How a love for golf gave me a career for life
By Kayla Gutierrez
Many people feel 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. I wanted to find something that would allow and encourage me to embrace my diversity, be my best self, and live my passion.
Golf was it for me. My grandfather is the reason.
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 dedication to the sport and his hard work. It also had a profound effect on his personal life. It all led him into becoming the owner at Vineyard Golf at White Lake in North Carolina. I want to help with it and eventually take over as his assistant.
It wasn’t until high school that I began to take golf seriously. I was the team captain and MVP, and was the only girl on an all-boys team. Despite being up against the men, I accepted the challenge and used it to motivate me to do my best. Those experiences of adversity were what prepared me to face the challenges on the golf course. For that, I am grateful.
Golf can take you everywhere. 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.
Golf has truly been everything to me. I hope that my story will inspire more young women who want to play golf and make it their 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.
Are you interested in a career in golf? Visit this site to find out more. pga.org/workingolf.