With 42 years of experience under his belt, golf pro Mark Wipf is ready to lead the boys’ golf team. He has also been the Director of Tour Operations for the Ventura County Junior Golf Association since 2007. Wipf is enjoying his time at Foothill so far.
With 42 years of experience under his belt, golf pro Mark Wipf is ready to lead the boys’ golf team. He has also been the Director of Tour Operations for the Ventura County Junior Golf Association since 2007.
Wipf is enjoying his time at Foothill so far.
“I wasn’t sure what what to really expect, like caliber [of] play and how many guys […] I was actually very surprised to see how many guys and to see how hard they work,” he said.
“[The team dynamics have] been really good. Very positive,” he said. “I’ve had very few situations where I had to pull someone aside and talk to them.”
Previously, Wipf worked as an assistant coach for the Buena High School golf team. He and his wife are graduates of Buena, as well as his kids. He was involved with the school up until last year, when his kids graduated.
Wipf started playing golf when he was 10-years-old. He played for the Ventura County Golf Association until he graduated high school. As an adult, he was involved with club golf and became a Professional Golfers’ Association of America [PGA] professional 25 years ago. In 2007, he felt like it “was time for something different.” He wanted to get involved in junior golf.
“I started operating [the Ventura County Junior Golf Association] in late 07 and it’s going strong, getting bigger, getting better, and we got kids from all around the county and surrounding, all the way up from San Luis Obispo, we’ve got members all the way from Valencia, Los Angeles […] we’ve members come from far as Chino to play,” he said.
Wipf also added that the association has had players from 15 different countries. Recently, the league added a player from Norway.
Wipf has had many accomplishments throughout his coaching career. He says that he is most proud of being announced as the Southern California PGA chapter pro of the year for junior golf last January.
“I think it was important with the work I’ve done with junior golf in the last eight years plus. That says something [and] it makes me feel good that my peers notice what’s happening,” he said.
His second accomplishment is that he “took a team, like a Ryder Cup team, down to San Diego and that was a blast […] We ended up tying the Southern team but the Southern team had players from three different states […] So it was really fun to take a team down there and kinda flex our muscles a little,” he added.
Senior Trevor O’Keefe, who has known Wipf for four years, describes Wipf as “hardworking.”
“Whenever we get out there on the courses he’s gung ho and he always tries to help us fix our [technique],” he said.
Senior Jameson Mah expressed similar sentiments.
“I’ve known Mark Wipf for maybe five years now, and I describe him as someone who is a leader, hardworking and very inspiring. And he’s able to communicate intuitively, and create a lot of group cohesion, which is essential to a team,” Mah said.
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Wipf said that he likes golf because it’s “like chess on a physical level.” He added that he never particularly enjoyed chess, but that he likes “the strategy you need to get around the golf course.”
“Making decisions that make sense, for that situation, there’s a plethora of things that can happen and a seasoned player knows what’s best at that moment,” he explained. “ And they don’t try to cookie cutter and do everything the same way every time, so that’s what I like about golf- the variety.”
Wipf said that what he most dislikes about golf is the time it takes to play a single game. He said that ideally, a game of 18 holes should be played under four hours.
“If you go to Scotland, that’s what you’re going to find,” he said. “In the United States it tends to be closer to 4:20 or 4:30 and then you get the caliber play we’re seeing in most of the high schools in our league, in the Frontier, you know, it’s more like four and a half to five hours so it’s just a lot of time to devote to one game. But you know what, it’s still fun when you’re done.”
Overall, Wipf is happy with his coaching experience at Foothill.
“My experience over at Buena was good, this is much better,” he said.
Background Photo Credit: Carrie Coonan/The Foothill Dragon Press