Q&A with LPGA Tour Player, Marina Alex
Photo Credit: USGA Digital Archives
Marina Alex is a 10–year veteran on the LPGA Tour. A native of Wayne, NJ, Alex will be competing in the LPGA 2022 Cognizant Founders Cup, hosted by the Upper Montclair Country Club from May 9–15. The Cognizant Founders Cup is one of the most prestigious events on the Tour schedule and attracts the greatest female players in the world.
Alex was a member of the United States Solheim Cup team in 2019. She won her first LPGA Tour event at the 2018 Cambia Portland Classic and recently surpassed the $3.5 million mark in career earnings.
NJM Insurance Group and the NJSGA partnered to ask Marina a few questions about golf, her career, and her favorite restaurants in New Jersey.
NJM: Is there a special feeling to playing in one of the most prestigious LPGA events in your home state of New Jersey at Upper Montclair Country Club?
MA: There is always a special feeling when I am able to compete close to home. New Jersey has some wonderful golf courses that most fans don’t know about, so it’s exciting to be able to show them on television!
NJM: What do you know about the course, and is there a key component to having a great tournament?
MA: I actually have not played Upper Montclair in a very long time, but like most courses in the New York/New Jersey area, having a really good long game is one key to playing solid. I think another key component to having a good week is to be as comfortable as possible.
NJM: You’re known as an intense competitor on the Tour. How do you strike the balance between being intense and staying relaxed enough to think clearly and execute shots?
MA: I think everyone has a balance that works for them. I like to create a sense of focus by studying the surroundings and preparing myself for the shot in front of me. I think I am best able to execute and be relaxed when I have all the information and can make a clear decision. To some, that may seem like intensity, but being prepared creates a sense of calm.
NJM: Are there any recent adjustments you’re working on to continue improving your game?
MA: I worked really hard on improving my swing mechanics during the offseason to make my ball striking more consistent. I think the next steps are spending time working on my short game and being confident in that part of my game.
NJM: Most players have a couple swing thoughts (or pre-swing thoughts) that serve as reminders. Do you have any you can share?
MA: I think the most important pre–swing reminders are to focus on a good set–up and pick a clear shot you want to hit. The same goes for putting — picking the line and having a good square set-up to that target.
NJM: What has been your proudest moment since joining the LPGA Tour?
MA: My proudest moment on the LPGA tour is representing Team USA in the 2019 Solheim Cup. It was such an honor and the most incredible golf experience of my career so far.
NJM: The number of female players has steadily increased over the past five years. Nationally, women now comprise of 25% of all players. Do you have thoughts about that and what would you say to young girls and women considering taking up the sport?
MA: I love to see women and girls taking up the game. Golf is a game that can be played for your entire life and you do not need sheer strength to be an excellent golfer. I think its an excellent sport for women to continue to excel at.
NJM: Rumor has it you’re an excellent cook and NJ has some fantastic restaurants. Is there a particular dish you’ll seek out to enjoy while you’re in north Jersey?
MA: I do miss the excellent Italian food in New Jersey. Growing up in an Italian American household, we loved to cook and go out to eat at our favorite places. Growing up in Wayne, Aldo’s Cucina was my family’s favorite. Over the last few years, close friends of mine have owned and operated one of my now favorite places, Luigi’s in East Hanover. It’s honestly some of the best Italian food in New Jersey!