FAIRFIELD — Jaden Dumdumaya doesn’t play golf like he’s 7 years old.
Jaden, who just turned celebrated his seventh birthday earlier this month, has been playing golf since he could stand upright, paving the way for his success in youth tournaments.
“I think ever since he could walk, he had plastic golf clubs,” said Stan Dumdumaya, his father and coach.
When other kids his age are playing at the park or coloring with crayons, Jaden is honing his game at his home course, Paradise Valley.
“I think he’s passionate,” his dad said. “The golf course is like his playground. Every day after school, he looks forward to getting a sandwich and going to the golf course. As long as weather permits, he’s out there. Along the way, he’s made a lot of friends at the golf course, young, old. He likes the game, knows the game.”
Jaden, a student at Rolling Hills Elementary, likes the decision-making process when he’s on the course.
“Golf is cool and fun because you get to do whatever you want,” he said. “You can tell yourself what to do like line your own ball without other people telling you. You make your own decisions.”
Of course, his dad Stan, who’s also his caddy at youth tournaments, helps in the process, but knows Jaden likes the independence golf promotes.
“He’s kind of different from everyone else, his attention span is a little longer than other 6- or 7-year-olds,” Stan said. “He just loves the game.”
Said his mother Jenny, “Jaden is a little kid, but when on the course, it’s like he’s an adult. He doesn’t play like other little kids his age. He’s very disciplined and polite, he knows his manners. He’s a real gentlemen on the course.”
“”You have to concentrate and focus,” Jaden said. “Because if I do that, I can win.”
Jaden has won, already picking up a handful of age group victories, something Stan relates to the just being with kids his age.
“He’s just having fun,” he said. “He looks forward to seeing his friends. He knows about winning and losing. He’s just likes to do good. . . . He just likes to be out with the golfers.
“He’s pretty good all around. He has improved his putting a lot, that’s why he’s won some tournaments. He’s above average in his age group. He’s focused. . . . (and) he drives about 150 yards right now.”
Being only 7, he has to rely on his parents – and older brother and sister Vohn and Angela – to get him to the course.
“It’s just fun for him, but it’s draining for me and my wife,” Stan said. “This coming week he has two tournaments. We try to limit it, and it’s not cheap. He doesn’t get tired. He could play everyday.”
Both Vohn and Angela played golf at Rodriguez High, and Jaden’s learned from them, too.
“I get to play with them and they drive me to the golf course when no one else can,” Jaden said. “They tell me to focus on what I’m doing and not to play around.”
Jaden and Stan also watch a lot of golf on TV, expanding the learning experience, along with reading books about golf.
“Last year we were watching FedEx Finals (and he noticed all the money being won),” Stan said. “He idolizes Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. I have him read books about Tiger, he likes to read a lot.
“Instead of comic books, I give him golf books. I just want the best for him.”
Starting at such a young age is a benefit for Jaden, and he has some high expectations for himself.
His goal is “To be successful and famous. To be the best that I can be and finish college.”
Big goals for such a little guy.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.