A lot of talented golfers have strolled through the halls of Niagara Wheatfield High School. Many left their mark, helping make NW the dominant program locally and one of the most consistent in Western New York.
Despite the plethora of elite golfers that have stepped to the tee donning the black and red, Anthony Delisanti has made his case as the best to ever represent the Falcons.
Anyone who golfs knows just how difficult the sport can be. One slight change in swing speed or a misjudgment in direction and scores can pile up. Delisanti has made the game look easy for six years. Some may dream of hitting the ball 300 yards off the tee; that’s a walk in the park for the Falcons senior. Other players cross their fingers and hope for a birdie and dream of that first eagle. With Delisanti, it’s not a matter of if he’ll post those scores, only when.
Delisanti has done it all in the Niagara Frontier League, leading the Falcons to a 114-2 record since he was a seventh-grader. Additionally, he played a role in the Falcons’ 99-match winning streak — snapped just last season — and six-straight league titles.
Individually, Delisanti has won three consecutive NFL Tournaments and is looking for his fourth in his final high school season. His sophomore year, he set the NFL Tournament record with a 69 and, just a couple of weeks ago, he set the nine-hole school and league stroke record by shooting a 6-under 30 against North Tonawanda at Deerwood Golf Course. Additionally, Delisanti has earned the medalist honor for lowest score in over 50 matches in his high school career.
Of the record round of 30, believe it or not, Delisanti said it could’ve been better.
“I was just trying to make as many birdies as I can and I still had a bogey, so it wasn’t my best. I can always be better,” he said with a laugh.
The round included two eagles, three birdies, three pars and a bogey.
This summer, Delisanti won the Buffalo District Golf Association Invitational. He shot even-par through three rounds and became the youngest to win the tournament at age 17.
As any golfer knows, one doesn’t just step on the course and shoot under par the first time out. Wheatfield coach Tim Codd acknowledged the hard work Delisanti has put into the game and how it shows in his results.
“When he came in as a seventh-grader, he showed right away that he could play,” Codd said. “He’s always had very good golf skills and he’s gotten older and stronger, but he still has that same mindset. He practices all the time and he’s just got that instinct that when he goes on to the golf course, he’s going to go out there and do it.
Codd added that most nights, Delisanti is the last person to leave the course, which he said “says a lot” about his game and work ethic.
As stated, Niagara Wheatfield is a factory for producing talented golfers. Out of all the great players who have come through, though, Codd said there’s just something different about Delisanti.
“He’s just so consistent. I’ve had golfers that have come through here that have worked hard and been consistent, but there’s just something different about him," Codd said. "I’ve had some good players come through, but he is on the next level, and that’s it."
Delisanti, who said he’s had a golf club in his hand since he could walk, said he appreciated the acknowledgement but remained focused on his task at hand.
“It’s an honor, but I’m just trying to play the best golf that I can every day. It’s pretty simple,” he said.
Usually, the NFL season would consist of 14 matches, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the season was cut in half. The pandemic also costed the senior a chance to play at the Section VI tournament last spring. Following the long hiatus of no sports, Delisanti said it’s nice to be back playing for the team. Despite a shortened campaign, his goals remain the same.
“We’re pretty lucky that we’re one of the few teams that actually gets to play. ... I wish we could play a full season, but nothing you can do about it. We just have to work with what we got,” Delisanti said. “I just want to keep playing as consistent as I can.”
The sixth-year starter added that if he keeps playing consistent — and COVID doesn’t interfere — a state run could be in his future.
As of now, Delisanti remained quiet on his future plans for college, but with a consistent volume of low rounds, schools will be swooping in to sway the senior toward their programs.
Delisanti gets all the credit in the world for being in the conversation for the best high school golfer in the state, but what many people don’t notice is his character as a captain and teammate.
“You can just tell by the way he walks and the way he talks to (the underclassmen), the way he carries himself day in and day out, he sets the example of what you would want every golfer on your team to be like,” Codd said. “He doesn’t have to say much; it’s all in just the way he carries himself and what he puts out on the course. They see it, they know what he can do and he’s a very good example to try and follow.”
For a long time, Delisanti was the young guy on the squad, but now in his time as a senior, he said he’s mirroring what he’s learned in years past and passing down the team tradition to some of the newcomers.
“(I) just want to show them how to play NW golf. We expect a lot and they’re more than capable of filling our seniors’ shoes that graduated last year. So I’m just trying to teach them how to be consistent and have fun. … The tradition is tough to explain, it’s something like no other,” Delisanti said.
In the end, Delisanti’s inevitable departure will be a tough blow to the Falcons, and Codd recognized that.
“He’s going to be missed a ton. We’ve been very lucky over the past 13 to 14 years to have some very outstanding golfers come through and always coming up behind them were also outstanding golfers. … He’s been outstanding to have in the lineup for the last six years,” Codd said.
And when the final putt sinks in on his storied high school career, Delisanti simply said, “I’d rather be known for being a better kid than a better golfer.”
While the Falcons look to hoist a seventh-straight NFL crown, Delisanti will try and achieve a four-peat as the NFL Tournament medalist today at Willowbrook Golf Course.