A professional golfer on her way to the LPGA and Brand Ambassador for OptiShot, Chelsea Pezzola has made quite an impression on the golf circuit after graduating college in 2014. Making a splash at the ESPY’s this summer, she caught the attention of fans across the globe. Maxim has cited Chelsea as a new “sex symbol” while Fox News shares her look as a “stunning one you need to see!”
The Wilhelmina model is scoring tens of thousands of fans on social media –between her unstoppable golf swing and sexy selfies—she is one to watch. Competing on the professional golf circuit has brought Chelsea to the Symetra Tour and playing in numerous celebrity Pro-Ams like Jason Romano’s Fins and Skins Events and the PGA CVS Classic hosted by Peter Jacobson.
With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology in Sports Management with an emphasis in business, Chelsea became actively involved in the Michigan Sports Business Conference (MSBC) that was ranked top five by Forbes. In 2013 she held the position of VP Speakers and Executives where she attracted leaders like John Skipper (President of ESPN), Mike Tirico (ESPN), Dana Jacobson (CBS Sports) and Dhani Jones to speak at events. Between practice, tournaments, and events, Chelsea continues to sit on the MSBC Advisory Board.
Chelsea currently resides in Tampa, FL playing out of Avila Golf and Country Club and is also an active member of both the Sun Coast and Cactus golf tours. For more information, please visit her Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Recently she took time out of her busy schedule to talk with ACES’ Editor Dennis Miller.
How did you get started in golf: I was 5-years-old and my step-dad taught me. He had me hitting some balls in the backyard and the third shot I hit it over his head and over the fence. He looked at me like there might be something there.
And the rest is history: I fell in love with the game. I was going to middle school in Fayetteville (Arkansas) and playing in a junior program. When I was in 6th and 7th grade, I was playing with the high school team. We started figuring out where I was going to go for high school. I looked at the IMG Academy (in Florida) and loved it, so we moved down there.
Just like Paula Creamer: Her story inspired me to look at the school. She’s been an inspiration for me.
So you go to high school with a wonderful year-round golf climate, but then chose Michigan as your college: That was a big change for me! I learned what a parka is really quick. I had about 20 colleges I was looking at to attend. I wanted great athletics, a school that would help my golf game grow and great academics. Ironically, Michigan wasn’t on my original list. I talked with Ohio State and they had no spots open, but the coach told me I should look at Michigan. Kind of crazy that it was the Ohio State coach that helped look at Michigan. I went there and fell in love with the school. I learned to adjust to the weather, but we have some very nice indoor facilities.
Obviously you were successful on the course, but you did well academically as well. You graduated with honors in May of 2014 with a degree in the Business of Sport from the School of Kinesiology. But what is the Michigan Sports Business Conference (MSBC): I helped start it from Day One. We put panels together where business professionals come to talk about the business of sports. The second year I managed all the speakers. We have most of the tickets set for students, but we have some for the public.
After college, was it a tough choice to try the professional ranks: I love golf so much, I didn’t want to give it up. It is a dream I am not ready to give up and let go. I asked a lot of our speakers we had my last year at the MSBC and they all told me to chase the dream. They all said the job will wait for you – do what you love.
Tell me what you are doing for OptiShot: I’ve been with them as a Brand Ambassador for about a year now, doing ads and tips. It’s an at-home golf simulator that is easy to travel with. When I am on the road, I carry it in my backpack. At a hotel I can set it right up and tie it into my computer. With the technology, you don’t even need a ball. It is a great product that helps me with my game.
So how’s your game right now: I have a new coach and I am making major changes. I am reconstructing my game and am very happy with the way things are going. My main goal is consistency in my game. A swing change can be the toughest thing and very frustrating. But you just have to get tougher mentally – control what’s controllable and every day get your goals accomplished.
You have become a big social media star and have done well establishing yourself. Is it tough to balance playing golf with the promotional side of things and how did all this come to be: It hasn’t been that tough. I work during the days playing golf and then do the social media shoots at night. When Instagram first started, I thought it was a really cool way to stay in touch with your friends. I have a real creative side and had fun seeing the different things you could do and how it all works with the creative side. You can make a lot of connections through social media.
Where does all this lead: I have my own goals of wanting to inspire other females to play golf. I was really disappointed when Rory (McIlroy) came out and said right before the Olympics that it’s not his job to grow the game of golf. We all need to grow the game. Golf takes down barriers and I want help other women get into the game.
How would you sell the game to a woman: Bobby Jones said, “Golf is the closest game, to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.” The game teaches so many life lessons. There’s time management, breathing, controlling your emotions. You have a chance to enjoy nature, travel and meet incredible people. It’s a game everyone should play.