The IX: Golf Thursday with Sarah Kellam, November 26, 2020
Happy Thanksgiving! — Interview with Cara Banks — Must-click women's golf links
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Thank you, golf
With this Golf Thursday falling on Thanksgiving, I wanted to write a letter to the game that’s given me so much and express my gratitude for it. Here’s “Dear Golf”.
To be honest, I’m not really sure where I fell in love with you. Maybe it was the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf camp I attended as a kid. Maybe it was the time spent with my father, just the two of us, after school, on a range somewhere working on my swing. Maybe it was just that it was fun: the challenge of trying to master something in a way that few have ever done.
I’m not sure, but I’m so grateful that I chose you.
It’s probably a little unhealthy, but ‘golfer’ has always been so thoroughly rooted in my identity, I don’t know if I’ll ever not see myself that way. It’s my label. For some, they are ‘writer’ or ‘artist’ or ‘musician’. But, me? I’m a golfer.
It’s funny. I feel like everyone has something like this in their life, a love of something that really sets their soul on fire. But, few are as lucky as I have been to be consumed wholly by that flame.
Golf has given me so much. I know that’s totally a cliche, but it’s the absolute truth. The doors it’s opened and opportunities it’s provided have shaped me into the person that I am today.
I played in probably hundreds of junior events, playing some of the best courses in my state, and met some of the coolest people all across the country and world. I competed in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, only to be booted in match play on the 17th, getting a small taste of what upper echelon players experience every week.
I earned a college golf scholarship at a Division I university, which was a dream for me, and have played golf in Arizona, California, and Utah because of it. Because of golf, I was lucky enough to pursue two degrees during my four years and, when I graduated, I had a job as an assistant professional waiting for me that, while always meant to be temporary, showed me how to be a working adult and taught me a ton about the industry.
I even got to fulfill a dream. I put in two and a half years at Golf Channel, satisfying a goal that I’d had for myself since I was a child watching Kelly Tilghman do her thing right there with the men. I worked tournaments, shook people’s hands that I never thought I would meet let alone work with, and cultivated friendships with some of the greatest voices in golf and some of the greatest coworkers one could have.
Now, all of this didn’t come without the blood, sweat, and tears of hard work that having success requires, but I truly believe a lot of my life experiences are a result of me putting a ball in a hole. Yes there were struggles. Yes there was strife. But, in the end, I always came back to golf, tougher and ready for more.
As a young girl, clad in jean capris with long socks, a bow in my hair, glasses, buck teeth and all, taking lessons from my first coach, I would’ve never guessed that this silly little sport would have so much to do with who I am. I never imagined the impact that this game would have on my life.
I’m so grateful for the individuals I’ve crossed paths with, the places I’ve traveled to, and the adventures I’ve had because of golf. Heck, I’m a writer now because of this game! It’s been such an incredible journey thus far and I know it’s only going to get even better as time goes on.
Golf, I can’t wait to see what more you have in store. Thank you. For everything.
P.S. Can I please have an ace sometime? Just one?
This week in women’s golf
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The Korda sisters are on the cover of Golf Digest, the first time the publication has had females on the cover, a female photographer, and a female writer. (via Golf Digest)
CNN featured Haley Moore, her golf career, and her past struggles with bullying. (CNN.com)
This course in Ohio has a female head professional and female superintendent, making their facility the only one of its kind. (via Golf.com)
This is a great story about two sisters who were First Tee participants who now both have careers in golf. (via Golfweek)
Sei Young Kim takes home the Pelican Women’s Championship title. (via Golfweek)
Paine College is excited for the women’s golf program that’s being jumpstarted by a scholarship created by Augusta National. (via Golf.com)
Maria Fassi is in the field at the U.S. Women’s Open. (via Golfweek)
How having a daughter inspired Michelle Wie West to continue her playing career. (via JustWomensSports.com)
More on Sei Young Kim’s second consecutive victory. (via LPGA.com)
Emily Kristine Pedersen captures both titles in Saudi Arabia, going back to back at the Saudi Ladies Team International. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
Kim Kaufman returns to the LPGA Tour after earning back her card on the Symetra Tour. (via LPGA.com)
Learn about Gabby Lemieux and her path to playing professional golf. (via SymetraTour.com)
After a bike accident, Jaye Marie Green is happy to be back playing golf. (via Golfweek)
Lexi Thompson made a hole in one at the Pelican Women’s Championship, helping raise money for St. Jude. (via Golfweek)
How Michelle Wie West has stayed true to herself during her journey to a pro golf career. (via JustWomensSports.com)
Sierra Brooks about her experience on tour this season. (via Golfweek)
This Symetra Tour player is using her foundation to encourage girls to play golf. (via SymetraTour.com)
LPGA Tour players on the Thanksgiving holiday. (via LPGA.com)
Ron Sirak on Sei Young Kim and her rise to stardom. (via LPGA.com)
Ally McDonald’s thoughts on Pelican Golf Club. (via LPGA.com)
Stephanie Meadow finished third at the Pelican Women’s Championship and is “satisfied” with her game. (via LPGA.com)
All about Sei Young Kim after her win on Sunday. (via LPGA.com)
Sei Young Kim is feeling good as she sets her sights on the U.S. Women’s Open. (via Golf Digest)
Azahara Munoz is a favorite at the LET’s final event of the season. (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
The fall college golf season is finished. Check out the ANNIKA award watch list. (via Golfweek)
Morgan Pressel her new partnership with Wasserman and Orreco. (via JustWomensSports.com)
Who are the favorites and players to keep your eye on at the LET’s season finale? (via LadiesEuropeanTour.com)
What Steve Eubanks, managing editor for the LPGA, is thankful for this holiday season. (via LPGA.com)
Tweet of the Week
Note: This is the first time Golf Digest has had women on the cover of the magazine, a woman photographer, and a woman writing the story. Super cool!
