Life on the Green: Cornell Brother Chases Dream to be on the PGA Tour

Life as he knew it began for recent Cornell graduate Mike Graboyes on a golf course, and as far as he is concerned, will probably end there as well. From as early as he can remember, Graboyes was out on the green practicing his game.

Graboyes says he joined Lambda Chi Alpha after another former golfer recruited him. Photo courtesy of Lambda Chi Alpha Cornell chapter

From the age of five, the economics major attended golf camps every summer. Once he was old enough to compete in tournaments, there was no hesitation. Graboyes and his family soon realized that he had a gift, so the training intensified and the dreams became bigger.

As talk of college entered the picture, Graboyes knew without a doubt he was bound for the Ivy League. His older brother also attended Cornell and played on the men’s golf team, one year his senior. After seeing the success his brother had in Ithaca, Graboyes decided to take his game to the next level on the same team.

Graboyes soon found his groove on the team, and to no one’s surprise, climbed the ranks to become one of the Ivy League’s best players. He finished his senior season as a four-time All-Ivy Honors player, something that has only been accomplished a handful of times in the Ivy League’s history.

“It’s kind of cool because that was my goal coming into college, I didn’t even talk about winning the Ivys, I just wanted to be a four-time All-Ivy player,” said Graboyes.

Though he was just shy of winning the tournament in his last season, Graboyes still boasts a tournament win his junior year, while never finishing below eighth place throughout the rest of his college career.

“It really does speak to itself, because the Ivy League Championship is our biggest tournament, and if you play well in that, you should be honored,” said Graboyes.

Graboyes says that his chapter brothers have been nothing but supportive of his golf career, something that he will always be grateful for. Photo courtesy of Mike Graboyes

The remainder of his senior season saw Graboyes winning two events, while leading his team as captain and shooting some of his lowest scores to assist the team overall. It might not have been the picture-perfect season the senior was hoping for, but one that he will remember and be proud of for the rest of his life.

“I was very happy, but at the same time, going into Ivys and losing by one, I really didn’t feel like I played my best, so that was frustrating,” said Graboyes. “I’ve accepted it though and am happy about what I was able to accomplish here.”

As Graboyes continues to make the shift from college to life outside of the Ivy League, he has many exciting plans, namely planning to join the professional circuit in late August. Until then, Graboyes will be playing eight to nine hours of golf a day in order to achieve peak performance.

While the ultimate goal is to one day be on television on the PGA Tour, Graboyes will continue to chase his dream and work hard, something that both Lambda Chi and his time on the Cornell team have taught him. With the support of both his family and fraternity family, the sky is the limit for the young golfer.

“It [Lambda Chi] has meant the entire world to me,” expressed Graboyes. “I really don’t know how my college experience would have been without Lambda Chi, but it certainly wouldn’t have been as good as it has been.

“The network of friends, the people I’ve met through the fraternity…it’s just an experience that’s so unique to fraternities and I especially thank Lambda Chi here [Cornell]…When you get out there, and you are struggling [on the course], it’s nice to know that no matter what, when I get back on Sunday night, I’m going to have a great group of guys that are supportive and that are happy to see me, no matter what.”

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