Fil-Am prodigy making waves in the world of golf

Jaden Dumdumaya

Person of Interest: Jaden Dumdumaya

By:Katrina Palana-Soledad

Jaden Dumdumaya is making waves in the world of golf since he started participating in tournaments at a very young age. This young Filipino-American pride of Fairfield, California has been playing golf since he was two. Jaden was born on June 7, 2006 in Vallejo, CA. He is the youngest of three siblings – his older brother Vohn is 24 and his sister Angela is 22. He is known as “Little Dragon” because he might be small in size but he is a very skilled, passionate and competitive athlete.

Starting early
So, when did Jaden’s passion in golf start? Jaden’s mom said, “He started playing golf when he started walking at eight months…whacking plastic balls using plastic clubs all over the house. My husband started bringing him to the golf course when he was two.” Jaden’s dad, Stan, even cut his old clubs and made them smaller so Jaden can play comfortably.
The Dumdumaya is a family of golfers – from Jaden’s Papa Teddy (grandfather on mom’s side) to his dad, Stan, and all the way to his siblings. As a matter of fact, Jaden’s siblings are both league MVPs in golf and scholar athletes. His older brother, Vohn, has severe hemophilia (a bleeding disorder which limits him from contact sports). So his dad figured golf would be a safer sport and geared the rest of the children to play it. It was Jaden’s Papa Teddy (who passed away from cancer three years ago) who pioneered golf in their family.

Jaden was trained by his dad and never took golf classes. He is very competitive and passionate in what he does. He is compassionate and doesn’t feel bad when he beats his friends. And when he loses, he can recover easily from it. He understands there is only one winner in a game. At the age of 10, he is already a well-accomplished young athlete.
Over the years, he picked up various accolades, including: Veritas World Junior/ AAU Junior Olympic Games Golf Championship — 2013 Gold Medal in the Boys 7 Division and 2014 Bronze Medal in the Boys 8 Division, Callaway Junior World Golf Championship — 2014 Top 19th in the Boys 7-8 Division, IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championship — 2016 Top 12th in the Boys 9-10 Division, Future Champions Golf International — 2016 Top 9th in the Boys 9-10 Division, U.S. Kids Golf State Invitational — 2014 Champion in Boys 7 and 2016 Champion in Boys 9, PGA Drive, Chip and Putt (The Masters, Augusta) —
2014 and 2015 Local, Sub-regional, and Regional Qualifier, 2016 JGANC Matchplay Runner-up Winner, 2013 U.S. Kids Golf Bay Area Winter Tour Championship – Champion in the Boys 7yrs, 2014 US Kids Golf Bay Area Spring Tour Championship – Champion in the Boys 8, 2014 U.S. Kids Golf Bay Area Winter Tour Championship – Champion in the Boys 9, 2015 U.S. Kids Golf Bay Area Winter Tour Championship – Champion in the Boys 9 and 2016 5th Annual Bayanihan Cup and ABS-CBN Golf Tournament for Bantay Bata — Junior Golf Champion, Team Champion, Flight Champion and Best Dressed.

Raising a prodigy
The key components in raising a “prodigy” are support and love. Jaden’s mom said, “We shower him with all that, coming not only from us, parents, but the entire family and friends. Involvement of both parents also is very important. But I must say it’s very hard to do and get that, but we always try.” The support coming from Jaden’s siblings is very important too. Both Vohn and Angela take him to practice and help train or caddie for him when their dad is not available. Jaden gets a lot of support from his grandparents too. Since day one, Mama Linda and Papa Rene helped take care of Jaden and are his number one fans.

“Jaden is a well-rounded boy who is very obedient, honest and kind. He is the type of kid who doesn’t like getting in any kind of trouble. Other than golf, Jaden loves playing basketball, dancing, singing, drawing and playing video games. He also loves to eat and is not picky with food like other kids. Raising Jaden is easy, he makes everything easier for us, his parents,” says his mom Jenny. He is very respectful with adults and he always tries to be helpful. He loves to talk – he has so many ideas and stories to tell.

He is a young boy who is thoughtful and friendly (often referred to as “Junior Mr. Congeniality” by his peers) but responsible as well. Jaden is smart and belongs in the G.A.T.E. (Gifted And Talented Education) program of Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. He is above average for his age and love challenges. In school, when someone is in trouble, he is always the first one to help. Jaden dreams to become a professional golfer or a pediatric doctor or maybe both. He said he wants to help children when he grows up.
Stan and Jenny Dumdumaya saw the potential in Jaden when he was eight months and helped their child hone his skills while having fun. They both want to encourage parents to nurture and support their children in whatever they are passionate about. For them, having a college degree is not the only way to measure success. “Don’t get me wrong, we support academics because we know how important it is. But sometimes, we have to think outside the box and do what’s unconventional to support our children and help them succeed in life – whether it’s sports or other careers – as parents, we must be understanding and giving,” Jenny said.

Breaking the glass ceiling
Size and discrimination were the challenges for Jaden. Because of his size, other players and caddies often underestimate Jaden. But that is his advantage. His power and skills can be intimidating in the course that can leave his opponents both in shock and in awe after a match. “Even though he is small, he can outdrive the bigger kids or match their distance. Jaden’s short game is what helps him a lot in the course. He has a very good short game – meaning his game around the green,” his mom said. “In anything we do, you can’t really avoid being discriminated for being small and for being Filipino. There are people out there who think and act like we cannot excel because we are a minority. However, Jaden helps prove that otherwise,” she added.

Making a difference in the community
“We encourage our children to do advocacy work. Jaden uses his talents for good causes – all of our children are active volunteers for the Hemophilia Foundation of NorCal,” said Jenny. The whole family volunteers to raise awareness for the bleeding disorder. The foundation holds their annual golf tournament in Sonoma and this is the third year that they have invited Jaden as a “celebrity guest”. They auction out a chance to play with Jaden. The Hemophilia Foundation of NorCal attracts corporate executives from big pharmaceutical companies whom Jaden happily entertains. Besides showing off his talents and skills, he also gives out pointers to the participants. The money raised goes to the foundation’s Camp Hemotion- a camp for children with bleeding disorders where they teach kids and their families how to better understand the condition and also how to self infuse the medicine.

Jaden also advocates for charities to help eradicate poverty in the Philippines especially for the children. He supports organizations like ABS-CBN Foundation for Bantay Bata (a social welfare program of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation launched in the Philippines back in 1997) and PhilDev (a public charity which focus on building an ecosystem of science and technology-based entrepreneurship and innovation for social and economic development in the Philippines). The prodigy played at the companies’ golf tournaments and won both championship trophies.

Jaden just finished competing in 3 world and state championship tournaments. So now, he is focusing in school and his advocacies but still competing in some local tournaments. He will also start preparing for JGANC ALL STARS CHAMPIONSHIP in San Jose, CA for the 10-11 year old division. “It will be a very tough tourney because he will be competing against, not only 7 of the top players in NorCal, but this is also a competition with two age divisions combined. Jaden will be competing against boys older and much bigger than him. We are very hopeful though, win or lose, we will always love and be proud of him. He is forever our champion,” the proud mom said. Jaden is a smart kid with great character, values and heart. He is an excellent student and phenomenal golfer who makes a difference in his community at a very young age. With Jaden’s continuous passion, competitive spirit and dedication, he will certainly become a golf phenomenon—WATCH OUT WORLD!