Five at the IX: Interview with Cara Banks of Golf Channel
What has been your favorite event you’ve covered or favorite moment you’ve had during your time as a host and reporter?
I would have to say the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris. It was such an incredible experience for so many reasons. Firstly, just being on property at Le Golf National, thanks to Golf Channel, and experiencing that dramatic first tee which was the biggest grandstand we had ever seen at a Ryder Cup. Being European but working for an American broadcast makes this such a special event for me. I love the drama of match play between 24 of the best players in the world so even just walking around the golf course got me excited!
We had a fantastic studio location (credit to the Golf Channel team for getting that set up with very little space to work with) overlooking the 18th fairway where I anchored our on-site ‘Live From’ coverage with Sir Nick Faldo and guests like Ken Schofield and Seth Waugh – who was at his first Ryder Cup as CEO of the PGA of America.
Once play began, I was also able to work with BBC 5 Live Radio to provide on course commentary for the UK listeners which is always a thrill. So that gave me a different insight from being inside the ropes walking with a particular match, alongside an analyst. I think I got Luke Poulter to make his radio debut while watching his Dad play!
And then just some fun personal memories behind the scenes like our make-up artist Jessica frantically spraying fake tan on my legs before going on air!! And, I didn’t know it at the time, but I later found out I was already pregnant with our baby boy that week.
Is there an event that you haven’t covered, but are interested in working?
The Olympics for sure! I was scheduled to be part of NBC’s broadcast team for the Summer Games this year which obviously didn’t happen, but we’re now planning for 2021. I can’t wait to be a part of a huge team covering what will surely be a very memorable Games. The same has to be said for the Winter Games which will come only 6 months later in 2022, but it’s something I’m very passionate about having spent a lot of my childhood in the mountains (Dad’s a golfer & Mum a skier!).
What should people know about working in sports, specifically golf television? Any advice for young women looking to make an impact?
Number one – be prepared to work weekends (and sometimes strange hours)! It helps to be a sports fan in general but definitely KNOW YOUR SPORT! Stats are key and therefore, so is the research team. We’d be lost without them half the time. Golf never stops, except for Thanksgiving & Christmas so even if you’re not working a specific week / event it really helps to stay dialed in as much as possible.
For young women (or anyone), I would say never give up! I’ll never forget emailing the Head of the Broadcast at the AELTC regularly for 2 years until he eventually gave me a job at Wimbledon tennis! I think it’s important to be able to prove your knowledge & understanding of whatever genre / sport you’re looking to work in, then hopefully get given the chance to show your ability. Always be willing to learn (including new sports), grow, encourage constructive criticism, and stay motivated.
Why is it important to involve women in the coverage of both men’s and women’s sports?
Because we need to paint a realistic picture to those watching of what the real world looks like. It’s simple. Whoever is the best person for the job should be the one doing it, regardless of gender or anything else.
As seen on your social media, you have an adorable son! What’s it been like managing your schedule with a child in the mix?
Thank you, yes Jesse changed our world, but obviously in the best way possible and we now just have to be organized with childcare! Because my work weeks / days / hours can be so varied, a traditional daycare set up doesn’t suit us yet but, we’ve been blessed to find a part-time flexible nanny in Orlando whose family have become like ours and she’s helped out whenever either one of us are away (my husband works from home) or I’m in studio. We’ll miss her when we move to Connecticut!