Q&A With SCPGA Executive Director/CEO Nikki Gatch

Get to know the first female CEO for the Southern California PGA

Nikki Gatch, PGA, assumed the role of Executive Director/CEO of the Southern California PGA at the start of the 2023 calendar year. Gatch has over 20 years of experience with the Southern California PGA Section and the PGA of America. She becomes the fifth Executive Director/CEO to take the helm at the SCPGA and the first woman to ever serve in this capacity.

Gatch was elected to PGA Membership in 2013 and has been involved in the golf industry her entire career beginning with her father’s role in the development of Wood Ranch Golf Club and many of the Landmark Golf properties. Following her time at Oklahoma State University, Nikki’s career in golf has included roles as an Assistant Golf Professional at Mission Hills Country Club and the Kiawah Island Club; Co-Owner of Emerald Isle Golf Course in Oceanside; several positions with the SCPGA Section, including Junior Golf Director, Foundation Director, and Assistant Executive Director. Gatch also worked for the PGA of America as the Regional League Manager for seven years before her most recent return back to the Section in 2019 as the Assistant Executive Director/COO.

Give us a Brief Self Introduction.

NIKKI GATCH: My name is Nikki Gatch, and I serve as the Southern California PGA Section Executive Director / CEO. I have worked for the SCPGA and PGA of America for over 20 years. I’m the daughter of a PGA Professional and a wife of a PGA Professional. I’m a mom to two amazing young adults and a self-proclaimed obnoxious Oklahoma State and Dallas Cowboys fan.

What does it mean to you to be the first female Executive Director/CEO of the Southern California PGA?

NIKKI GATCH: It is an incredible honor to serve as the fifth Executive Director / CEO of the Southern California Section! To have the additional honor of being the first woman to hold that title is something very special to me, and I’m just incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve our amazing Section and its Members.

What are some of your goals as Executive Director/CEO of the SCPGA?

NIKKI GATCH: My focus will always be on Engagement, Elevation, and Empowerment. Our goal as a team will be to engage as many Section Members as possible, whether that be through education, competition, governance, or community involvement. Through the engagement, the Section can then elevate our Members – provide them with opportunities to increase their value to their employers and their communities, and use the platforms we have created to increase the promotion of our Members. Through service on the Chapter or Section level or through a Committee, we hope our Members will feel empowered to influence the impact our Section can have on so many people. It is also my goal to engage, elevate and empower our amazing and talented Section Staff. Our team is the most dedicated and passionate group of people I know. They come to work every day focused on providing the best service and opportunities possible for our Section Members and Junior Tour Members.

Share why you think golf is the most amazing sport and where you see the game trending in 2023.

NIKKI GATCH: We all know golf is the most amazing sport on so many levels. The challenge of the game, the life lessons it teaches us, but probably most importantly, the people. The people you meet through the game of golf are some of the best people you will ever meet. Most of my friends I have met through golf, including my husband! The game brings so many people together that they may not have ever connected otherwise. We are all seeing the effects the pandemic has had on our game and how so many people have taken up the game or are playing more. I honestly don’t see that declining any time soon. The big challenge for us will be to ensure we keep these golfers engaged and retain them as lifelong players. The other challenge is for all of us to not get burned out from the packed tee sheets, lesson books, and increased activity.

What’s something you wish everyone knew about the Southern California PGA Section?

NIKKI GATCH: I love when someone asks what I do for a living. It gives me the opportunity to explain how I work for the PGA and manage our association of members by providing educational, competitive, and career-enhancing opportunities. People, especially those who aren’t golfers, either think of the PGA as the Tour or those that greet them at the golf course. When they learn how much there is to the association and what it means to be a PGA Professional, it’s enlightening to them! My goal is to spread that message to as many people as possible.

What are some of your fondest memories of golf or working for the SCPGA?

NIKKI GATCH: My fondest memories of the game are during my time at Oklahoma State. I was fortunate to play on the golf team, and as I mentioned before, some of my closest friends today were my teammates at OSU. The opportunities we had in playing across the country and meeting so many different people, and having so many great life experiences are something I treasure.

My fondest memories of working for the SCPGA are all the relationships and friendships I have created. With fellow staff members, PGA Professionals, Junior Tour Members, people in the industry, and everyone in between! But, I believe my best memories are still to come!