THE PLAYERS, Nike host panel for local students


Many sports are doing their part to help find ways to get the next generation involved and passionate about careers in that sports’ respective field, and the game of golf is no different.

An example of this was the PGA Tour’s “Tee Up the Future” panel, which was held on March 8 in the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass, as the PGA Tour teamed up with Nike to host the event.

High school students from around the area attended the panel discussion, which included a panel full of former athletes who had found a path to careers in sports.

In many of their cases, they played a sport other than golf, but it was golf where they would eventually develop a career path.

Alex Baldwin, president of the Korn Ferry Tour explained to the crowd of students that she always knew she wanted to work in the world of sports, but she just didn’t know the exact path when she was in high school, and stressed how that scenario is completely fine.

However, the panel had a wide range of paths, as Don Wallace, senior director of ShotLink with the PGA Tour, said he had no idea what he wanted to do when he was younger.

“I know there are some sitting out there listening that are just like that,” Wallace said.

If that is the case, Wallace advised the students to not choose a major in college that does not fit who they are as a person or what they are passionate about, because it will be something they regret.

“Trust your path and believe in yourself and your instincts,” Baldwin said. “Make sure not to second guess yourself and put in the work needed once you realize what you want to achieve.”

Another important part of creating a successful career path is the relationships that are made along the way.

“Always be open and thoughtful when developing those relationships,” Baldwin said. “Who you know and being personable can go a long way.”

While always making sure to maintain accountability was something heavily stressed by Wallace to the students, which is also one of the key traits that he has found most transferable from his days as an athlete to the business world.

“Some of my most important mentors came from the team sports I played,” Wallace said. “Playing sports and being part of a team can really instill in you what it’s like to have a group of people who are counting on you to do your part to bring success as a whole. It’s those experiences that I carry with me the most.”