What did you learn working with FOX last year that will help you be a better broadcaster this year?
I always have my ears in tune and ask as many questions as I can to learn the trade. I have learned that I have to be more confident in what I’m saying. When I play golf, I think golf. Now I have to say what I’m thinking out loud and in front of millions of people. I have to be precise and crisp with my thoughts.

Do you experience nerves before you play? Before you go on the air? Are they comparable?
I think I always get some nerves before I play but I like to think I learned how to control them. On the air, I get nerves because I haven’t done this gig for too long and haven’t had real consistent reps. It’s hard not to feel like you’re starting from scratch each time but I take something away from every show and I use that experience to my advantage. It’s a little like learning the differences and subtleties of golf courses when you play.

Juli Inkster LPGA Solheim CupWhen you are on the golf course the only voice in your head is yours (I hope!) but during a broadcast, you have many voices in your ear (Producer, Director, Program, other announcers). How do you figure out who and what to listen to?
I try to be as focused on one thing at a time, one shot at a time when I am competing but you always have the bigger picture in the back of your mind. That can be grinding to make the cut, getting into contention, or trying to win a trophy. TV work is a lot the same. You concentrate on the group you’re with but at the same time, I think you really have to pay attention to what everyone is saying, so you know when they come to you, you’re on the same page. I think that’s when you get some good banter and dialogue going.

Does still playing competitively (now on a semi-regular basis) help you when you put down the clubs and put on the headset?
I think it helps both ways. When I’m in the booth or on the ground and watch the last couple of groups play, I see how patient they are, or where they save strokes. Then when I go play I TRY to remember those things.
When I play I definitely watch the players in my group more closely to see what type of game they have. Such as power, finesse, short game wizard, putting guru, what their demeanor is and so on. It makes me wonder why my game is all over the place.

There are a dozen or so men who have won major championships doing golf TV on the various networks but I believe you, Dottie Pepper, Natalie Gulbis and Karen Stupples are the only female major championship winners broadcasting on American television today. Why don’t you think there are more?
That’s a good question. I don’t think television is for everyone and most of our major championship winners these days are still in their twenties and playing.

Which part of the job do you enjoy the most?
I actually like the booth where I can talk about golf and what I think the players are going through. Golf is not easy and people should know how hard it is to be in the hunt and try to finish the deal.

 

Photos of Juli Inkster (1) Feature by Keith Allison used with permission under Creative Commons License. (2) Solheim Cup Charity Promotion Event 2014 – used with permission.