Danielle Tucker is no newbie to golf. Since 1998 she’s been the producer and host of Danielle Tucker’s Golf Club Radio Show, broadcast from beautiful Hawaii. During that time she has hosted some of the industry’s most famous players, including Jack Nicklaus and Arnie Palmer.
Born to Swiss and English parents, her dad was blessed with a strong natural game that he used to his advantage in business. In the ’80’s while Danielle was already co-host of the #1 morning show in Hawaii and news director of the stations she worked for, he suggested that she do a golf radio show. Not seeing how she could (or why she would) do it at the time, Danielle put the idea on the back burner.
The topic came up again a decade later when she was managing her boyfriend’s business, The Pacific Golf Academy. He had received a call from a radio station wanting him to advertise the Academy. He declined, but instead suggested that they should let Danielle host a golf radio show. Although he didn’t know about Danielle’s conversation with her dad a decade earlier, he seemed to play his part in getting the job done.
Thirteen years later, Danielle is still pounding the airwaves weekdays to bring us the wide world of golf on Saturdays. With her deep, sexy voice and infectious laugh, Danielle strives to give her listeners and guests a new and interesting point of view on golf. Turning the tables, we asked Danielle a few questions about the industry and how it’s changing. Here’s what she had to say.
SSP: Who has been your favorite person to interview?
DT: I haven’t met my favorite interview yet. There have been many fun people I’ve talked with, like Alice Cooper. Arnold Palmer is the most gentle of people but he’s been interviewed so many times, it wasn’t easy finding a way to get into a conversation he had never had. Jack Nicklaus was wonderful because I asked him about his feeling about the development of China as a golf marketplace when he opened his course in Mission Hills and that opened up an avenue that hadn’t been pursued with anyone before.
Ernie Els, during a media briefing, has been the most unusual for me. When he was checking on the progress of his course on Oahu, Hoakalei, I asked him where he was getting the sand for the bunkers from. I just happened to know that was a question golf course architects have to put a lot of thought into because Kiahuna was redoing the bunkers and looking to China or Australia for sand. A few years later, at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, I asked him if all the questions about how his round from the media, was good for his mental game. He confessed that question had never been asked. But think about it. Mental coaches will tell you not to think about what you’ve done to play a good round, nor to dwell on the negative so why would a professional golfer want to do just that.
SSP: What’s your philosophy about golf? Are you a rules maven or a “have fun and let it slide” gal?
DT: My philosophy is to have fun. Lord knows that is so easy to say and sometimes so hard to accomplish. I like VISION54’s approach. Practice with a purpose. And when you are playing, play. I rarely have time to practice so I have to know that when I go to play, I really must just “play” – wherever that swing takes the ball. I’m outdoors, with friends, having fun. If I tell my friends I can’t keep up with them and I’ll ruin their pace of play, I’ll just play the short game with them. I’ll play best ball. But the rules have to be established before the round begins. Simply put, I have to leave my ego in the car.
SSP: How has the game changed for women since you started the show?
DT: Pitifully little. I’m constantly encouraging women to get out and play but I know they’ll get discouraged as soon as they walk into the pro shop, and not just by the guys. Women in the game can be just as “clicky” and make the newbie feel completely out of their element, which of course they already know they are.
The clothes are getting better. When I started, there really was only mini versions of men’s attire available and those men’s shirts don’t do anything for a woman’s figure, particularly if she is a “well endowed” woman. Talk about feeling like walking around in a burlap sack with no shape! I’m impressed with the women who have decided to do their own lines. I want to empower them.
I want to buy what I see on the LPGA Tour only to find that the styles the women are wearing, modeling, aren’t available to mere mortals. How can you want to got to a course feeling dressed like a dork, and know that you’ll be playing like a dork. Gee what a great way to spend four hours.
SSP: How are you changing golf?
DT: I can’t answer that. I’m just an interviewer. I get interested in an aspect of or a personality in golf and I pursue that angle until I find someone who’ll talk with me about it. Someone who’ll teach me about what they know of the subject.
If I’ve changed golf in some slight way, it may be the perception people have about the game, who plays it and why. But there are always those people in the golf world who completely destroy any inroads I think I may be making debunking the “country club” myths about the game and the people who play the game of golf.
SSP: What does golf mean to you?
DT: Golf is a beautiful walk with friends in some of the most beautifully maintained, or not maintained, open spaces on earth. I walked onto the Prince course on Kauai when it was first opened to the public and decided golf course architects were guided by a Higher Power when they “saw” a golf course in the midst of the glorious natural surroundings. I knew how a PGA Tour professional felt, being privileged to play on the most meticulously maintained golf courses. The fairway cut with scissors? That’s how it felt. God’s park.
But I adore the “not maintained” courses in Scotland, Ireland, England. Golf the way it was meant to be played. I have often thought of the shepherds, whatever the animal grazing, having to spend days alone, knocking rocks around with their cane. Or two friends walking for miles to get supplies and hitting rocks to some “target” ahead to make the long walk seem less so. Living in Switzerland, I was send daily to fetch the milk and the bread and the supplies from the village. It’s easy to imagine something like that when you’ve lived in a rural lifestyle.
SSP: If you could change anything about the game or the industry, what would it be?
DT: Lower the testosterone levels.
You can listen to the Danielle Tucker’s Golf Club Radio Show on Saturday mornings from 7-8.30 am HST or check out her archives at RadioGolfClub.com.
Images courtesy of Golf Club Radio Show.