“That is what we do," Schechter said. "We make light of the life on tour. You watch professional golf on TV, and it seems somewhat glamorous with crowds and a lot of money. That’s how it is at the top, and it’s obviously what everyone is striving for but the road to that is an interesting road that a lot of people don’t know about.”
Who’s behind the mic
Schechter and Cloots both play professional golf on the LPGA Symetra Tour, a step below the LPGA.
Schechter graduated from UNC in 2015, where she double-majored in exercise and sports science and American studies. This will be her third year on the tour, returning after she earned her first Symetra Tour win this past June at the Four Winds Invitational.
“I loved the game and wasn’t ready to give that up,” Schechter said. “In college I was really dedicated to school and not so much golf, so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to see how good I could get just focusing on golf.”
Originally from Belgium, Cloots grew up in the sport with influence from her father. She graduated from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2017 and led the golf team with the lowest stroke average her final two seasons. With a business degree, Cloots left her options open for after college, but last summer decided she was all in to play professional golf.
“You’ve invested so much of your life already in it,” Cloots said. “It would be silly not to pursue further if you can, if you think you have the ability and believe in yourself and logistically have the funds.”
What’s on the horizon
Season two of Birdiecast starts on March 5 and will run weekly through the end of the Symetra Tour season in October. In addition to the podcast being a spotlight on golf for the public to hear, the hosts themselves love learning from each episode and describe it as a way to archive their lives now to look back on in the future.
“It’s important that when we create episodes we are mainly doing it for ourselves, that we are happy about it and content,” Cloots said.
Birdiecast aims to give female golfers a voice, a character and a personality. Women’s golf is often characterized as less exciting than men’s golf, something the golfers made note of. Schechter and Cloots use Birdiecast to try and break this unflattering stereotype.
“We are trying to give them a story and a back story that people can relate to and understand that the women’s side of the game is just as cool as the men’s,” Schechter said.
In an episode from the first season, Schechter and Cloots interviewed the first ever female president of the PGA of America, Suzy Whaley. Whaley was an LPGA Tour member in 1990 and 1993 and has since then had a resounding voice in not only the world of golf, but also women’s equality in athletics. She is also the mother of senior UNC golfer Kelly Whaley.
“I love anybody that promotes women’s golf in a way that they have tangible solutions for the challenges that they bring up," Whaley said. "And (Schechter and Cloots) do a good job of that.”
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