On a warm day last summer, Jackie Dubrovich showed up for her first day of work at North Jersey Country Club in Wayne. This was the beginning of her education as a caddie, and within a few minutes, she was filled with uncertainty.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JACKIE DUBROVICH
Jackie Dubrovich, 19, one of the world’s top fencers, learned to be a caddie at North Jersey CC the past two summers.
“I had no previous golf experience whatsoever,” Dubrovich said. “And the first day was actually really intimidating, because I was the only girl there. And carrying the bag, it was really physically difficult. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep doing it.”
Dubrovich had taken the job at the suggestion of her mother — a longtime employee at North Jersey CC. While Jackie didn’t know anything about golf, caddying provided a perfect fit for Dubrovich, because she could pick her hours and days to work.
Dubrovich needs that flexibility.
It takes a lot of work to be one of the best fencers in the world.
Dubrovich, who lives in Riverdale and graduated from Pompton Lakes in 2012, started fencing at age 9. By her 11th birthday, it became her passion. Now 19, Dubrovich has established herself as a regular on the U.S. junior national fencing team. She travels the world competing against the best competition. This week, she’s at an event in South Korea.
Her aim is set firmly on the future: Dubrovich wants to make the senior national team, and compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. To do that, she will have to be in the top 16 in the world in her event. With three years to go, her prospects are promising. In her first senior circuit event earlier this year, the Shangai World Cup, Dubrovich finished 15th in the world.
But back at North Jersey CC, Dubrovich’s first days as a caddie weren’t quite as smooth as her impeccable style on the fencing strip.
In those early days last summer, she didn’t know what the different clubs were, or how they were intended to be used. Meanwhile, it was physically taxing to carry a golf bag around the hilly layout of the course.
The adjustment period was about a month for Dubrovich to feel comfortable physically. She decided to stick with it. Then, not much long after, Dubrovich began to enjoy the gig.