We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, what role has risk played in your life or career?
On its own, risk may not be the smartest of options. However, I believe that risk combined with skill, passion, grit, determination, hard work, informed decisions, and planning can be your best friend. As a professional golfer, I have to make decisions that involve risk and reward every day. But, the most influential of those risks was the one I took to pursue my dream in the first place. I played college golf at Florida State University, and upon graduating, I was faced with the biggest decision of my life: to pursue golf as a career or hang up the clubs for good. Initially, I made the safest decision I could. I took the GMAT, applied to graduate school, and planned to take up a career in the field of marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I love marketing and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that decision. However, it wasn’t the right one for me at the time. I felt so distraught in the coming months. I didn’t know what to do with myself without golf. It wasn’t until my orientation was scheduled for my graduate school classes that it really started to sink in: I might never play golf again. So, what I did I will not recommend doing, but I also do not regret it in any way: I never showed up to orientation. I packed my bags and flew out to California to begin my professional golf career and never looked back.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a professional golfer! I think what sets me apart is the new energy I bring to the game. I want to make golf more accessible to those without much disposable income, people of color, females, or really anyone who has ever felt that they don’t fit in at the golf course. I started playing golf at a 9-hole course in the Bronx, NY and am now able to travel the world playing golf for a living. One of the largest challenges I have had to overcome was the financial aspect of the game. It is no secret that golf is an expensive sport and I am thankful for all the hard work my parents put in to make my dreams possible. My father even took an extra job caddying at one of New York’s premiere country clubs so that I could have the opportunity to practice on a really nice course. I worked really hard to get a college golf scholarship at a Division I school and upon graduating with a degree in marketing, decided that professional golf was the way to go. What I want the world to know is that golf doesn’t have to be exclusive. There can be a place for anyone who has a love for the game no matter what you look like or where you come from.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ooooh ATL weekend! One of my favorite things to do with my friends when they come to town is to grab a coffee, tea, or elixir at Gilly Brew Bar in Stone Mountain Georgia and then hike up the mountain for the sunset. It’s a great workout and we even do yoga on top of the mountain. Dinner at my favorite restaurant: Beetlecat or Superica is a must and I’d follow that up with a stroll down the beltline. Make sure to stop in at all my favorite spots: Ladybird Grove&Mess Hall, New Realm Brewing Co., and Piedmont Park!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Thank you to my parents, my sponsors, and those who encouraged me and helped me along the way.