A Family Tradition

By Joe McDonald

RIGA Senior Writer


CRANSTON – Golf is a family affair for the Iaciofanos.  


The name is synonymous with the sport in Rhode Island and Joe Iaciofano is hoping his son, Joey, carries on the tradition of generational success. 


It was a busy two days of golf for Joe Iaciofano. He nearly qualified for the U.S. Senior Open, but lost in a playoff Tuesday at Franklin Country Club. However, he earned a spot as an alternate for the upcoming USGA championship June 26-30 at Newport Country Club. He then earned medalist honors and qualified for the 119th State Amateur with an even-par 71 Wednesday at Cranston CC. After the qualifier was complete, he decided to withdraw from the championship proper so he can caddie for his son, who is exempt for this year’s tournament since he reached match play last summer at Montaup CC. Kevin Silva defeated Joey Iaciofano 1-up in the Round of 32. 


On Wednesday, he was on the bag for his father and it served as a learning experience. 






“I always tell him you’re going to learn from my mistakes and I’ve made every one,” explained Iaciofano. “If I had my mind 25 years ago, God knows where I would be today with golf. I’m trying to teach him . . . with a good golf game you can get around to a low number, keep yourself around par, and keep yourself in it without letting the game get away from you. It’s very easy when you’re playing well to keep playing well, but when you’re not playing well how do you scrape around and get that lowest number possible to keep you in the event.” 


Along with his continued development last summer on the RIGA circuit, Joey Iaciofano won his first AJGA event April 14 in Sebring, Fla. He first needed to qualify for the tournament and then finished with a 4-under 140 for the 36-hole stroke play event. 


“It was big,” Iaciofano said of his son’s victory. “I tell him all the time that the sky’s the limit. He’s got a tremendous game, a tremendous foundation, but he’s young and it’ll come down to how good he wants to be. How good he can be is really up to him. He has the potential to be really good. We’re going to go through a lot of ups and downs. He’s still a young kid and (golf) isn’t maybe the most important thing in the world to him, but he has potential to go places with it and golf can open a lot of doors for you in numerous ways.” 


Iaciofano said he’s told his son that maybe he won’t reach the PGA Tour, but maybe the game can open other doors for him. 


“Maybe you can go to a good college and get an education out of it,” the dad told his son. “His game is very solid and once he starts to figure it out . . . it’s all about him. I put him in front of me.” 


imgJoe Iaciofano won the State Amateur back-to-back seasons in 1997 and 1998. He first defeated Peter Laurelli 5&4 at Quidnessett CC. Iaciofano then collected his second state championship with a victory over Michael Capone 2&1 at Point Judith CC. 


“It’s a big event and I still feel a major sense of connection to Rhode Island and I’d like to have him forge his path and always have our Iaciofano family name connected to Rhode Island golf,” he said. “From when I was a little kid (the State Amateur) was a big event. I looked at those guys as heroes and I always wanted to win myself, and then I did. I stopped playing for a while, but I’m playing today because of my son. I want my son out here with me and maybe he can learn a little bit.” 


Joey Iaciofano will have his opportunity to carry on the family tradition during the 119th State Amateur Championship July 8-13 at Warwick Country Club.