December 12th, 2017 02:17PM
When Alex Dombrowski was four-years-old his family moved to a home near the 15th hole on the Gaylord Country Club golf course, and golf soon became a central passion and direction in his life.
“As a kid I would just hit bag after bag of range balls, and Dad would come home from work and we would play nine holes or as many as we could almost every night,” Alex said. “It was fun and I loved the game.”
The kid from the heart of the Gaylord Golf Mecca practiced, played, practiced some more and played some more.
The son of Tony and Tara of Gaylord eventually landed at Princeton University in the Ivy League, earning a degree in economics while becoming a top scholarship player on the men’s golf team. He graduated last June, not long after finishing second individually among all the golfers in his last Ivy League Championship.
“I had the dreams of playing on the PGA Tour when I was young, like a lot of kids, but I didn’t seriously start thinking about professional golf until I was at Princeton, and I had played well in a few Michigan Opens and in GAM tournaments,” he said.
He turned professional in the early summer of 2017 with his first professional event being the Michigan Open, a tournament he had played well in as an amateur and in fact had earned low amateur honors once. Unfortunately, he didn’t play well. His first summer as a professional didn’t go poorly, but not as well as he hoped for or planned, and just recently he put the professional golf plans on hold.
“My clubs are clean and sitting in the corner of my room, and I’m still playing, I’m just not competing right now,” he said from Arizona where he is currently roommates with his brother Jacob.
Jacob was the first Dombrowski who went to the Ivy League with athletics. He went to Harvard University and punted for the football team. He made it all the way to the NFL for a brief time, too. The two boys are celebrated in the Gaylord community as examples of high achievement in academics and athletics.
“We will be at home in Gaylord and go to the grocery store or something and people recognize us and they are so nice,” he said. “The support we have received from Gaylord has been incredible.”
Currently, the two work in the same company as their sister Alana – an internet-based car-selling firm called Carvana. Alex is a buyer, and enjoys the work. Alex and Jacob have also started a consulting business together called Underdog Consultants in which they work with youth athletes in dealing with recruiting, academics and planning their futures. Alex has added expertise in golf to the firm. (https://www.underdogconsultant.com/alex).
“Golf for me is kind of on hold,” he said. “I was getting to a point where the pressure of playing as a professional was getting to me some, and I didn’t want to end up not loving the game and thinking of it as work. I want to love the game. Golf is part of the reason I’m in Arizona, but I’m not doing it to pay the rent or anything like that.”
Alex still has his professional status, and he has not ruled out returning to amateur status in the future either.
“Ultimately what I want to do is have fun with golf,” he said. “It has been easy lately for me to make it seem like work and not fun. I still want to love golf and play until I’m 80. I haven’t thought too far ahead with what I’m going to do yet, but I’m not writing anything off.”
His father, Tony, a CPA in Gaylord, said the family will support whatever decision Alex makes with golf.
“He knows from talking to his coach at Princeton that professional golf can be a process that takes five years or more, and he knows he can do other things besides golf,” Tony said.
Alex said Gaylord will remain both his home and golf home in his mind, and he owes a lot to the greater golf community there.
“I love the country club and everybody there, the current pro J.T. (Aude) is great, and everybody is part of a great support system. I still work with Jason Guss (instructor now in Lansing), who I started working with at Treetops. Being from Gaylord, I was exposed to great golf courses and talented people who could work in golf anywhere in the country. I mean there are so many golf courses within 20 miles, and great courses, great teachers, great junior golf, everything.”