Philadelphia Academy’s Diamond never in the rough

Brendan Diamond won the Public League individual golf championship this year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Brendan Diamond grew up on a golf course.

And he’s now reaping the benefits of it.

Diamond is a senior at Philadelphia Academy Charter and when he was a youngster, his father was the golf pro at Bucks County Country Club in Jamison. While his dad was working, Diamond was learning, playing and more than anything, practicing.

“I would go to work with him every day in the summer, whenever I didn’t have school, and I’d play,” said Diamond, who lives in Winchester Park. “He worked there when I was 8 and was there until I was 14. I played a lot of golf during that time.

“I loved it. I loved practicing every day and getting better. I would play with my dad and my cousins. It was fun, but I took it seriously.”

It paid off.

Diamond won the Public League individual championship this year and guided his school to a second-place finish behind Central for the team title.

Diamond shot a 90 in the championship, which was good enough for first place.

“It felt really good to win it because last year, I didn’t have a good championship at all,” Diamond said. “It just wasn’t a good day for me, that’s all. You have a bad day and that’s it. But this year I made sure not to have a bad day.

“It means a lot to be good as a team, too. I play with my cousin (Justin DiMaio), I’m the No. 1 golfer on the team and he’s No. 2,” Diamond said. “He’s good. I got him in golf, he’s a better baseball player. But we don’t compete, we just try to make each other better. It was fun to golf with him and to have a great year with him.”

Golf season is over, but his days of playing with DiMaio are still going on.

Both are members of the Chargers baseball team. DiMaio is the starting shortstop, Diamond is a reserve outfielder.

Together, they’re leading Philadelphia Academy Charter on the field, and having a good time in the process. Because of so many cancellations due to coronavirus, they haven’t had a lot of games, but they’re still having fun.

“We have a pretty good team, it’s tough because not many teams are playing,” Diamond said. “I wasn’t going to play (because of golf). Usually golf is in the fall and baseball is in the spring, but this year they were in the same season. But once I found out we needed guys to have a team, I decided to play. I’m glad I did, we’re having fun.”

This will likely be the last year Diamond plays baseball for his school, though he’s unsure if he’ll play golf in college or not. Next year, he’ll attend Bucks County Community College and he’s up in the air on whether he’ll play for the Centurions or not. He does know what he wants to major in.

Just like he did in golf, he’s going to take after dad.

“I’m going to major in criminal justice,” said Diamond, whose father John is a Philadelphia police officer in the 14th district. “He stopped working in golf to become an officer. He loves it. It’s a very important job.”

Diamond knows first hand how important the job is. He’s already had some training and he knows he’ll be up to the task when he becomes old enough to officially become a police officer.

“I do a program called police explorers and I’ve learned a lot from doing that,” Diamond said. “Basically they train us to become police officers so we’re ready when we’re of age. They train us. They make sure we’re prepared. We learn about everything cops do when they’re on the job. We train, we work out, we stay fit. It’s helped with sports, too.

“It’s on State Road at the (former) highway patrol. My friend from school does it, too. I’ve learned a lot. (The biggest thing I’ve learned) is to always watch your surroundings, always pay attention to who is around you. It’s a hard job in a lot of ways, but I’m really proud of doing it.

“My dad is my role model. He does it and I want to do it, too.”

He also has a plan to stay busy during the summer, and just like everything else, he’ll follow in his dad’s footsteps.

“I work at John F. Byrne Golf Club,” Diamond said. “I’m on the grounds crew. I love the job because it’s being around golf. And I teach with First Tee. It’s a program for younger kids, getting them golfing, teaching them about the game and learning life skills.

“The kids are great . Some of the kids are young, some are older. I try to teach them, but I also want to make it fun for them. They’re going to learn, but they want to have fun, so I try to do both.”

After all, golf was great to him in many ways and he wants other kids to enjoy the same experience through the sport.

“Golf has helped me in a lot of ways, dealing with school and other things,” Diamond said. “I enjoy playing it, but it’s helped me in a lot of ways. And it was really cool winning (the Public League individual championship.”