Alumni Spotlight on Katrina NavarreteEducating the future leaders in the world of golf; that is our goal, day in and day out. Nothing feels more rewarding than seeing our graduates succeed, and hearing that they really took our lessons to heart. Such is the case with Katrina Navarrete, a graduate from 2006, and a member of PGCC Orlando’s inaugural class. Now a buyer and merchandiser at a Top 100 Golf Shop, The Country Club at Castle Pines, it is clear that Navarrete has kept one major lesson foremost in her mind over the last seven years. “The most valuable lesson that PGCC taught me is not one of skill but of life,” Navarrete shares, “Have passion for what you do, work hard and be dedicated. Success is possible in golf but you must always strive to be the best, with honor and respect!”
Katrina has a major, even serious, love for golf, and she comes by it honestly. “My uncle Pete introduced my father, Tony, to golf, and a few months after that, my father introduced me to this wonderful sport. I started playing when I was 10 years old and 3 months later I won my first junior tournament. That’s when I fell in love!” After her win at that tournament, her father walked her to the first tee box and told her something astonishing. “My father said, ‘Did you know that you can do this for a living? The golf course one day could be your office.’ I stood there in amazement, I had no idea that one day I could make a career out of this sport that I was so in love with!” Obviously his word had an impact he may not have anticipated, given that Katrina cites this as the best advice her father ever gave her.
After that first win, it all becomes a bit of a whirlwind of golf. Her family made a move to Colorado and she joined her high school’s varsity golf team as a freshman, then began competing in the Long Drivers of America (LDA) at 16, and went on to win the Junior World Long Drive Championship. After earning her LDA Women’s Open Division Tour card, she traveled with some legendary long drive tour players, and in 2005 she took a break from competition to join us in PGCC Orlando to focus on her career as a Merchandiser. “Orlando is the golf capital of the world,” she shares, “and being part of the PGCC Orlando campus gave me the opportunity to have amazing experiences that fine-tuned my career path in the golf industry.”
“I knew that golf was my passion but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to be part of the industry.” The golf college put Katrina in contact with Top 100 golf shop, Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, and she was hired as one of their Assistant Golf Professionals. “I had worked outside services but I had never had the opportunity to work inside of a shop. That’s when I realized that I love the merchandising side of the golf.” As is her custom, Katrina did everything she possibly could to learn about merchandising, and after two months, she was promoted to Assistant Buyer. “Grand Cypress was an instrumental tool in developing my career.”
After Grand Cypress, came a move back home to Denver, and along with that move, came an offer for a position as Head Buyer at the Boulder Country Club, which further developed her professional skills, and prepared her for her current role. Now at the Country Club at Castle Pines, Katrina has the distinct honor of working with George Kahrhoff, PGA Golf Professional and 2012 National Merchandiser of the Year. This is far from a celebration of a happy ending to Katrina's golf success story, if only because she has a long and successful career in front of her.
“PGCC opened many doors, prepared me and gave me the fundamental tools to succeed in the golf industry.” Navarrete continues, “Being a Merchandiser gives me the opportunity to be creative. I often look at the golf shop as a canvas or a work of art. I look for collections that inspire me to create beautiful, different and innovative displays. It gives me a chance to think outside of the box and the possibilities are endless! That is by far the best part of my job!”