In the first of Scottish Golf’s exclusive #WhyIGolf series, they caught up with presenter and broadcaster Diane Knox, a famous face on both sides of the Atlantic and big sister to PGA Tour professional and Irish Open champion, Russell.
Golf is clearly in the genes: can you remember the first time you played golf, what inspired you, and how did you enjoy it?
I really didn’t start playing golf (or attempting to play…!) until about 3 years ago. Yes, golf has always been part of my life and a sport I have always been surrounded by, however when your younger brother plays you almost want to do the opposite! I remember the day I told my Dad I wanted to seriously learn to play – he almost collapsed in shock.
We started off with the driving range, a few lessons here and there and graduated to 9 holes after a few months. I knew I would enjoy playing once I could actually hit the ball consistently – the sense of satisfaction when I crack one with my driver is enough to keep me going!
Were you (and are you still) competitive with your brother?
There is absolutely no point in me EVER being competitive with Russell – he would hands-down beat me in any sport we played and I’m perfectly okay with that. Apart from maybe bowling; he’s terrible at bowling. Russell is a naturally gifted sportsman and I’m just happy to be able to support him.
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— Scottish Golf (@ScottishGolf) July 31, 2018
What is it about golf that you enjoy so much?
I love constantly trying to improve and better myself at anything I try, and with golf you’re in constant pursuit of greatness. You always want to be better, whether that means breaking 90 or just feeling as though your ball striking is slightly more consistent.
I also love being outdoors – when you’re on the range or on the course you can almost forget about everything else going on in life. As frustrating as this sport can be, it is equal amounts therapeutic (at times!).
At what point did you think golf could become part of your professional career?
My career in golf was never EVER planned! It’s funny how it happened actually. I had worked in radio in Scotland for 13 years and was starting to experiment with television hosting when I relocated to the United States.
— Diane (Knoxy) (@KnoxyDiane) July 19, 2018
I moved to Jacksonville, Florida with no career plan whatsoever! After a month or so, I made a few contacts in the golfing world and the rest happened quickly after that. Before I knew it, I was on a filming trip to Pinehurst hosting parts of a golf TV show.
From then, I’ve been able to do some more on-screen hosting and commentary, combined with radio, podcasts and production. It’s been a whirlwind! But it really is a fantastic industry to work in.
The golfing community is relatively small and it’s a very friendly world to be part of. Plus you get to travel to some incredible places.
What’s been your favourite experience covering golf?
Well, I was lucky enough to work at The Masters this year doing daily radio shows which was pretty amazing. I still pinch myself about that one, especially because I got to meet Jack Nicklaus and talk to him about his grandson making an ace during the Par 3 Contest! That’s a week I’ll never forget.
I also work with the BBC Radio 5 Live team at The Open and have done for the past two years. One of my favourite career moments may have happened just a few short weeks ago at Carnoustie. It was the final day and Tiger Woods was making a charge.
I got a call in my ear to “GO FIND TIGER!!”, which wasn’t hard due to the swarm of spectators doing the exact same thing. I had to grab my producer and literally run to the 8th hole to follow his group. To be part of that was pretty special and something I never thought I would be reporting on.
What is your ultimate golfing ambition?
Playing-wise, I don’t have much ambition. I’m realistic when it comes to my expectations! However, career-wise I have many goals. My ultimate goal would be to host on a golf network in the US and travel as much as I can.
— Diane (Knoxy) (@KnoxyDiane) July 31, 2018
What would you say to girls who have maybe not played golf before to encourage them to take it up?
I get asked this question a lot – and it’s my favourite to answer! I fully appreciate that golf can be intimidating for girls, especially if it’s new to them and they don’t have a lot of other females to play alongside. But give it a go, it’s such a fun, rewarding sport.
Being outside for a few hours, competing against yourself or others and experimenting with new clubs and new shots. I have a very creative mind and I love that I get to utilise that on the course. I have made so many friends and contacts through golf and it really is a very welcoming, inclusive sport – you just have to be brave and give it a shot.
There are so many role models in the golfing world today, plus the fashion options are an added bonus. Golf can be such a valuable business tool and maybe the start of a fantastic career that can take you all over the world.
— Diane (Knoxy) (@KnoxyDiane) July 22, 2018
Women & Girls Golf Week is a national awareness campaign, running across Great Britain and Ireland with the four home unions (Monday 30 July and Sunday 5 August), which aims to unite the golf industry in celebrating the successes and challenging the misconceptions and stigmas associated with women and girls in golf.
Throughout the online campaign, each day presents a different theme, where stories will be told of women and girls who are involved in the sport with the aim of creating noise across social media, with women and girl golfers everywhere invited to join the conversation using the #WhyIGolf.
Share Your Story With Us – Join the Conversation #WhyIGolf