Nikki Gatch, PGA Professional, is a powerful woman in the golf industry. A true visionary leader with more than 20 combined years of experience with the Southern California PGA Section and the PGA of America.
She is a dynamic, results-oriented and perhaps best of all, she is passionate about helping others, especially women, to feel welcomed and empowered and works each day to give more people access to the great game.
I am honored to call Nikki a friend and so happy that I recently had time to find out more about what makes her special and what drives her passion.
And in speaking with her recently I found out that what’s next for Nikki is that in addition to continuing to be a die-hard Dallas Cowboy and Oklahoma State Cowboy Fan (which she says sometimes obnoxiously!), in January my dear friend Nikki will be assuming the role of CEO of the Southern California PGA. She says she has big shoes to fill in following a legend like Tom Addis, but the Section is so special to her, and she has been preparing for the opportunity for a long time. I know she can't wait to get started! And I know she will rock this role!!
(Nikki is pictured here on the right).
Q: When/why did you start playing golf?
I was introduced to the game by my Dad who was a PGA professional. I participated in many sports and activities as a kid, golf was never "pushed" on me. When I was 11 or so, I gravitated to golf only and was hooked!
Q: What inspired you to become a PGA Professional?
Again, my Dad! All of my parents' friends were PGA professionals or in the golf business … I had a lot of "uncles"!
When it was time to grow up and get a real job, I just gravitated to what I knew and what I loved, and that was golf. Once in the golf industry, I quickly realized the career benefits of becoming a PGA Member.
Q: As a woman golfer, what were some challenges you faced when learning to play and how did you overcome them?
I know I'm probably an exception to the rule, but I don't believe I faced as many challenges as others might have. That might (or probably) comes from growing up in the industry and game. There weren't many girls playing golf when I was growing up … it certainly wasn't considered "cool"!
When I was 10, I played in a junior event at my Dad’s club and since there were no girls in my age division I played with the boys. I beat them. One was very upset and refused to leave the 18th green! I also played on the boy’s high school team, because there was not a girls’ team. I believe it made me a better player though. I had to play from longer tees (really had to sharpen my short game), I had to work a little harder, but I also learned how to get along with just about anyone and have fun while doing it!
Q: What is your absolute favorite thing about golf?
The people! Some of my closest friends have come from some sort of golf connection. I met my husband because of golf, and I think it’s the greatest sport in the world!
Q: What's your favorite club? Why?
Putter. Been struggling with it lately, but it's truly the "equalizer" of the game. A 3-foot putt counts the same as a 300-yard drive! (Although it would be nice to be able to hit a 300-yard drive!)
Q: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before starting your career in golf, what would it be?
Enjoy the ride and make as many friends as possible. Treat everyone with respect, be giving of your time, and things will come back to you tenfold!
Q: How do you balance work and life?
I don't have an answer to this! It's not easy, but I do try my best to keep a good balance of work and fun. But honestly, my work is fun, so sometimes it is hard to "shut it down". It is important though, and I need to do better!
Q: Do you have a mantra that you could share with us?
Comes from my alma mater, Oklahoma State University, "Loyal and True". I just love it, it's simple, and can translate to just about anything in your life - career, relationships, how you approach each day.