Throughout the year, Oklahoma State Women’s Golf will feature past and their many successes off the golf course after leaving Stillwater and Oklahoma State in this new series titled “Cowgirls In the Profession”. Stay tuned over the next year or so as the Cowgirls help showcase some of the best and brightest to have played at Karsten Creek and what profession they are now successful in.
The second edition highlights Nikki Gatch.
After four years in Oklahoma State as a college student and member of the Cowgirl Golf Team, Nikki Gatch continued to find success in the golf world.
As the daughter of PGA veteran William “Buzz” Gill, Gatch grew up in the golfing world and owned her first club at the age of 5. Even with that, she didn’t start acting in earnest until several years later.
“[I] started playing kinda at age 10, you know, got into the game, ”Gatch said. “I really enjoyed, really loved it, I started playing junior golf and started participating in junior golf tournaments. [I] played in high school, you know, that led to being recruited for college, obviously ended up playing OSU. “
Gatch started playing golf in Oklahoma at a young age, and after her family moved to California, she had the opportunity to develop her skills on top courses. In high school, Gatch performed alongside boys because his high school didn’t have a girls’ team.
She credits playing on the boys’ team for making her a better golfer.
Finally, it was time to start thinking about college and where she could go. Hailing from the state, the state of Oklahoma had long been on Gatch’s radar. And, as soon as she stepped onto campus for a recruiting visit, she knew OSU was where she wanted to be.
“I was looking at some California schools to stay near me,” she said. “As soon as I made my trip to OSU I came home and told my parents this is where I go, I don’t want to visit other schools. I really liked it all the girls that were on the team, although most of them will graduate as soon as I arrive. And then finally the most important factor was probably our coach, Ann Pitts. And I really like her. , I admire and respect her and she was someone I really wanted to play for. “
While in college golf, Gatch was a key member of the qualifying teams for the 1992 and 1994 Big 8 Conference Championship and the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship for the Cowgirls. Being part of a team and a university that had such a heritage of success only pushed her to improve every day.
“I mean, really every team, I think, really wants to make sure they live up to the great traditions of Oklahoma State golf,” she said. “Whether it’s male or female, and remembering all of those who came before us and, and making a good path for those who would come after us. I think it is, I guess really fair to say that it is. was very motivating. “
After graduation, Gatch briefly considered a professional career in the LPGA, but quickly realized that playing on the professional tour was not in the cards. She turned to the business side of the sport and quickly found the opportunity to work for the Southern California Professional Golf Association.
“For me, I looked to the business side of the game and worked in the industry,” Gatch said. “I started out as a traditional golf professional on a golf course, organizing tournaments [and] give lessons. And then I had the opportunity to work for the Southern California PGA and run a junior golf program and the junior golf program that I grew up in. So it was kind of a full circuit, a full loop opportunity that I loved. To the right? It is my ability to give back and now lead the program that has given me so many great opportunities and memories. And I was able to do it for other junior golfers, which was really rewarding. “
Her passion for golf led to her election as the first female president of the Southern California Golf Association. Prior to that, she held leadership positions with the Southern California PGA and the PGA of America and was the first female member of the board of directors of the body that oversees amateur golf in Southern California.
Gatch attributes his time to Oklahoma State as the key to his continued success after leaving Stillwater.
“I think being a student athlete gives you so many different and unique opportunities,” she said. “Beyond just being a student, you are part of the team, you learn to work with others, you learn to respect the others you meet, you meet people from all walks of life and all walks of life. being a student-athlete you have to be very dedicated and structured, manage your time properly, you know, all of those things, all of these attributes that will help you in life no matter what you end up doing. “
Even after achieving such high levels of achievement after graduation, Gatch still looks back and fondly remembers her time on the Cowgirl golf team, as well as the lessons she taught him.
“The greatest time of my life has been spent at OSU. [It] really, really helped me grow and be a good person, ”she said. “There are so many people involved who were part of this process. Granted my coach and team mates but other people at Stillwater and were part of the school you just felt the support and it gave you the confidence and motivation to be as good as you can be in whatever you go. to end up doing in life. So, I really appreciate my time there and love it. “