On the Rise in Southern Texas, Ximena Davila is Creating Her Own History Through PGA WORKS
By Hayden Lewis, PGA
Ximena Davila at the 2023 PGA Show in Orlando, Florida.
We don’t often associate ourselves with history.
Instead, people tend to place a large gap in between our lifetime and the big moments that may have happened 20 or 30 years ago, when in reality, this is just a small blip in the grandness of what we know as time.
PGA WORKS Fellow Ximena Davila believes history happens every day – if you let it.
Golf ever present
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Ximena always gravitated towards the arts – from choir and theater to painting – but that was not the norm in her family, as Ximena’s father owned a driving range in the San Antonio area and her upbringing was quite literally on a golf course.
“I tell people that there hasn’t been a day in my life that golf has not been a topic of discussion,” says Ximena.
The middle of three children, Ximena was the outlier as she never picked up a golf club, or played any sport for that matter – she believed she was on a path to make a different kind of history. Graduating with a degree in psychology, Ximena saw herself making a difference in the lives of children and families and initially set out to become a counselor.
“When we all moved back home during the coronavirus pandemic, I realized that while being a counselor and helping others was my passion, it wasn’t necessarily where my work vocation was leading me to,” she says.
Ximena described this feeling as something that was calling her in a different direction.
“I thought to myself, ‘I think I’m meant for something else,’” she adds.
That feeling would eventually lead her back to where it all began – her father’s driving range, Dead Solid Perfect Golf, in San Antonio. Ximena initially helped with social media and special events and, over time, she started to gain more exposure to the game.
“After the pandemic, I seemed to always keep coming back to golf and it kept coming back to me,” explains Ximena. “It was strange to see my interest grow so fast in an industry that I thought I would never end up pursuing.”
A new door opens
She kept going and soon ran across the PGA WORKS Fellowship in the Southern Texas PGA Section just outside of Houston. The program is designed to provide the opportunity for recent college graduates to experience a one-year, paid immersion in a PGA Section’s operations. This entry-level employment offers a taste of what a career in the golf industry can provide.
In a rather serendipitous way, Ximena would be making her own history twice as the first PGA WORKS Fellow in the Southern Texas PGA Section and one of only three Latinos to ever serve as a PGA WORKS Fellow. Now almost nine months into her year-long fellowship, she couldn’t imagine herself in a better place.
“This truly is the best thing that could have happened to me,” Ximena says. “The PGA WORKS Fellowship has opened my eyes to what I’m good at, and I can now see a clearer path to finding success in the golf industry.”
Ximena recalls connecting with Southern Ohio PGA WORKS Fellow Cristina Hidalgo at the 2023 PGA Show, and how they feel they are making a difference in the lives of families and junior golfers with Latino and Mexican heritage.
“It’s incredible to think how young people who look like us are now inspired by what they can become,” notes Ximena. “They are the next-generation of industry leaders.”
Working for a PGA Section, Ximena feels she is on the frontlines of connecting with individuals and being the first exposure they have to the game. She says being a voice for the Latino community makes her even more proud to be working in the golf industry.
“Even if it’s something as simple as being able to speak Spanish to someone and giving them that familiarity and comfortability – those touchpoints mean the world to people and keep them coming back to the game,” she adds.
As for what’s next in Ximena’s career, she recognizes that golf has served as a springboard to something greater. She says seeing herself in this roll has increased her own confidence in what comes next.
“Because of my experience with the PGA WORKS Fellowship, I know I’m worthy of being here. It helps me prepare for what’s next,” says Ximena.
Just as time is no obstacle, history is no barrier for what Ximena will accomplish in her career.
“Whenever I see myself in five or ten years, it could be easy for me to say I want a certain job or title,” she says. “But if the past five years have taught me anything, it’s shown me that I can find happiness, fulfillment, purpose – those great things we all are looking for – in anything that I do. I’m just excited to see what that becomes.”
To learn more about the PGA WORKS Fellowship, visit pgareach.org.