit the perfect shot instead of playing a safety shot.”
As a young baseball and soccer player, DeBortoli decided to focus on his golf game because he excelled at golf more than the other sports.
Dartmouth coach Mike Frates knows he’s been spoiled by having a player of DeBortoli’s caliber.
“He was a pleasure to coach the last four years and will be missed next year,” Frates said. “It was nice being able to just plug him in at No.1 for the last four years. That doesn't come around too often. Above all else, he's a great person and a great team captain.”