On The Ball
Carmel Senior Nick Dentino Is Compiling An Impressive List of Golf Achievements
Writer / Jon Shoulders
While observing Nick Dentino on a golf course, it might be easy to forget that he’s only a high school senior. Dentino plays with the kind of mental and physical control that many golfers spend their entire lives chasing.
And while the Carmel senior has only been playing competitive golf since junior high, the list of accomplishments he’s put together this year alone is surprising.
In June, the Carmel boys varsity golf squad beat defending state champs Center Grove by a single stroke for this year’s state title, and Dentino was instrumental in the victory – he sunk a crucial putt on the very last hole to secure a victory for the Greyhounds.
“It’s been quite a journey this year, and for me it started when we won that championship as a team,” Dentino says. “That was such a cool experience with the guys, and everyone helped me out along the way. It was a great team effort.”
After ending the high school season on such a high note, Dentino embarked on a busy summer during which he competed in several American Junior Golf Association tourneys, finishing in the top five at the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands Resort in Michigan in July. Last year Dentino won that Junior Championship event with a score of seven under par, including 16
That wasn’t all that the summer of 2018 brought for the senior – he also managed to qualify for the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship, which was held in August at the Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill courses in California. Dentino was one of only five Hoosiers to qualify for this year’s U.S. Amateur along with his Carmel teammate Cole Harris, a fellow senior who committed in March to play golf at the University of Cincinnati.
“It was a whole different experience playing out at Pebble Beach versus anywhere I’d played up until then,” Dentino says. “You get to see and play golf on a different level.”
Dentino’s dad and grandpa gave him a club to swing at the age of four, and he’s never looked back since then.
“By seventh and eight grade I was playing competitively and in tournaments, so it’s been five or six years of competitive golf,” Dentino says. “Around the end of my freshman year is when I realized that I wanted to go to a higher level and be where I’m at right now. Late freshman year is when I started playing with the varsity team, getting to play in sectionals and regionals.”
Jim Inskeep, Carmel High School athletics director, says Dentino’s ability to stay focused under pressure has been a key factor in his on-course successes so far.
“Nick is quietly confident,” Inskeep says. “Watching the last three holes of the state finals were agonizing for everyone except Nick. He drained putts at 17 and 18 with tremendous pressure. It is fun to be around him and see not only Nick but all of the kids, be proud to be a part of the program.”
Dentino says although golf can be a physically challenging endeavor, it’s his mental approach to the game that he’s currently striving to improve.
“Working on my mental game for the last couple of years is what has helped me the most,” he says. “I’ve gotten to the point where my swing isn’t that big of a deal anymore because it’s not going to change much, so you have to work on what you can control and that’s what’s in your mind. So it’s keeping those bad thoughts out and keeping your cool.”
Next fall, Dentino is off to attend Purdue University where he’ll play golf for the Boilermakers and plans to study business at the Krannert School of Management.
“I got to know coach Bradley at Purdue this year and knew that Purdue was the best fit for me,” Dentino says. “I know some of the guys on the team so that will be cool. I’m really excited to play at that level.”