By: Joe Cardoso
2018 has been a big year for the playing field of all sports to become more balanced and women are kicking butt and taking names on and off the field. Good ole boy networks nationwide are going away and a new era in sports is coming fast and that includes golf. Young women are the fastest growing segment of U.S. Golf. You can play alone but who really wants to do that? Enter golf media personality Nikki B, leading member of Women With Drive and know for equipment reviews and an awesome fitness routine. Hailing from Sacramento, CA and a player at Sacramento State she started her own blog and the rest is history. Fun Q&A with our latest dream chaser.
JC: Why golf? When and how did you fall in love with the sport?
NB: Growing up, I tried every other sport and other activity. Golf had always been in my life because my dad has always been a scratch golfer, but I always thought it was boring. I was very active in basketball and musical theater when I came home one day and told my parents I wanted to play golf instead. I’m not entirely sure what changed my mind, but I think it was a combination of wanting to try something new that was my own thing, as well as a cute older boy and watching Natalie Gulbis. (She’s from a nearby town).
JC: Were sports a big part of your life growing up?
NB: Sports weren’t necessarily a huge part of my life because I hadn’t found one I loved or was good at yet. I’m also an only child so my dad did his best job of getting me into sports, but I was always “afraid of the ball” as he would say! When I started golfing, I felt like I finally found a sport that was my own. Not to mention, it wasn’t a contact sport! However, I now love sports and thrive on playing pick-up games of volleyball, soccer, basketball, and a fun game called “Sloshball” with friends. Golf definitely gave me the confidence over the years that I am an athlete and can keep up with everyone else.
JC: When did you start to think this could be a possible career for you?
NB: In high school, I really thought of playing professional golf. As I played in college, I realized playing competitively wasn’t exactly my dream. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the game of golf and I like to play competitively with friends and in charity tournaments. While in college, I also realized I love being creative and in front of the camera. I tried to figure out how I could combine my two passions and that’s when my blog, nikkibgolf.com came to life.
JC: You wear so many different hats how do you balance it all and stay sane?
NB: That’s a great question! It’s funny because when people ask me what I do, it’s a difficult question to answer. I am a Blogger, Influencer, Marketing Manager, and On-Air Talent. To make it easier, I usually say I am a “Golf Media Personality.” Sometimes I wish I had a more stable 9-5 job because juggling all my different roles is tricky, but a 9-5 job isn’t really me. I usually don’t say no to things and that’s something I’m really trying to work on for the future. For days or weeks that are overwhelming, I just take a deep breath and realize that in the grand scheme of things, all I can do is the best I can and I have to take things one day at a time. I’m not out saving lives, so I really have to put into perspective that I am very lucky and fortunate for what I do. That’s not to say I don’t work hard, but at the end of the day, it’s just golf.
JC: Women with Drive. How did it come about and what are its goals?
NB: Women With Drive began during a girls golfing weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona with Tisha Abrea, Kenzie O’Connell, Savannah Vilaubi, Amanda Robertson, McKenzie Lyng, Anna DePalma, Sara Winter, and Miko Thi. We filmed this amazing weekend of 9 women golfing to prove that golf isn’t a “boys’ club” sport. We ended up creating amazing friendships and the name “Women With Drive.” It started out as a movement to encourage and empower more women to play golf and connect them on and off the course. Since then, it has turned into a social media marketing business as well as a community for women to meet each other and grow their personal brands and share their stories. We have women who have picked up a club for the first time yesterday to women who play on tour. It’s great because golf brands are finally realizing the need to market to women, especially young women, and Women With Drive helps market to that demographic.
JC: How have things improved for women in golf and what still needs to get better?
NB: Golf is continuing to get better for women in all aspects of the game. Clothing is getting better with each year. I remember I wore Abercrombie & Fitch Boys’ Cargo Shorts because there were no options for young girls when I started at the age of 12 (my dad also convinced me that they were super cool). Now, there are so many options for girls and women to look and feel their best on the course. More than that, I think it isn’t as shocking when you see a female who can swing a club. I don’t hear as many “ladies tees” jokes as I used to when I was younger, and to be quite honest, I think the women on tour and female golf influencers have something to do with that. However, there is still a ton of work that needs to be done. In terms of apparel, men can easily go from the course to dinner or wherever. Women’s golf clothing still looks like golf clothes and can’t easily translate from on the course to off the course. In terms of attention, golf is just like any other sport where women don’t get as much media coverage. There are some amazing women on tour whose games are just as impressive as the men and whose stories are just as relatable and inspiring as the men. It would be great to see coverage of more women golfers who can kick ass on the course, not just the ones who are pretty or making headlines.
JC: What are some of the awesome things you have cooking for 2018?
NB: I have some great things in the works that I can’t necessarily chat about yet! I will definitely be creating more videos on digital and social, as well as working with more companies and brands. I think 2018 will be my best year yet and I can’t wait for you all to see!
JC: How has social media helped you in your career?
NB: Some people may think social media has ruined us, but I think it’s just the new form of marketing. Social media can be an amazing tool if you use it the right way, and teach others, especially children, to use it in the right way. It has opened so many doors for me and introduced me to brands and people that I may not have otherwise met without it. There are downfalls to it like overconsumption, but it is a great place for anyone or any business to build their brand.
JC: Any thoughts of going for the LPGA yourself?
NB: I’ve never really thought about playing professionally because I didn’t have an outstanding college career. But hey, never say never!
JC: What do you like best about what you do, and what do you like least?
NB: Not having a steady schedule or predictability is the hardest part of what I do. I have to work extra hard, continuously perfect my craft, never stop learning, and network more but that’s what makes it fun. The best part about what I do is that I get to work in the golf world, be on camera, and be creative. I’m nowhere near where I want to be but I’m working toward my dream of being a notable on-air golf personality. If I can inspire others to golf along the way, then that is ultimately the best part of my job.
JC: OK, Dream golf day besides you who is in the foursome and what course are you playing at?
NB: My dad, Arnold Palmer, and Natalie Gulbis. If I can have a fifth, then my fiance too! The golf course is a no-brainer- Pebble hands down!
JC: Is the LPGA going through a battle of old school vs new school thinking in terms of fashion on the course?
NB: I think golf as a whole is really trying to figure out how to make women’s golf clothes for today. I think golf still needs to be a respectable sport as it always has been, but it also needs to be progressive and fit the all-around athlete mentally. Golfers are true athletes now, and the clothes need to show that off. Personally, I’m not huge on flaunting myself and I don’t think less is more but I do love form-fitting clothes. I especially love wearing leggings on the golf course! I’ve never been able to find pants that are high enough so I feel comfortable while bending down to line up or pick up my ball. Golf clothes need to find a healthy balance between golf wear, streetwear, and athletic wear that everyone including the old school and new school can support.
JC: What has been the moment or moments when you said to yourself “wow I never thought I’d be here doing THIS!”
NB: Going to France this past September for the Evian Championship to help promote the event on social was pretty cool. That’s definitely a once in a lifetime memory I’ll never forget. I think this year will bring some more of those moments so stay tuned!
Keep up with all the cool events and adventures Nikki has by following her social media links. And if you are a dream chaser send us an email and have a chance to share your story and inspire others to keep striving for greatness and following their dreams.