How a Love for Golf Gave Me a Career for Life
By Kayla Gutierrez
Many people experience a love-hate relationship with golf. If you’ve ever picked up a golf club and tried to hit that tiny white ball, I’m sure you can agree: Golf is hard.
Yet even through many ups and downs, long days spent at the course, and years of practice, I wouldn’t give up golf for the world. Instead, like so many others, I’ve fallen in love with the game.
I was born and raised in the small town of Hammonton, New Jersey, also known as the “Blueberry Capital of the World.” I grew up on a blueberry farm spending most of my days riding on tractors and forklifts, helping my family on the farm and, of course, filling my face with blueberries.
Life wasn’t easy, however. As a Mexican Latina raised by young, divorced parents, I always felt like the cards were stacked against me — the daily challenges seemed more challenging for me than others. So, I sought out to find something that would allow me rise above the fray, embrace my diversity and fulfill my passion.
For me, that was golf. And I have my grandfather to thank for it.
He’s one of the main reasons why I play, and taught me everything I know to this day about the game. I admire his hardwork and dedication to the sport and saw how much of a profound impact it had on his own life. It all led him to becoming becoming owner of Vineyard Golf at White Lake in North Carolina, which I hope to help with and one day take over for him when I grow older.
It wasn’t until high school that I began to take golf seriously. I was team captain, MVP, and played as the only girl on an all boys team. Despite having to compete against the guys, I embraced the challenge and used it as motivation to play my best. Those moments of adversity I faced on the golf course are what helped prepare me for the ones I face off the golf course and, for that, I am thankful.
Golf can truly take you anywhere, too. For me, I first landed at Florida Gulf Coast University, where I am now a junior in the school’s PGA Golf Management program. I also currently serve on the program’s Student Association Board, work on campus at the Financial Aid office, and have a job as a Junior Golf Instructor and Communications Manager at a local junior golf academy. I’ve had impactful paid internships, played at amazing golf courses, and have met a number of inspiring and influential people — all of which would not have been possible without golf.
Honestly, golf has given me everything, and I hope that my story can inspire more young women to give golf a try, and turn their passion into a career. As an aspiring PGA Professional, it’s so great to see the direction the game is going and how much it has grown since I first started playing. The golf industry has a place for everyone, and that’s what truly makes it special.
Interested in exploring a career in golf or PGA Membership? You can find more information today by visiting pga.org/workingolf.