Dalhousie founder Cord Dombrowski set to assume presidency of Missouri Golf Association
Cord Dombrowski never dreamed of becoming the Missouri Golf Association president. It simply played out that way.
Dombrowski, who's lived in Cape Girardeau since 1973, got involved with the organization years ago in an effort to give back to the game he loves.
Now the founder and current managing member of Dalhousie Golf Club will get a chance to lead the MGA for the next two years. He was initiated as president at June's Missouri Amateur Championships in St. Joseph, Missouri.
"That really wasn't a plan or something you work for and you create a resume for," Dombrowski said of the presidency. "You just get involved for the right reasons, and the right reasons are to ensure the game of golf is played properly and played with enthusiasm across the state in MGA events. And it just so happened that time was good for myself, and I had the time. And some folks thought I had the ability to provide the leadership.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity, and I'm honored to hold the position and quite humbled they thought I could do the job."
Dombrowski has been playing golf since he was a little kid. He attended the University of Mississippi, and after graduating in 1970, he spent three years in the U.S. Navy as an officer. He moved to Cape in 1973 and five years later created The Hawthorn Group, a data-processing service company.
Around that same time, he began to develop a relationship with MGA by playing in its amateur tournaments around the state. As he got older, playing became more difficult. To stay involved with the game, he joined the statewide operation.
About 10 to 12 years ago, he got on the MGA Board of Directors.
"Sometimes as you get older, things change, and the mind's still good. But the body can't quite work the same way as it did when you were 40 or 45 or even 50," Dombrowski said. "When you're approaching 70, to stay active in the golf business, you have to find something else you still participate in, give something back and keep your mind fresh since you really can't play competitively as much anymore. That got me involved with the Missouri Golf Association, and that was very, very enjoyable.
"You're still out there. You're still doing things, and you're helping out."
There are a dozen or so amateur championships in Missouri that Dombrowski will manage as president. That includes everything from the senior amateur tournament to the junior amateur championship. A lot goes on behind the scenes, Dombrowski said, to ensure the events run smoothly, and the board of directors serve as rules officials at the events.
Dombrowski said the MGA also works with other golfing bodies that it intertwines or borders, including the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association in St. Louis, to ensure events don't conflict.
With so much activity, it's easy to focus on short-term goals. Dombrowski wants to make sure he examines the big picture, too.
"What I hope to do these next two years is take all this historical data and develop a plan for the future and what steps along the way and what tactics do we have to employ to ensure that golf is still strong, not necessarily two years from now but 10 years from now, 20 years from now and beyond," Dombrowski said. "... If there's one thing we hope to do in the next two years, it's to develop a strategic plan."
Dombrowski has plenty of experience working on long-term projects. He founded Dalhousie, which opened in 2002, and since then, it's hosted MGA, United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association tournaments, including the 2015 USGA Women's State Team Championship. Dalhousie is currently lining up an American Junior Golf Association event for 2018 or 2019, according to Dombrowski.
Along with hosting high-profile events, Dalhousie has been featured on lists ranking the best golf courses in the world and nation.
"From just an idea to a discussion to a formalized plan to putting the right partnerships together, and 15 years later, here we are," Dombrowski said. "We've hosted the best players in the state of Missouri. We've hosted the best players in the United States with the United States Golf Association, and we've hosted the best players in the world by working with the American Junior Golf Association since 2007.
"If you look at the finished product and go back to when we started, there's no way you could have predicted when we started with the ideas and formulating the plans that we would end up with what we got. It just kept getting better and better and better."
Dombrowski created Dalhousie to serve the people of Southeast Missouri, not just Cape Girardeau, and it has grown larger than that. Dombrowski said there members from 14 different states who fly in to spend time in cottages on Dalhousie's property.
Like the founding of Dalhousie, Dombrowski's ascension to MGA president didn't happen overnight. He served on various committees and was the chair of a couple of them before ending up on the executive committee about five years ago as an officer.
It was around that time Dombrowski realized he was on track to become president one day. That still didn't diminish the significance of being tabbed to lead the organization for the next two years.
He may have never dreamed about the moment, but it was special nonetheless.
"You put yourself into the sequence, so you knew when your time was going to come," Dombrowski said. "Was it exciting? Well absolutely. It's a humbling experience to be considered president of an organization that covers the breadth (of the state) from Kansas City to the Bootheel of Missouri and St. Louis and Springfield and further west than that.
"You're representing an organization that's been around over 100 years, and a lot of history and tradition and a lot of responsibility goes along with it. It's very honoring and humbling at the same time."