Ximena davila at the 2023 PGA Show, Orlando, Florida.
We don’t often associate ourselves with history.
People tend to think that there is a big gap between our lives and the great moments of 20 or 30 years back. In reality, it is just a tiny blip in the vastness of what we have.
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. Ximena, who graduated with a degree of psychology, saw herself as making a difference to the lives and families of children and families. She initially wanted 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 that this feeling was like a calling.
“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 started out as a social media coordinator for special events, but she began to get 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 continued to work and found the PGA WORKS Fellowship at 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 job gives you a taste of the possibilities that a career in golf can offer.
Ximena, in a very serendipitous manner, would make her own history twice as the first PGA WORKS Fellow for the Southern Texas PGA Section. She is also one of three Latinos who have ever served 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 recalled meeting Cristina Hidalgo, a Southern Ohio PGA WORKS Fellow, at the 2023 PGA Show. They talked about how they felt they were making a difference in the lives and careers of junior golfers and families 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.”
Ximena is a PGA Section member and feels that she is on the frontlines connecting with individuals and providing them with the first exposure to golf. She feels proud to be a voice for the Latino community and work 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 that being in this role has made her more confident in the future.
“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.
History is not an obstacle to Ximena’s career, just as time is not an obstacle.
“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.”
Visit PGA WORKS Fellowship for more information pgareach.org.