My Experience in the Golf Industry
My golf experience began at a very early age – pretty much birth! My father is a PGA Professional, and I was always surrounded by his friends and colleagues. Although I always had incredible access to the game – lessons, equipment, course, clothing, etc., the game was never pushed on me at all. This is probably why I ultimately decided to follow in my father’s footsteps. My parents allowed me to try many sports and activities when I was young, and I found my way to golf specifically at about age 12. I became a golf nut, obsessed with getting better, setting goals for junior tournaments, setting goals of making the High School team (boys team at that time) and then the ultimate goal of receiving a college golf scholarship. I hit all of those goals, and ended up playing Division-I golf at Oklahoma State University for four years while earning my degree in journalism and broadcasting.
After graduating, I briefly (and I mean briefly!), tried to play professionally. I was never a top player, and saw too many of my friends struggling to make it in that world. And they were much more talented than me! I decided although this was a lifelong dream to play professional golf, it just wasn’t going to be in the cards for me. I gravitated to what I knew and what I loved, and pursued a career in golf. In the beginning, I was a typical Golf Professional – learning the ropes of the industry at the club level. I was fortunate to work at some of the best facilities in the country – PGA WEST, Mission Hills Country Club and Kiawah Island Club in South Carolina. After several years in the “green grass” side of the industry, and a marriage (yes, I married a Golf Pro, can’t seem to get away from them!), I was looking for something more. I was fortunate to be hired by the Southern California PGA, and was there for more than a decade. I started in junior golf (which still to this day has been the most rewarding experience in my career), and also earned experience with our non-profit, business development, tournament operation and overall administration. I had found my niche! I really enjoyed the administration side of the industry – and still do. In 2012, I accepted my current position of player development regional manager with the PGA of America. In my role, I work directly with our golf professionals, facilities and allied associations to grow the game and grow the business of the game.
There are so many opportunities in the golf industry, especially for women. There’s no question, the industry has historically been a male-dominated one, but that is changing. The USGA just elected its second woman president, the PGA of America secretary is Suzy Whaley (who is slated to be president in 2019) and more and more women are entering the industry. I am extremely honored to serve on the Board of Directors for the SCGA as the first woman and PGA Professional to do so. My experience after the first year of service has been amazing. The board and staff are comprised of wonderful, smart and passionate people. Our game is certainly in good hands here in Southern California!
In 2015, my husband and our partners (fellow PGA Professionals) purchased the lease on an executive golf course in Oceanside, Emerald Isle GC. It has been an amazing experience so far, and it has been so rewarding for all of us to be a part of growing the game and gradually changing the culture of our game. Our facility allows us the opportunity to offer the game in a fun, non-intimidating, social atmosphere. We truly believe shorter courses like ours that are affordable, fun and don’t take very long to play are extremely relevant to the health of our industry.
Golf has been and will always be such an important and integral part of my life. Even though I have made a career out of growing the game, it is something that I am extremely passionate about and enjoy the responsibility. We all, as golfers, have a responsibility for preserving the game and opening our arms to all new golfers, let’s embrace it!