The Estrada Donnalley family is helping 8-year-old Alexander pursue his golf ambitions. From left are Isabella, 10, and dad Carlos Estrada and mom Allison Donnalley, along with Alexander. There's chips and salsa in it for you. (Click for larger image)
Alexander Estrada, who’s 8, can drive the golf ball 150 yards. His favorite pros go by single names: Rory. Tiger. Bubba. And being a child of this century, Alexander has a YouTube channel where he offers homemade golf instructional videos. Alexander’s initials are A-C-E, and some friends call him ACE, so he opens the videos with a confident and media-wise, “Hey, everyone – ACE here, back with another YouTube video....”
With his dad shooting on the iPhone, Alexander makes a video after taking a lesson at the Country Club. Reinforcing a lesson by putting it on video helps him to remember it, he says.
Soon this will be put to the test, as Alexander heads to the East Coast this spring to compete in U.S. Kids Golf tournaments. His parents are selling homemade chips and salsa to help fund the trip and fees. (More about that below.)
Alexander is a third-grader at Cosumnes River Elementary. He likes P.E. and computers. Math, not so much. He has a sister, Isabella, 10, who’s a fifth-grader at CRES.
His father, Carlos Estrada, is a history teacher at T.R. Smedberg Middle School and works at Town and Country Real Estate. He’s Alexander’s regular caddy. (”I’ve been fired a few times,” he jokes.) His mom, Allison Donnalley, is a clinical data analyst at UC Davis Medical Center.
They’ve lived in Rancho Murieta for nine years.
Alexander has taken lessons with Don Thames, Brian Little and Brandon Kelly at the Country Club. He has been part of the club’s Junior Golf program since he was 5. His mom has only the best things to say about the club staff and how much they’ve done to foster Alexander’s skills and interest in the game and how they’ve helped by tailoring new clubs for a boy who’s growing rapidly.
In the laconic way of kids, Alexander puts it this way: “They’ve helped me a lot.”
He has taken part in U.S. Kids Golf in the Sacramento Valley and Central Valley tours for two years and has earned his spot at the next level.
His East Coast tour begins March 22-23 with the Jekyll Island Cup in Georgia and continues April 13-14 with the Colonial Williamsburg Classic in Virginia.
“I think it will be fun,” Alexander says, “and I think it will be hard.”
And it will be double the challenge. Alexander turns 9 on March 15, a week before the first tournament, which means his tournament rounds will go from nine holes to 18 because 9-year-olds play 18-hole rounds.
As for the chips and salsa, Donnalley says they’re homemade green salsa and chips, a recipe she’s always asked to bring to parties. So for $10 you can pick them up or have them delivered to your door next weekend in time for the Super Bowl. Call or text (916) 708-4018 to order.
Here's a video look at Alexander's swing: