Boys Golf: Hilliard Bradley's Tison Alexander shares family’s passion for game
Before entering the seventh grade, Tison Alexander made a decision about his sporting future.
He had played baseball most of his life but was ready to try something new.
That something new was golf – the sport that his father, Jay, and grandfather, David, had enjoyed in years past – and Alexander quickly developed a passion for the game.
Now a senior with the Hilliard Bradley boys program, Alexander earned second-team all-OCC-Central Division by averaging 74.67 in the league tournament.
“My dad played golf in high school, so I grew up around it,” said Alexander, a Tiffin recruit. “I played baseball up until then and had had enough of it. I went up to him and told him I wanted to take up golf, and he loved it.”
His father was elated by that decision.
“I kind of smiled a little bit,” said Jay, a 1992 Marion Harding graduate. “My clubs went into the closet and didn’t see the sunshine very often. I knew with him taking up more of an interest in the game, it was going to allow he and I to get to the course to play some golf together but also to make memories and build a relationship like I did with my father growing up.”
Jay would play with his father starting when he was 5 years old, and they were mainstays on Marion-area courses until 1991, when David suffered a heart attack during a round with Jay and died.
“It was two days before the tryouts for my senior year,” Jay said. “That’s part of the reason I didn’t play in college because I had a higher average my senior year than I did as a freshman.
“I was dealing with a lot of different emotions, but I also thought it would be a good idea to play with my dad’s clubs. I pulled out his Wilson staff blades and tried to play with them. Those are 1972 models and they weren’t as forgiving as the newer clubs, even from the 90s.”
Alexander’s rounds with his father along with some extra work have helped him improve on his freshman OCC average (84.75) by more than 10 strokes.
“Tison’s playing on his off days to get better,” coach Kevin Feeney said. “He’s a grinder, and he’s good at making adjustments on the course. He’s maturing into being a really good golfer and he hasn’t hit his peak yet. He keeps on improving every year.”
Alexander likes the relaxation from playing a round of golf.
“I like being out in the fresh air and (golfing) helps me get away from some of the stressful things that I have to deal with,” he said. “With all of the COVID things going on, it was tough, but at least golf courses were open.
“If I didn’t have anything to do I would come out here (to Hickory Hills) and play nine or 18.”
Alexander also is a guard with the Bradley boys basketball program. He said golf is easier for him, but basketball has made him better on the course.
“I would say chipping in a putt is easier for me because I have more experience with it, and there’s more pressure making a free throw,” he said. “Basketball has helped me out a lot. It has kept me in shape and has helped me gain more yardage off the tee. That comes from the lifting and stretching that we do for basketball. That’s helped me on and off the court.”
The Jaguars finished 0-20 in the OCC-Central, behind co-champions Olentangy Liberty and Olentangy Orange (both 18-2).
Bradley begins postseason play in a Division I sectional tournament Tuesday, Oct. 6, at Turnberry. The top four teams and top four individuals not on those teams advance to district Oct. 13 at Apple Valley.
“The strongest part of my game right now has been my putting,” Alexander said. “It’s helped me out a lot to be able to knock down the 30-, 35-foot par putts. They don’t always go in for birdies, but I get close. I can’t let that bother me.
“Golf is a mental game. My dad always told me golf is 90 percent mental and 10 percent the other. I’ve had to mature and realize my bad shots weren’t always the worst thing. It’s golf. That’s going to happen.”