The Golf Coaches Association of America, in cooperation with its long-time corporate partner, the NGA Pro Golf TOUR, will feature a monthly Q&A with former collegians who are currently playing or have played on the NGA TOUR. Long considered the premier developmental tour in the United States, thousands of former college players have started their professional careers there. More than 250 NGA TOUR alumni have or continue to play on the PGA TOUR.
This month we spoke with Dominic Bozzelli, a current NGA Pro Golf TOUR rookie member who recently won three straight Pro Series events in a row, a feat not accomplished since Zach Johnson did it in 2001. Dominic played collegiately at Auburn University, where he was a two-time PING All-American and finished T2 at the NCAA Championship in 2013.
Q: You recently won three-straight NGA Pro Series events in a row during your rookie season on the tour. Can you explain how you felt during that run?
All year I’ve been pretty happy with my ball striking, but that first win in Tifton, GA really gave me a lot of confidence moving forward and affirmed to myself that I can win at this level. I’ve tried not to get too high or too low after any round, but just carry the same hungry mindset into each week.
Q: Have you ever had a streak like that before?
I won back to back at Auburn (Gator & Amer Ari) my junior year, but haven’t gone 3 in a row since I was 12 in some local junior series events.
Q: As a rookie on the NGA Tour, what is different about your typical week than a typical week while playing at Auburn?
An obvious difference would be no longer having to balance school with golf. Another adjustment has been learning how to travel and live on the road. In college we would go back to campus after each event. With pro golf, often times you string together several weeks that you’re on the road. Time and energy management have been big for me this year.
Q: What are some things you have noticed are similar between collegiate and professional golf?
You’re still trying to get a little white ball around 18 holes in as few strokes as possible. Also, there are a lot of familiar faces at the events each week- Many of the same players.
Q: What was your best experience while playing at Auburn?
Graduation was definitely one of my more memorable days while at Auburn. It was sort of bitter sweet in that my college career was over, but a lot of hard work went in to attaining that degree, especially with all the time constraints you must deal with as a student athlete. I’m proud that I will have that for the rest of my life.
Q: Who would you say has had the biggest influence on your golf career?
Both my Dad and Grandpa have been very supportive since day 1. Whether it was taking me to swing instructors or signing me up for junior events all over the country, I don’t think I would be where I’m at today without the opportunities they presented for me at a young age.
Q: Do you have any superstitions or a pre-shot routine that you have to follow?
I’m not too big on superstitions, but my pre-shot routine requires me to commit to a particular shot before I step in (Club, Landing #, trajectory, and shape). Once I step in I don’t pull the trigger until I’m comfortable and ready to hit the shot that I’ve visualized.
Q: What is your favorite club in your bag?
My Titleist S.S.S. Newport 2 Putter really fits my eye when I set up over it. Putting can a lot of times make or break a round. I like how there are a few different ways to make the same putt usually depending on what speed you hit the ball at. I try to embrace the physical challenge of reading the contours of a green, and the mental challenge of committing to my reads.
Q: Did you play any other sports growing up? If so do you think they had any influence on your golf game?
I played baseball, basketball, and some football growing up which definitely played a role in making me as competitive as I am today. The individual aspect of golf always stood out to me. I like how the ball is in your hands at all times.
Q: What advice would you give players coming out of college and starting as professional golfers?
Get really, really good from 125 yards and in. Play your own style of golf. Figure out what practice habits/routines work for you. Create a schedule that gives you both an opportunity to be successful, but also factors in enough time off so your mind and body don’t burn out at any point during the season. Stay optimistic because some weeks you just won’t have your best stuff.