The LPGA Women’s Network has partnered with FORAY GOLF, a company redefining golf apparel for modern women and their unique expressions of style, to celebrate the women who are challenging the status quo in golf.
The Women Beyond Par series puts a spotlight on the pioneers who are growing the game for all girls and women and blazing trails to accomplish their dreams.
Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Well, it’s a good thing Paige MacKenzie is an optimist. While playing in her eighth season as a professional golfer, she the missed cut at the 2013 Women’s U.S. Open. Maybe it felt like a failure at the time, but it placed a unique opportunity in the middle of her path.
All she wanted to do was go home after missing weekend play, but when Golf Channel asked her to be a guest analyst for the event, she said yes.
“On the way [to the Golf Channel studio], I was regretting it—I’d have to talk about a bunch of my peers about a tournament I should be playing in, but failed to qualify for,” she said.
That split second of resisting doubt, avoiding negative thoughts, and saying “yes” opened the door for her career in television.
“In the end, I had so much fun. I never once felt uncomfortable being an analyst and not playing,” MacKenzie recalls. “Nor was I jealous that I wasn’t in the field. Instead, I felt like I could objectively discuss what was going on.”
The Golf Channel asked her back a few more times, and in 2014 she began working as a studio host on Morning Drive. While MacKenzie proved to have natural talent as an analyst, there was still a huge learning curve to working in television.
“It’s a lot like golf, in that you cannot perfect television,” she said. “You might have a great segment, then look back and think, ‘I could have done this better’. It’s all about timing.”
Balancing a crazy routine is also a requirement when working in television; MacKenzie is out of bed by 3:30am and in the studio by 4am. Perhaps her experience juggling hectic schedules as a professional golfer and working in a TV studio prepared her for a new challenge in 2017—motherhood.
“Every minute of every day seems to be filled with something, whether I’m in the office or taking care of my son, Beckett, or watching golf highlights,” she said. “It’s adventure, and I understand now when people say having kids keeps you grounded. I get to be silly with him and life never gets too serious because I just try to make him laugh. It makes me a happier person and a better person.”
Her happiness and charisma shine every day on Morning Drive, whether she’s offering golf tips or helping viewers understand the tournament from a players’ perspective and bringing them inside the ropes. MacKenzie’s ability to interpret the game also led to her network television debut as an NBC booth analyst for the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
As one of just a handful of female golf analysts, her voice and expertise help shine a light on the LPGA and the in-depth stories behind the players. MacKenzie represents the LPGA and female sports analysts, and she doesn’t take that responsibility lightly.
“Whether I’m covering the PGA or LPGA Tour, I am an expert, and I want to be a strong voice, but I also know I’m representing other women,” she said. “That responsibility is the reason I work as hard as I do, because people are more likely to be critical of a woman analyst than a man.”
That self-conviction and eternal optimism is what drives MacKenzie to continue opening doors and seizing new opportunities to help promote women’s golf and women in sports media.
“A good analyst can peel open the layers,” she said. “My job is to be an expert on the LPGA Tour, and I take it very seriously.”