Originally Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | 1:31 p.m.
Paloma Santiago is a PGA Professional who grew up in Mercer County, New Jersey. The daughter of Trinidadian and Puerto Rican parents, Santiago has a passion for diversity and inclusion within the golf industry. A General Management PGA Certified Professional and graduate of Methodist University, PGA Golf Management Program, she is the President of Live Golf, where she is accomplishing her career goals through exposing and introducing the game of golf.
Santiago is also a member of PGA LEAD, a two-year leadership development program designed to provide a deep bench of PGA Members from diverse backgrounds who aspire to ascend through the PGA of America’s leadership ranks. We recently sat discussed with Paloma to discuss how golf has impacted her life.
Q: How were you introduced to golf?
I started playing golf in an inner-city program in Trenton, New Jersey, called “Greater Trenton Junior Golf” and fell in love with the game immediately. My mother introduced me to the game through that program, and if it were not for Greater Trenton, I would have never been exposed to the game. Golf is a unique sport, and it is has opened my eyes to many different opportunities as a youth being introduced to the game. The game has allowed me to network with many diverse industry individuals; and has granted access to opportunities most youth would not have.
Q: Why did you decide to apply for PGA LEAD?
It was an opportunity to continue to learn techniques to make the golf industry more inclusive for everyone of all ethnic and financial backgrounds; with direction on how to approach different people from different backgrounds as well. PGA LEAD teaches us how to bring people together as leaders so that everyone is included and exposed to the great opportunities that exist in this business.
Q: How has PGA LEAD impacted your career and ability to become a leader in the golf industry?
PGA LEAD has allowed me to see the different diversity issues that we, as golf professionals, face day to day. I want to make a difference to help make the industry become inclusive, so that everyone feels welcome. I have always dreamed of making an impact in my community and would like to provide those opportunities to those who are underserved. ‘Live Golf’ was founded to expose and introduce the game of golf to everyone; along with growing the game. I want to provide insight on the opportunities that golf has to offer; whether it be as a career, business venture or a therapeutic alternative, there a numerous amount of opportunities.
Q: What is Live Golf and what do you hope to accomplish through it?
Live Golf is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the community with a focus on the business of golf, through mentorship by enabling access to PGA Professionals and industry professionals dedicated to growing the game of golf. Our organization exposes and introduces the game of golf, its’ values, and opportunities to youth, military, and everyday laymen in the community, while creating an outlet. We are currently in Mercer County, New Jersey and provide services to other communities Nationwide and Internationally. We hope to grow the game of golf, while exposing the various opportunities golf has to offer, whether it be career-wise, business opportunities or for therapeutic alternatives.
Q: Why is it important for you to ensure diverse representation in the golf industry?
Having diverse community members in positions of all ranks of golf will be crucial to the growth of the golf industry. As the saying goes, “our perception of the world is defined by what we see and what we hear”; and I hope to be the representative of the many faces of the PGA of America and the Golf Industry.
For more information on people impacting lives through golf follow @PGAWORKS on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you’re interested in Live Golf, Paloma can be reached through Facebook, Facebook.com/LiveGolfEnterprise.
Experts on the business and game of golf. The best coaching tips and latest golf news delivered straight to you. Sign Up to get the latest.