Golfer Zakiya Randall has been productive in her time away from the sport
She’s taking a break from the professional circuit to work on her game and inspire the youth
Twenty-six-year-old Zakiya Randall has been playing golf since she was 10. During her prime, she says, she won close to 80 tournaments around the country on the junior and amateur circuits, but more recently she’s been taking a break from professional golf to hone her skill in the sport. But that doesn’t mean she has a lot of downtime. She hosts business clinics, models and travels the country giving motivational speeches. We caught up with the Golden State Warriors fan (she’s from Atlanta and calls Washington, D.C., her hometown, but it’s all good!) to see what she’s been up to since she appeared on Golf Channel’s Big Break in 2012 — needless to say, she hasn’t slowed down.
How did you get your start in golf?
I was actually playing tennis at the time. I went out on the golf course with a friend of the family, but I was more interested in driving the golf cart more than anything else. We came to a hole, and it was over the water. And I watched these guys, one after the other, hit the ball into the water. And my family friend said, ‘I bet this little 10-year-old girl can hit the ball over the water into the fairway.’ And that’s how I got my start. He gave me a couple practice swings, and I hit the ball over the water. The guys were stunned.
Who is your childhood hero?
Annika Sörenstam. I really looked up to her. She was a golfer on tour, and she basically won a whole bunch of tournaments in a short span of time. She retired, but she still has a huge impact in the game in terms of golf and her wonderful foundations.
What’s the craziest lie you ever told?
When I was young, my parents had this leather couch, and I remember I cut it up and I taped it back together. My mom saw it, and she was like, ‘What is this?’ And I said I don’t know who did it. Let’s just say it didn’t end well for me.
So I take it she didn’t believe you?
Of course not. I was the only person in the house. Who else could it have been but me? I don’t know why I cut up the couch, but I got a lot of heat for that one.
What will you always be the champion of?
NBA 2K. I’m actually a big video game person, and the Warriors are unbeatable on that game now.
Isn’t it cheating if you play with the Warriors?
Well, the last time I played, I played with the [San Antonio] Spurs.
What’s your favorite social media outlet?
I don’t know if YouTube is considered “social media,” but the reason I like YouTube is that it doesn’t only give you the visuals. It also gives you the ability to hear and to see what people are talking about. There’s so much information on YouTube; I get lost in YouTube all the time.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Will Smith’s “Summertime.” I’m not a good singer, and I don’t like being in front of people knowing I can’t sing, so at least I can bring a whole bunch of energy if I’m rapping.
What’s the first concert you ever went to?
I wanna say an NSYNC concert.
How old were you?
About 5 [laughs]. I really loved NSYNC when I was younger. And the Backstreet Boys.
When did you realize you were making a name for yourself in golf?
When I started getting national attention. From Ebony and Jet and a CNN segment with Fredricka [Whitfield]. And I also do motivational speaking. All those things together let me know that people actually want to see me!
What do you talk about in your motivational speeches?
I usually talk to the youth about developing character strength and persevering through the same struggles that I went through when I was a teen.
What would you tell your 15-year-old self?
It gets no easier. I had a lot of false interpretations of what the golf world was really like. I thought if I just reached this level of success in my golf game it would be cruising from there, but that has not been the case. There’s always a different challenge.
What’s one thing you can’t get on the bandwagon for?
I can’t stand macaroni and cheese.
Are we talking boxed macaroni? Because boxed macaroni is nasty and I’ll never touch it.
I’m talking homemade, Thanksgiving, your grandma made it.
You don’t like grandma’s mac and cheese?
I’m not a big cheese person.
What’s the last stamp on your passport?
Puerto Rico. That was where I shot my last show, [Golf Channel’s] Big Break [in 2013].
What’s one habit that you wish you could break?
I sometimes procrastinate. When I need to get something done, I wait until the last hour or two before it needs to get done rather than doing it immediately.
Have you ever been starstruck?
I briefly met Boris Kodjoe. I didn’t think he was going to be as gorgeous in person. But Boris really is gorgeous.
If you could be any athlete, dead or alive, who would you pick?
Michael Jordan. I know he’s a male, but he’s absolutely incredible.
I’m sure it feels great to wake up and be Michael Jordan. Who’s your favorite athlete of all time?
Serena [Williams]. I really like Serena. She’s absolutely amazing.
Is it better to look perfect and be late or just OK and be on time?
Just OK and on time. I am a stickler for being on time.
What’s the most thoughtful gift you’ve ever received?
Every Valentine’s Day my dad sends me two dozen roses.
Do you have any rituals before a big competition?
I’m kind of superstitious. I have to put my clothes out perfectly, I have to get a certain amount of sleep. I’m very particular in my routine before I go out.
What’s the last show you binge-watched on Netflix?
House of Cards.
What’s the last museum you walked through?
The National Archives. I saw the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and it was really cool.
Where does your courage come from?
I have a courageous view of things because I know that God is in control. No matter what, everything is going to be OK at the end of the day. That’s what drives me through my days.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
I briefly met Lee Elder in Orlando. I remember him giving me encouraging words. He said, ‘Keep it going, you’re doing really well.’ That coming from him, his stature and what he’s done for golf, that’s the best advice [I got] from a golfer.
This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.